Razer launches a keyboard with "hot-swappable" contactors

Written by Guillaume
Publication date: {{ dayjs(1692806452*1000).local().format("L").toString()}}
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Once the preserve of a tiny fringe of keyboard experts, the hotswap switch is becoming more democratic.

Already available on Razer's official American website, but not yet on the Old Continent, the BlackWidow V4 75% is the logical follow-up to the various V3s the manufacturer launched several months ago. The term "75%" may not be clear to everyone, but it refers to the size of the keyboard, meaning that it measures approximately 75% of the length of a standard model. To achieve this, Razer has logically omitted the numeric keypad, which is why such keyboards are also known as "TKL" or tenkeyless.

This relatively compact format isn't very original, so it's not the main feature of the BlackWidow V4 75%, which is distinguished above all by the presence of so-called hotswap switches. The idea here is quite simple, but particularly rare on "mainstream" models. To validate the keystroke, each key has a so-called contactor under the cap. This contactor is usually soldered to a metal plate, which is placed just above the PCB board housing all the keyboard's electronics.

On a hotswap keyboard, the contactors are no longer soldered, but simply plugged into a slot generally equipped with 3 or 5 pins. Obviously, the main advantage is that the keyboard can be easily repaired if a contactor should happen to give trouble. This is relatively rare, but it guarantees a remarkably long service life. The other advantage is that the product is highly customizable: it is possible to replace a group of contactors, for example for FPS-related keys, with more sensitive models. There are many possibilities here, depending above all on your ambitions.

The BlackWidow V4 75% is the first Razer keyboard to offer such an option. Logically, the manufacturer has made this the top-of-the-range keyboard in its catalog, and has also added a number of features such as a gasket mount: the metal plate to which the switches are attached is mounted on small gaskets to keep it suspended and avoid contact and vibration. Razer has also included a number of nice accessories, such as two additional multimedia keys and a multifunction thumbwheel. Unfortunately, all this comes at a high price, and the BlackWidow V4 75% will be sold for 219.99 euros in its black version and even 229.99 euros for the white version.