Razer Tartarus V2 Gaming Keypad: Mecha-Membrane Key Switches

The Razer Tartarus V2 may be handy for high-level MMO players with readily configurable buttons, but its advantages are minor for other gamers.

Even if it’s just for a small audience, there’s something to be said about a product that puts its best foot forward. One such device is the Razer Tartarus V2 Chroma ($80), which has a 25-key keypad with a directional stick and full RGB illumination. Not be as flexible as a complete keyboard, but it may be a godsend for serious gamers who don’t need 104 keys to thrive in their competitive games.

A compact, customizable keypad with a directional stick will improve the gaming experience, and the Tartarus V2 does the trick. It serves its purpose effectively. However, it isn’t essential for most genres — even competitive ones — and the price is difficult to justify compared to the other peripherals available for that money.

This product has: 

• Fully Programmable Macros: With Razer Hypershift, remap any key or keypress combination to perform complicated instructions.

• Razer Chroma provides ultimate personalization and gaming immersion by syncing with popular games, Razer hardware, Philips Hue, and gear from 30+ partners; supports 16 8 million colors on individually illuminated keys.

• High-Performance Mecha-Membrane Switches: Provides mechanical keypress tactile feedback on a pleasant, soft-cushioned membrane rubber dome switch suited for gaming.

• Improved Movement Controls: The 8-way directional thumbpad enables more natural controls and a more ergonomic experience for console-oriented gamers.

Product Information

With 32 completely programmable Mecha-Membrane keys, including an 8-way directional d-pad and the 3-way scroll wheel, the Razer Tartarus V2 puts infinite instructions at your fingers. Individually programmable illuminated keys with 16.8 million color possibilities are also included, which can be readily customized using Razer Synapse.

Design

The Tartarus V2 is a tiny keyboard with four rows of five keys each (except for the bottom row, which includes a scroll wheel instead of the fifth key) atop a hand rest, which Razer calls an “ergonomic keypad.” An eight-directional D-pad, a tiny circular button (by default, Alt), and a thumb button that usually acts as a space bar are located on the side.

The Tartarus V2 isn’t as relaxing as it might be. There are a total of 25 programmable buttons. That’s around a fourth of the number of keys on a full-size keyboard. 

You can move the hand rest to one of two places, but unless you have incredibly gigantic hands.

The button that translates to S has a little ridge to assist you in recognizing the movement keys by touch, but it’s so tiny that I found myself resetting my fingers one place to the left or right all the time. In a single-player game, this is inconvenient; in a multiplayer game, it’s risky; and in a high-stakes tournament battle, it’s outright lethal.

Aside from that, the design is tidy and tiny. The Tartarus V2 saves much space, which might be helpful in a busy tournament environment. However, you’ll most certainly need to use it in combination with a standard keyboard at home rather than in place of one. That will be discussed later.

Keys

The Tartarus V2’s main structure is one area where it loses points immediately away. The Tartarus V2 employs Razer’s “Mecha-Membrane” technology, also featured in the excellent Ornata Chroma keyboard. In a word, the keycaps have the feel of a mechanical keyboard but depend on a squishy membrane below.

 Have to pay $120 for the Orbweaver if we want Razer’s clacky green or silent orange switches in a keypad attachment – money that might go for a top-of-the-line wireless gaming mouse, full-size mechanical gaming keyboard, or a wired gaming headset. However, with just 25 keys, wondering why Razer didn’t go for the complete mechanical experience.

Perhaps the Tartarus V2’s target audience already possesses all of those items, but it emphasizes that the Tartarus V2 is an extremely niche product, even within the already-niche world of gaming accessories.

The mecha-membrane keys are enough on their own: They aren’t as gratifying as a mechanical switch, but neither are they as squishy as a membrane type. I couldn’t put them through a typing test since writing anything on a keypad would be a struggle (25 keys, 26 letters in the English alphabet, for starters), but they felt responsive and comfy.

The D-pad proved to be a fascinating component to test. For a complete thumbstick on a gaming controller, it functions more like a series of arrow keys, with a command in between each pair of cardinal directions. Depending on your genre, it might be valuable or completely pointless, as stated below.

Features

The Tartarus V2’s most remarkable feature is that it exists. There aren’t a lot of small-form gaming keypads on the market, especially from large peripheral companies. However, everything necessary in functionality comes from the Razer Synapse 3.0 software.

Synapse 3.0 is still in beta. With many white backdrops and space between choices, the whole software seems minimalist. Setting up the Chroma lighting settings takes trial and error, but it automatically syncs with other Razer goods, which is a nice touch. While configuring these options takes much time, you might have about 150 distinct commands at your disposal in each game. The main issue is that no keys are allocated to enable Hypershift or change keymaps by default. It’s not difficult to program them, but it seems weird to have one of the Tartarus V2’s most delicate features, an opt-in rather than an endemic feature.

Usage

The keypad will not move (fast) during intensive FPS sessions due to the pads on the bottom. As a consequence of the lack of space on my desk, the joystick was not always steady.

The mouse was then employed in an inconvenient location to travel small distances to change direction. Alternatively, move the keyboard forward and use WASD with your arm extended.

Also have been able to move my keyboard and mouse closer to my face because the space between my arms and the HOTAS is too small. Also, during intense FPS, my arms will gently contact the controls, which is not ideal. The transition from walking to flying was much more manageable. The HOTAS, G502, and Tartarus are mapped to 80% of my buttons. The remaining 20% are buttons that I use just once throughout a session.

My arms are also more comfortable on the armrests, which are the same height as my desk. What surprised me was how frequently in the new setting after gaming. The hand remains on the keypad, but it is not in use. This made me realize how much more a mouse is than my keyboard. Look into how you can use specific operations like cut, paste, and screenshot/print screen in the future. This raises the likelihood of typing with voice.

Tartarus V2 Performance

Put the Tartarus V2 through its paces with StarCraft: Remastered, Overwatch, and World of Warcraft to see how well it performed in the genres gamers are most likely to use. 

 Know that break year of keyboard habits and utilize the Tartarus V2 properly. Encoded all of the often-used instructions onto the 25 keys, then attempted to educate fingers to know the new placements.

The issue wasn’t that the Tartarus V2 didn’t function; it worked;  benefit in learning to use a whole new peripheral when a keyboard is both roomier and more familiar. This convenience isn’t worth $80 in and of itself, but it does impact gameplay.

Conclusion

The Tartarus V2 will undoubtedly find a market; after all, admirers of the previous edition demanded a sequel.

The Razer Tartarus v2 does what it aims to achieve, and programming it to fit mechanical and aesthetic requirements is simple. The learning curve is severe, the cost is considerable, and the results are only marginally beneficial. However, whether or not this makes it a sensible buy relies entirely on what else you might do with $80. Personally, a decent bottle of Auchentoshan would suffice. 

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