Today in Cologne, Germany at Gamescom 2014, Razer revealed their latest updates for their line of peripherals. Launching with a new feature dubbed Chroma, Razer announced three updated devices for the 2015/2016 timeframe: the BlackWidow Ultimate keyboard, DeathAdder gaming mouse, and Kraken 7.1 headset. Presumably these devices will be similar to the existing line of Razer peripherals, with the key difference being Chroma, which provides customizable multi-colored backlighting.

The BlackWidow Ultimate keyboard is perhaps the most eye-catching of the three, and it appears similar to Corsair's RGB-backlit K70 and K95 keyboards with per-key lighting. The difference is in the details of course, and Razer uses their own custom Green/Orange switches, so the feel will be slightly different from the Corsair models. The DeathAdder and Kraken aren't quite as advanced, in that there are fewer backlights available – the scroll wheel and Razer logo on the DeathAdder are linked to the same color, while the ear cups on the Kraken are likewise linked. One interesting feature however is that all three devices can be synchronized via Razer's cloud-based Synapse software.

Like other RGB backlit devices, Chroma in theory allows up to 16.8 million colors, though as we've noted before overlap among the colors means the "useful" palette is going to be more like 20-40 colors. Besides selecting individual colors, Razer offers several effects for colors as well. Spectrum cycling is for those that want to show the full rainbow of colors, while breathing causes the backlight to pulse one or two colors on and off every seven seconds. The BlackWidow keyboard offers several additional options, including the ability to customize each individual key and save/load templates optimized for various games. Reactive mode causes the individual keys to light up when pressed and then fade out with three time delays for fading to black (slow, medium, and fast), and finally there's a wave effect that cycles the colors on the keyboard in a wave.

Razer has a web demonstration showing what the various effects look like, or you can watch the promo video on YouTube. Razer will also be providing an open Chroma SDK to allow game developers and users full access to the devices, providing the potential for an even deeper level of customization (e.g. reactive mode with multiple colors should be possible). Pricing for the devices has not been announced, but both the Chroma-enabled devices will be available starting in September 2014. The Chroma SDK meanwhile is slated for release in "late 2014".

Source: Razer PR

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  • falc0ne - Tuesday, August 19, 2014 - link

    My previous experience with razer: It was during the Windows 7 launch. I had to wait for them 6 to 9 months to udate the driver for my Habu mouse (their responsibility not Microsoft as some may think) and finally...after a long wait and far behind other manufacturers they've done it. But only to crash my system with BSOD. So, I pay for premium gaming hardware and I cannot use it ...In the end I solved it by using the windows basic driver which renders your device to a Genius garbage. If your software support doesn't match the hardware your product is just a show off and a marketing stunt designed to con people into buying it. So..how are they lately anything better? Reply
  • mattmonkey24 - Thursday, August 21, 2014 - link

    The keyboard is a nice attempt by razer, by imo its a flop. With the link djonz22 provided, the Corsair K70 will be $10 cheaper, corsair's keyboard has real cherry switches and a new type of lighting that is said to not give off ESD (which is the reason so many LEDs go out on keyboards). I'm guessing razer will stick with the usual plastic (despite the higher cost) and corsair sticks with their light and durable metal construct.
    TL;DR the corsair keyboard is better in every way
    Reply
  • mattmonkey24 - Thursday, August 21, 2014 - link

    oh i also forgot to mention, razer is trying to push their cloud program synapse to sync your settings across computers, but Corsair's keyboard has built-in memory to save your settings. Corsair has also boasted about the display processor on their keyboard which can handle pretty much anything people code with the SDK Reply
  • JJtoob - Saturday, October 11, 2014 - link

    I am not a huge fan of LED on one side of the switch. I have translucid keycaps and it might look better on Corsair's under switch lighting. It's just too bad I keep hearing Corsair's software is not doing too well right now. I also don't really like that lip at the bottom of the BlackWidow, if there are no more keys, cut that off, but of course, they want to show you the logo right there... Reply

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