Razer Deathstalker Expert Gaming Keyboard Review
|Razer DeathStalker Expert - Backlit Ergonomic Fully Programmable Membrane Black Gaming Keyboard - 10...||Check Price|
Product prices and availability are accurate as of the 2019-05-22 at 14:52 and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
I absolutely love the way it looks. This is a fast keyboard. The keys are easy to press and well-spaced, you’ll be able to hit keys quickly with minimal errors.
Record macros easily and assign them to hotkeys. Allowing you to take complicated actions and perform them with just one key.
Not so different from a ‘non-gaming’ chiclet keyboard. And quite a bit more expensive.
There’s not as many options as you might expect to program your own keys. This is likely to bother more experienced gamers.
Feels perhaps a little cheap, this might bother gamers who are used to more solid mechanical keyboards.
- Chiclet style key caps
- Green LED Backlit keys
- 1000Hz Ultrapolling
- Fully programmable keys with on the fly macro recording
- Razer Synapse 2.0 enabled
- Dedicated Gaming mode
- Anti-ghosting capability for up to 10 simultaneous key presses
- Fixed wrist rest
The idea of a gaming keyboard is an interesting one.
Until recently, I had only ever really gamed on my laptop. Therefore I’d been using the keyboard that came built into it, and never thought anything of it.
At first glance, I didn’t feel there was any need for a keyboard designed specifically for gaming.
I mean a keyboard is a keyboard right? What kind of features could a ‘gaming keyboard’ have that make it better than a normal keyboard?
I wasn’t hostile to the idea of a gaming-specific keyboard. It’s just that I didn’t personally see the need for one.
I’ve been looking at the Razer Deathstalker Gaming Keyboard this week and I have to say I’m quite impressed.
I think the Deathstalker is worth a look, it isn’t flawless, but it definitely has some interesting features. We’ll take a look at them here in our comprehensive Razer Deathstalker Expert Gaming Keyboard Review.
Who Needs a Gaming Keyboard?
Well, I guess the clues in the name.
If you mostly use your keyboard for typing, or if you just don’t use it very much at all. Then a gaming keyboard probably isn’t going to be a huge priority for you.
While they do offer excellent features, if you don’t game much then a lot of these would go unused. As such you’d end up paying quite a bit more money, just to have a ‘gaming’ keyboard, without making full use of it.
Obviously, there’s no sense doing that. On the other hand. If you do a good amount of gaming and take it in any way seriously, then a gaming keyboard could seriously improve your game.
Prominent features of gaming keyboards include customizable hotkeys to speed up your play, and anti-ghosting (so if you press a load of keys at once, your laptop can process them without having a fit and freezing up).
These kinds of features mean that you can play fast-paced games much easier, and just play much better too.
With this in mind, unless you do a lot of gaming, I wouldn’t recommend you get a gaming keyboard. There’s just no point investing the money if you’ve got a working one already.
But if you do a lot of gaming and are maybe looking to make better use of hotkeys and other features, then a gaming keyboard might well be worth a buy.
The Razer Deathstalker
The Razer Deathstalker is an extremely futuristic looking, well-spaced gaming keyboard. It is a chiclet keyboard, which means that when you press on a key to type, it presses down onto a plastic membrane. This is different to mechanical keyboards which press down onto a mechanical spring.
It measures 20.3 x 10.2 inches, putting it pretty much around average size for a keyboard.
There are 3 different versions of the Deathstalker available. The cheapest is called the Essential, the most expensive is the Chroma and right in the middle is the Expert (also known as the Backlit).
The Expert is the one that we’ll be looking at here. Due to it being a chiclet keyboard, it has a noticeably different look in that it’s a much flatter design with the keys.
Think the keys on a Mac or a laptop. While the Deathstalker is a good gaming keyboard, it’s not perfect. Really hard-core gamers will object to the lack of extra programmable keys. Which can make using hotkeys a lot easier.
Look and Feel
I do really like the look of the Deathstalker. It looks like the kind of setup you would find in the cockpit of a spaceship. The corners of the keyboard are spikey and diagonal. The keys themselves are shallow squares with rounded corners, spaced nicely apart.
