The DeathStalker Chroma Gaming Keyboard

At first sight, the DeathStalker Chroma looks like a typical keyboard with chiclet keys. It is a flat keyboard, entirely made of plastic, with a fairly sized wrist rest permanently attached to it. The design is minimalistic and elegant, with straight lines and chamfered edges. A honeycomb pattern is visually formed on the wrist rest, beneath a clear, smooth surface layer, with the company logo printed at the middle. The clear layer of the wrist rest is partially reflective, while the rest of the keyboard is matte.

The chiclet keys are the primary attraction of the DeathStalker Chroma. Low-profile chiclet keys are very popular, especially ever since Apple adopted them in 2006, and are the primary alternative of users that do not enjoy the height or the long travel of mechanical keys. They are just 2 mm tall, with large semi-transparent characters printed on them. It supports 10-key rollover, which does not sound as grand as the n-key rollover of more advanced offerings, though in 99.99% of cases no-one needs to be able to press more than 10 keys at once, or have a feline sit on the keyboard in the name of progress.

There are no macro keys or other extra keys on the DeathStalker Chroma. The right Windows key has been replaced with a Fn key that, combined with the top row function keys, provides additional functions. For example, the Fn+F1 key combination mutes the sound, while the Fn+F11/F12 keys control the backlighting brightness, similar to a laptop keyboard.

  

Razer did an excellent job applying the RGB lighting. There is almost no gap between the keys and the chassis, so the lighting is only focused on the keycap character, without light "spilling" from the sides of the keys. The colors are rich and, even though it is limited to the characters, the backlighting is rather powerful. What should be clearly noted however is that the RGB lighting is not programmable per-key. There are three zones, the main zone, the arrows/functions zone and the numpad zone. Each of the zones can be programmed to any RGB color or to perform a visual effect, but it is not possible to change the color of each key individually.

Besides the keys and their backlighting, a few things are of interest on the DeathStalker Chroma. The minimalistic design goes beyond just the appearance of the keyboard. There is no pass-through USB port, no additional media keys, not even a braided or otherwise noteworthy cable. It is a rather simple keyboard that is basing its functionality on its software.

Introduction, Packaging & Bundle Quality Testing & The Software
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  • chlamchowder - Monday, December 7, 2015 - link

    Basically, this is terribly overpriced. There are mechanical keyboards at similar prices (G710 is selling for just under $90 on Amazon), as mentioned in the conclusion. There are also non-mechanical keyboards with backlighting and macro keys for far less, like the Corsair K40 or Logitech G105.

    Maybe chiclet keys are nice if you type by sliding your fingers around (surprisingly effective at times), but you can do that with rubber dome keyboards as well.
    Reply
  • MrPoletski - Monday, December 7, 2015 - link

    I don't get this, how is this a gaming keyboard? now key quality and everything else aside. Since when was the standard qwerty arrangement 'optimal' for gaming. Look up the steelseries merc stealth. I couldn't care less if they litereally used ionised turds to determine key pressed or not, they actually have gaming shaped keys so you can plonk your left hand down and be ace. Fuck this 'gaming keyboard' when I have to contort my wrist to get the play I want. Reply
  • DryAir - Monday, December 7, 2015 - link

    Creating an online account just to use a piece of hardware? How can people accept this? Reply
  • hasseb64 - Monday, December 7, 2015 - link

    Conclusion is longer than the article. Nothing new here at AT..
    Conclusions tend to be long here.
    Reply
  • just4U - Monday, December 7, 2015 - link

    Is that a problem? Different sites have different approaches.. Reply
  • theuglyman0war - Monday, December 7, 2015 - link

    fer aging eyes and an avid stereoscopic fan fumbling in the dark with active shutter glasses...

    really appreciate no spilling but powerful LED light.
    Reply
  • jthomp - Tuesday, December 8, 2015 - link

    "TEH CLOUD, TEH CLOUD!!!"

    Okay... it saves the settings to "Razer's servers", enough of "TEH CLOUD".

    Honestly, it looks like a fairly decent backlit chiclet keyboard, though I wouldn't want to pay more than $40 for it. Razer is like the "Dr. Dre Beats" of PC gaming accessories... cool to look at but I wouldn't buy it even at 50% off.

    I'm loving my Ducky Shine 4 and newish G400s's right now so, thankfully, I'm all set for awhile as far as input devices but it's still nice to check out what's coming out. I really like that actuation test you all showed... that was the first time I've seen that. Good work, Anandtech.
    Reply
  • MamiyaOtaru - Tuesday, December 8, 2015 - link

    why on earth would someone shell out for a full size keyboard (and a more expensive one at that, with the lighting and all) and go for chiclets? It'd be like ordering a tower case and filling it with laptop parts Reply
  • Tunnah - Tuesday, December 8, 2015 - link

    I would rather be forced to trade in my PC for a mac than ever use another Razer product. Terrible reliability, worse customer service. Reply
  • A-Skate - Wednesday, December 9, 2015 - link

    I've owned the normal version of the Deathstalker for over six months now, and I'd recommend it to anyone as one of the few high quality options if you use a laptop and desktop daily. I never got used to a cherry mx keyboard due to having used a macbook for several years before getting a desktop (again).

    However, the Razer software is a bit of an annoyance, since their "never install" option does not work, and constantly tries to install it after bigger windows updates. I have zero use for macros or anything like that.

    All in all, it's the closest you can get to a macbook chiclet keyboard, although somewhat mushier. The fonts are terrible though.
    Reply

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