Razer Orbweaver Chroma: My Wrist Thanks You

Oct 31, 2016

Going on 4 years, I have been dealing with recurring tendinitis in my left wrist. I’ve switched to an ergonomic keyboard, which helps a lot but is unfriendly to gamers. Typically when I’m on my PC I’m playing first-person shooters and RPGs. Lately I’ve been into MOBAs like Battlerite and Paladins. These are not gamer friendly but not tendinitis-in-the-wrist friendly. I needed something that reduced my finger travel so I can be accurate and timely, particularly with MOBA games. Fortunately the kind folks at Razer sent me this Orbweaver Chroma for testing and review. Preceding my written review, Cameron shares his thoughts in the following video:

razer-orbweaver-chroma-800x800-5The Orbweaver is equipped with 20 programmable mechanical switches that make a satisfying clicking sound when the actuation point is met. The device is surrounded by Razer’s usual high level of quality. Starting from the bottom, your table will be met by the Orbweaver’s 7 rubber feet which help it stay in place while you’re anxiously gaming. The palm rest and thumbstick controls are all adjustable so you shouldn’t struggle to find a comfort zone. You can even swap the thumbstick from left hand (default) to right hand easily. Near that thumbstick are 2 additional buttons. These, however, do not light up. But, they are easily distinguishable so the lights would only provide additional cool factor, which the Orbweaver is not lacking. Now, while being gorgeous, it’s also intimidating. This is definitely for the hardcore gamer, but a tool that any gamer would appreciate if they gave it a try. I’ve been a PC gamer for 20 years (back when ‘Ctrl’ was used for crouch and ‘x’ for jump). It took an effort for me to dive into the controls and find my stride. But I don’t regret doing it at all. I’m also learning how to customize the colors schemes and adjust the other software-based options. There’s a learning curve but ultimately it doesn’t really matter to me what color the keys are or how they respond to my key presses. Although, it is very cool to have the colors turned off and then activate the “ripple” setting. The pressed key lights up and the surrounding keys then light up and fade away. It looks great.

All of this is managed by the Razer Synapse software. Fortunately, all of Razer’s modern products share the same software. That means less tax on your CPU, and familiarity if you have those other products. The Razer Synapse allows you to customize each individual key or group them into sets (bottom row, top row, arrow keys).

Per my conditions of fast action, I’m satisfied with the design of the Orbweaver. For Battlerite, specifically, I remapped the WASD keys (8, 12-14 on the Orbweaver) to the thumbstick on the Orbweaver. It makes the game easier to control for me and I feel like I’m using an XBOX controller for player movement. I mapped the bottom button near the thumbstick to simulate the spacebar. In many games, this is the jump key. I feel good about it’s positioning and the little force needed to activate the switch.

Now that I’m immersed in a new type of controller/keypad, I suppose the question is: will I ever go back? While I’m really enjoying the Orbweaver, there are times when my hand leaves it and reaches for the keyboard. I need more time in the saddle before I can un-wire 20 years of mental programming. But that’s just me. I do agree with Cameron’s assessment of the thumbstick but I think I’ve fond a remapping workaround in most games. If you’re looking for a high-quality product that can improve your gaming performance while helping relieve you of some unwanted wrist pain, I can’t think of a better device than the Razer Orbweaver.


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