Razer BlackWidow V4 75% keyboard review: Changing the game – Smart Fone Video Blog

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In the world of keyboards, there are a few different categories, and none of them shall meet. Sure, people might jump between them when searching for what suits them best, but for the most part, people go with what’s expected. If you just need one for work, you’ll probably get one that matches your computer or an ergonomic option. If you need one with macros and other features for playing video games, you’ll go for an excellent mechanical gaming keyboard. The same goes for brands. While some, like Logitech, make models for many use cases, brands stick to one type for the most part. That’s been the case with Razer. It’s a gaming brand, after all, so, of course, it specializes in gaming keyboards.

But recently, the company decided to branch out with the Razer BlackWidow V4 75%, a hybrid gaming and custom keyboard that breaks many rules. Gaming and custom keyboards have a lot in common, but typically, you can’t buy a dedicated gaming keyboard and hope to customize it much. The BlackWidow V4 75%, though, not only encourages you to install your own switches and keycaps, but it’s also easy to dive into the case and start modifying, with only six screws holding the case together and hot-swappable switches. Unfortunately, opening up the case can void your warranty, which feels like an oversight.

This doesn’t signal a big change for Razer; I’m sure it’ll continue making some of the most premium and feature-packed gaming keyboards on the market. However, with the BlackWidow V4 75%, it’s blurring the lines between gaming and custom and leading the charge. We just have to see how the competition responds.

About this review: Razer sent XDA a BlackWidow V4 75% in black for the purposes of this review, and it had no input into its contents.

Razer BlackWidow V4 75

An actual customizable gaming keyboard

The BlackWidow V4 75% is Razer’s first hot-swappable gaming keyboard, allowing users to use their own switches and keycaps. While you can’t take the whole thing apart without voiding the warranty, it’s still an excellent, albeit expensive, option for those who want to explore custom keyboards.

Form factor
75% with function row and arrow keys

Switch options
Razer Mechanical Switches (Orange Tactile, Yellow Linear, Green Clicky)

Black and white

Razer Chroma RGB

5052 aluminum alloy

Plate foam, poron gaskets, PCB with Tempest Tape mod

Doubleshot ABS


USB Type-C

Software customizability
Razer Synapse

12.6 x 6.1 x 0.94 inches (321 x 155.5 x 24mm)

1.8 pounds (815g) without wrist rest; 2.17 pounds (986g) with wrist rest

Num Pad

Polling rate
Up to 8,000Hz


  • 75% form factor is compact but doesn’t get rid of important keys
  • Two media buttons and roller for easy controls
  • Switches and keycaps are easy to replace
  • RBG backlighting is great, as usual
  • Comes with some mods already installed

  • More customization can void your warranty
  • Stabilizers are a bit rattly
  • No macro keys

Pricing and availability

The Razer BlackWidow V4 75% comes in two colors — black and white — and both are available on Razer’s official store and the usual third-party options like Best Buy and Amazon. The black option costs $190, while the white chassis costs $200. You can choose between three Razer Mechanical Gen 3 switch types: Orange Tactile (used here), Green Clicky, and Yellow Linear.

Keycaps come installed, but you can upgrade to doubleshot PBT caps and a coiled cable with the Keycap

Upgrade Set, which costs $50 and comes in four colors: Classic Black, Razer Green, Mercury White, and Quartz Pink. You can also get the Razer Phantom set for $35, which are ABS pudding keycaps that allow for more RGB shine-through.

What comes in the box

The Razer keycap and switch tool on the wrist rest

Since this is a custom keyboard, the BlackWidow V4 75% comes with a couple of accessories. The big addition to note is the Razer-branded keycap and switch puller. The keycap puller side works effectively, but I had difficulty using the switch end. It’s made out of flimsy metal, and the prongs are a bit uneven. Thankfully, because custom keyboards almost always come with that tool, I had others on hand.

Like other Razer keyboards, it also comes with a leatherette wrist rest with a magnet in the top, so it doesn’t move around while in use. It’s comfortable to use — not too plush, not too stiff — but it was a bit too high for me, so I usually left it off. Unlike other Razer wrist rests, it doesn’t support RGB.

Otherwise, you’ll get a USB-C to USB-A cable that plugs into the back of the chassis and lays flush with the bottom of the keyboard and a manual with all the shortcuts you’ll need to know. Because there aren’t any dedicated macro keys, the documentation is mandatory if you want to adjust the lighting, turn on gaming mode, or set up quick macros.

