Razer upgrades Blackwidow keyboard with dedicated media controls, onboard storage

Razer is refreshing its peripheral line with three new "best-in-class" products, one of which is the Blackwidow Elite, which finally adds dedicated media controls to the company's flagship gaming keyboard.

This is not an earth-shattering update, obviously, but is definitely a welcome upgrade. My daily driver is Razer's Blackwidow Ultimate, one of the earlier versions of the Blackwidow, and not having a volume knob can be slightly inconvenient at times.

The new Blackwidow Elite has one—Razer calls it a "multi-function digital dial"—along with three media buttons controlling music playback—the same as found on Razer's opto-mechanical Huntsman Elite from earlier this year (the first of any Razer keyboard to feature dedicated media controls). Of course, you can program these for other tasks, if you wish, just as you can with any of the other keys.

Also notable is the inclusion of onboard memory. Instead of forcing users to save personalized settings to the cloud (via Synapse), the Blackwidow Elite can store them locally. You can still use the cloud, and in fact Razer is billing the Blackwidow Elite as the first to have "hybrid onboard memory and cloud storage," with support for up to five profile configurations.

The rest of the keyboard is similar to the Blackwidow Chroma. Like that one, the Elite model will ping your eyeballs with up to 16.8 million color options. However, Razer said it added dual sidewalls to the mechanical key switches for increased stability. Users can choose between green (tactile and clicky), orange (tactile and silent), and yellow (linear and silent) switches.

Razer is selling the Blackwidow Elite for $169.99 (€179.99).