If you’re a gamer, then you’re probably familiar with gaming keypads. They’re an alternative to a regular or a mechanical keyboard and offer a lot more control and speed as you play. For avid MMO and first-person shooter players, it’s an essential tool.
But it’s not only gamers who will find a keypad helpful. If you do detailed work such as graphic design or photo editing, a keypad can be a valuable tool for you, too.
And the Razer keypads are some of the best out there, specifically the Razer Orbweaver and the Razer Tartarus V2. These two models are similar, but each has its pros and cons. But at first glance, these differences are a little hard to see.
So in this guide, we’ll take a close look at the Razer Orbweaver vs. Tartarus V2. I’ll explain the differences and help you decide which Razer hand keyboard is best suited to you.
Why Buy a Razer Gaming Keypad?
First of all, let’s take a closer look at why it’s a good idea to invest in a gaming keypad at all.
When you use a keypad, you get a completely different experience than with a regular keyboard.
One thing you’ll notice is that it takes up a lot less space on your desktop for a start. So, you’ll have more room to move your mouse around. That comes in handy when you’re in the zone and allows you to react quickly and freely. And you can cut down on desk clutter, helping you to focus.
Also, the keys on gaming keypads are perfectly spaced to fit your fingers. As a result, you’ll have a better response time and precision. It’s a simple way to up your game (and impress your gaming buddies).
You can select the functions of each of the keys, creating your unique shortcuts. And with an ergonomic build, they are comfortable to use – even for hours at a time.
Plus, they look fantastic! A keypad with customized lighting is a much cooler gadget than a keyboard.
But as I mentioned before, these keypads aren’t only useful for gamers. All sorts of professionals and enthusiastic hobbies will find that it comes in handy.
A keypad is a great tool for illustrators, designers, and photographers. As with the best mouses for Photoshop, they provide more control and versatility. You can program each key for a specific use, which is ideal for working in Photoshop or Illustrator. That allows you to create unique shortcuts and streamline your workflow.
So, a gaming keypad can save you time and boost your productivity. You might even find that you get improved accuracy and precision when using this kind of keypad.
So, why should you go for a Razer keypad specifically? Razer has been leading the way in this industry and produces some of the best keypads out there.
For example, the Orbweaver mouse was one of the first gaming keypads on the market. But it’s stood the test of time and is still popular today.
Introducing the Razer Orbweaver Mouse
(Images credit: Razer)Learn more
With all those reasons to buy a keypad, I hope I’ve convinced you of its usefulness.
Now, let’s put the spotlight on the Razer keypad Orbweaver. This gadget first hit the market back in January 2013, and it was pretty revolutionary at the time.
(Images credit: Razer)
Currently, it’s been discontinued by Razer. But you can still find them easily online or secondhand on eBay or Facebook Marketplace. And the Orbweaver is by no means outdated, even though it’s been around for several years.
There are two versions of the Orbweaver – the regular model with green backlighting. And then you have the Orbweaver Chroma, which has full RGB backlighting you can customize.
We’ll look at the Orbweaver’s features in detail below.
Introducing the Razer Tartarus Gaming Keypad
(Images credit: Razer)Learn more
Next up is the Razer Tartarus V2, which came later in 2018. It’s another excellent keypad that’s very affordable and works seamlessly.
And while Tartarus looks like the Orbweaver, there are some key differences. (I’ll share more on them below).
(Images credit: Proactive Creative)
There is another model called the Tartarus Pro, which is a more expensive keypad. But in this Tartarus guide, we’ll stick to looking at the cheaper Tartarus V2.
(Images credit: Proactive Creative)
Buying Guide: How to Choose the Best Razer Gaming Keypad
Here’s what you should look out for when choosing a keypad for gaming or editing:
How adjustable is the keypad? Not everyone has the same size hands or the same length fingers. So, the more it can adjust to your hand, the more comfortable you’ll be.
For example, some keypads allow you to extend the thumb pad or the wrist rest. As a result, you’ll hold your hand in a more ergonomic position. And you’ll avoid stretching too far or cramping your hand, increasing your comfort.
Another thing to find out is how many keys the keypad has and whether they’re all programmable. Customizable keys allow you to create your own workflow and the shortcuts you use most. So, it will make for a quicker response time and boost your productivity and your flow.
Design & Layout
I’ve mentioned the adjustability of the keys, but the overall design of the keypad is essential, too. Does it fit your hand nicely and keep it in a comfortable position? Is there enough padding on the wrist rest and palm rest, and what materials have been used?
You should also consider the layout of the keys and if you’ll be able to reach them easily. It’s all very well to have tons of programmable keys. But if they’re too far away for you to press with ease, they’re no use to you.
