Today in Cologne, Germany at Gamescom 2014, Razer revealed their latest updates for their line of peripherals. Launching with a new feature dubbed Chroma, Razer announced three updated devices for the 2015/2016 timeframe: the BlackWidow Ultimate keyboard, DeathAdder gaming mouse, and Kraken 7.1 headset. Presumably these devices will be similar to the existing line of Razer peripherals, with the key difference being Chroma, which provides customizable multi-colored backlighting.

The BlackWidow Ultimate keyboard is perhaps the most eye-catching of the three, and it appears similar to Corsair's RGB-backlit K70 and K95 keyboards with per-key lighting. The difference is in the details of course, and Razer uses their own custom Green/Orange switches, so the feel will be slightly different from the Corsair models. The DeathAdder and Kraken aren't quite as advanced, in that there are fewer backlights available – the scroll wheel and Razer logo on the DeathAdder are linked to the same color, while the ear cups on the Kraken are likewise linked. One interesting feature however is that all three devices can be synchronized via Razer's cloud-based Synapse software.

Like other RGB backlit devices, Chroma in theory allows up to 16.8 million colors, though as we've noted before overlap among the colors means the "useful" palette is going to be more like 20-40 colors. Besides selecting individual colors, Razer offers several effects for colors as well. Spectrum cycling is for those that want to show the full rainbow of colors, while breathing causes the backlight to pulse one or two colors on and off every seven seconds. The BlackWidow keyboard offers several additional options, including the ability to customize each individual key and save/load templates optimized for various games. Reactive mode causes the individual keys to light up when pressed and then fade out with three time delays for fading to black (slow, medium, and fast), and finally there's a wave effect that cycles the colors on the keyboard in a wave.

Razer has a web demonstration showing what the various effects look like, or you can watch the promo video on YouTube. Razer will also be providing an open Chroma SDK to allow game developers and users full access to the devices, providing the potential for an even deeper level of customization (e.g. reactive mode with multiple colors should be possible). Pricing for the devices has not been announced, but both the Chroma-enabled devices will be available starting in September 2014. The Chroma SDK meanwhile is slated for release in "late 2014".

Source: Razer PR

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  • frostyfiredude - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    The video seems to say it's using their own mechanical switches (Green specifically) that were introduced with the 2014 Blackwidow Ultimate. They must have their own competing tech equivalent to the Cherry MX RGBs.
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    Updated text -- the product pages on the BW Chroma indicate Razer is again using their Green/Orange switches, which makes sense.
  • edzieba - Thursday, August 14, 2014 - link

    Note that all the illuminated keycaps have the illuminated character at the top. This indicates that they are using regular MX (or rather, the Kailh MX clone) keyswitches, with RGB through-hole LEDs.
  • Morawka - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    yeah even last years black widow ultimate uses razer's own proprietary mechanical switches. They are still made by Cherry, however of razer's own design

    IIRC Razer's has two proprietary switches now: Green switches are the Clicky type, and Orange switches are silent .
  • NavasC - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    False. These keys are manufactured by Kaihua Electronics (also known as Kailh), a Chinese manufacturer specializing in switches. Anandtech even did a review on the Blackwidow 2014, so I'm not sure where the confusion is here. They still have them labeled as Green and Orange switches on the product page for the Blackwidow Ultimate Chroma

    Anandtech Review:
  • Inteli - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    They're also a bit more fragile than Cherry switches, as the cross-shaped stem has a tendency to break a little easier.
  • mond0 - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    Aren't cherry mx stems also cross-shaped?
  • mattmonkey24 - Thursday, August 21, 2014 - link

    cherry mx does feature cross-shaped stems, but there are way too many cases of the Kalih stems simply snapping off where as the cherry switches uphold a very high standard
  • tuxfool - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    Unless the SDK is standardized I don't see anyone using it...
  • willis936 - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    You never heard of the G15 or G510 and all of the awesome programs that people wrote for those?

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