Review: The Razer BlackWidow V3 Mini is an almost-perfect wireless keyboard

·Yahoo Esports & Gaming SEA team
·8 min read
Razer Blackwidow V3 Mini (Photo: Yahoo Gaming SEA)
Razer BlackWidow V3 Mini (Photo: Yahoo Gaming SEA)

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Razer has been on a roll lately, introducing their wireless tech, HyperSpeed, into their existing mice and keyboards. The DeathAdder, Viper, Naga and Orochi, to name a few, have received a wireless upgrade that many claim, including this reviewer, is flawless and is indistinguishable from their wired counterparts.

They’re also trying starting to cram HyperSpeed into their keyboards, as seen with the BlackWidow V3 Pro Wireless that was released in late 2020.

It comes as no surprise, then, that Razer’s latest offering, the BlackWidow V3 Mini HyperSpeed, is their next entry into the wireless keyboard market.

What sets this apart from the other keyboards that Razer offers is also the fact that the BlackWidow V3 Mini is the brand's only 65% keyboard.

Usual 65% keyboards generally lack the numpad and also a few other keys seen on Tenkeyless (TKL) mechanical keyboards, but still retain the arrow keys, as opposed to 60% keyboards which leave those up. 

The BlackWidow V3 Mini vs the Hunstman Mini. (Photo: Yahoo Gaming Singapore)
The BlackWidow V3 Mini vs the Hunstman Mini. (Photo: Yahoo Gaming Singapore)

When comparing it to Razer’s own Huntsman Mini, which is a 60% keyboard, you can see the difference in keys between the two sizes.

Specs:

We will quickly run through the specs of the keyboard and also what comes with the package when you purchase it.

The keyboard comes in two variants, one with Razer’s Green clicky switches, the other with Razer’s Yellow linear switches with installed sound dampeners. We received the version with the Yellow switches for review.

Razer also claims that the keyboard has up to 200 hours of battery life.

The keyboard’s HyperSpeed dongle also allows multi-device support. You can pair a Razer wireless mouse like the new Razer Orochi V2 with the keyboard’s dongle and use both devices at the same time with just one dongle. This feature, however, only works with a number of wireless peripherals in Razer’s line-up at the moment, so it doesn't include all their wireless products.

They keyboard also comes with double-shot ABS keycaps, has angle-adjustable feet, and the most important feature of all, RGB (no it’s actually not that important).

When you buy it off the shelf, the package contains the keyboard, a USB-C to USB-A cable, and the wireless dongle (that is smartly tucked into a compartment on the back of the keyboard).

Connectivity:

The keyboard comes with two forms of wireless connections, the 2.4ghz HyperSpeed connection and Bluetooth. You can also connect the keyboard to the computer via the provided USB cable as well.

Like many other Razer devices we've tested, the BlackWidow V3 Mini doesn’t exhibit any kind of latency in 2.4ghz wireless mode. Every key press registers as if the keyboard was wired, be it in gaming or in any other kind of tasks.

The Bluetooth mode allows the keyboard to connect to (up to) 3 Bluetooth devices, be it your phone, your laptop or anything that can register a keyboard input. 

You can switch between these devices by just simply pressing ALT + FN + 1, 2, or 3, the numbers being the devices that your keyboard is connected to. To re-pair the keyboard, simple hold the same ALT + FN + 1, 2, or 3 combinations for five seconds to pair to a new device.

You can feel the slight latency in Bluetooth mode, but, let's be honest, if you are using the Bluetooth mode, you are highly unlikely to be doing any kind of tasks that require any “on-time” key presses (such as gaming), so this latency is acceptable.

Wired mode is, well, wired mode. Nothing else to say here. This mode also charges up your keyboard for wireless use.

When we paired the keyboard with a Razer Naga Pro mouse by using the wireless 2.4ghz dongle provided with the keyboard, we found no latency issues here as well. But there were times when one device would drop out for 1-2 seconds during usage, be it either the mouse or the keyboard, and this raised a red flag in our tests. 

We tried this with the Razer DeathAdder V2 Pro as well, and we experienced the same problem. 

As such, we do not recommend pairing your peripherals to one single adaptor for the time being, as we couldn’t find the root cause of this. 