Design and customization

Looks like a Razer keyboard, not like that’s a bad thing

Despite being a new kind of product for the company, the BlackWidow V4 75% still looks like a Razer keyboard. On the front of the top plate is the “Razer” logo, and on the bottom is the repeating “By gamers for gamers” tagline. Like other BlackWidow keyboards, it uses 5052 aluminum alloy for the top plate, which feels premium and cool to the touch. That’s a big contrast compared to the bottom, which is made of plastic. However, since this is a wired-only keyboard, I doubt you’ll be taking it anywhere it could get damaged. Plus, the plastic means it’s extremely lightweight, weighing only 1.8 pounds without the wrist rest. I use a deskmat, so I didn’t have a problem with it moving around while I was typing, but the adjustable legs and sticky feet on the bottom keep it from moving around too much.

The board uses double-shot ABS-coated keycaps, which is not preferable for longevity or if you want a less clacky sound, but they have a PBT-like, rough texture on top that still feels great to type on. ABS keycaps also tend to show finger oils and grime more, and this small tweak keeps the grossness at bay. You’ll often find bumps on the F and J keys for touch typing, so it’s not novel here, but I like how prominent they are on the stock keycaps, and I’ve made fewer mistakes on this keyboard than on many of my others.

Few other gaming peripheral brands are comfortable taking a risk like this, and it’s worth commending Razer for its choice to make the BlackWidow V4 75% hot-swappable.

But because this is Razer, a brand for video game nerds (me included), the standout feature is the per-key and standard RGB backlighting, which is excellent as usual. It’s bright without being overwhelming, and it shines uniformly around the keys and on the sides. The shine-through keycaps especially showcase the lighting perfectly, with a uniform look across every key. The lighting is great for typing in the dark, and it won’t be out of place in more professional settings. Plus, if you find it isn’t for you, you can adjust the brightness with a keyboard shortcut or create your own lighting effects in Razer Synapse.

The media buttons and roller on the Razer blackwidow V4 75%

Razer also uses the lighting in other clever ways. If you hit the caps lock key, the light will shine through a different color. If you hit X to activate some additional functions, the relevant keys will shine, and all the others will shut off. Gaming keyboard users might be disappointed by the lack of dedicated macro keys, but those aren’t features you’ll typically get with a 75% keyboard anyway. And if you want macros, you can look elsewhere in the BlackWidow line, like with the BlackWidow v4 Pro. You still get all the expected buttons, along with a “multi-function roller” and two media keys.

By default, the roller adjusts the volume, and the two buttons let you quickly mute or pause playback. I left them as is, but you can make your own macros in Synapse, along with up to five profiles. I was put off at first by the roller since most keyboards use knobs or buttons, but it sits flush with the chassis for a cleaner look and has a nice bumpy texture. You don’t even have to adjust your hand position much to use it.

Great customization options, but there’s a catch

Taking apart the Razer blackwidow V4 75%

It’s no surprise that Razer made a well-designed keyboard, but the biggest draw for the BlackWidow V4 75% is that, for the first time, the company has made a hot-swappable, customizable option. While keyboard audiences overlap a bit, and the Black Widow has always been Razer’s most versatile gaming keyboard line, going into customizable territory is a huge departure. Few other gaming peripheral brands are comfortable taking a risk like this, and it’s worth commending Razer for that choice alone.

It helps that Razer mostly succeeded here. A spokesperson told me that it got feedback from the custom keyboard community while crafting the keyboard, and it shows. For one, it’s 75%, which means it’s missing the numpad and many of the navigation keys but still comes with a function row. The spokesperson said this is an increasingly popular form factor, and while I haven’t delved into the data, it’s personally my favorite. You can also adjust the polling rate in Razer Synapse up to 8,000MHz.

The orange tactile switches inside the Razer BlackWidow V4 75%

But biggest of all, it’s hot-swappable, which means installing your own switches and keycaps doesn’t require soldering. There are also only six screws on the bottom of the case, so it’s easy to take apart. (It’s worth noting that one of the screws is hidden behind a seal.) While I wouldn’t say the BlackWidow V4 75% is a great board for beginner customizers due to its price, these choices make the barrier to entry much lower for just about any user.

Many custom keyboards come with mod options in the box, including case foams and sometimes tape. These are things you can buy on your own or rig up with materials you have at home, but the BlackWidow V4 75% comes with a lot of these already installed. I was particularly excited about the Tempest Tape Mod (where you put a layer of tape on the bottom of the PCB) because I include that on just about every keyboard to create a deeper, poppier sound. It also comes with two layers of foam on the top and bottom of the PCB and poron gaskets around the frame of the plate for a bit of flex and more sound-dampening.

