|Name||Gaming keyboard: Razer Arctosa|
|At a glance:||Slim keycaps,1,000Hz USB polling,Anti-ghosting around WASD cluster,No backlighting,Hard sell over the Microsoft X6|
|Summary:||A must-have for shiny-black-thing enthusiasts.|
Razer gaming hardware has graced our desks many times, and generally it’s all top-notch stuff, so it was with relatively open arms that I welcomed the Arctosa keyboard into my life for review this month.
Some gamers might remember the popular Tarantula gaming keyboard from Razer, which has now been phased out and replaced with the Arctosa, and the more expensive Lycosa ($149).
The first thing you’re likely to notice about this keyboard is the slim keycaps. A lot of gamers prefer this type of key because of the shorter travel distance before actuation, plus the Arctosa uses Razer’s patented Hyperesponse technology to reduce key latency and maximise response, along with 1,000Hz ‘Ultrapolling’ which sends a signal from the keyboard to the PC every millisecond – a lot of boards will only send a signal every 2ms and some wait up to 8ms.
Next on the list of cool things about the Arctosa is anti-ghosting around the WASD key cluster. Ghosting is what happens when you push too many buttons at once and the keyboard won’t register some of the key strikes. It’s quite expensive to get around this so it’s good to see this feature included in a “budget” gaming board, even if only around the WASD keys.
The board layout is fully standard, with seven basic media control keys in the top-right corner. There are no USB ports for external devices, no audio jacks, and no backlighting on the Arctosa. It does have a removable wrist-rest, though.
Lastly, for you MMORPG and RTS enthusiasts (thanks for peeling yourself off Starcraft II to read this, by the way), there are fully programmable keys with macro capabilities and customisable software profiles with on-the-fly switching.
Fancy patented names and features aside, the Arctosa is quite good for the price. The keys feel slightly flimsy compared to other, more expensive boards such as the Logitech G110, but I spent a good while playing some Battlefield: Bad Company 2 and didn’t really have any complaints by the end of it, other than wishing the Arctosa had backlit keys as I usually play in the evenings with little ambient lighting.
As for competition in the Arctosa’s price range there is the Microsoft X6, which for $10 more does have a whole heap more features like backlit keys and a removable number pad. Having used one myself I can say that the build and design quality of the X6 is of a slightly higher standard, so the Arctosa could be a hard sell by comparison.
A lot of it comes down to personal preference, however, so if you’re in the market for a gaming keyboard in this price range I would suggest physically testing as many as you can find in-store and make sure your choice is comfortable to use and has the features you require.
At the end of the day, the Arctosa is a capable and stylish gaming keyboard, and certainly doesn’t let the Razer name down.