When it comes to gaming keypads there are really only a few options on the market. Of those options most, like the G13, have been around forever. Of those gaming keypads, none of them are mechanical. That is until Razer introduced the Orbweaver this year at CES. As a big fan of mechanical keyboards, mice, and peripherals overall I couldn’t wait to get my hands (well hand) on it. After living with it for a while I am finally ready to talk about it and see how the mechanical Orbweaver compares to the G13 and the Razer Nostromo.

Product Name: Razer Orbweaver

Review Sample Provided by: Razer

Written by: Wes

Pictures by: Wes

 

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Specifications

Keys

20

Key Switch

Cherry MX Blue

Backlighting

Green

Size

55 mm / 2.17” (Depth) x 154 mm / 6.06” (Width) x 202 mm / 7.95” (Height)

Weight

395 g / 0.87 lbs

System Requirements

-PC with USB port

-Windows® 8/ Windows® 7 / Windows Vista® / Windows® XP (32-bit)/ Mac OS X (v10.6-10.7)

-Internet connection (for driver installation)

-At least 200MB of hard disk space

-Synapse 2.0 registration (requiring a valid e-mail), software download, license acceptance, and internet connection needed to activate full features of product and for software updates. After activation, full features are available in optional offline mode.

 


Packaging

Razer has a specific styling to their packaging that has been consistent for years across all of their product lines. That styling of course is a black and green theme with a picture of the product on the cover, in this case the Orbweaver. The box also opened up like a door with the Orbweaver behind the door with formed plastic around it to let you get a feel for the product before you buy it. On the back of the packaging they have another photo of the Orbweaver, but this time there are lines going to each of its key features. Along with that there is a small feature listing in 11 different languages.

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Inside the box you have the Orbweaver strapped to a plastic tray. Up under it you will find a small packet of information including a certificate of authentication from Razerguy as well as two Razer tri-headed snake stickers.

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Pictures

For those of you who had a Razer Nostromo or even the original Belkin N52 and N52TE you will see a lot of similarities with the Orbweaver. Having said that, the Orbweaver is more of a change than when Razer first went from the N52TE to the Nostromo. Not only is this the first mechanical model, but the Orbweaver also has a lot of adjustability that wasn’t available with the Nostromo. The finish is different as well, the Nostromo was glossy and the Orbweaver has more of a rubber finish. For lighting we have gone from blue to a bright green that goes along with Razer’s 2013 product lineup.

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Beyond the main keyboard area, the Orbweaver has a wrist rest that is adjustable. Along with that there is a second adjustable area that goes under the palm of your hand. Both of these are designed to help you fit the Orbweaver to your hand.

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The thumb trigger area of the Orbweaver has a round direction pad as well as two buttons above and below the direction pad. The idea here is you can use this direction pad to move around in game or to navigate menus while still having easy access to two more buttons. The bottom button is really interesting because it uses a mouse switch meaning it has that same click for quick reactions.

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Being a mechanical gaming pad Razer couldn’t get to creative with the keypad portion of things because they did still have to leave room for Cherry MX Blue keyswitches. Because of that this section has key caps that are semi standard looking but they are of course angled in toward the center area that you would rest your fingers on as well. You get 20 keys total and each key is labeled with a number for easy programing in the software. In the middle they have also labeled your direction keys as well just in case you plan on using them for WASD. Each of the key caps does have a rubber finish and the number labeling shows the key’s clear/white plastic that is needed for light to go through and light up the labels.

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The base of the Orbweaver has three rubber grips on the palm rest, three on the main section and one large pad on the thumb area to keep it from moving around during heavy gaming. Here you can also see some of the adjustment points as well, where you can pivot the palm pad, slide the palm rest out, and slide the thumb controls in and out for the perfect fit.