Last but not least, how much money do you have to spend on your keypad? Knowing what your budget is will help you narrow down which keypad to buy.
While a keypad can be seen as a luxury product, there are affordable options out there, too. So, you don’t need to break the bank to invest in your comfort and enjoyment.
Razer Orbweaver vs. Tartarus V2: Features Face to Face
Let’s look at the features up close to see how these two keypads compare.
When it comes to looks, there’s hardly any difference between the Orbweaver and the Tartarus V2. Both these models come in black and look almost exactly the same.
If you go for the regular Orbweaver instead of the Chroma, you won’t have the adjustable lighting.
But both the Orbweaver Chroma and Tartarus Chroma have full RBG lighting. So you can customize it to look the way you prefer, right down to the individual keys.
Winner? It’s a tie – the aesthetics are almost identical.
Let’s look at another key factor (sorry, that pun was too good to miss). But the design of the keys can make or break a keypad. If you don’t like how the keys feel, nothing will win you over to that product.
The Orbweaver has mechanical switch keys that feel very tactile and produce a nice click. They respond well, with a decent amount of resistance.
These mechanical switches provide just the right amount of feedback to the user. So, they’re incredibly satisfying to use. And they have a good reset, popping back up into place.
But Razer went down a different route with the Tartarus, which has the new mecha membrane keys. These have a combination of a membrane and a metal prong inside the key. As a result, they feel a little squishier than the Orbweaver’s keys.
The Tartarus keys need some force to press them and have a powerful reset. These keys produce a tactile click, so you know exactly when you’ve hit them.
When it comes down to the keys, it’s all about personal preference. It’s a very individual factor, so do your research and even test out the two models if possible. You can find out more about the various Razer keys here.
Winner: Draw – it’s a personal preference.
Key Layout & Customizability
Now, let’s look at the layout of the keys and how you can customize them.
Both models have a similar layout, with the scroll wheel being the biggest difference. On the Tartarus V2, it replaces the 20th key and allows you to scroll down.
You’ll probably use it most for zooming or scrolling down a page, but you can also program it for another use. It’s a nice addition to an already great product.
Another distinction is in the design of the directional stick on each model. On the Orbweaver, you get an 8-directional stick that allows a lot more movement in all directions.
So, there is a higher possibility of making mistakes or accidental presses. While you do have the option to disable these extra directions, it’s not necessary in the first place.
It’s not as clear-cut as on the Tartarus, which only has four possible directions to move this pad.
The button above this directional pad also differs in shape on the Tartarus vs. the Orbweaver. It’s rectangular on the Orbweaver, but it’s circular on the Tartarus. But that has very little effect on how you use it, so no need to worry about that.
When it comes to programmable keys, you get plenty on each keypad. The Orbweaver boasts 30 to the Tartarus’ 32 programmable keys. It all comes down to that scroll wheel again, as it has three separate functions. But basically, there’s no real difference here.
A bonus for both the Tartarus and Orbweaver is that you can give each key an extra function. You can access that function by holding down the relevant button. That provides even more versatility. However, you’d rarely need so many different controls anyway.
Winner: The Tartarus V2 for the scroll wheel and the improved directional pad.
For both keypads, you’ll use Synapse software to program your programmable buttons and functions. But Tartarus uses the more recent 3.0 version compared to Orbweaver’s 2.0 software.
So, how do they compare?
Well, there aren’t any major differences between the two. The interface is simple and easy to use. But when you open up the app, it will prompt you to create an account to customize your keypad.
There’s no way around this in Synapse 2.0, but in the newer version, you can skip this step and use a guest account. That’s handy if you just want to get going without logging in each time. (Because we all have far too many passwords to remember, anyway.
Unfortunately, Synapse 2.0 can struggle with bugs occasionally. So, it’s more likely to crash or get stuck than with the newer version you get with the Tartarus.
But this minor factor shouldn’t be a deal-breaker for your decision.
Winner: Tartarus V2, thanks to the newer Synapse 3.0 software
We all know how important ergonomics are when you’re an avid gamer. You probably spend a lot of time at your desk, using your mouse and keypad. And the same is true if you’re a graphic designer or if you edit a lot of photos. Your comfort should always come first.
So, let’s see how the Orbweaver and Tartarus V2 compare in ergonomics and design.
First of all, these keypads will only work if you use your right hand for your mouse. They’re designed for your left hand and aren’t interchangeable. So, if you’re a leftie, you’ll need to look for something else. (You can check out my reviews of the best left-handed mouses and keyboards instead).
Both keypads are almost the same size and look pretty similar. But there are some key differences when it comes to design and comfort.
