Razer Lycosa Gaming Keyboard

Razer Lycosa

Manufacturer: Razer
UK Price (as reviewed): £49.99 (inc. Delivery)
US Price (as reviewed): $78.99 (inc. Delivery)

Something embarrassing happened to me when I first got hold of the Razer Lycosa gaming keyboard. I had just finished setting up my desk in our new offices when the package landed on my desk. I opened it up, looked at it and asked myself a question which, on reflection is actually quite a sad indictment of how shallow I am.

Does this keyboard clash with the rest of my desktop?” – My God, what’s happened to me?

Whatever you think of me based on the last sentence and my sudden decision to care if my desk is colour co-ordinated or now, the conclusion was the same. Yes, the Lycosa does go with the rest of my desktop kit – mostly because a lot of my stuff is Razer and they have a predisposition to the colours black and blue.

Razer Lycosa Gaming Keyboard Razer Lycosa Gaming Keyboard
Still, the Razer Lycosa is actually very different to the previous Razer keyboard I had been using, the Razer Tarantula. It’s smaller for starters and thinner too – sizing up as about 450mm by 200mm at the widest points. The whole thing is about a centimetre thick.

Unlike most gaming keyboards, which are often chunky, clunky and clumsy, the Lycosa is a tad more graceful. Part of that grace comes from the design – subtle curves cut up by strong edges, but a lot comes from the feel too.

Razer Lycosa Gaming Keyboard
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You see, the feel of the Lycosa is really unlike any keyboard I’ve ever used. I don’t mean in terms of the response or tactile feedback – those are all just as you’d expect from a Razer keyboard; solid and smooth – I’m referring to the very texture of the keys. Running your hand across the buttons is like stroking a prize-winning kitten in a velvet smoking jacket, they feel that sensuous.

The texture is the result of a new rubber finish which has been applied to the keys to try and make them non-slip.

Personally, I’ve never had a problem with slippy keys before– and I’m well aware of the potential for innuendo there thankyouverymuch – and the finish actually seems to have the opposite effect here anyway. Keys are so smooth that you’d think they were oiled up like a bodybuilder doing a show in a chip shop, but the keys feel so nice that we’re inclined to let them off anyway.

Razer Lycosa Gaming Keyboard Razer Lycosa Gaming Keyboard
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Despite the non-slip claims, slippiness seems to have been the entire focus of the Lycosa, but in a good way. The entire body of the board is smooth and sleek, with the media keys located in the top right being touch-sensitive.

Yeah, touch sensitive – now we’re getting a little bit swish, eh?

Like Osa?

Unfortunately, there’s two bits of bad news. First up is that from the touch-sensitive buttons, it’s all downhill. Secondly, it’s pretty much impossible to do anything newer and cooler than touch-sensitive buttons with a keyboard anyway – don’t feel bad Razer!

Elsewhere, the Lycosa has the usual array of features, namely an inbuilt USB port, microphone and headphone jacks (connecting via 3.25mm plugs, not USB) and a Razer logo on the non-removeable wrist rest. Thankfully though, the Razer logo isn’t illuminated this time, so you won’t have to put up with flashing snakes on your keyboard.

The final big claims of the Razer Lycosa aren’t really that big when you get right down to it – programmable keys and macro software is pretty run of the mill for most decent gaming keyboards now. Still, at least the software is easy to use and the program is small.

One thing which does stand out about the Lycosa though is the backlight, which you can shift through three different profiles with a flick of a touch sensitive button. The first profile is little more than the “Off” mode and doesn’t really bear talking about, but the “Work” and “Games” modes are a touch better.

Razer Lycosa Gaming Keyboard Conclusions Razer Lycosa Gaming Keyboard Conclusions
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The “Work” mode lights every key with a slight blue glow, while the “Games” mode turns all the lights off, except for the WASD keys which are considerably brightened.

Now, both of these modes are useful little gimmicks – useful for when you’re playing in the dark, gimmicky because you could just turn the light on – but we especially like the WASD mode. It’s fair to say that we’d probably never actually use it and would probably just keep the “Work” mode on all the time, but it is good.

Razer Lycosa Gaming Keyboard Conclusions Razer Lycosa Gaming Keyboard Conclusions
Left: all the keys lit (we tried to make it darker so you could see them), and right: the WASD keys on their own are significantly brighter
Unfortunately, the Work mode is let down by the fact that the light is far too dim to type with effectively unless you can touch-type and the letters aren’t easily discerned in either the Work or Off profiles. It isn’t a massive problem if you can touch-type, but it is slightly annoying nonetheless and would cripple any of the computer illiterate.

Moving on to gaming performance, the keyboard held up solidly and our concerns that the WASD illuminations was mostly useful proved to be well-founded unless you’re in a pitch black room. Put under the stresses of some frantic fist-pounding the Lycosa maintained integrity and neither flinched nor buckled. Playing with it we found that all the keys were in reach, the response was excellent and buttons hit the perfect balance between clackiness and softness.

Razer Lycosa Gaming Keyboard Conclusions
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In fact the main concern we have with Lycosa keyboard is, in a nicely circular manner, to do with the appearance. No, we’re not still fretting over whether it goes with our mousemats or not, but we are a mite put off by how dirty this keyboard can get. The rubberised keys and glossy body have a tendency to collect finger muck and fist filth and – oh look, we’re back to that slippy keys innuendo again.

Conclusions

The Razer Lycosa is an excellent little gaming keyboard and is nicely put together despite a few tiny flaws. Really though, the only things that bother us are the grime-grabbing materials and the awkward backlighting that makes typing an occasional chore during the day.

Perhaps the biggest flaw of the Lycosa though is that it’s remarkably unremarkable and that, if you set aside the soft-touch keys and finely-chiselled chassis, then it’s a fairly standard keyboard. It’s good to game with, but nothing remarkable and it doesn’t really leap to the front of the queue when it comes to our favourite gaming keyboards.

When it comes right down to it, we still favour the Razer Tarantula (or Protype for that matter), but the Lycosa is a decent enough board and shouldn’t be sniffed at. It also just goes to show how decent a manufacturer Razer is too that, even when the company is at its worst, it’s still better than the rest.

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What do these scores mean?

SOURCE:http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/peripherals/2008/04/09/razer_lycosa_gaming_keyboard/1