Razer Deathstalker Chroma Review

Most of my reviews on this blog start with me answering the biggest question of all: “Is it worth buying?” In this case, the answer is: no. The Razer Deathstalker Chroma (official website) is not worth buying at full price (119.99 Euro).

Not worth it?! Why not?

Let’s get down to the point: Typing is a personal experience. What is often told is true: if you have the chance, then try before you buy. I did not, I ordered it after a nice personal achievement and wanted to give myself something. I was ogling at the Chroma effects for a while, and also needed a non-mechanical keyboard. The Razer Deathstalker Chroma was then perfect for what I needed.

Razer Deathstalker Details
Razer Deathstalker – Detail of the keys.

Does it feel like a 120 euro keyboard? I am sorry, but no. Consider  a Das Keyboard 4 Professional and consider the price difference: around 50 euros. According to me, from the build point of view, from the esthetic point of view, and from the pure “feeling” point of view, the Das Keyboard is really worth the 170 Euro required. A proper price for the Deathstalker Chroma would be less than 100. Especially considering the limited Chroma functionalities you are actually buying. More on that later

“But it’s a gaming keyboard! You can’t compare it to the Das Keyboard!” you may say. I understand your point, but let’s then consider the Razer Blackwidow Chroma then, which uses the Razer Mechanical Switches made by Kaihua Electronics (AKA: Kailh) made, and i quote, “Designed specifically for gaming”. Their switches are direct copy of Cherry’s switches (no longer protected by copyright) used in the Das Keyboard 4. Therefor, one could also consider the Das Keyboard a gaming keyboard just like the Blackwidow Chroma.The truth is: there isn’t a real, tangible difference between these slim chiclet keycaps and many other keyboards I have tested before. Has my gaming improved with this keyboard? No, of course not. I suck at Battlefield 4, I suck still now. But now my keyboard is pretty and my girlfriend finds it pretty too.

Get it while on offer

Luckly I got a special offer from Alternate.nl: I got the Deathstalker Chroma, plus the Razer Goliathus (Medium) for free. The Razer Goliathus (Medium) retails at  24.99€. The keyboard is 119.99€. Considering that I do not intend to use the mousemat because I believe I have something better and will recycle it as a gift, I paid the keyboard 95 Euros, I am satisfied.

The price I managed to pay for this keyboard’s is its saving grace: The fact is that I bought it for the Chroma features, and what I got was, as I said, a “disappointment” due to the limitations to the Chroma effects on this keyboard.

Limited Chroma functionalities on the Razer Deathstalker Chroma

The Deathstalker is, and there is no other way to define it, an underpowered Blackwidow Chroma. I really do not understand why, but at the time of writing the Razer Deathstalker Chrome is unable to perform the same light effects as the Razer Blackwidow.  Let’s get this straight completely: with the Deathstalker Chroma you cannot achieve the same effects as the Blackwidow Chroma. Only some. Why? Only Razer knows.

Blackwidow Chroma Configurator
The Blackwidow Chroma Configurator – Way more options!
The Deathstalker Chroma Configurator - Notice the limited options on the left.
The Deathstalker Chroma Configurator – Notice the limited options on the left.

You cannot, for example, edit individual keys to have their own colors. Essentially the Deathstalker Chroma is divided in three sectors: “Main”, “Navigation” and “Numpad”. For each sector, you can choose an effect, and that’s it. The effects that you can choose from are:

  • “Wave”: as the name suggests, is a wave of colors on your keyboard. You have probably seen this in many YouTube videos.
  • “Static”: The keyboard, or one of the sectors you choose, is illuminated by only one color of your choosing.
  • “Spectrum Cycling”: The keys slowly rotate through the spectrum of colors.
  • “Breathing”: Color in… Color out…
  • “Custom”: Make your own effects. Within reason, of course.

All the cool effects that you see on the Blackwidow, you can only dream them. “Ripple” effect? Nope, can’t do it!

You can, in any case, create some pretty cool effects! For example, I have the Italian flag “waving” on my keyboard. Fair enough.

It’s not all bad!

I love the backlit keys, I ADORE the Razer Synapse, and I am extremely satisfied with the Razer DeathAdder Chroma. Moreover, Razer goes lengths with their packaging which looks very curated and is real eye-candy when you receive it. At the same time I can’t help to feel cheated, and that’s exactly the word that defines my feelings towards this keyboard. I want to enjoy fully this keyboard. I really do. But I can’t. The first word that comes to my mind is “disappointment” for the following reasons:

  • The limited effects
  • The build
  • The “feeling”

Before I buy anything, I inform myself: read reviews, watch youtube videos, find the cheapest option and buy.

I did exactly the same for the Deathstalker Chroma. No where it was clearly stated that, although part of the “Chroma” family and a keyboard, like the Blackwidow, the color options of the two keyboards are deeply different.

I am not going to return the keyboard. It looks good, it does its duty, and I have fun with the (limited) Chroma functions. I will, nonetheless, stick to my sensation of disappointment and will eventually replace it when the Chroma novelty wears out.