Thursday, 21 Mar 2019

Razer splits hairs with cheaper, slightly better new peripherals

Razer is releasing three new gaming peripherals today, including a keyboard, mouse, and headset. These new accessories are priced a bit lower than much of Razer’s catalog, almost serving as budget options, but they aren’t cheap by any stretch. Still, if the price of entry into Razer’s kingdom was too high, value-conscious gamers might find something befitting their budgets here.

First off, the famed BlackWidow keyboard is getting refreshed and reintroduced for 2019, as the BlackWidow 2019. Previously, if you wanted a full size Razer keyboard with numpad, your starting options were the $149.99 BlackWidow X — featuring an exposed top metal design — or the $59.99 Cynosa with mecha-membrane keys.

The updated BlackWidow 2019 is meant for users who want most of the features of the BlackWidow X, but for a lower price. It features Razer’s signature Green Mechanical switches (think, clicky feel and sound), on-board memory (allowing you save up to 5 profiles including settings and lighting profiles), compatibility with Razer Synapse 3 (a hardware management app for Razer’s products), and individually lit keys, featuring the 16.8 million color spectrum of Razer Chroma.

It’s definitely not the $199.99 Huntsman Elite with its fancy opto-mechanical switches, but those Razer Green keys have a following, and perhaps it’ll be another PC gaming classic. The new BlackWidow keyboard will retail for $119.99, on Razer’s official website.

If you’re looking for a new gaming headset, the new third-gen Kraken might be the well-rounded pick you’re looking for. It now comes standard with the oversized, over-ear gel cooling cushions that were optional extras for the Kraken V2, complete with spacing for your glasses frames. It features support for PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and mobile devices thanks to a standard 3.5mm audio jack.

Inline mute and volume control, a retractable microphone with improved ambient noise rejection, and thicker headband padding round off the incremental improvements made to the latest Kraken headset. It also comes with a combo audio cable, capable of splitting audio for platforms that require audio and mic input ports. The Razer Kraken also retains its 50mm drivers from the two prior generations, so we’re guessing there haven’t been many changes made to the sound quality, for better or worse.

Razer is selling the new Kraken headset for the same $79.99, starting today. It comes in the default Razer green colorway, a special black and blue “console edition” colorway, and a quartz pink variant (which already debuted on Valentine’s as a Razer Store exclusive).

Last but not least, the Razer Basilisk Essential, an FPS-oriented wired gaming mouse with a “sniper button” (an instant sensitivity switcher), will launch in the US for $49.99 after first being made available in China. In order to keep costs down, it comes with a 6,400DPI instead of the 16,000 DPI optical sensor seen on the pricier $69.99 Basilisk. Furthermore, it differs from the original Basilisk by having a different rubberized texture/pattern for the thumb rest, no custom wheel tensioning, and only seven programmable buttons instead of eight. But, it does still retain the Razer Chroma backlighting.

Razer is also extending its RazerCare Elite protection plan to peripherals, which previously only covered laptops and phones. The protection plan pricing depends on the cost of peripheral in question, but includes accidental damage from handling and extends the warranty of accessories by 2-3 years. Whether that’s a good deal depends on you.

Over the coming weeks we’ll be evaluating Razer’s new peripherals and letting you know if its newest gaming accessories are worth it.

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