A 65% quality and stress-free keyboard
Razer’s BlackWidow V3 Mini HyperSpeed ââPhantom Edition is made up of two things: a bite and a multi-tool.
The mechanical gaming keyboard looks great and has a fantastic layout. It lacks some high-end features, but it works well for a wide range of tasks and takes advantage of a great layout and form factor.
More than that, the BlackWidow V3 Mini is a great indicator of the direction in which mechanical keyboards are moving. This is a 65% mainstream keyboard made by a major gaming company, which suggests that effective keyboard layouts for enthusiasts are becoming more and more popular. It’s very similar to what has happened over the past few years with the layout at 60% as it has gone from the obscurity of enthusiasts to something even my preteen cousin is familiar with.
How does he type?
The BlackWidow V3 has two switch options, both of which are Razer’s exclusive designs: a linear model (yellow) and a click model (green). While I spent time with both, I found myself gravitating almost entirely to green switches for one key reason: it’s much easier to do good on a clickable switch.
To get a really good linear switch, you have to do a lot of things: Lubricate the switches, adjust the stabilizers, even film the housings and springs for lubricating the bags. These are all easy things to do on a keyboard, but incredibly difficult to do on a mass production scale.
Alternatively, the noisy and rough nature of the clicky switches makes none of the above necessary: ââthe eponymous “click” covers any rattle on the stabilizer, and the multi-piece rod construction makes lubricating the switches completely unnecessary. Essentially: the switches original clicky are closer to an âidealâ typing experience than linear ones.
So how does each switch sound and feel?
Razer’s proprietary clicky switches are, to say the least, better than MX Blues. I know, I know, it’s a low bar. But they feel good. They have a satisfying click, fairly light background weight, and no noticeable roughness, scuffing or lag / sticking after pressing the keys. Plus, they don’t sound too bad – it’s not an incredible “thock”, but it’s by no means awful. While I don’t like clickable switches and can’t imagine using this keyboard as my daily driver, there’s nothing explicit wrong with them if you’re a fan of a stronger switch with a tactile bump. stronger.
Their shelves, on the other hand, are a bit awkward. They feel rough, loose, and have a bit of a hollow sound when you type. While they certainly are acceptable, they also take the clicking of the keyboard stabilizers unless you have a bit of lubricant to apply to the stabilizer sliders (which is surprisingly easy to do with the slider click system).
Maybe I’m just spoiled for POM boxes, JWK clones, hand-lubricated switches, and PME, but for the experienced hand both switches are disappointing – yellows much more than greens.
65% layout rules – As someone who uses a 65% keyboard (a Leopold FC660C) on a daily basis, I love the layout of the BlackWidow V3. It’s simple, compact, and has just about all the keys you need as long as you’re ready to add a layer of functions or two. More than that, it’s just good to use. There are no massive empty spaces and there are no unnecessary keys. For my part, I’m incredibly happy to see that the 65% layout could potentially enter the mainstream.
I am incredibly happy to see the 65% potentially disposition breaking up in the main stream.
Stealth Keys – The keys are fantastic and really sell the illusion of being empty until the second the underlight lights come on. Personally, I love it. Ghost keys solve the main problem that shiny keys had so far: how nasty they were when the LED lights were off. Plus, the fact that they’re pudding-style makes the RGB lighting much more noticeable. If you like a glossy keyboard and appreciate a good set of blank keys, these will suit your taste. The only real issue is the white side legends that many of the keys have. While they don’t look horrible, they disrupt the all-black aesthetic that the rest of the keyboard was clearly trying to pursue.
But if those keys aren’t to your liking, it’s easy to find replacement key sets as 65% of keyboards are common in hobby circles.
A bit big – On top of that, what stands out the most is the incredible height of this keyboard. Its unobtrusive case sits about as high as the top of a high-end case, meaning the switches and keys are much higher than they would be on most other keyboards. Sure, a keyboard like this needs to be thick to house all of the wireless connectivity components, but it’s still worth noting.
Wireless heaven – And in my experience, the wireless option is great: the keyboard has almost no difference in response time between the two, and since the keyboard has a small USB-A wireless dongle, you don’t have to to worry about bluetooth pairing. Instead, all you need to do is plug in the dongle and connect instantly. And once the battery runs out, you can plug the keyboard into your computer with the included USB-C cable and use it wired until the battery is fully charged. In my testing, plugged into my desktop computer, the BlackWidow V3 Mini HyperSpeed ââtook about 2.5 hours to go from 0 to 40% and about 7 hours to get to 100%. It might charge faster with an AC adapter in the outlet, but who’s going to do it?
No hot swap – The main problem with the BlackWidow V3 is its lack of hot-swappable sockets. For a keyboard using standard MX-style switches at this price point, customization should be an expectation, not a luxury. There are countless keyboards that cost a lot less than the BlackWidow V3 Mini HyperSpeed ââthat have hot-swappable sockets, enough that I’d say it’s even becoming a new standard for high-end keyboards.
Overall, the keyboard construction is acceptable: the switches are mounted in a metal plate; they are screwed at 13 points into the lower plastic housing. Because of this, the typing experience is incredibly stable despite the case being partially plastic.
Looking inside the keyboard, there is a main motherboard connected by two cables to a daughter board and a battery. A few pieces of foam to avoid unnecessary rattles and a singular LED hides behind the logo on the front of the keyboard. While the material of the case itself is quite thin, I can understand why here – there’s a lot to pack in this card.
As for repairs, it seems quite possible: disassembly is intuitive, and at first glance, the switches can be easily unsoldered and replaced. Also, the battery and daughter board can be removed if they need to be replaced, but I’m not sure spare parts can be easily found.
Who should buy it?
If you want a 65% quality, stress-free wireless keyboard that you don’t have to worry about, then yes. But considering the price of the keyboard ($ 180 for a Standard Edition and $ 200 for the Phantom Edition), there are a few high-end options (albeit wireless and / or RGB-free) that you can find for a bit more. . For example, Drop’s KBDFans TOFU65 and ALT keyboards provide all-metal housings, standardized stabilizers, and hot-swappable switches.
You are paying for both keyboard and his ease of use.
This card is however easy to use. The wireless system runs smoothly and customization is incredibly easy with the Razer Synapse tool. In many ways, you are paying for both the keyboard and its ease of use. Instead of using a function layer to adjust RGB or a system like QMK to reprogram your card, it’s all consolidated into Razer’s own Synapse system, which is both streamlined and incredibly intuitive.
Overall, this keyboard is not for everyone. But if you’re looking for an attractive, fully plug-and-play little keyboard as opposed to assembling, maintaining, and troubleshooting a high-end mechanical keyboard, then the BlackWidow V3 Mini HyperSpeed ââPhantom Edition is definitely a good choice. for your setup, especially if you can find it for sale.
Input may receive a portion of the sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article. We only include products that have been independently selected by the Input editorial team.