The BlackWidow V4 75% comes with a lot of great mods already installed.

Stabilizers — bars that sit under the larger keys like the spacebar —tend to be the most finicky parts of cheaper builds, and the ones on the BlackWidow aren’t the most pleasant to use. They sound rattly and loose, especially under the backspace key. Thankfully, Razer made this easy to fix. The ones that come installed are plate-mounted, which are easier to implement but aren’t as stable, but there are holes in the PCB for installing steadier screw-in stabilizers.

However, while Razer included so many small, excellent touches, it missed one. For some reason, taking apart the keyboard voids the warranty. It’s a confusing message to send when you’re encouraged to mod and customize a device by a company, which will then punish you for doing so.

Typing experience

Smooth switches, rattly stabilizers

The nav keys on the side of the Blackwidow V4 75%

I stopped using gaming keyboards because I found the stock sound pretty unpleasant, with hollow and pingy cases and cheap-feeling keycaps. That’s why I was shocked by how good the BlackWidow sounded out of the box. While Razer gaming keyboards have always sounded more premium than its competition, the BlackWidow sounds way more like a custom keyboard. It sounds relatively deep but still clacky, which is a great middle ground when it comes to sound profiles. It also sounds slightly poppy when bottoming out on the press, which is thanks to the stock mods. Unfortunately, if you’re a heavy typer, it’ll feel really harsh when hitting the bottom.

My unit uses Razer’s Gen 3 Orange tactile switches, which are smooth but with a slight bump that doesn’t feel too distracting, thanks partly to factory lubrication. It’s great for typing and gaming, and while a lot of that comes down to preference, I found that it was enough so I didn’t make errant keypresses but still fast enough for a competitive shooter like Apex Legends. Razer describes these switches as “quiet,” and while I don’t agree (silent switches exist, after all), they’re quieter to use than other Razer switches and probably won’t bother others in an office setting unless you’re a very heavy typer. They also have a 2.0mm actuation point, which is higher than what laptop users might be used to, but it’ll be familiar to people who’ve used gaming keyboards, and it’s still light enough that you don’t need to press hard if you don’t want to.

Green Clicky

Yellow Linear

Orange Tactile

Actuation force




Travel distance




Actuation point




Reset point




Factory lubed?




Unfortunately, while the stabilizers under the larger keys come pre-lubed, they’re still rattly. The stab under backspace on my review unit felt especially loose and unpleasant to use compared to the rest of the keyboard, even the space bar, which is usually the one I mod the most. These are plate-mounted, which tend to be less stable than screw-in ones, but as I mentioned, Razer included holes, so you can install your own screw-in options if you want.

However, because this is an expensive keyboard, you might not want to spend extra on things like stabilizers or keycaps. It’s great if you want to upgrade it someday, but at the time of purchase, there’s little reason for many people to spend more, especially those who are just getting into the custom keyboard space.

Should you buy the Razer BlackWidow V4 75%?

A Razer Blackwidow V4 75% with the keycaps removed and the switch puller on top

You should buy the Razer BlackWidow V4 75% if:

  • You want to get into the world of custom keyboards and have the money to spend
  • You like the 75% form factor
  • You like the middle ground between gaming and custom keyboards

You shouldn’t buy the Razer BlackWidow V4 75% if:

  • You’re on a budget
  • You want to start from relative scratch for your next keyboard
  • You don’t want to risk voiding your warranty

Razer has already made a name for itself in the gaming keyboard space, and its BlackWidow line continues to be some of the most feature-packed mainstream options you can find. However, with the V4 75%, Razer has decided to do something a little different, and it might change the game.

By using a hot-swappable PCB and inserting details and mods that will make custom keyboard enthusiasts happy, the BlackWidow V4 75% becomes a middle ground between gaming and custom, which is something we haven’t seen before among mainstream brands. You can find similar specs in the custom space, but it’s not a place for beginners, and many will be wary of voiding the warranty if you want to start diving into the case. It shouldn’t be your first custom keyboard, but if you want a 75% gaming keyboard, the BlackWidow V4 75% is a great option.

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Razer BlackWidow V4 75

An actual customizable gaming keyboard

The BlackWidow V4 75% is Razer’s first hot-swappable gaming keyboard, allowing users to use their own switches and keycaps. While you can’t take the whole thing apart without voiding the warranty, it’s still an excellent, albeit expensive, option for those who want to explore custom keyboards.

** (Disclaimer: This video content is intended for educational and informational purposes only) **

By smartphonejunkie