I purchased a Razer Blackwidow mechanical keyboard about a month ago. I use it for both gaming and development purposes.
The biggest driving factor for me was the mechanical keys; I love the "typewriter" feeling when I type and the feedback I get as I press the keys. When playing games, especially Starcraft 2, that confirmation you get when you hit a key really makes it helpful for you since RTS games like this require fast and frequent key presses.
I also have played a lot of Battlefield 3 and Left 4 Dead 2 on this keyboard; and for shooters, it feels equally nice. One thing I did notice though is the W A S D keys are a bit darker already and I am not the type of gamer who eats at his desk; so the fact that they are already staining a bit is a bit of a negative, but hopefully nothing some q-tips and cleaner can't get out.
Development - While writing code, I have noticed how much quicker I can type; I make less mistakes on this keyboard and getting use to the layout took almost no time. However, I use this at home; I don't think I could bring this to work as I would drive my co-workers nuts with the sound of the keyboard. I think the sound is soothing; but others probably don't share the same feeling.
Obviously, I could have purchased other keyboards if I was just mainly looking for a mechanical keyboard; however the price point in comparison to other keyboards was another driving factor. I paid $79.99 at my local Frys Electronics store, which was just about towards the low-end or median of the other mechanical keyboards.
Additional Key Features
The macro keys are useful, as I have mapped one of the keys as the "CNTRL" key, which makes it a bit easier to group units in games like Starcraft 2, where the CNTRL key allows you to set units or buildings on a hot key.
You can also do more complex things like set macros to do multiple actions and to launch programs. The keyboard has software you can download from Razer's website which I prefer over manually setting macros.
Another useful key is the gaming mode key which disables the Windows start button, I know I have hit the button on accident on some occassions, so it is definitely a gamer friendly feature.
There is also a key that allows you to change the illumination settings on the light on the keyboard. This light is also sensitive to light levels and dims when a room is illuminated. Personally, I leave the light off.
One thing I love about this keyboard is the sturdiness, it has really good rubber grippers and good weight to it so it does not move or shift.
- Great price point in comparison to other mechanical keyboards and gaming keyboards
- Sturdy, well-made design
- Software available for this keyboard
- Simple layout which can appeal to non-gamers. I would highly suggest for developers/programmers if their office doesn't mind the noise they make
- The keys appear to get dirty easily (could just be because the letters on the keys are white)
- Useful macro function and gaming mode functions
- Nice shiny black finish