Razer Pro|Type Keyboard

Makaveli - 2007-06-10 19:02:46 in Input Devices
Category: Input Devices
Reviewed by: Makaveli   
Reviewed on: June 19, 2007
Razer
Razer
Price: $99.99 USD

Introduction:

Professional is something that we all seek to be in our jobs. Being professional not only entails how you act, but also how you look. If you’re sitting at your desk with a potential customer sitting across from you and you’re typing on a stained prehistoric keyboard, will he or she be impressed? I think not. Will Razer’s new Pro|Type Keyboard be the keyboard that really awes everyone who sees it? Could it possibly set the bar for keyboards used in the work place? Let’s see just how professional this keyboard really is and see how helpful it is to have an iPod docking station on the keyboard.

Razer has definitely been a force in the gaming world with its invincible standard for high-quality in its peripherals. This keyboard is part of a new “Pro|Solutions” line, in which all products are white, in contrast to all its gaming products, which are black.


Closer Look:

The box of the keyboard was a bit surprising because it featured hot-pink sides on the box. The top of the box displays a picture of the keyboard with a white iPod docked on it. The back of the box shows some of the features of the keyboard, as well as some of the other products in the Pro|Solutions line. On the front of the box, three major features of the keyboard are shown.

 


Upon opening the box, I found a piece of Styrofoam with the Razer logo etched into it resting on top of the keyboard. This is a good sign that the product box protects the keyboard from any damage during shipping.


Once you get the keyboard out of the box, you’ll see how protected everything is. The keyboard itself is wrapped with plastic and has plastic film on most of the surfaces of the keyboard. The picture on the right shows the air bubbles in all of the plastic film on the keyboard.

 


The first thing I noticed was the Razer logo displayed on the wrist rest of the keyboard. As the box hinted to us earlier, this logo lights up with a blue LED backlight. Notice the Razer logo on the key between Alt and Ctrl. From my tests, this key does the same thing as right-clicking on the mouse.

Closer Look:

Now let’s go from left to right and take a look at everything on this keyboard. On the very left you’ll notice 5 keys. When the top key is pushed, it’ll send your computer into stand-by mode. The key with a house on it opens your internet browser to its homepage. Below those keys you’ll find a set of keys for imaging. These keys can rotate, zoom-in, zoom-out, and put the image at 100% in your desired image editing program. To the right of those keys you’ll notice L1-L5 programmable keys, which light up when the keyboard is turned on.



Now on to the Function (F) keys, you’ll notice how they are about half the size of the normal keys, which I think makes it look much nicer and it also takes up less room on the keyboard. In the picture on the right, you can see just how the keys look – very clean and polished.

 


What sets this keyboard above others is the iPod docking station located at the top center of the keyboard.


On the right of the iPod docking station, you’ll find a “Profile” button, which we’ll discuss later. The Caps Lock, Num Lock, and Scroll Lock indicators look very nice and will probably look even better when the keyboard is lit up.


The very right side of the keyboard has some more media keys. The top button that has an eighth note on it, is the key you use to open your defined media program.  Play, stop, previous, and forward are pretty self explanatory. Below those keys you’ll see a shuffle button, volume controller, and mute button. Looks to me like this keyboard has all the media keys you need.  To the left of those keys are the R1-R5 programmable keys, which light up just as the L1-L5 keys do when the keyboard is turned on.


The back of the keyboard has rubber grips to help keep the keyboard in place when you’re typing on it. It also has feet to prop the back of the keyboard off of the desk about 3/4ths of an inch.

 


On the back side of the keyboard are two USB 2.0 ports and a Line-Out port. Unlike my old Logitech G15, this keyboard can provide enough power to the USB ports so that they are actually useable.


The keyboard is obviously going to need a lot of power to be able to support all the features it has. That’s why there are 2 USB cables that you’ll need to plug into your computer; one for the actual keyboard and the other for the iPod docking station.


Included with the keyboard is an instruction manual with the driver CD in it and some iPod brackets that go in the iPod docking station before your iPod does.

 

Installation:

Remove any old keyboard drivers and then turn off your computer before you install this keyboard. Before you can use the iPod docking station, you have to set up the docking station. First, take one of those white brackets included and find the two latches that the bracket hooks into and snaps into place. To see the latches, examine the picture on the left.  The picture on the right illustrates the bracket correctly installed.