It comes with a palm-rest attached to the bottom. These are nice if you’re typing for long periods, or resting your hands in place before pressing something. They help to keep your hands relaxed and stop them seizing up.
When you plug the Deathstalker in it looks even cooler. Every key has a bright, poison green backlighting. This reinforces the futuristic look and means you can play easily in the dark. Most non-gaming keyboards just have white backlighting and even though having green light isn’t going to make you a better gamer, it is a nice touch.
The feel of the keyboard isn’t as strong. I wouldn’t say it feels cheap, but the build quality feels similar to a normal chiclet keyboard. While being considerably more expensive.
In addition, although I’ve only had the Deathstalker for a relatively brief period of time, I feel like the plastic keys and palm-rest would attract fingerprints easily. Even though this isn’t all too surprising, it would have been nice to see Razer try and do something to combat it. If having keys with visible fingerprints on them annoys you, then this might put you off.
In its defense, the Deathstalker grips surface extremely well, and I had no problem with it sliding around during play. This is obviously a problem that Razer have identified and made a point to resolve. They’ve succeeded.
Gaming Specific Features
Being a ‘gaming keyboard’ the Deathstalker has a number of features that are designed to make gaming as easy as possible.
We’ll talk about these here.
The first of these features, and one you’ll never want to go without is Gaming Mode. All this means is that you have the option to disable certain keystrokes, such as alt + f4 and the windows key. That if pressed would just throw you out of the game.
If this has ever happened to you, then you’ll know how annoying it can be. There’s nothing worse than being in the middle of an intense, button-bashing stand-off, where your reflexes are all-important. Then accidentally hitting the windows key and throwing yourself out of the game, allowing your opponent to claim an easy victory, and celebrate on top of your corpse.
All gaming mode does is enable you to make sure this doesn’t happen. It’s essential in a gaming keyboard. The Deathstalker has it and it works very well.
The next feature to look at is Anti-ghosting. Ghosting happens when you press more than a certain number of keys at once (let’s say 3) and that’s the limit that the keyboard can recognize. What this means is that if you press any more keys than this, your computer won’t recognize it and nothing will happen.
There are plenty of games that require you to press a large number of keys in rapid succession, so not having sufficient anti-ghosting can make playing those games very difficult. The Deathstalker has 10-key anti-ghosting which is very good. That’s pretty much enough that you won’t have to worry about ghosting at all.
The 3rd feature common to gaming keyboards is the ability to record macros, what this means is that you can assign complicated, multi-key tasks, to a single keystroke, and then just hit that when you want to perform that action.
Imagine playing Tekken and being able to assign a characters complicated finishing move to a single keystroke. You’d kick the crap out of everybody! While this keyboard gives you the ability to record macros it’s not perfect. Firstly, there are no dedicated keys to assign them to. Which is relatively common in higher-end gaming laptops.
This means that you’ll have to assign your macros to regular keys which might be a little harder to find.
Secondly, actually recording the macros is tricky. Any delays from the point when you start recording are regarded as being intentional, as such it can be quite challenging to record your macros to execute as quickly as you’d like to. I got the hang of it eventually, but I had to make a couple of attempts.
The Deathstalker also has the ability to assign certain key setups to certain games, this is a lovely bit of customization and will really please more dedicated gamers.
How Does it Play?
I tried out a number of games, including WOW, Starcraft 2 and TitanFall. How did the Deathstalker hold up?
Pretty well it has to be said.
I found the keys very easy to hit and responsive. An advantage of this style of keyboard is that the keys are just quicker to hit, this can be very helpful if you’re in the middle of a battle and speed is of the essence.
It has to be noted here that I’m not the biggest fan of mechanical keyboards. So maybe it makes sense that I would like the Deathstalker. If you really enjoy the tactile feedback of a mechanical then you might have a different opinion.
I had a great time on the Deathstalker and once I’d actually recorded and assigned the macros, I was able to make good use of them as well.
Personally, I’m not used to a keyboard with unassigned keys and as such, I didn’t miss not having them. But if you’re used to gaming on a keyboard that has this option, then perhaps the Deathstalker might not be the best keyboard for you.
