Razer Ornata V2 Gaming Keyboard Review – EVERYTHING You Need To Know
I have been very happy with Razer lately. They have been in my good books for their most recent gaming peripheral releases, and the V2 cycle products aim to bring appropriate improvements for their 2020 lineup. Hopefully this hot streak continues with the new Ornata V2 keyboard.
Price & Initial Reaction
Launching at $99 USD – just like the original – my first reaction when I heard the price was “absolutely not!” because the Huntsman T is only $20 cheaper and it fits my gaming style perfectly. However, then I wondered if all the added value features on the Ornate V2 make it worth your time.
Of course, nothing beats a proper mechanical switch, but I have to say the hybrid mechanical switch on this keyboard feels pretty nice. I feel like the clicky route for mechanical hybrids is the proper direction, and they must have done something with the switch because it feels much better and improved versus the original Ornata Chroma. On the Chroma, the keys kind of got stuck on the way up, whereas with the V2 the rebound is much cleaner.
Ornata Chrome vs. Ornate V2
First of all, there are a few differences on the frame versus the original Chroma keyboard, like the added media keys that are also Mecha mechanical and the small volume wheel. The wheel has good texture and click to mute functionality and instant volume adjustment, but the scroll steps are pretty weak with little tactility. This is still a better volume than the embarrassment that is on the $250 Logitech G15. Let’s not get too excited about the included wrist rest, it is cool that it’s magnetic, and the thin foam padding is nice for a little bit of comfort to flatten out your wrist posture, but this surface traps so much heat that I had to stop using it because it got really sweaty.
Design & Differences
I think the reason they went with low-profile keycaps is because the actual keyboard frame is chunky. The height of the V2 is about the same as a standard keyboard with normal keycaps. They keycaps are ABS, but I like the slightly matte texture and clean beautiful font. It is a bit too thin, so not much lighting gets through, but still it’s a very pretty font. The white underplate helps to evenly spread all that RGB goodness around the key caps. You can remove the keycaps to see in the membrane and switch, and the clicking mechanism just don’t expect to swap out the keycaps given the stem design. As you type the keyboard does not flex, but it is a plastic frame after all so the build quality is pretty lean.
The cable is non-removable, but they have added the cable routing channels at the bottom with an extra long braided cable. There is also dual-step angle adjustment feet that are nice and stable. I initially thought this keyboard was spill and water resistant, because of the holes throughout the frame – you can actually see illumination a shiny right through them – I thought those were drain ports, but Razer have confirmed that this is not a waterproof spill-proof keyboard.
The Switches & Sound Profile
The highlight of this keyboard would be the Mecha-Membrane clicky switches. They don’t feel exactly clean and crisp like your MX Blues and Greens, but they do have really satisfying softness when you bottom them out. It’s almost like there’s a thick fabric at the bottom of the frame that absorbs the impact, but it’s the rubber dome. Now the clicky point is somewhere in the middle, so it doesn’t happen instantaneously. You have to depress the key a little bit and the sound is sharp and they feel quite good. I actually really appreciate this keyboard for typing, because the actuations are not as loud as your traditional clicky switches.
I really liked the sound profile, but my issue here is consistency as I feel like the clicky point is slightly higher on certain keys. The stem design introduces a lot of wobble into all of the keys, especially the large ones. After having spent some time in game with the Ornata V2, it’s not a bad experience, but having no competitive advantage makes this product almost dead on arrival. For example, the Razer Huntsman keyboard has been sitting under $100 USD for the past three months, and this is a better keyboard experience in all aspects. Then we have the really affordable and highly reviewed Reddragon with MX Blues giving you the clicky feel, but under $50 with an actual mechanical switch. There are even combo deals from Havit that are half the price of the V2, making me feel like Razer really dropped the ball here because this is the same keyboard from 2017, with the same price point, with just add media keys and the new cable channels. Regrettably, that isn’t enough to be competitive in the current market.
What I feel like Razer should have done with the Ornata V2 is make it water and spill resistant to be competitive with the Corsair K55, which is also in that rubber dome territory, but it’s half the price. It does everything the V2 does, but is much cheaper and once again it’s waterproof. If you have $100 to spend a the keyboard, many other options should cross your mind, including the SteelSeries Apex 5. This keyboard also has hybrid mechanical clicky switches, it’s also priced at $99, but with a much better build quality, prettier lighting, and a cool but gimmicky OLED screen. By the way, let me know if you want me to do a full comparison between the Apex 5 and the Ornata V2. Ultimate, I believe this latest Razer keyboard should have been priced at $69 or lower because otherwise it is a hard pass.