Razer gaming keyboards are well-known, but the company made a sensation with its first business keyboard, the Razer Pro Type, which won a PCMag Editors’ Choice award last year. What does Razer do after that? The Pro Type Ultra is a keyboard with quicker switches, a two-and-a-half-hour battery life, and a padded wrist rest. Its $159.99 price tag may deter customers used to seeing desktop keyboards for $49 or $79, but it’s a supremely responsive, ergonomic, and customizable PC control center that replaces our Editors’ Choice pick for wireless productivity keyboards.
RAZER PRO TYPE ULTRA SPECS
|Number of Keys||104|
|Interface||Bluetooth, RF Wireless|
|Key Switch Type||Razer Yellow (Low Volume Linear)|
|Media Controls||Shared With Other Keys|
|Dedicated Shortcut Keys||No|
|Onboard Profile Storage||No|
|N-Key Rollover Support||Yes|
|Palm Rest||Detachable (Separate)|
Transitioning from Orange to Yellow
At first glance, the Pro Type Ultra seems like the $20 Pro Type—a full-size, 104-key keyboard with white keycaps above a silver top plate and all-white backlighting instead of Razer’s gaming versions’ customizable-per-key RGB rainbow. The Ultra is just slightly larger, measuring 1.6 by 17.3 by 5.2 inches (HWD), without including the optional 17-by-3.7-inch leatherette wrist rest. (The wrist rest is a separate item that can be placed anywhere because it is not fastened or magnetically coupled to the keyboard.)
The soft-touch ABS keycaps are carved, and hinged feet on the bottom rear allow you to position the keyboard at one of two small angles if you prefer a typing tilt. A volume roller or USB pass-through aren’t included (though the top-row F1 through F3 keys by default mute, decrease, and increase audio volume). The F11 and F12 keys lower and brighten the backlight, which is extremely bright when set to its maximum brightness.
However, things have altered beneath the keycaps. The Razer Orange mechanical switches on last year’s Pro Type are quieter than the hard Green switches used by Razer’s gaming keyboard users, but they offer the same tactile bump and 4mm travel (1.9mm to their actuation point). Razer Yellow switches are used on the Ultra, which provide a linear rather than tactile feel and are shallower (3.5mm travel, 1.2mm actuation point).
Despite Razer’s promotional copy, this results in a keyboard that isn’t silent—just about any mechanical keyboard is noisier than one with laptop-style scissor switches or cheaper desktop rubber-dome switches. However, it just makes a subtle clickety-clack sound, rewarding quick typists with a delightfully sensitive feel. Mechanical switches are also more long-lasting. (Razer rates the Pro Type Ultra switches for 80 million presses, which is eight times the expected lifespan of generic keyboard switches.)
In addition, the redesigned keyboard lasts longer between charges. (With the keyboard plugged into your PC through the accompanying two-meter cable, which has a USB Type-C connector on one end and a Type-A connector on the other, a complete charge takes roughly two hours.) Last year’s model was certified for 84 or 78 hours of use with the backlight turned off, depending on whether you prefer a Bluetooth or 2.4GHz wireless connection. The Pro Type Ultra extends those runtimes to 214 and 207 hours, respectively, according to Razer. Unfortunately, turning the lighting all the way up quickly consumes the internal battery—Razer estimates 13 hours in that bright state.
Making Changes and Making Connections
As previously stated, the Razer Pro Type Ultra offers Bluetooth or 2.4GHz RF wireless connectivity, with the latter requiring a tiny USB-A dongle hidden behind a little door on the keyboard’s bottom. Your preference is indicated by a sliding switch on the back edge. Up to four devices, one 2.4GHz and three Bluetooth, can be controlled by the keyboard (selected by pressing the Fn key and 1, 2, or 3). If you frequently transition between a desktop and a laptop, a tablet, and/or a phone, this functionality could be useful. Along the lines of Logitech’s Unifying technology, a single 2.4GHz dongle will function with both the keyboard and one of Razer’s productivity mice.
When you plug the keyboard into your PC, it prompts you to download and install Razer’s Synapse 3 control software, which allows you to adjust the illumination intensity (and pick between a steady or “breathing” effect), as well as set battery-saving timeouts. It also allows you to alter or reprogram the keys on a fare-thee-well, assigning everything from multimedia and mouse controls to opening programs, cycling through associated devices, and controlling macros (with the help of another downloaded module).
Synapse 3’s battery gauge once went red 0 percent while the keyboard was still about 80 percent charged during my testing, but the problem never happened again. Synapse, on the other hand, forces you to create a Razer account and has slightly tacky connections to the Razer Store, Razer Gold in-game purchases, and the Razer Silver loyalty rewards program. Given that the Pro Type Ultra is a productivity tool, there’s a lot of Razer-flavored push. Beyond that, though, Synapse 3 is a capable and easy-to-use application.
Built for speed, built for comfort
We’ve never seen a wireless mechanical keyboard quite like the Razer Pro Type Ultra. Also, dust and crumbs (you don’t eat at your desk, do you?) Because the brush or can of compressed air that users of laptop-style keyboards need less frequently falls between the keys and the top plate, you’ll want to keep it available.
Otherwise, this speedy, elegant keyboard is difficult to criticize. The Pro Type Ultra isn’t for hunt-and-peck typists, but it easily wins an Editors’ Choice award as an outstanding input device.