Article Written for GamingFactors.com
In the world of PC gaming, peripherals are a huge deal. Whether they are lining up the perfect shot, meticulously manipulating objects in a complex puzzle, or quickly configuring a loadout before the beginning of a match, players want to be sure that their gear won’t fail them. It stands to reason, then, that, in most cases, cut-rate equipment just won’t do.
Of course, few things are quite as important as the keyboard when it comes to gaming on PC, and it should come as no surprise that, in a scene where precision and swiftness are key, players want the optimal gaming setup. However, that setup often comes with quite the pricetag, and gaming keyboards can become quite expensive. Fortunately, with the release of the Cynosa Chroma Pro, Razer is looking to deliver a quality, stylish keyboard within a reasonable price range. Does Razer’s new product represent a credible threat to its entry level keyboard competitors? Well, though the Cynosa Chroma Pro excels in some areas, it underperforms in others, and the longevity of this product on the market is certainly worthy of debate.
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As with most products equipped with Razer Chroma, presentation is key, and, tricked out with individually programmable backlit keys and a customizable underglow feature on the left, right, and front of the keyboard, the Cynosa Chroma Pro is quite the looker. Keeping very much in trend with modern keyboard design, Razer’s new release is loaded with customisable LED lighting; so much so that Razer claims the keyboard to be capable of 16.8 million color options. What’s more, the programmable twenty-four zone underglow accessory, which seems to be an additional set of twenty-four LED lights on the sides of the keyboard, means that users can tweak and change the color of this product to their hearts content. It is worth noting, however, that the underglow feature is exclusive to the Pro model.
Though that is certainly impressive, the more practically-minded consumer might question the applications of such a flashy peripheral. Of course, Razer hasn’t let an opportunity to enhance the gaming experience slip, and they’ve included the ability to integrate the Cynosa Chroma Pro with certain games. Perhaps comparable to Alienware’s Alien FX, the Cynosa Chroma Pro can shift through and alter its color palette in-game, which could enhance the intensity or ambiance of a player’s favorite title. On top of that, this keyboard offers the ability to manipulate the backlighting of each specific key, meaning that a game’s tutorial could indicate necessary keystrokes via the keyboard instead of through on-screen prompts.
As previously mentioned, the Cynosa Chroma Pro is insanely customizable when it comes to the color pallet, and, with the addition of Razor Synapse 3 integration, users will be able to define their aesthetic preferences to a very fine degree. According to Razer, players can “rebind buttons, assign macros, personalize device lighting and more to transform your gameplay just the way you want it.” Bottom line: this thing is colorful, and those looking to give their rig a facelift would do well to give this keyboard a try.
Though certainly a visually unique product, Razer’s most recent release appears to lack the precision most consumers would be looking for in a gaming keyboard. To begin, its a membrane keyboard, which must immediately turn some gamers off. Of course, this is something a consumer would likely come to expect from a product in this price-range. Razer counters this downside by stating that the “…soft cushioned gaming keys provide comfort with better housing support compared to rubber dome keyboards, so every keypress is solid.” Though it might sound like a nice selling point, a lot of gamers in the market for a quality keyboard will likely interpret “soft cushioned gaming keys” to mean “imprecise, difficult to maneuver gaming keys.” They also make mention of the fact that the Razer Cynosa Chroma Pro is very quiet. Though that is a well-known aspect of most non-mechanical keyboards, it may be valuable to gamers looking to enjoy their hobby without annoying their co-workers or roommates.
Once again, Razer is attempting to compensate the product’s lack of responsiveness for a suite of user-friendly options, chief of which is the keyboard’s extensive macro ability. Through Synapse 3, users can generate their own apparently limitless keyboard macros, which can certainly help players quickly input button combinations that may otherwise be difficult to perform on a membrane keyboard. Plus, Razer’s product also enables the user to rebind buttons, which could definitely help with games that don’t feature rebindable control schemes, or perhaps enable gamers with certain disabilities to better access all of a game’s features.
Additionally, the Cynosa Chroma Pro features ten key rollover, a 1,000Hz polling rate, and is spill-resistant. The latter feature should be of particular importance to clumsy gamers, or perhaps users with overly-cluttered or compact workstations.
While certainly a product that aims to catch the eye of friends and fellow gamers, this price point certainly won’t seem reasonable for everyone. Someone with a sincere interest in LED-laden keyboards might want to look into this product, but, at $79.99 for the pro variant, it is hard to imagine Razer making much of a splash in the entry-level gaming keyboard market with this release. For those seeking an entry point for gaming-oriented keyboards, there are certainly cheaper options of comparable quality available.
Razer likely intended for the Cynosa line of keyboards to contend with Corsair’s K55, as well as similar inexpensive gaming keyboards. However, the K55 is much more affordable at $49.99, and, though it doesn’t share the extensive LED customizability of the Cynosa Chroma Pro, it boasts a much more accessible price tag. Razer would do well to make an attempt to match this price-point if they are interested in selling more units.
As most PC gamers know, gaming on run-of-the-mill accessories can be difficult, and could potentially put the player at a disadvantage. Although what is lacks in precision is made up for in style, the Razer Cynosa Chroma Pro keyboard will likely be a tough sell for most consumers. Ultimately, the product appears to be a bit too expensive, and, though aesthetically-conscious or spill-prone gamers might be interested, the Pro model of Razer’s new Cynosa Chroma keyboards should probably be ignored until the price is reduced. Alternatively, those who are interested in the product may want to purchase the less-expensive $59.99 variant.