Razer DeathStalker V2 Pro review: low profile and low ambitions

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The DeathStalker V2 Professional is a redesign of Razer’s authentic DeathStalker gaming keyboard, which used membrane switches and chiclet keycaps. Whereas the V2 Professional might share a reputation with the 10-year-old keyboard, little else has remained the identical. The V2 Professional is a full-size, low-profile keyboard that includes a shorter model of Razer’s optical switches which might be out there in linear or clicky varieties. It additionally options 2.4GHz wi-fi and Bluetooth connectivity for anybody who prefers a wi-fi setup or needs to rapidly swap inputs between gadgets.

The suite of options on the DeathStalker V2 Professional is actually spectacular however could be one thing of a troublesome promote when you think about the $249.99 price ticket. The low-profile nature of the DeathStalker V2 Professional provides its chassis a slimmer design that’s roughly two-thirds the peak of what you would possibly count on. Its switches and keycaps are additionally shorter than typical mechanical keyboards, which could be sooner to press when gaming just because your fingers don’t need to journey as far.

The design and total aesthetics of the DeathStalker V2 Professional are extraordinarily clear when stacked towards a few of Razer’s earlier designs, and actually, if it weren’t for the RGB lighting, you would possibly even have hassle telling that it is a gaming keyboard. The aluminum prime plate and plastic physique really feel sturdy with no noticeable flex within the chassis. The DeathStalker V2 Professional feels deceptively heavy for a keyboard this slim. You aren’t going to throw your again out, however at 1.6 kilos, the DeathStalker V2 Professional seems like a unusually dense piece of equipment given its relatively diminutive profile.

Razer’s optical switches have a combined status within the gaming neighborhood, particularly amongst mechanical keyboard fans. Optical switches use an interrupted beam of sunshine to register particular person keystrokes — versus mechanical switches, which register utilizing a accomplished electrical circuit referred to as a crosspoint contact. This leads to a sooner response time and extra constant keypresses that don’t depend on as many shifting components. Some say that optical switches really feel mushy and don’t supply a noticeable efficiency distinction from standard mechanical switches. Tastes differ, however I personally don’t have an issue with how they really feel a lot as how they sound.

The brand new low-profile optical switches can be found in linear pink and clicky purple flavors.

Razer has integrated sound dampening foam to a few of its newer keyboards, however it’s unclear if makes an attempt to enhance the acoustics have been neglected as a part of the DeathStalker V2 Professional. This isn’t the worst-sounding keyboard I’ve ever used. (That distinction belongs to the Corsair K68.) However should you’re specific about how your keyboard sounds if you’re utilizing it, I’d suggest wanting elsewhere. The common keys sound all proper, however the stabilizers, that are used with bigger keys like enter, shift, and the spacebar, exhibit a definite rattle when pressed. It could be attainable to rectify this considerably via liberal utility of some dielectric grease and the favored “band-aid mod,” however you’re sadly caught with plate-mounted stabilizers except you’re keen to carry out some harmful disassembly.

Razer’s low-profile optical switches really feel much like the full-sized variations I’ve utilized in its Huntsman line of keyboards. Keystrokes are snappy and responsive with a full journey distance of simply 2.8mm and an actuation level of 1.2mm. That compares to a 4mm distance and 2mm actuation level on a regular-height keyboard with Cherry MX Pink switches. The actuation power is comparatively gentle (45 grams if numbers are essential to you) however nonetheless requires a deliberate effort to register, and the decrease journey distance could make you are feeling a little bit faster on the draw. I often desire a better profile keycap, however I did discover that the decrease profile and better actuation power in comparison with my common Kailh Field Silver switches led to a cleaner typing expertise total, with fewer typos and missed inputs.

Talking of ergonomics, I initially thought that the shortage of a wrist relaxation wouldn’t be a difficulty, however as somebody who’s used to having one round, I can confidently say that I used to be unsuitable. Whereas Razer’s prepackaged wrist rests haven’t impressed me up to now, that is one thing I might’ve preferred to see included in a keyboard that prices a lot.

A keyboard that’s so low to the bottom that Razer didn’t assume you’d want a wrist relaxation.

The ABS keycaps which might be used on the DeathStalker V2 Professional are handled to withstand accumulating seen oils, and thankfully, they work as marketed. Even a few hundred hours down the highway, the keycaps look virtually as pristine as once I took the keyboard out of the field. I usually desire the textured really feel of PBT keycaps to clean ABS plastic, however these keycaps nonetheless managed to shock me with their skill to remain clear, which is essential for anybody who doesn’t need their keycaps to indicate a visual wealth of forensic proof on it after a couple of hours of use.

