Gamers and other PC users are always quick to try new technologies, and the Ornata Chroma from Razer is no exception. It takes a while to get used to and it is not as expensive as some other gaming keyboards on the market. This article will provide some of the board’s highlights as well as its few pitfalls.
Design and Performance
It seems appropriate that we jump right into the review by discussing the Razer’s “Mecha-Membrane” technology. If you’re at least a bit familiar with the Ornata Chroma, you’ve likely heard this wacky term – even if you’re still not sure what it means. For those unfamiliar, Mecha-Membrane is the term Razer uses to describe their hybrid, silicon-based mechanical switches. This board also has the “dedicated gaming mode” feature, which is extremely attractive to consumers who will be using this solely for gaming.
A keyboard’s key switch can heavily impact its price point and usefulness. Lower-end silicon-based mechanisms are great for general typing and everyday usage, but will likely be futile in intense gaming sessions. At the opposite end of the spectrum, higher-end mechanical-based switches enhance PC gaming experience; however, most computer users are reluctant to spend more than a hundred dollars on a keyboard.
Razer, being the pioneering brand that they are, decided to bridge the gap by taking the best features of both technologies. Essentially, Mecha-Membrane switches take the familiar cushy feeling of silicon and mend it with the satisfying tactical sensation of mechanical keys. Or, as the company puts it, “Mecha-Membrane combines the soft cushioned touch of a membrane rubber dome with the crisp tactile click of a mechanical switch to enable swift actuation for each keystroke.”
Upon unpacking the Ornata and its myriad accessories, some users may feel let down. That may be due to high expectations regarding the look and feel, but overall, we’d argue you get what you’d expect from the company’s description. Many users wonder if they should return it after a couple of uses but if it’s given more time, the $90 keyboard is totally worth it.
Many gamers have several different mechanical boards that they rotate through and alternate between. With time, the Ornata Chroma can become a favorite for everyday use and casual gaming duties. Even if you are using this as a backup keyboard, it is a great addition to your collection at a reasonable price.
In addition to familiarizing your fingers with the new style of key switch, you may also have to get used to the low-profile caps. Most the other boards in gamers’ collections have either full-size or chiclet-size (slim keyboards/laptop keys) keys, but these “mid-height” caps are right in the middle in terms of size. According to Razer, mid-height keycaps “reduce the time it takes for your actions to register,” but many users have noted that they have not noticed any discernible increase in speed.
One of the other highlights of the Ornata Chroma happens to be its elaborate LED backlighting. Via Razer’s Synapse software, Ornata users can completely shape the color scheme of the board. Users can fully customize preconfigured LED patterns. And with 16.8 million colors, design possibilities are unbounded. Anybody familiar with similar LED devices will tell you there’s no better feeling than entering a clean, comfortably-temperate room partially laminated by beautifully dancing LEDs.
Unfortunately, this board lacks other valuable features such as USB/audio pass-through. Some more feature-packed boards allow users to connect other USB devices or headphones into the keyboard to compensate for the used port/distance issues. This can make people steer clear of this keyboard, but it makes sense that these might need to be left out due to the great cost.
Another con that users have reported is the wrist rest slide. It tends to shift and even though it is very soft, it is attached to the keyboard with a much weaker magnet than other high-budget keyboards. Of course, gamers definitely do not want the wrist rest being a bothersome distraction.
Also, notably missing are dedicated media keys. Even though this is considered a budget keyboard, users are still a bit surprised (and disappointed) that Razer omitted these buttons which have become so important. Nowadays, everybody is using their computer to interact with music, videos, or over the top TV. It baffles consumers as to why Razer neglected to add a few media buttons.
At 18.2 x 6.1 x 1.2-inches (W x D x H), the Ornata Chroma offers everything most gamers will need to get up and going. Despite a few pitfalls, we’d highly recommend anyone who is considering purchasing this board to do so even though Razer’s Ornata Chroma is best suited for entry to mid-level gamers or gamers who need a backup keyboard.
As mentioned above, some will find the Ornata’s typing experience to a bit lackluster at first. If you’re coming from a background dominated by “clicky” mechanical switches such as those manufactured by Cherry, these Mecha-Membrane switches will feel cheap. However, as you get some experience with it, you’ll realize (at least I did), that it’s not “cheap,” it’s just different. If, on the other hand, you’re coming from silicone-based boards, I believe this board will instantly feel like an upgrade.
All in all, considering the price tag and overall value, if you pair it with a great gaming mouse, this board is a steal.