Overall though, I thought the Deathstalker played very well. It was responsive, fast and didn’t get in my way. The macros worked fine throughout the games and I could play on the keyboard even in poor light due to the futuristic, neon green backlighting.
In addition, the keyboard felt solid and stayed where it was throughout my long gaming sessions, gripping the desk firmly.
Can’t really complain!
What do other people think?
Whenever we do reviews, it’s very important for us not to just spend a couple of days with the product and then simply write up a review. We need to make sure that our readers are properly informed, and able to make the best use of their money.
To achieve this, we will always thoroughly research a product, as well as trying it out before we recommend it to you or not. This allows us to be more certain than we could be if we only talked about our personal experience.
Well, I can say that generally, the consensus seems to be that the Deathstalker is a decent gaming keyboard. Most reviews say that it’s fast and easy to use, and there don’t seem to be any widespread issues with build quality, reliability or software.
If people do have any problems, it tends to be to do with them thinking it’s a little pricey for what it is. Other issues are with people preferring mechanical keyboards (I don’t), missing unassigned macro keys (understandable) and finding the macro recording software a little difficult to master (I also had this problem).
So while nobody is out there saying the Deathstalker is perfect. Generally, people like it.
For some of you, the Deathstalker will be ideal. For others not so much. Here are 3 alternatives that some of you might prefer:
Logitech G105 920-003371 Gaming Keyboard
Product prices and availability are accurate as of the 2019-05-22 at 15:18 and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
- Long-life backlighting
- 6 programmable G-keys
- Multi-key input for complex actions
- Quick-access media controls
This is a sturdy gaming keyboard, with a similar set of features to the Deathstalker. Like the Deathstalker it’s a chiclet keyboard although the keys on the G105 are far more pronounced, and a little stiffer and harder to push down.Unlike the Deathstalker it comes equipped with dedicated macro keys up the left hand side.
This might appeal to gamers who tend to use macros during their games.
I think the Deathstalker looks better, but that’s just personal preference, and at a similar price a lot of people might think that the G105 is a good option.
You might like the G105 if:
Azio Levetron L70 LED Backlit Gaming Keyboard
|Azio Levetron L70 LED Backlit Gaming Keyboard - Black (KB501)||Check Price|
Product prices and availability are accurate as of the 2019-05-22 at 14:29 and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
- Blue Color Backlight
- Volume Adjustment Knob
- Multi-Key Rollover
- Windows Key Lock/Unlock
This is a cheaper option, brought out by Azio. It doesn’t really have the same number of gaming-specific features as the Deathstalker, although it does have anti-ghosting.
It looks pretty good and has a detachable wrist rest, so you can adjust it if it gets uncomfortable during long sessions.
On the one that I looked at, the paint had started to wear off one of the letters, we’d barely even used it! Other sources seem to confirm that it doesn’t take long for the paint to wear off the keys on this model. This is a bit of an issue. But, the price is good.
You might like the L70 if:
|Razer DeathStalker Chroma - Multi-Color RGB Membrane Gaming Keyboard||Check Price|
Product prices and availability are accurate as of the 2019-05-22 at 15:01 and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
- Chiclet key caps
- Chroma lighting with 16.8 million customizable color options
- Razer Synapse enabled
- Fully programmable keys with on the fly macro recording
This is the higher-spec version of the Deathstalker we looked at today. Although it’s a good keyboard, I’m not convinced it’s worth the extra money, as the main difference seems to be that the backlighting is fully customizable. Although this is a cool feature, I’m not sure I like it enough to spring for the upgrade.
You might like the Deathstalker Chroma if:
When you’re in the middle of a game, the last thing you want is to hit the wrong key by accident or to end up ghosting. The Deathstalker goes a long way to solving these issues and overall I really liked it. My only real reservation was that it could be considered a bit pricey.
But apart from that, I thought it was great, I love the chiclet-style of keyboard, and I thought it looked super cool.
If you’re more into mechanical keyboards then it might not be for you, but if like me you’re into stylish gear and want a keyboard you can game on in absolute confidence, then you can’t go far wrong with the Deathstalker.
I’d probably rate it at 8/10. I don’t think other people like it quite as much as me, but I was pleasantly surprised by how good it was.