PC gaming on the couch, it sounds like a wonderful idea, doesn’t it? Sitting there, mouse and keyboard, Overwatch in 4k, it all sounds so lovely. With increasingly smaller HTPCs due to increasingly efficient parts that are more beefy than their predecessors, it’s no surprise that a couch gaming machine would make it’s way into the living room. After all, we have the consoles, what does it hurt to add a PC to the mix, too. But to have a good PC gaming experience, the only real way to do it, you have to have a mouse and keyboard. Making something that lets you put them on your lap is something we’ve seen several companies try to do over the last several years, and Razer is no exception. With the Razer Turret, wireless mouse and keyboard PC gaming can be had from the comfort of your couch. After having on for a month now, I’ve had time to play on it, and what follows is my review.
First things first, this review is going to have a dual personality, matching my experience with they mouse and keyboard. That dual personality is due to the dual connection methods this device provides, either standard 2.4 GHz wireless connection, or Bluetooth LE. It is on this boundary that my review is split.
You see, in the box, you receive a tiny USB 2.4 GHz adapter, and a decently log USB extension cable. My thought initially was that this cable is to make sure you have plenty of room to route your cable and tuck away the wireless adapter neatly, hidden in plain sight, so that you can keep your PC completely out of sight, if wanted. I thought, initially, that the braided cable was simply a nice touch for something that, for the most part, wouldn’t be seen. I was wrong. The length of the cable, and the nice braid it has to it, wasn’t so that I could run the cable and hide it cleanly, but rather so that, if I chose to put it on my coffee table to us the 2.4 GHz wireless connection, it wouldn’t be a complete eye sore. For me and in my experience, the only way to use the wireless adapter was for me to be within about 1-3 feet of it. Anything further and it was useless, with jumps, skitters, lag and unresponsiveness. To put a frame of reference around this, my couch sits about 8-9 feet from my TV. I have a sound bar that sits in front of my TV, and the extension with the USB Adapter sits just in front of the sound bar, blending in nicely. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that my set up might not be optimal, and it might even be completely messed up, but that’s how I’m set up. Like this, the experience of using the Turret is frustrating, and honestly teeters on the side of unusable more than usable. I’m sure that if I spent more time playing with where to put the adapter, I might have better success, but the fact that I need to to be on the coffee table in front of me makes it miss the mark, in my opinion. If I have to have a cable running across the living room from entertainment center/PC to my coffee table, I may as well look for an alternative solution that would let me have a full sized keyboard, mouse mat/pad and mouse instead of something like the Turret that is compact to be easy to use and easy to hide when it’s not in use. Honestly, a wired solution is something I feel like Razer should look into, especially since I already have a USB cable running across the living room if I want to use the 2.4 GHz wireless USB adapter.
But that’s where the harsh criticism ends. Switch over to a Bluetooth connection and it’s great. All of the issues I mentioned go away. Lag free, responsive, and leaving me a feeling close enough to a USB device that I can enjoy playing Overwatch on my couch with mouse and keyboard. It’s a whole new world, a whole new personality of the device. It’s like Bruce Banner and The Hulk, Jekyll and Hyde, the two sides of Two-Face’s coin. The difference in usability is night and day, and it’s great. The typing experience on the keyboard is comfortable, and so is the gaming. The mouse feels as good to use as my 2013 Razer Orochi Mobile mouse that I use on a regular basis. The keyboard is a tad cramped, but for something that feels like it was lifted from the Razer Blade and placed in this housing, it’s not terrible by any stretch, just took some adjusting and I was good. The mouse might take some a bit of time to adjust to, as it’s both small and an ambidextrous design, but I’ve had one for long enough that it was natural for me. With a reasonable DPI range, going up to 3500, the mouse fits my comfortable DPI setting of about 1750. I mean, honestly, for all the criticism I have for this as a 2.4 GHz wireless gaming solution, the opposite is true when connected via Bluetooth LE. It just works. Battery life wasn’t an issue, although I don’t have the opportunity to site all day and play anymore with a 2 year old and an infant, and the charge seems to take a reasonable amount of time, which is a pass in my opinion.
The only other drawback for me is that it’s not LED back-lit, but that isn’t a necessary feature to have. Knowing Razer, I imagine the next iteration of it will have their Chroma RGB LED lighting system, and will be fully editable, but as it stands right now, there isn’t.
So, all in all, is the Razer Turret for you? Depends. Do you have Bluetooth? Then I’d say it’s definitely a great option. Are you okay with a USB cable running across the floor to your coffee table or at least on the floor closer to you? Then sure, it’s great then too. Do you have a family with young kids that makes the previous set up not an option and not have a Bluetooth connection available to you on your system? Then no, it’s not for you. Razer made a solid attempt, but it falls short of being great overall. With a price tag of $159.99, it’s hard for me to suggest going out to getting one unless your a die hard Razer fan, of which there are many, or unless wireless is the only way you’ll go, in which case this is the best option in my opinion.