Gaming peripherals giant Razer has announced plans to differentiate its future keyboards from rivals, with the development of its own-brand microswitches dubbed Razer Green and Razer Orange.
Razer is moving away from the popular Cherry MX microswitch, re-releasing its BlackWidow keyboard family with a choice of own-brand Razer Green or Razer Orange switches.
Popular with professional typists, gamers and vintage computing enthusiasts, mechanical keyboards typically switch the rubber domes traditionally used for low-cost input devices for a switch family known as Cherry MX. These switches are available in a variety of colours, with each colour denoting a different typing experience: low-pressure actuation, high-pressure actuation, silent, clicky and so forth. Although rivals to the Cherry MX exist - notably a range from Alps, capacitive switches from Topre, and a wide array of Cherry-like knock-offs - Cherry MX switches are generally considered the pinnacle of mechanical keyboard technology by those who eschew the IBM patented buckling spring system.
Now, Razer is hoping to get in on the act with a line of homebrew switches. Previously, the company has - like almost every other mechanical keyboard manufacturer - released products based on Cherry MX switches, but its 2010 BlackWidow Ultimate keyboard is now to get a revision to own-brand switches.
The Razer Green switches offer a 50g actuation force and a tactile bump, making them roughly equivalent to the Cherry MX Blue. Unlike the Cherry models, however, the Razer Greens offer a reset point around half the distance - meaning double-tapping during rapid-fire gaming is significantly easier, at the risk of making typing without repeating a letter slightly more difficult until your fingers get used to the experience.
The Razer Green is to be joined by the Razer Orange, the company's equivalent of the popular Cherry MX Brown. Slightly lighter at a 45g actuation, the Razer Orange does away with the audible click of the Razer Green while keeping the tactile 'bump' - meaning it's the key for anyone who doesn't want to keep the rest of the house awake at night with clattering keys.
Both models offer a lifespan of up to 60 million keystrokes, and feature a Cherry-like cruciform stem - meaning the switches should be compatible with the wide variety of third-party keycaps popular among mechanical keyboard fans. The switches are to launchs hortly in the Razer BlackWidow family - the Ultimate Stealth, Stealth, and Tournament Stealth Edition - with no word yet as to whether the company plans to sell the switches separately to enthusiasts.
More information is available on the official website
, while the company's promotional video for the launch is reproduced below.