Not all gamers need a full-size gaming keyboard: some want to free up space on the computer desk, and some need a compact device for trips to cyber-sports tournaments, on which esports betting is very common. For such purposes, keyboards are available in shortened formats: TKL, 60% and even 40%. About one of these mini versions we will talk in our new review – we will talk about the model Razer BlackWidow V3 Mini.
The novelty from Razer combines several distinctive features: it is very durable – up to 200 hours of battery life, it comes with mechanical switches Razer Green and Yellow, and also supports three connection modes and is equipped with Razer HyperSpeed technology, which provides minimal connection latency when connecting wirelessly. Let’s take a closer look at the keyboard.
Inside the box – nothing extra: only packed in clear polyethylene keyboard Razer BlackWidow V3 Mini HyperSpeed, a two-meter cable USB-A – USB-C in a rough fabric braided, and a set of documents – an instruction manual, greeting card, stickers. There is no wrist support in the set.
The keyboard is really very small, but at the same time quite weighty – partly due to the metal case and the built-in battery. Compared to a regular full-size keyboard, the new device looks really tiny, and it also frees up a lot of space on your desk.
The BlackWidow V3 Mini combines a plastic base with a metal top, which has skeleton keys: they are raised above the case, which gives more space for backlighting and makes it easier to clean the device.
The bottom surface of the keyboard found a nice detail: the bottom completely covered engraved inscriptions that make up the slogan Razer – “For Gamers. By Gamers. There’s also rubberized feet for a firm grip on the table top, fold-down feet that allow you to raise the back by 6° and 9°, and a small pocket that hides a dongle for 2.4 GHz radio connection.
The left and right sides of the device are free of any elements, and on the back there is a USB-C connector for wired connection to a PC, a switch for connection modes (2.4 GHz, USB, Bluetooth), a keyboard charge level indicator and a hole for hardwar reset.
The Razer BlackWidow V3 Mini HyperSpeed keys are made of double-cast ABS plastic, resistant to abrasion and rough to the touch. The caps are easy to remove from the switches: you don’t need a special wrench to remove them for cleaning or replacement. Only the Latin characters are illuminated, and the Cyrillic characters are painted on the surface of the keycaps. On the sides of the keys, facing the player, there are inscriptions and icons of alternative commands that work in combination with Fn: for example, Fn+V will turn off the sound, Fn+O will take a screenshot, Fn+7 will replace F7 and so on.
All keys except Space are slightly concave, which makes typing and gaming easier. Long keys, like the Space bar, are flanked by stabilizers to keep them from bouncing around and to ensure they are pressed smoothly and evenly along their length.
The European version of the keyboard uses the ANSI layout, with a single row of Enter and long Shift.
Placement of arrow keys made the right Alt, Ctrl and Fn move, and the key, duplicating the functions of the right mouse button was abandoned. At the same time, all the keys on the left side of the keyboard, which are often used by gamers, have a normal layout and size.
The sample features Razer Green switches – tactile, with a clear recoil and a tinkling click, 4 mm stroke length (with a 1.9 mm actuation point) and 50 g force. They provide good control, but they are quite noisy, with active typing they sound like a typewriter.
This model is also available with Razer Yellow linear switches – they are quieter, without a pronounced tactile response, have a stroke length of 3.5 mm and actuate at a force of 45 g. The version with “yellow” switches includes noise suppressors, which further reduce the “sound” of the keyboard.
CONNECTING AND SETTING UP THE RAZER BLACKWIDOW V3 MINI
Like the full-size BlackWidow V3 Pro, the mini keyboard uses three types of connection:
- Wired, for which a USB-A to USB-C cable is included;
- Bluetooth. To connect the keyboard, you need to move the switch on the back end in BT position, then activate the pairing mode by key combination Fn+Alt+1 … 3. Keys 1…3 are used for different connection profiles: the device can be paired with three devices and freely switch between them with combinations Fn+Alt+1…3.
- 2.4 GHz radio channel. To connect a keyboard you have to set the switch to the 2.4 position and plug the dongle into a free USB port of your PC.
The combination Fn+U will turn on the “game mode” in which Alt+Tab and Alt+F4 are disabled, and Fn+G and Fn+H will allow to control the backlight brightness; its modes are switched by combinations Fn+Ctrl+1…7. It’s noteworthy that when you press Fn, all the keys that have alternative commands are highlighted in white – a very nice feature.
The Razer BlackWidow V3 Mini HyperSpeed does all this without software, but if you install the Razer Synapse application, you’ll get access to a much larger set of features.
For example, you can configure the functions of each of the keys of the device: assign keyboard and mouse commands, macros, set the launch of certain applications, paste the prepared text with a single click and so on. Some features do not work without Razer Synapse, but most of the settings are stored in the memory of the device (you can add up to five different profiles).
The keyboard is able to record macros “on the fly”: the combination Fn+Y is used to start recording, and the keys Del, PgUp, PgDn and Ins are marked with symbols M1…M4 – it is recommended to save macros on them, although, of course, no one forbids you to use your options.
You can set backlighting in detail in the application, from brightness and switching off time to effects – choose among 11 ready-to-use variants or create your own in Chroma Studio. By the way, you can download a lot of custom effects from the Internet, and among them there are quite nice options.
Finally, you’ll have access to the keyboard’s power options: timers to automatically turn off the backlight and switch to power saving mode.
Razer Synapse is one of the best accompanying applications for gaming peripherals, and it has almost no drawbacks. Except for the perplexing need to reboot the PC after each connection of a new Razer device.
Not everyone can be advised to have a 60% keyboard. Still, it is quite a specific device, less suitable for efficient daily work than full-size keyboards.
The Razer BlackWidow V3 Mini HyperSpeed, made in 65% format, provides a compromise between mobility and comfort: it has enough keys for gaming and typing, and all necessary control commands are available in combinations with Fn. At the same time, there are navigation keys and the control key block, which brings additional convenience to your work.
The device is very compact and saves an incredible amount of space on your desktop, especially when used wirelessly. You can also take the keyboard with you to the computer club, but consider its considerable weight – you have to pay for the autonomy and durability of the design. It’s also a great option for use with a TV, tablet, or laptop: the gadget can be connected to any device via Bluetooth (and it quickly switches between paired devices), and is useful if you’re bringing a game to the TV screen from your laptop, or if you don’t like your laptop’s membrane keyboard.