Razer Lycosa Gaming Keyboard
Author: Shawn Knight
Editor: Rutledge Feman
Date: 03-06-2008
Provided by: Razer
Usage and Conclusion

I installed the Lycosa on my main work system and used it for several days. The Lycosa looks really nice at my workstation and is a good bit smaller than my normal keyboard. As I mentioned earlier, without the key back light on, it is very difficult to see the characters on each key (which I think looks really sweet). Turning the back light on under normal daytime conditions does help you see the keys a bit better, but it is still pretty tough to make out the keys perfectly unless you are positioned directly over the keyboard. Some people will complain that the back light isn't bright enough during the day, and for the most part, I have to agree. I wouldn't hurt to have the back light a bit brighter.

As with any new input device (keyboard, mouse, etc.), there will usually be a slight learning curve, and the Lycosa was no different. The overall feel of the keyboard is really nice, thanks to the rubber keys. I didn't have any issues with the notch cut out of the wrist rest, but when my friend Keith tried it out (his hands are larger than mine), his didn't like how the notch felt on his wrists.

What the Lycosa lacks in the daytime, it more than makes up for in the dark. The board looks really nice in low-light situations with the back light on. You also have the option to just illuminate the WASD gaming keys - pretty neat for LAN party conversation, but otherwise not too terribly useful.

The touch-pad is a pretty neat feature and helps to cut back on having more physical buttons on the keyboard. I didn't have any issues operating the touch-pad... simply touch to activate a feature.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I feel the Razer Lycosa is a good keyboard. The Lycosa looks fantastic. The glossy piano finish works perfectly with the "dull" rubber keys, but expect the fingerprint smears to build up quickly. I found myself cleaning the glossy surface with a lint-free cloth every other day.

Typing on the Lycosa did take some time to get use to, but I expect that with any new input device. The rubber keys felt and typed really well. The keys didn't feel "big and clunky" like most keyboards, and the force and amount of travel each key takes to depress was very little, which is good. Response to keystrokes was good - actions would happen as soon as I pressed the button, so no lag. I would compare the keys to a laptop keyboard, but not overly so; more of a hybrid between laptop and standard desktop keyboard.

The wrist rest wasn't a problem for me. But, if you have large hands, your wrist might slide against the notch in the wrist rest and cause some discomfort. The wrist rest is removable but you will need to remove four screws to do so. At first I didn't care much for the extra work involved, then I remembered how often my wrist rests would pop out of place if I was moving my keyboard or transporting it, so I think this is a pretty good idea. Speaking of transporting, the Lycosa is extremely light, so it won't add much weight at all to your backpack when heading to the next LAN party.

The back light on the keys is a bit on the dim side under normal lighting, but looks really good in low-light situations. Perhaps having the option to adjust the intensity would be a nice feature for future models. I, however, like using the Lycosa without the back light on. It gives the board a neat, stealth look.

The USB and headphone / mic jacks are a nice addition and strategically placed, although I wonder why Razer didn't use a USB 2.0 port instead. Also, the Lycosa requires two USB ports from your PC (one to power the keyboard, the other to power the on-board USB port).

The Lycosa offers up 10 customizable user profiles that are switchable on-the-fly by pressing the Razer logo on the media touch-pad. This is nice if you play a lot of different games or share your system with others.

The Lycosa driver software did its job just fine. I was a bit disappointed with the macro function, however. I liked the ability to be able to reprogram any key, but not having a separate bank of keys just for macro functions is something I feel is missing. Sure, I could program some of the Function keys, but what if I wanted to use them for their original function? Also, having a limit of 16 characters per macro is a bit limiting in daily use (I like to use macro keys for commonly used web addresses, html codes, etc.) but should be plenty for gaming commands.

There are a few minor cons with the Lycosa that seem to add up, but at the end of the day, keep in mind that you are buying a gaming keyboard, so don't expect the creature comforts of a "daily driver" keyboard (dedicated macro key bank, visible keys in daylight, lack of USB 2.0, useless notch cut out of the wrist rest).

As of writing, the Razer Lycosa retails for $79.99 at a popular online retailer. This might seem like a lot for a keyboard, but it is similarly priced to other "gaming" keyboards already on the market (ex: Logitech G15).

Thanks to Razer for supplying us with this review sample.

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