Razer BlackWidow V3 Mini HyperSpeed review: Excellent but expensive
Quick verdict: The Razer BlackWidow V3 Mini HyperSpeed offers superb feel if you prefer a much smaller keyboard, and its wide range of connection modes is a real plus. However, it’s not an inexpensive option – especially in Australia.
- Compact size
- Choice of connection modes
- Macro keys
- Small size won’t suit every task
- Expensive, especially in Australia
There's a solid market in smaller gaming keyboards for those who prefer a compact size. For Razer to date, that's been best represented by the very popular Razer Huntsman Mini, a wired 60% size keyboard.
The Razer BlackWidow V3 Mini HyperSpeed takes that concept and expands upon it, with a 65% size keyboard that adds the freedom of exceptionally flexible wireless connectivity choices. Naturally, you also get RGB backlighting because would it really be a Razer product without something that glows?
- Compact size
- Small flip feet only add a little angle
- Easy to flip between connection modes
The Razer BlackWidow V3 Mini HyperSpeed is essentially designed to take on the tenkeyless market in an even smaller body. It measures roughly 31.5x12.5cm and wastes very little space in terms of side bezels or wrist rests, although there is, rather predictably, a glowy Razer logo embedded at the front of the keyboard.
Where the Razer BlackWidow V3 Mini HyperSpeed differs from the Huntsman Mini is the inclusion of specific cursor and navigation keys that also double as macro keys.
This is a gaming keyboard through and through, but their inclusion means that it's also one that could be used for other purposes in a day-to-day setting.
The other big feature change in the Razer BlackWidow V3 Mini HyperSpeed is that it's a fully wireless keyboard, which has implications for those who don't want cable clutter or desire the freedom to move their keyboard around a tad while gaming. That requires a connection switch, which you'll find on the back of the keyboard to the left of the USB-C power connector.
This isn't just an on/off switch, either, because the Razer BlackWidow V3 Mini HyperSpeed supports both Bluetooth connectivity and 2.4Ghz wireless, using Razer's own "HyperSpeed Wireless" standard. To accommodate this, you'll find a tiny USB-A type receiver located in a pop-out compartment underneath the Razer BlackWidow V3 Mini HyperSpeed.
That's also where you'll find the Razer BlackWidow V3 Mini HyperSpeed's legs, and like the rest of the keyboard, the accent here is on small size. This does have an effect on the angle of elevation, which isn't particularly high. The travel gap of the keys does make up for this to some extent, but if you prefer a more angular keyboard approach, you may find this problematic.
- Lots of connection flexibility
- Relatively quiet key actuation
- Good response
- Fair claimed battery life
The Razer BlackWidow V3 Mini HyperSpeed is a wireless keyboard with a lot of connectivity choices to make. Most gamers are probably going to opt for the USB 2.4Ghz mode, which has the added benefit of working with other Razer HyperSpeed Wireless devices. If you've got a compatible mouse, you only need the one USB port to run both without issue.
However, the Razer BlackWidow V3 Mini HyperSpeed isn't just limited to 2.4Ghz USB wireless connectivity because it'll also connect via standard Bluetooth to any compatible device as a standard keyboard. You can pair up to three devices this way and quickly switch between them with a tap of the Alt+Fn+1, 2 or 3 keys. It doesn't seem likely that you'd need to do this super often, but I've tested it and it does work quite well that way.
The Razer BlackWidow V3 Mini HyperSpeed isn't done with connection methods either because you can use the USB-C charging port as a full wired connection as well. The Razer BlackWidow V3 Mini HyperSpeed will happily charge and work at the same time if you're running low on juice or interference or pairing factors make wireless a non-starter in a specific environment.
Like the rest of Razer's gear, the Razer BlackWidow V3 Mini HyperSpeed uses Razer Synapse software for Windows 10 to manage custom light schemes and macro mapping, although it's impressive how much you can do even without Synapse. If the default light scheme isn't to your taste, you can quickly adjust the default scheme or brightness as well as control standard media functions with combinations of the function keys and specific side-marked keys.
The core of any gaming keyboard is response, and here the Razer BlackWidow V3 Mini HyperSpeed performs well for its size, although that size could also be a drawback. Key actuation is good with switches that have a good feel to them without being particularly noisy.
If you're reading this review, you're probably already interested in smaller keyboards and well aware that the compact size doesn't give your fingers a lot of room to move. I can't complain about key actuation, which is very responsive time after time for gaming purposes, but like most smaller keyboards, it's a tad less comfortable for day-to-day tasks like typing.
By no means is it impossible – this review has been written 100% on the Razer BlackWidow V3 Mini HyperSpeed – but where you can get some solid ergonomic benefits from many mechanical keyboards, using the Razer BlackWidow V3 Mini HyperSpeed as a regular keyboard can end up feeling a little cramped.
Razer's claim for the Razer BlackWidow V3 Mini HyperSpeed is that it'll manage up to 200 hours of battery life before needing recharging, which is impressive in a specifications sense. I actually haven't been able to exhaust its battery potential in the short time I've had to test it out. However, it's a totally sealed battery system, so you could reasonably expect that figure to drop over time. What's nice here is that because it'll accept a wired USB-C connection, you could conceivably keep using it even in the far future when the batteries have conked out.
Should you buy the Razer BlackWidow V3 Mini HyperSpeed?
- Buy it if you want a compact and premium gaming keyboard with cursor controls.
- Don't buy it if you want a cheaper gaming keyboard or more expansive key layout.
The sting in the tail for the Razer BlackWidow V3 Mini HyperSpeed is the asking price, which runs to $299.95 in Australia. That's enough to put it in the premium class for gaming keyboards all by itself. The smaller Huntsman Mini typically retails for around $219, which might not make the Razer BlackWidow V3 Mini HyperSpeed seem all that bad, but the added pain point here is the quantity of "Australia Tax" Razer's putting on this particular keyboard.
The US list price is US$179.99, which would equate to around AUD$230 or thereabouts. Even accounting for GST/sales tax at 10%, that should equate to about AUD$250, but Razer's putting an extra price premium on top of that. Smaller gaming keyboards can be great for the market that wants them, but why should Australians have to pay more on top for them?
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Images: Alex Kidman