The Ornata V2 is a keyboard from Razer which specialises in trying to find a solid middle ground between gaming and typing. It’s an initiative I especially appreciate, as both a gamer and a typer in a rather ‘most of the time capacity’.
It’s the kind of device that’s meant to suit you for work and play. Astonishingly, the Razer Ornata V2 actually sports quite a few features to support this argument without much sacrifice in the compromise.
To that end, the Ornata V2 uses the Razer Hybrid Mecha-Membrane – which is supposed to be a best of both world’s scenario. It’s not exactly mechanical, but still features the noise gamers crave. They’re spruiked to give you the satisfying click while still having the cushioning required to type comfortably – and I’d say they do a pretty good job.
Razer Ornata V2 Keyboard Review
Key presses definitely feel more cushioned than mechanical keyboards while retaining those clicks which give you certainty in your actions. They’re actually a really nice click, with a sort of wholeness to the sound they give off. Though I really enjoy it, it’s probably still a bit loud to feel ok about bringing into an office environment. It’s satisfying like soundbytes of old typewriters and definitely makes me feel very cool. My insane typing speeds give the impression of intense urgency without becoming deafening or distracting which is an issue I have had with some more noisy mechanical keys.
What’s quite clever though, is that despite not being mechanical, the cushioned feel actually helps add to the certainty of a press. At first, I thought the keys were a little sticky, not being used to it but on actual analyses, they aren’t at all. I can feel it go down and then hear it click in place and feel them bounce back up almost immediately.
The “almost immediately” is ever so slightly noticeable in I take the slightest hit to my speed but my accuracy has definitely improved. Because of this, there’s never a question about whether or not I hit a key. There’s just an extra degree of confidence in my movements. My general typing accuracy also appears to have improved slightly with the certainty these provide. However, those that crave a true mechanical keyboard may find it wanting.
Positioned for success
The good news is that’s not too likely to happen accidentally, for a couple of reasons. First of all, the layout of the Ornata V2 is actually very comfortable and familiar. It’s not the kind of keyboard that you get and spend a week figuring out how the keys feel or expecting things to be a little bigger or smaller.
They keys feel like a good size for my fingers as well as being about the right distance apart to feel natural. Most also have that slight concave shape that cradles your fingers during their brief times upon the keys.
The layout of the board overall is also quite nice in that it’s fairly standard while still being smart. I like that the numpad also has media controls above it including a wheel for volume control. It’s the kind of keyboard where you don’t feel like anything is missing without it being overloaded. All the keys feel useful without going overboard. Plus you can still remap most things using the Synapse software to customise it to your needs.
Aurora Ornata! Localised entirely to your living room?
Synapse is Razer’s software for all your peripherals on PC, and as far as these go I’m a big fan. When working with the Ornata V2 keyboard I was able to customise my keys both visually and functionally to my heart’s content. I really enjoy playing with things like the Chroma Visualiser which is an add-on that lets your keyboard function as a sort of audio bar visualiser for your sounds.
There are also games which will automatically give the keyboard their own layouts, featuring things like keys flashing when abilities come off cooldowns or character colour schemes. Unfortunately, I couldn’t always get these to work but Razer has said a fix is coming later this month. When it does work it adds a cool level of immersion and can be pretty helpful. Almost just feels like something all games and keyboards should do and I started to feel its loss when games didn’t.
This all uses the inbuilt LEDs in the keyboard. The Ornata V2 favours the diffused approach as opposed to something like the HyperX Alloy Origins. It creates a really seamless effect for colour cycling, making transitions buttery smooth. However, there’s definitely some sacrifice to brightness due to this diffusion. On the one hand, I like not being blinded by my peripherals but I do feel like the Ornata V2 could have a bit more oomph.
Work Smarter, not harder
There are other little touches that make the Ornata V2 worth looking at that aren’t as standard. Little things like the cable wiring slots at the back, which lets you thread the cable down the centre OR to either side. It’s such a small thoughtful touch that definitely helps you set your desk exactly how you want it.
Then there’s the wrist wrest, which is pretty novel in itself. I was pretty unsure about this as it increases the footprint of the keyboard by half of itself again on your desk. When I first pulled it out of the box my uncertainty melted away and I’m really impressed with how it’s implemented. Instead of being some huge unwieldy thing you have to carry, Razer made this a very smart attachment.
It’s technically totally separate to the actual keyboard portion of the Ornata V2 and is held in place with light magnets. It’s easy to remove, and softly snaps back in place. Every time the magnets ensure it lines up perfectly and though they feel weak, that’s actually a really smart move. When you’re typing, your wrist weight combined with the grips on the bottom means there’s no worry about it moving. When you don’t want it, it’s stupid easy to remove and both halves of the whole look complete on their own.
The leatherette plush design means I don’t have to worry about getting it dirty while still being super comfortable to use. I honestly didn’t expect to keep it on the keyboard but I found myself really liking it. I’m glad I can remove it and have everything still look and feel really good, but I’m even happier that I don’t want to.
Balance in all things
I think it’s because of all these little touches, combined with the hybrid approach to gaming and typing that this feels like a professional’s keyboard. Turn all the LEDs off and it really does look more like something you’d see in a fancy office setting.
Then get your RGB on when it’s time to game. It’s a gaming keyboard built for adults, and unfortunately, now I’m well and truly one of those. I can see the slightest of sacrifices when it comes to meeting this fine balance but overall the Ornata V2 strikes a beautiful balance between work and play.
The Razer Ornata V2 was provided by Razer for the purposes of this review.