Razer‘s tagline may be “For gamers. By gamers,” but it has a growing list of products you don’t need to be a gamer to appreciate. First was the Razer Blade Stealth ($1,449.99 at Amazon.com), an ultrathin laptop to compete with the MacBooks ($1,239.00 at Amazon.com) of the world. Now there’s the Razer Cynosa Chroma. The Cynosa is technically a gaming keyboard, but its three best features have little to do with gaming: Spill resistance, how it looks and what it costs.
The Cynosa retails for $59 in the US, AU$99 in Australia and £64 in the UK, making it the cheapest Razer keyboard. There’s also a Pro version, which lets you add lighting effects under the keyboard itself, for $79, AU$139 and £79.
Unlike many cheap gaming keyboards, the Cynosa supports full chroma backlighting, where each key can be programmed individually from a palette of 16.8 million colors using Razer’s cloud-syncing software, rather than just in chunks of a small number of preset zones.
You can take advantage of effect presets as well, such as illuminating keys in a color wave by making them radiate in a specific order, or you can have each key you touch send color shockwaves throughout the rest of the board.
Plus, it works with Razer’s lighting presets for specific games. In Overwatch, the keyboard will light up differently for different characters with a purple wave flowing if you play Sombra, for instance, and red if you choose Junkrat. There’s an impressive lineup of games this works with, including Diablo 3, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 and Quake Champions.
This keyboard is not for hardcore gamers or mechanical-switch purists looking for a cheap option, though. Its membrane keys are certainly more comfortable and responsive than your standard keyboard for general typing, but they’re not the faster and more resilient mechanical switches a lot of gamers can’t live without. And while it supports 1ms polling, it lacks dedicated macro keys and supports 10-key rollover instead of n-key. These are more in line with what many dedicated gamers want.
But the Cynosa is comfortable, competent and stylish. There are a lot of people out there who like gaming, but to whom spending three digits on a keyboard is an unjustifiable expense. If that describes you, or if you just want a flashy (literally) keyboard to spice up your desk, the Cynosa is a good bet.