Razer Tartarus Chroma Gaming Keypad Review
Now and again a product appears wherein our thoughts upon it don't really matter, because you - dear reader - already know whether the Razer Tartarus is something that has you reaching for your credit card or not. Almost certainly it depends upon whether you consider the idea of a 17 key keyboard something that enhances your gaming experience, or whether you can't see what it does that you keyboard doesn't already do.
We unquestionably fall into the latter category.
Does this cut down keyboard bring anything extra to the party? Firstly the Tartarus is designed to be used with your left hand. Already that is a negative when compared to a keyboard which is ambidextrous. It also means that it needs to sit to the left side of your keyboard to provide the mouse/keyboard loveliness which is the bedrock upon which PC gaming is built. Glancing down you cannot help but chuckle at the ridiculousness of having to move your daily keyboard out of the way to use something which isn't remotely as customisable.
However, if the Tartarus was so well built and such an ergonomic joy then at least it has a march upon a regular keyboard then it would have something going for it. Unfortunately Razer have taken the decision to equip the Tartarus with membrane switches. We have absolutely no idea why, particularly given the brouhaha which accompanied the design and release of their own mechanical switches. Membrane keyboards have the stodgy, squishy feeling that we all upgrade from as swiftly as possible. Whether it is to Cherry's, Kailh's or Razer's own, anything would be preferable to these squishy keys.
It is very comfortable though. The palm rest is nicely shaped and supportive, with sufficient adjustment to ensure that whether you have the hands of a mouse or a giant you are catered for. The Synapse 2.0 software is as good as ever, giving you speedy control over the Tartarus Chroma and allowing you to assign macros and functions with ease. The 8-way hat switch is reassuringly precise, as are the two buttons above and below it. The lighting is equally vibrant with rich colours and multiple functions. Even though you cannot assign colours "per key".
Unfortunately when you boil it down the Razer Tartarus Chroma is a 15 key membrane keyboard that retails for £60. We cannot think of a single circumstance wherein anyone would want to buy and utilise it. If your regular keyboard is a £5 boot-fair job then you'd be better off just grabbing a BlackWidow or Deathstalker. If your keyboard is a proper mechanical gaming one then you have all the customisation of the Tartarus but with the added benefit of another 90 keys and a quality tactile feel. As we said at the start, you already know if you wanted this before reaching this point and nothing we can say will diminish your desire. It takes all sorts as the saying goes. For everybody else, and us included, this is completely pointless and we cannot recommend it. Maybe if you had per key lighting and Razer's own mechanical switches it might be slightly more palatable but still rendered moot by even an average gaming keyboard.