Razer Inc. is a global hardware manufacturing company founded in 1998 in San Diego, with headquarters located in Singapore and San Francisco. Their products feature a good variety of gaming accessories such as keyboards, mouse devices, laptops, mousepads, controllers and even Smartphones.
The Ornata Chroma is an LED keyboard released by the company with a large range of possible color configurations, which can be built with default presets or custom-made profiles created by yourself and downloaded from the Chroma Workshop.
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Whether you plan to use your keyboard mostly for gaming or general daily operations, you want to be sure the keys aren’t too high and hard to press for normal typing. Certainly a colorful and flashy design is satisfactory from an aesthetic point of view, but a nice-looking LED set isn’t what truly defines a peripheral. The Ornata Chroma, however, is an extremely complete design that offers comfort alongside a good amount of visuals.
As soon as you get to the exciting unboxing part, you can already see the quality and accuracy Razer is offering to their customers.; not only the keyboard’s accessories are all perfectly wrapped up in their packages, but you can find an ergonomic wrist rest included into the box. Most keyboards are sold on their own and you need to purchase the rest separately in most cases, so this is in itself what makes the Ornata Chroma worth the purchase even before connecting it to your computer and trying it out. The material is soft and it looks pretty durable compared to some cheap products that will consume themselves in a very short amount of time (Yes, I am speaking from experience here… 😢).
The lower part of the keyboard has a magnet that keeps the rest firm under your wrists, so you won’t need to worry about it moving out of place all the time.
The default LED settings will light up the keys with a colorful cycle the moment you attach the keyboard to your system with its USB cord, the OS will immediatly recognize the device and install the needed drivers as it would with any other newly connected accessory. You can keep it as it is without installing any additional program, or download Razer Synapse for customized presets and different lighting animations. A Razer account is required.
Synapse gives you at least two different ways to configure your lights. The first method needs you to enable the Visualizer and select any specific app you want to use with its effect. You can also choose the audio device in use, increase or decrease the brightness and switch between 5 different presets in Background:
- Spectrum Cycling: This is the default lighting animation and it keeps the LED fixed while shifting from one color to another into an endless cycle.
- Static: You only get one color with no other animations applied and it can be changed according to the user’s preference.
- Wave: It generates a soft and relaxing rainbow-colored wave.
- Wheel: It’s very similar to the wave effect, but you get a slow circular animation instead.
- Custom: This is a preset built for whoever wants to create a unique color combination (fixed).
The Visualization tab gives you the Static effect with a color selector. The keyboard will react to any sound from videos and music adding in an equalizer and mixing it with the untouched background LED. Alternatively, you can check the Reactive Background option for a full reaction and a “dancing” cycle all over your keyboard.
The second way to customize your lighting is by using the Chroma Studio. You can already find a list of pre-installed effects such as Ambient Awareness, Breathing, Starlight, Fire, etc. If you have already started to use the normal Visualizer, you have turn it off completely from the Connect tab, otherwise you won’t be able to use the Studio and its settings at all.
You will find a drop-down menu on the top and an icon with three dots next to it. Click on it and select Add to create a new profile, Import to load some pre-made presets you downloaded from the Workshop, Rename to change the profile title from Chroma Effect 1 to anything or your liking, Duplicate to copy the active profile and modify it further, Export to save your new custom preset on your machine and Delete to get rid of a combination you don’t want anymore. The lighting settings work in layers and they can be combined together for different results.
With an active profile you can edit the colors with the pen and bucket tools while also selecting specific keys (either from the Quick Selections drop-down menu or picking the desired keys holding CTRL). If you own other Razer peripherals the overall configuration can be applied to every device at once. The effects will not update on your keyboard unless you press the Save button after every new modification.
Unfortunately, as nice as Synapse can be you may experience a couple issues with it. The program somehow tends to automatically load on startup even if you remove it from the Msconfing settings and it will prompt you to type your password every time instead of keeping it memorized at the account selection part.
You could also activate a Macro recording out of nowhere by pressing specific keys and that will result in a strange behavior from your system (keys not responding correctly, windows closing or opening on their own, etc). Should that be the case, simply open the Macro tab in Synapse and delete the accidental profile from the list on the left. A Macro is essentially a sequence of keys a user can setup for games in order to avoid pressing a bunch of keys in succession and losing focus on the gameplay, but it is very unpractical for normal operations.
All in all, the Ornata Chroma is worth it for its general comfort and smooth functionality, the LED addition is a common gaming trademark nowadays and it surely feels aesthetically pleasing even if purely optional. The full price is set to $99,99 on the official Razer market, but at the moment you can also get it with a 20% discount on the Amazon shop (without considering the shipping costs that may vary depending on your location).
Last, but not least, I also highly recommend to install Razer Cortez as well, in order to boost your system specifically for gaming and to connect your Steam wishlist for the best weekly deals from legit sites like Fanatical, Humble Bundle and more!