The quantity curler and the only media button that made their debut with the BlackWidow V3 are right here and nonetheless a particular win. The button and curler are fabricated from the identical aluminum as the highest plate and really feel extraordinarily good to make use of, with a satisfying click on when pressed and deliberate, tactile steps when rolled. They’re so enjoyable to fiddle with that I usually discovered myself by accident messing with my quantity controls. They’re a little bit too out of the way in which to be helpful whereas gaming, however each could be mapped to totally different controls utilizing Razer’s Synapse software program.

It’s inconceivable to not mindlessly fidget with this curler.

Along with the optical switches, the opposite standout characteristic of the DeathStalker V2 Professional is its wi-fi connectivity. You possibly can pair the keyboard to gadgets by way of Bluetooth or 2.4GHz wi-fi and change between connections with as much as three Bluetooth gadgets without delay. The two.4GHz wi-fi dongle of the DeathStalker V2 has additionally integrated Razer’s enhancements to its HyperSpeed Wi-fi receiver, which permits a number of equipment, like a mouse and keyboard, to share a single dongle as an alternative of occupying one USB port every.

Utilizing the DeathStalker V2 Professional over Bluetooth presents largely the identical expertise as utilizing it whereas wired or wi-fi, with no noticeable distinction in latency. The one actual exception is which you could’t configure extra superior RGB lighting results in Razer’s Synapse software program over Bluetooth.

A wi-fi keyboard isn’t a lot good if you must cost it each different day. Fortunately, the battery lifetime of the DeathStalker V2 Professional is pretty spectacular for a wi-fi peripheral. Utilizing the keyboard for roughly 9 hours a day, the DeathStalker lasted a little bit over two days earlier than I wanted to prime it off. After I did, it took a little bit over an hour to completely cost by way of the USB-C connection. This rundown take a look at was carried out with the backlighting at full tilt and having the keyboard flip off after quarter-hour of inactivity.

The two.4Ghz wi-fi dongle stows neatly away within the base of the chassis.

You possibly can’t speak concerning the DeathStalker V2 Professional with out drawing comparisons to Logitech’s G915 collection of keyboards that sport an analogous structure and profile whereas additionally incorporating most of the identical options, like 2.4Ghz wi-fi and Bluetooth connectivity and intensive battery life. Whereas the full-size G915 was initially priced on the identical $250, each the full-size and tenkeyless variations of the Logitech G915 are actually inexpensive and embrace devoted macro keys as a part of their structure — however omit the optical switches. Until you’ve gotten a specific attachment to Razer’s optical switches, you would possibly wish to take into account buying round for a reduced G915 as an alternative.

Low-profile gaming keyboards are unusual, however the DeathStalker V2 isn’t the one recreation on the town. Along with the Logitech G915 collection, Corsair and Fnatic (amongst others) have low-profile gaming boards that price a lot much less, just like the Corsair K60 RGB Professional low-profile for round $110 and the Fnatic Streak65 LP, which is priced round $120. In the event you’re searching for methods to spend $250 on a keyboard, there are higher choices out there, like the modular Mountain Everest Max or the Corsair K100 with its 4,000Hz polling charge.

In my dozens of hours of typing and gaming with the DeathStalker V2 Professional, I didn’t run into any obtrusive points except for the keycaps and rattling stabilizers, however I can’t consider a purpose to maintain it on my desk, particularly for $250. Even with its wi-fi connectivity, spectacular battery life, and optical switches, I don’t assume the DeathStalker V2 Professional brings sufficient to the desk for its steep value.

The DeathStalker V2 Professional isn’t a nasty peripheral by any means, and sure features are even well-designed, however I might’ve preferred to see a little bit extra innovation and rather less iteration when it comes to the options. Apart from being Razer’s first try at a low-profile mechanical keyboard, the DeathStalker V2 doesn’t do a lot to depart from conference for a keyboard that prices a lot — should you’re doing one thing I’ve seen earlier than, I shouldn’t need to pay this a lot.

These days, Razer’s keyboards really feel like a mixture and match of the identical handful of options that we’ve seen on their older fashions, and the DeathStalker V2 Professional exemplifies this. Distributors like Corsair and Asus are busy pushing the envelope with keyboards which have modular profiles and hot-swappable switches, whereas it seems like Razer is content material simply phoning it in at this level. If Razer needs to cost $250 for a keyboard, it actually wants to indicate up with one thing new.

Pictures by Alice Newcome-Beill / The Verge

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