Razer Black Widow Ultimate Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

Mechanical keyboards are the miniguns of gaming gear: Heavy, ostentatiously clacky, and downright murderous. They're commensurately uncommon and expensive. Razer's Black Widow is the latest, a surprisingly spare piece of kit from Razer, considering its typical aggro-gamer mode of existence. (What's a mechanical keyboard, you ask? Read this.)

Plusses

The weight and build of the keyboard and the rat-tat-tat of keys firing makes you feel like you're using an actual weapon in combat. At the same time, the Cherry Blue MX switches (again, consult Overlock.net's mechanical keyboard guide for more detail on mechanical keyboard parts) deliver a smooth but tactile experience that doesn't require a nuclear strike to clear the key, since it activates halfway through the press. So you can stay light on your toes-er, fingers. USB and headphone/mic ports on the side are seriously handy. Individual LED backlighting on the Ultimate model is handy in the dark, as well as the feature that neuters the Windows Start key.

Minuses

Normally, I don't care if my typing sounds like machine-gun fire. But there may be times it's too loud. Backlighting and extra ports only on the $130 Ultimate model. No wrist rest. The alternate function key is tiny and poorly positioned, so it's occasionally annoying to adjust volume. Five distinct macro keys maybe too few for some people. Limited anti-ghosting. Glossy finish gets gross fast.

Price

$130 for Black Widow Ultimate; $80 for Black Widow