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Razer Anansi Review

Gaming keyboards are dime a dozen these days, but its not very often we see a dedicated gaming keyboard created for the OS X crowd. Razer recognize that a number of OS X users are prolific MMO gamers, which is why they have unleashed the Razer Anansi upon the world. Join us as we take a look at some the features of this lightweight, and feature packed keyboard.

Features

OS X Control – The Anansi is made with the OS X gamer in mind, replacing the ALT and Windows key with Command and Option to make the biggest Apple user feel at home. The F1 – F14 keys have also been replaced with the standard OS X functions such as Dashboard, Expose`, iTunes controls and more which ensures that you don’t lose any functionality by using the keyboard. If you have been searching for a dedicated gaming keyboard that still allows you to access everything you need, the Anansi is definitely the one you want.

PC gamers can use the Anansi with ease, but there are plenty of other options on the market (both from Razer and their competitors) that do the same job, or in most cases, have even more features.

Backlight, Ghosting & Profiles – The Anansi features 16 million colour backlight illumination which means you will never miss this bad boy in the dark. Featuring a number of colours, you can customise the keys to look just how you want them to, or just let them cycle through to get a multicolour effect.

While the Anansi is not a mechanical keyboard, it does feature an optimised key matrix to mimimise ghosting. For those of you who don’t know what ghosting is, it is when keyboards don’t register certain key combinations when pressed together. For instance, running diagonally and throwing a grenade by holding the W,S,G keys could cause ghosting depending on the keyboard’s ability to register and comprehend key presses simultaneously. During all our testing, the Anansi didn’t suffer from any noticeable ghosting issues.

The Anansi allows users to create and switch between up to 10 user profiles on the fly, meaning users can create a unique key binding set for their favorite games and applications. A handy feature, that works flawlessly.

Gaming Keys & Macros – So what makes the Anansi so appealing to gamers? The keyboard features 5 macro keys on the left hand side, allowing players to map a string of keys on the fly to each key to maximise their output. Got a specific buy scheme for Counter-Strike that you use every round? Simply map those keys one of the M keys and it will take care of the rest.

In addition to those five keys on the left hand side, there are seven thumb keys which perform the same function. Each key is easily reachable with the left thumb, allowing users to create a series of macros for total domination. Macros can be created on the fly with ease, or inside the Razer software if you would prefer.

So how did the Anansi perform? To get a feel for the keyboard in a multiple situations I used it with Counter-Strike: Source, Star Wars: The Old Republic and for general typing. Mapping all my buy schemes to the thumb keys in Counter-Strike was a blessing – I was able to make my purchases and take off from spawn to get a nice little rush happening, which was a nice change. Creating macros on the fly was simple, and before long I found myself tweaking the macros until I got them exactly right.

When using it with SWTOR, the Anansi truly showed me just how awesome it could be. Mapping the macro keys to a series of abilities as I went to war in the PvP Warzones truly saved my life. I soon learned which abilities worked the best in certain situations, and them mapped each thumb key accordingly. This allowed me to gain the upper edge, and my survival rate seemed much higher.

General typing wise, the Anansi felt a little off. The keys don’t offer that much in terms of tactile feedback, which wasn’t noticeable at all while gaming. However when typing articles, it just didn’t feel that great. Having said that, I am someone who types over 5,000 words a day for work, so I could be considered a little picky when it comes to typing comfortably.

One thing that lets the Anansi down is the USB situation. The keyboard requires 2 USB ports to run efficiently, which is okay if you’re using a PC or iMac, but if you’re rocking a MacBook Pro like I am, that’s both of your USB ports used up. Most keyboards that more than one USB port offer spares on the actual keyboard themselves, but the Anansi doesn’t even bother. It’s not a huge issue, but if you move data a lot on USB keys and you’re expecting to use this as a daily keyboard, you could be in some trouble.

Should you purchase the Razer Anansi? When it comes to dedicated gaming keyboards on OS X, you haven’t exactly got a lot to choose from. The Anansi performed well in all our gaming tests, and despite the issue with the USB ports, is definitely a worthy opponent in the MMO keyboard race. If you game a lot on your OS X device, you should definitely consider picking one of these up.