Reverting the mouse and keyboard back to their respective wireless dongles cured the problem, and it started to work flawlessly again.

Keys Switches and Keycaps:

The Yellow linear keys are your standard mechanical linear key switches. They have a 45g actuation force and activate at 1.2mm of the keypress. They also bottom out at 3.5mm. 

In addition, Razer also added sound dampeners to the switch. This makes them pretty quiet, but anyone who enjoys mechanical keyboard clacks will be disappointed. The keys are quite comfortable to type on, so no complaints there.

The one thing that we found weird was the inclusion of ABS keycaps instead of the PBT keycaps found on their Huntsman series of keyboards. Perhaps the argument can be made that the PBT keycaps are only exclusive to the Huntsman line-up, but to pay SG$300 for the BlackWidow V3 Pro and BlackWidow V3 Mini and still get ABS keycaps is a little weird, considering that the Huntsman line-up is slightly cheaper in price compared to these two keyboards.

But to be fair, the ABS keycaps provided are high quality ABS keycaps, and since they are double-shot and made with two layers, the fonts on the keycaps will never fade away. 

However, the typical ABS shine is present on the keyboard after three weeks of use, so that is something to note if you are interested in purchasing this. To make matters worse, the keycaps on the BlackWidow V3 Mini are non-standard, so you wouldn’t be able to purchase any kind of keycap set to replace them, Razer keycaps included. The ALT, FN, CTRL and Shift key on the right side of the keyboard are all non-standard keycap sizes, so you will need to find an alternative or customise your keycaps if you want to replace those.

Battery life:

Razer advertised this keyboard to have up to 200 hours of battery life. In our testing, we got up to 180 hours of usage on 2.4ghz, without any RGB on for the keyboard. There are no notable differences between the Bluetooth mode and the 2.4ghz mode in terms of battery usage.

At 50 per cent brightness while using the spectrum cycle effect, the keyboard lasted about 38 hours. At 100 per cent brightness, the keyboard lasted a mere 15 hours.

Razer Synapse and RGB:

If you want to change the colours on your keyboard and adjust multiple other settings, you have to download Razer’s Synapse software to do so. The software gives extra customisability for RGB effects and also informs you about your keyboard’s battery life.

However, if you think that Synapse is too intrusive, you can actually change the colour of the RGB on your keyboard by using a certain combination of keypresses, without installing the software.

FN + ctrl + 1 Off
FN + ctrl + 2 Static
FN + ctrl + 3 Breathing
FN + ctrl + 4 Spectrum Cycle
FN + ctrl + 5 Wave
FN + ctrl + 6 Reactive
FN + ctrl + 7 Starlight

You can also cycle through the different colours of each mode by pressing the same key combination again.

Price and affordability:

This is the part where it gets tough to recommend unless you really appreciate wireless convenience. The BlackWidow V3 Mini costs a whopping S$309.90 at retail pricing. It is one of the most expensive keyboards out there in the market, next to its bigger brother, the BlackWidow V3 Pro, which goes for S$359.90.

If you’re a fan of Razer, and do like the small form factor, there are better keyboards out there that cost less. The Huntsman Mini costs S$189.90 while their 87% sized Huntsman TE costs S$219.90 at retail.

Huntsman TE vs BlackWidow V3 Mini (Photo: Yahoo Gaming SEA)
Huntsman TE vs BlackWidow V3 Mini (Photo: Yahoo Gaming SEA)

The argument can be made that the wireless connectivity is the expensive part of this product, but a keyboard is mostly a static peripheral on your desk. It will most certainly remain at one spot in front of your pc, unless you’re constantly moving it around to type on other devices as well. So, unless it matches the price of a wired keyboard (or hovers somewhere around that price range), it really is tough to recommend paying such a big premium just to make wires disappear from your desk.

Conclusion:

This keyboard is really good as a product. The key switches are great, the wireless connectivity is flawless (if you don’t connect multiple products to one receiver), the size is really compact, the battery life is amazing, and the functionality is awesome.

But the lack of ABS keycaps, and non-standard sized keys and hefty price tag are things that you might want to take into consideration before throwing that much money to purchase this. If you really love a wireless, small-form factor keyboard, this keyboard will tick all the boxes for you. But please make sure to apologise to your wallet after the purchase.

Read also:

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