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The OrbWeaver’s cord isn’t anything special; you get a single USB 2.0 connection with gold plating on it. The plug does have the Razer logo on it but beyond that it doesn’t look any different than anything else. If you follow it all the way back to the Orbweaver you will notice that Razer included a little extra protection to prevent any damage from happening to the cord while in its package, but personally I wouldn’t be afraid of keeping it on the Orbweaver just for extra protection when it’s on your desk as well.

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To give everyone an idea of how the Orbweaver compares to the competition I have put it up next to the Nostromo and the Logitech G13. Here you can see some of the differences we have already pointed out between the Nostromo and the Orbweaver like the extra row of keys as well as the different backlighting. The similarities between the Nostromo and the Orbweaver can be seen, but when you compare it to the G13 there are still different ideas as to what is the ideal solution. I think adding more keys to the Orbweaver and making it adjustable do help bring it closer to the G13 while the Cherry MX Blue switches set it apart as well. I’m excited to see how all of these differences will affect its performance, I liked the Nostromo but the G13 has still been a go to game pad for a lot of people. I wonder if the improvements of the Orbweaver will change that.

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Software

Alright we haven’t taken a look at a Razer product that needed software in a long time. That means with the Orbweaver this is our first time I had to directly deal with Razer’s Synapse 2.0 software. Of course I have kept my ear to the ground about it and heard all of the fuss that everyone made when Razer introduced it. So when I went to install the software to play with the Orbweaver I was a little a little hesitant. When booting up the software I was greeted with the login screen below. Much like most of you, I was very frustrated when I HAD to sign up for my account to log into the software for the Orbweaver. Of course this would be a really lame review if I just stopped there, so I did get signed up and once signed in the software asked me to update the firmware on my device and the software, after that I had to reboot.

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Finally in the software, the picture below is what I was greeted with on the home page. The software was worlds above what I have seen on previous Razer products both in simplicity and styling. There aren’t any bright green overlays this time around, just professional looking software. The home page lets you select and name your profile as well as select various key maps. Also on this page and all of the other pages on the bottom you can see your devices, much like Logitech’s software. I love that Razer finally has software that supports multiple devices rather than a program for ever device you might use. Also on this page you can flip between two different views of the Orbweaver and on each you can click and select each key for reprograming.

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When you click on any of the keys this is the list of options that you will be able to set them too. Basically you can set any key to any key, mouse function, macro, program, joystick, or multimedia function. Personally in most cases I just set all of the keys when in game, but if you go with the software you have a large selection of ways you can set everything up.

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Other than the home page there are two other pages with options. One is the lighting page where we can adjust the brightness of the Orbweaver or even set it to pulse if you would like.

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The macros tab allows you to record and program any macro you might need. I like that you can also set the delays, set no delay, or record the delay that it took you to type it in when recording.

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Performance

So with the Orbweaver all setup and the software installed I set out to put it to use in a few games. Specifically I wanted to try it in a few FPS games as well as League of Legends. To do that I had to decide if I was going to just use the default layout or configure one of my own. I went with configuring it myself to get the full experience and I went ahead and jumped into a couple games of Black Ops 2 and TF2 as well.  Rather than use the software to configure everything I just re bound my keys in game. Being FPS’s this was fairly simple because the default key layout is already designed for FPS’s so I just needed to tweak a few things. For those wondering, this is the default key layout for the top keys. As you can see it is all of the keys on the left side of the keyboard, the thumb button that isn’t included here is shift just like your thumb normally would be. Having a normal key layout makes it easy to jump into once you figure out where WASD is and to help Razer included direction arrows.

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1

2

3

4

Tab

Q

W

E

R

Caps Lock

A

S

D

F

Shift

Z

X

C

V

 

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Depending on how your hand sits on the Orbweaver you shouldn’t need to change much to play LoL as well. You do have QWER, you just need to rebind things like B CTRL and binds for your item slots. You can also use the direction pad near your thumb to move your view around while in game without having to move your mouse to the edge of the screen or to the mini map.

