Razer Lycosa Hardware Review

razer-lycosa

A couple of years ago, excitedly buying a new desktop PC for gaming, I did a very foolish thing. I didn’t do any research. Instead, I wandered into PC World, saw a decent PC in clearance for a good price, and bought it. It had a weak graphics card, and as far as I knew, it was just the tower, so I went around the shop to get the bits I needed to get it running. I ended up with an nVidia GTX 550Ti graphics card, which wasn’t bad but I could have got the 560Ti for the same money if I had looked online.

My biggest mistake was picking up a gaming keyboard thinking ‘That one’s made by Razer and is fairly expensive, must be good’. How wrong I was.

First of all the features, the Lycosa is a fairly big non-mechanical keyboard with all the usual buttons plus a small touch sensitive media player at the top, the ability to change the lighting behind the keys to off/WASD only/fully on. It also has anti-ghosting for just the WASD keys (who would ever hold more than two of those I have no idea).

My first Lycosa was almost dead on arrival. I set it up, plugged it in, and the lights would go off an on at random and occasionally large parts of the keyboard didn’t work. I’m somehow constantly unlucky with technology so this didn’t phase me too much and I took it back to PC world to get a replacement. Eventually (after some arguing) I got another Lycosa and plugged it all in. Generally it worked as advertised, but considering I paid around £65 for it, I could have picked up a much better keyboard for half the price. In fact a wireless Logitech one came with the PC in a hidden little box, and it serves just as well if not better than the Lycosa.

So what’s wrong with it? For starters, the lighting rarely works correctly. Often it’ll switch to just being WASD and will refuse to switch out of it. The problem with have touch-sensitive buttons is that you get no feedback when you press them, so I have no idea what is broken, is it the lights or the button?

The keys themselves are just bog-standard keyboard keys. They have a slight rubberised feel to the top of them but that has worn off unevenly leaving a fairly horrible looking effect behind.

The black plastic the keyboard is made out of is your usual dust and fingerprint trap, and there seems to be a little bit too much clearance between the keys so I am constantly having to clean it out just to get rid of buildups of dust.

There is a USB port at the top that is powered through having to plug two USB cables into your PC in order to use it, but it still somehow seems to receive less power than the port that the cable is plugged into at the other end. I’m not sure what the Lycosa is doing with all of this power but it means only stereo headphone or a mouse seem to work with this port, the Xbox 360 gamepad is unreliable when attached to it, and any beefier headphones simply won’t turn on.

One final gripe with the kit is the driver support. The most recent drivers, 3.02 actually broke the configurator tool so I can now no longer change settings from my desktop (or turns the lights back on when the switch decides to stop working). You can assign macros to keys but since there are no extra keys for this function, it seems a little pointless as you’re just removing some kind of functionality in programs that use those keys.

Overall, avoid this keyboard like the plague. I hope to be replacing it soon with either a mechanical keyboard or possibly just a Microsoft Sidewinder X4 for the anti-ghosting capabilities, but this was definitely a mistake.

 

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