The Razer Ornata V2 has a facade of a premium keyboard with a mid-range gaming keyboard price tag. And, ultimately, the reason it's able to pull that off is entirely down to the mecha-membrane keyswitches that power the peripheral.
Typically, when you think of the best gaming keyboards you can get, you imagine these heavy duty mechanical keyboards, with their loud clicks and tactile feeling to keypresses. And, typically, you can find keyboards with these switches starting right around where the Razer Ornata V2 finds itself.
At $99 (about £79, AU$140), the Razer Ornata V2 occupies this strange middle ground between a budget keyboard and a high-end peripheral. Compared even to Razer's own $119 (£92, AU$239) Razer BlackWidow, you're saving a few bucks, but you're missing out on keys that feel much more responsive and comfortable to type on.
However, there are some design elements here that are generally saved for more expensive products. For instance, on the top right corner of the keyboard, you'll find dedicated media keys and a volume wheel. The wheel even has a really nice texture to it, which makes adjusting volume on the fly feel pretty great.
Now, for a gaming keyboard, that means little next to how the keyboard actually performs. When playing Doom Eternal, an extremely fast-paced shooter that requires rapid inputs from the player, we didn't really notice any missed inputs or delays in our actions. Then again, we're definitely nowhere near pro gamers here at TechRadar, so even if there was a delay here, we'd unlikely be able to tell.
One thing that we do notice, however, is how this keyboard feels when we're using it to type and play games. Believe it or not, we do a lot of writing in our day-to-day workload, and many a gaming keyboard has lived or died by how it can hold up to this.
And, we have to say that the Razer Ornata V2 doesn't quite live up to other keyboards in Razer's lineup here. Don't get us wrong, we understand that all keyboards have a different sensation when typing, but that's not the issue here.
To put things into perspective, this editor absolutely loves writing on their 2018 MacBook Pro 13-inch, or the Razer Huntsman – really, it's one of the two. They have a very light touch when typing, so keys have to be able to actuate without too much pressure. With the Razer Ornata V2, there are several times where key presses simply don't register.
A high actuation force isn't a huge deal on its own, but the key travel is also super shallow. This makes the sensation of typing with the Razer Ornata V2 a bit uncomfortable. This is definitely something you can get used to, but it's something to be aware of beforehand. If you have the chance, we'd encourage you to find a way to try this keyboard out before you buy it.
We do have to praise the wrist rest that Razer includes. At this price point, you typically get this hard plastic wrist rests that can arguably make things more uncomfortable. But this one, with its plush leatherette padding, makes using the computer way more comfortable for long periods of time.
And, of course, it wouldn't be a Razer gaming product without RGB lighting.
The lighting on the Razer Ornata V2 isn't quite as indulgent as something like the $199 (£199, AU$339) Razer Huntsman Elite, obviously, but it's still full RGB lighting, which isn't a given at this price point. Plus, love it or hate it, the Razer Synapse software does an excellent job of both letting you customize it and giving you a wide swath of preselected effects. Right out of the box it slowly cycles through a bunch of different colors, which is pleasant enough. So, we basically just let it do its thing – we've used Synapse enough to get the gist.
Buy it if...
You want a quiet keyboard
The Mecha-Membrane keys might not feel super premium, but there's one thing that they absolutely excel at – stealth. If you want to get some gaming done while your partner or roommate sleeps, this might be a solid option.
You want that comfy wrist rest
A wrist rest might sound like a silly reason to recommend a keyboard, but at this price point, it's definitely more comfortable than pretty much anything else you're going to find.
Don't buy it if
You want a mechanical keyboard
The Mecha Mechanical keys get the job done, but they're nowhere near as good as a decent set of mechanical switches.
You're after a cheap keyboard
Membrane keyboards are typically budget-level peripherals, but at $99 (about £79, AU$140) we'd hesitate to call the Razer Ornata V2 cheap.