Ever since the world of gaming got serious, professional gaming grade products have cropped up all over the place. Among these, Razer is probably the one brand that has built up their reputation by exclusively developing gaming peripherals. Along the way, Razer has dabbled into other areas such as audio and the Razer Tarantula keyboard is probably the perfect companion to any Razer mice, promising to bring out your "A" game every single time.
The Tarantula is a sophisticated looking keyboard with ultra sleek lines and strategically placed blue LEDs. As any gamer will tell you, cool gaming weapons need to have glows to make them more effective.
One of the first things noticed about the Tarantula is an overabundance of extra keys on both sides, which may give an initial impression of clutter, but are really easily adapted to. These gaming hotkeys are also thoughtfully illustrated with gamer oriented icons such as a knife or a gun. As you'd expect, these gaming hotkeys are fully programmable through Razer's software and can be configured for single key strokes or complex macros. In order to accommodate the extra keys, some of the less frequently used keys such as Scroll Lock and Print Screen have been relocated above the numpad, while generally tightening the free space available. Function keys are also notably small and a little stiff, though that may not affect many users.
Besides dedicated buttons for gaming features, the Tarantula also comes with multimedia function keys for music and volume control. The keyboard also has a mini-USB hub with two USB 2.0 ports, microphone and headphone jacks built-in. Interestingly, the Tarantula sports what Razer calls the “BattleDock”, a modular expansion bay at the top of the keyboard that allows one to plug in compatible BattleDock accessories such as a webcam or keyboard light (for those late night sessions).
How does one make a keyboard unique? Besides the more common key mapping and customization feature, the Tarantula comes with three major features that you'd never have though would come in a keyboard. Firstly, the Tarantula comes with 32KB of onboard memory to store different gaming profiles on the keyboard itself. This means that you need to worry about the system you're plugging it into, the Tarantula will already be configured for your favorite games.
Another interesting feature of the Tarantula is called the Anti-Ghosting capability, which refers to improvements made to the signal input. With this, Razer claims you can simultaneously press up to ten buttons without experiencing signal loss or stalling/ghosting, whereas a conventional keyboard will lock up.
Lastly, the Tarantula is supposedly eight times more responsive than a regular keyboard as well. Razer's unique Hyperesponse membrane keys are not only interchangeable, they feature Razer's 1000Hz Ultrapolling technology, shortening the response time between your keystroke and the key's reaction to a mere 1ms. Although the Tarantula truly shines during those LAN parties and gaming sessions, using this keyboard for other tasks such as word processing and office productivity is also a delight thanks to the ultra responsive keys.
The Razer Tarantula has been designed for gamers in mind. As such, its keyboard layout may not be optimized for regular mundane tasks for the rest of us non-gamers. However, if you're game to take the plunge, you will surely come to love the Tarantula for its extensive macros, low latency keys, profile functions and swappable keys. In fact, this keyboard is just the perfect weapon to show other gamers who's the boss. The MSRP of the Razer Tarantula is S$199 (US$99.99).