For example, the Orbweaver has a nice rubberized coating on the wrist pad. It feels very tactile and provides a lot of grips, but there’s no padding at all. That might not be an issue, though, as it still supports your hand and holds it in the right position for your palm rest.
In contrast, Razer skipped the rubber coating altogether on the Tartarus. Instead, it has a soft-touch plastic and a faux-leather wrist pad. It does take it to the next level when it comes to comfort, as it’s cushier and gentler on your wrist.
However, the Orbweaver comes out top when it comes to adjustability. On the Tartarus, you can’t adjust the angle of the pal rest or extend either the thumbstick or pad.
But the Orbweaver offers all these features and will suit a wider range of hands. It’s more adaptable and customizable to the individual user.
Winner: Tartarus V2 for padding, but the Orbweaver for adjustability.
Accessories & Extra Features
When it comes to accessories, there’s not a lot to cover. Neither keypad comes with many extra features, but they don’t need them either.
Both keypads come with a cable to hook them up with your computer. With the Orbweaver, you gt a 6-foot rubber cable that doesn’t provide the widest range of movement. But it does the job and isn’t worth complaining about.
With the Tartarus, Razer has been a bit more generous and includes a 10-foot braided cable. That means you get more freedom of movement, but the extra length can also get in the way.
The Tartarus V2 also comes with a little removable thumbstick. But it’s a cheap piece of plastic that doesn’t feel premium and isn’t super helpful. So, you may want to replace it with something else or remove it altogether.
This factor probably won’t make or break your decision. There are no essential features that either keypad is missing. So, you don’t need to overthink this section.
Winner: The Tartarus V2 for the extra cable length – but it’s not a huge difference.
When it comes to the price, the Tartarus V2 is the more attractive option. It will only set you back around $80 at full price. And occasionally, Razer runs offers and sales, so you could get it even cheaper.
In contrast, the Orbweaver will cost you around $130-140. But that’s just a guideline for this model. As it’s only available secondhand, you’ll need to shop around (and could even haggle with the seller if you like).
If you buy the Orbweaver secondhand, make sure you’ve checked that it’s all in working order. You won’t be covered by any kind of warranty unless you go for a certified refurbished model.
So, it all depends on your budget and how much you want to spend on a keypad. When you’re on a tight budget, Tartarus is the obvious choice. But if you have a little more to spend, you can choose to go for the Orbweaver.
Make sure you’ve weighed up all the above factors to help you make the right choice!
Which Programmable Gaming Keypad Should You Buy?
So, we’ve got down to the gritty details and compared these two keypads, feature by feature. Now, you should have a good idea of how they fare against each other and which one you want.
Let’s do a quick summary and see which Razer keypad you should go for!
Should you get the Razer Orbweaver keypad?
The Razer Orbweaver is a classic, superb keypad that’s been popular for years. It’s a tried and tested model that’s proven itself as durable with great performance.
Plus, it has those clicky mechanical switches that feel great to use. It’s fairly comfortable and offers better customizability to make it work for you.
It’s worth bearing in mind that it doesn’t have the most powerful reset.
But while the Orbweaver isn’t the newest or most cutting-edge, you know what you’re getting with it. It’s a reliable keypad that’s sure to improve your game for years to come.
It is more pricey than the Tartarus V2, even when buying secondhand. Whether it’s worth the extra cash is for you to decide!
Or should you go for the Razer Tartarus V2 Chroma Gaming Keypad?
Your other option is the Razer Tartarus V2, and it’s by no means a downgrade. The Tartarus V2 is also very satisfying to use and provides excellent value for money.
With its programmable keys and colors, it looks great and functions smoothly. It feels super comfortable, even during those epic gaming sessions that never end!
The biggest difference is in the mecha membrane keys vs. mechanical switches. Some people love them, and some hate them. And that comes down to personal preference, so you’re the best person to judge.
But as you can see, Tartarus did beat the Orbweaver in several categories. It’s cheaper, easier to get hold of, and an all-round great keypad.
Check Razer Orbweaver onAmazon
Check Razer Tartarus onAmazon
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Razer Orbweaver vs. Razer Tartarus Wrap Up
So now you’re an expert on the differences between these two Razer keypads.
Both the Razer Orbweaver and the Razer Tartarus V2 are outstanding keypads. They will transform your gaming experience and provide you with the next level of control.
And they’re also ideal for photo editing, design, and other finicky tasks. They’re super customizable and compact, and you can create your unique workflow.
Hopefully, this Orbweaver vs. Tartarus guide has helped you decide which one to buy. Each one has its specific pros and cons, and the decision depends on your preferences.
But I’d love to know which one you choose! You can click the links above to find out more and buy. Then, let me know in the comments and share how you get on with your new keypad, too!
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