Compared to the other game pads that I have tested, I really did love the adjustability that Razer built into the Orbweaver. Everyone’s hands are different and Razer has finally recognized that. I was able to adjust the Orbweaver to fit me very well. I will say that overall the G13 was still a little more comfortable, but considering the adjustability in the Orbweaver it’s possible that a lot of people will find this a better option.

As a mechanical keyboard enthusiast it took me no time at all to adjust to the noise and “feel” of the mechanical switches. I love how a mechanical switch activates rather than having to jam down membrane keys. Having said that, to some people the Orbweaver is going to be a little loud and obnoxious. For those people Razer does have the Stealth model that has brown keyswitches that still give you the tactile feel while cutting out some of the noise.

My last observations about the Orbweaver were with its lighting. I found the backlighting to be just amazing. Razer made sure you aren’t going to have any trouble seeing the key numbers by giving them so much light that the light glows out around the keys. I actually had to go in and turn the lighting down, if that says something. As I mentioned before I would prefer this to be a color other than green, but that is just a preference.

 


Overall and Final Verdict

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So at the end of the day you have a couple questions to ask yourself before you pick up an Orbweaver. First, is a gaming pad something you want at all? I have known a few people who have picked them up and only a select few stick with them, I have found that its people who tend to play just one game who are more likely to stick with it. Setting up your configuration takes testing a tuning to get just right.

The second question you have to ask once you know for sure you want a game pad is does the Orbweaver fit all of your needs. For one there are going to be some people who really want to stick with their Logitech products, others who won’t like the bright green backlighting, and people who just won’t be able to handle the fairly noisy Chery MX blue key switches that the Orbweaver uses (you can also look at the stealth model with browns though).

 

If you get past those two questions you are really going to like what Razer has done with the Orbweaver over their previous gaming pad. The adjustability, ease of programing, and the mechanical switches really do make this a top notch product. My only complaint are related to having to create an account and be online to sign into the Razer software. The software issue is really the only complaint that anyone should really worry about. Razer really stepped up and made amazing software, it’s just a shame that a lot of people (me included) will have a hard time getting over the drm long enough to really be happy with the software.

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Author Bio
garfi3ld
Author: garfi3ldWebsite: https://lanoc.org
Editor-in-chief
You might call him obsessed or just a hardcore geek. Wes's obsession with gaming hardware and gadgets isn't anything new, he could be found taking things apart even as a child. When not poking around in PC's he can be found playing League of Legends, Awesomenauts, or Civilization 5 or watching a wide variety of TV shows and Movies. A car guy at heart, the same things that draw him into tweaking cars apply when building good looking fast computers. If you are interested in writing for Wes here at LanOC you can reach out to him directly using our contact form.

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garfi3ld's Avatar
garfi3ld replied the topic: #31794 19 Jul 2013 19:10
Before the weekend we take a look at the Razer Orbweaver mechanical gaming pad
Arxon's Avatar
Arxon replied the topic: #31840 24 Jul 2013 20:26
I like my logitech but would much rather have this.
Hasbeen's Avatar
Hasbeen replied the topic: #31841 24 Jul 2013 21:27
Nice review, but at $130 I think I'll still hang on to my Belkin N52 Nostromo. I've got 2 of them that work just fine for the games I choose to use them on. I'm sure there are features on these newer gamepads that are nice, but the old saying still holds true. "If it aint broke don't fix it."
garfi3ld's Avatar
garfi3ld replied the topic: #31844 24 Jul 2013 23:21
I would agree, there isn't any reason for you to switch if you are happy with what you already have.

How often do you guys use your gamepads and how do you use them?
Hasbeen's Avatar
Hasbeen replied the topic: #31846 25 Jul 2013 02:06
Well I've attempted to adjust my usage to almost all of my games at one time or another with varied results. Mostly these days I use it in any MMOs I'm playing. I also use it regularly if I'm playing Minecraft, and I've half way set it up for Star Craft 2.

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