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Razer Ornata V2 review: Hybrid Theory
- Nifty switches
- Seamless media keys
- Groovey underside
- Plastic body feels cheap
- Wrist rest is a little high profile
The Ornata V2 is full of smart iteration but the sum total isn’t radically different.
Price$ 189.00 (AUD)
One of the more interesting developments amidst Razer’s ever-evolving update of their product portfolio is how relatively diverse it is.
As opposed to the usual rigamarole of basic, better and best, the neon-lit brand is looking to give you a good option no matter your preferred form-factor or keyswitch of choice. CherryMX switches rule but they’re not necessarily what everyone looking for a gaming keyboard is after.
Like the original, the new Ornata V2 keyboard tries to mesh together the feel of a membrane keyboard with the clicky tactility of a mechanical one. It’s an unconventional request but, if that seemingly-impossible combination is your heart’s desire, it’s hard to imagine a better option than this.
Dimensions: 463 x 154 x 32.5mm
Cable: USB Type-A
RGB: Razer Chroma, per-key
Switches: Razer Hybrid Mecha-Membrane Switch
Software: Razer Synapse
Wrist Rest: Yes
N-Key rollover: Yes
Xbox Compatible: Yes
Price when reviewed
Internationally, the Razer Ornata V2 is priced at US$99. In Australia, pricing starts at AU$189. You can buy it on Amazon here.
Design & Performance
Picking up where the original Razer Ornata Chroma left off, the Ornata V2 opts for simple but smart iteration. The plastic chassis and slanted sides of the original return, as does the detachable wrist wrest. The latter is really comfortable, though it does sometimes feel a little feel a little unwieldy on my wrists.
As for the mecha-membrane switches themselves, there’s something of a Frankenstein quality to them. If you’re not someone who cares too much about your keystrokes, you’ll probably be right at home. There’s a little bit of this and a little bit of that in the mix here. They’re lower in volume than the alternative and, true to their name, there’s a squishiness here that echoes the gaming keyboards of the past. Nevertheless, that homage does little to compromise the sharp click that accentuates the action of a key being pressed. Rather than harsh, striking blows of a fully-fledged mechanical, the Ornata V2 delivers a more gentle sort of keyboard clatter.
It’s not quite as delightful to rely on as something like Logitech’s uber-spec’d G915 (my current go-to keyboard) but relying on the Ornata V2 to play games like Valorant, Master of Orion or Elder Scrolls Online was hardly a chore. If you’re not too choosy about your key switches or want something a little quieter, it’s easy to imagine this as a solid value pick. It's cheaper than the Black Widow and its ilk but doesn't feel like that much of a compromise.
If there’s any standout detail here, it’s the way that the usual medley of media keys are incorporated to the layout of the keyboard. Rather than experiment with dials or other forms of interaction, most of these additional functions are made manifest as extra keys that blend in amidst the rest of the layout.
Another neat quirk can be found on the underside of the Ornata V2. Here, there are a set of nifty grooves and you can use to tuck away the cable on the thing, alloying for a cleaner desktop.
These design touches aside, the Ornata V2 features most of what you’d expect from a modern Razer keyboard minus a few premium perks. There’s full per-key RGB integration via Chroma. There’s no USB pass-through but the second-gen Ornata will play nice with an Xbox if that’s your fancy.
The Bottom Line
In our review of the original Ornata, we called Razer’s first mecha-membrane keyboard “an interesting experiment.”
“For those who want something a bit quieter or with a bit more bounce to the keys, it's worth a try.”
Much the same could be said of the sequel. The Ornata V2 is full of smart iteration but the sum total isn’t radically different. It’s not a gaming keyboard for everyone but then again, that’s the whole point.
Even if I'm not looking to ditch my mechanical keyboard just yet, it's reassuring to know that there are other options out there that don't involve ditching the perks involved. A world where you can buy a good gaming keyboard with smart design and a robust featureset without it being a mechanical is much more appealing to me than the opposite.
In lieu of echoing the same tired pitch that mechanical switches are always the way to go, the Ornata V2 gambles on something a little different without compromising on the fundementals.
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