The Black Widow Ultimate Stealth is in many ways the same as the Black Widow Ultimate. Due to that this will be a shorter review and you should check out the Black Widow Ultimate Review if you want to read about the excellent macro buttons, USB passthrough and illuminated keys as that is all the same across both models.
We love mechanical keyboards to the point where normal ones feel gross to us now. It’s hard to pin down what is so satisfying about them, perhaps it’s the extra travel distance, the way it bounces back or the clack it makes as you hit your fingers down. Unfortunately that clack also has a pretty severe downside, it’s incredibly noisy. When we’re typing articles it sounds like a family of woodpeckers and if you want to be doing any gaming at night in a shared house you’re going to make your housemates incredibly angry. Thankfully Razer have stepped in to try and alleviate that problem a little with their Black Widow Ultimate Stealth – a quieter version of their excellent keyboard.
The stealth edition is the same price – £124.99 – as the regular version and it is very much a sidegrade as opposed to an upgrade. The main difference is that the switches under the keys have been replaced with quieter ones that cushion the blow and don’t make the clack at all. That’s not to suggest that this keyboard is silent, it’s clearly noisier than most regular keyboards, but the noise is less sharp and nowhere near as loud. The letter keys make a muffled clack and the spacebar makes a slightly odd ‘thud’ that still sounds satisfying but in a different way. It’s less likely to wake up your neighbours but those expecting something truly stealthy might be disappointed.
The muffled sound also comes with a bit of a compromise as the keys are slightly harder to press and slide in to switch rather than bouncing in and out. This makes typing a little bit more difficult and your hands don’t glide over the keys quite as naturally as they do with the regular edition. The travel distance also feels less and accidental keypresses seem to be more common with this model. Of course your hands may get used to the feel of it after a while but it’s not as immediately welcoming as the base model.
The layout of the keys is also unfortunately the American edition which means you either need to switch your keyboard to American in Windows and give up the pound sign, or you just need to remember where the keys are and that the enter button is now small thanks to backslash being in the wrong place. We’re not sure if a British edition is available but it’s a point worth considering if you’re ordering online, check the layout as getting used to a new keyboard plan can be pretty difficult.
Overall we’re a little disappointed with the Stealth. It’s still an amazing keyboard as it’s based on the Black Widow which is by far our favourite and has been for years, but there’s been too many trade offs for not enough reduction in noise. It sounds pathetic but our fingers actually ache slightly after typing this article on it and it’s still the loudest keyboard in the room. If you play a lot or type a lot at nighttime and the clacks of regular keys are too much to bear, then perhaps this is an option. If that’s not really a problem, we say go for the regular edition.