 

 


Plug in both USB connectors into two free USB ports. Now just insert the installation CD, which is located in the manual, and follow the on-screen instructions.

 


Below are some images of the keyboard when the computer is on:

 


Configuration:

The Pro|Type is nowhere near as customizable as its gaming-centric counter-part, the Razer Tarantula, so configuring it won’t be too difficult. Below is a screenshot of the driver control program that you’ll be using to configure your keyboard to suit your needs.


Remember those keys on the left side of the keyboard that dealt with image editing? Well you are given some common image editing programs that you can select from the drop down menu to be your default one. For me, I set it to Windows Picture Viewer because I definitely use that program more than any of the others listed. You can set the image editing program to Windows Picture Viewer, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Acrobat Reader, and ACDSee.


Next to the image editing drop down menu, you can select your default media program for the keys on the right. Your choices here are Windows Media Player, iTunes, Real Player, and WinAmp.


To customize one of the L1-L5 and R1-R5 buttons, you just need to click the space next to the corresponding key and you’ll have the option to type out a macro or select a program to launch when the key is pressed, as well as select which profile this macro will be under.


You can have up to 10 profiles each with 10 macros assigned. To select a profile you can either push the Profile button on the keyboard (to the right of the iPod dock) to cycle through them or you can select a profile from the drop down menu. The profile editor screenshot is on the right.

 

 


Below you can see an example of the macros in work. For that particular macro, I made it “B,4,2” so that in Counter-Strike: Source, I can buy myself an AK-47 when I play on the Terrorist side.

 

 

Specifications:


Razer Pro|Type™ Technical Specifications

Package Contents

* For the 20GB / U2 Special Edition and 40GB iPods with click wheels.

--Taken from Razer's website

 

Testing:


To test this keyboard, I set up profiles so that I could really test every button and option on this keyboard. The first profile I set for media usage; I set the L keys to launch different media programs and the R keys to open up office programs such as Microsoft Word, Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Excel, etc. This actually worked great until I forgot which keys opened which program. During this test, I set my iPod on the dock and it started to charge – it didn’t open up iTunes. When I opened iTunes, the iPod was instantly shown as being connected and it began to sync my music like normal.

Test System:


The only down side that I found while testing this keyboard was that the media keys aren’t universal. This means that you have to go to the Razer driver control program and change the default media program or image editing program every time you want to use the buttons with a different program.  You can also set a different profile to have that default media program you want so that kind of bypasses the problem but it still stuck out to me as an issue.

All through testing, I found that I was constantly cleaning the keyboard because it got dirty so easily being white.  Even while I thought it was dirty, all of my friends kept saying how slick the keyboard looked and how cool they thought it was with the blue backlight.  

As far as how the buttons feel, I definitely feel as if I slide over the keys while typing and it’s not like my old Logitech G15 where I had to put all the weight of my fingers on each key to push it down.

For more information on how to set macros with this keyboard, please see the Razer Macro Guide written by Robert "Razer Guy" Krakoff for OCC. You'll notice that it's for the Tarantula keyboard, but setting the macros is almost exactly the same for the Pro|Type.

Conclusion:

This keyboard definitely deserves the name “Professional” for how it looks and behaves. The keys do not require much force to push and your fingers slide gracefully over the keyboard when you are typing. The customizable buttons on the left and right of the keyboard definitely give the user enough options to make the keyboard meet their expectations and needs. With the backlight only shining through a couple of keys and the Razer logo, it definitely gives this keyboard some class without overdoing it. The image editing and media player buttons on the left and right sides of the keyboard are very nice to use and come in handy when you need them. The only problem with this, is that unless you set multiple profiles, you’ll have to go and change the default programs so that those keys work like they should. If those keys were universal, that would be much better. Also, the programs that are listed in the drop-down menu are default so you won't be able to use the media player and image editing buttons with any other program other than those specified in the drop-down menu. The iPod docking station on the keyboard is perfect because you don’t have to mess with any cables to transfer music or charge your iPod. Compared to the Logitech G15, this keyboard is small! It’s a little bit longer than a normal keyboard but it’s worth it for how professional and action-packed it is.


Pros:

 

Cons: