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RAZER TARTARUS V2: 32 Progammable Keys - Detachable Palm Rest - Razer Mecha-Membrane Mid-Height Keys - Gaming Keypad
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- High-Performance Mecha-Membrane Switches: Provides the tactile feedback of mechanical key press on a comfortable, soft-cushioned, membrane, rubber dome switch suitable for gaming
- 20 Mecha-Membrane Keys for More Hotkeys and Actions: Perfect for multitasking during gaming and everyday use with fully programmable keys
- Thumbpad for Improved Movement Controls: The 8-way directional thumbpad allows for more natural controls for console-oriented players and a more ergonomic experience
- Fully Programmable Macro Support: Razer Hypershift allows for all keys and keypress combinations to be remapped to execute complex commands
- Immersive, Customizable Chroma RGB Lighting: Includes 16.8 million colors w/ included preset profiles; syncs with gameplay and Razer Chroma-enabled peripherals and Philips Hue products
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The Razer Tartarus V2 provides endless commands at your fingertips with 32 fully programmable mecha-membrane keys, including an 8-way directional D-pad and 3-way scroll wheel. The keypad also features individually programmable backlit keys with 16.8 million color options, all easily set through Razer Synapse. And with its improved ergonomic form factor and adjustable palm rest with two positions, you get the exact angle of comfort you need. Razer Synapse 3 (PC) / Razer Synapse 2 (Mac) enabled.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The ergonomic fit is absurdly bad. It was designed by a non-human, or at least least by someone with tiny hands and short fingers. It has sliding parts that are apparently intended to allow some level of user adjustability, but this "feature" doesn't work and merely adds more parts to break while simultaneously driving up the price. Also, it rattles and flexes in use.
The old Nostomo came with a driver/config tool that was compact and unobtrusive. This POS requires me to register on Razors frelling marketing page, create an account, download some fraking stupid, chatty, bloated cloud thing that tries to force open a connection to its mystery server every. damm. time. I want to use it, and I cannot use it without this effing stupid application.
This crap appeared on my doorstep less than 24hrs ago, and it is going back today. This is the sort of garbage that drives people to making fantastical threats and Tourette's-like outbursts of profanity. I'm going to try to fix the old one again and contemplate messy ends for the sort of cretins that design hardware this bad.
I've been a longtime buyer of Razer products, but unfortunately it looks like their quality control is not what it used to be, and it is absolutely apparent that their help desk / customer service is much, much worse. As a longtime user of the Tartarus game pad (all the way back to the Belkin N52), I was super excited to see the Tartarus V2 come out...especially since they brought a true D-pad back to the V2 like the old Nostromo had. I pre-ordered the V2 in NOV17 and received at the end of DEC17. By mid-FEB18, one of the d-pad switches failed (it stopped clicking, felt 'mushy' and would either not work, or be stuck on). I emailed Razer support and waited for over a week. I re-emailed them asking for a status update, and finally received an email back asking to see a movie of the issue and to fill-in a form. I sent the movie and form the same day and continued to wait another week with no response. I sent 2 more emails asking for a status and finally just called their help-line. After an ~45-60 min call with a help desk agent I was told that they would send me a label (~1 week), I would need to ship back my broken product and wait for their staff to inspect it/etc. (~1-2 weeks) and then they would ship me a new one (~1 week). I pushed back and said that I've already been waiting nearly 3 weeks to get this fixed so they offered up the "non standard" replacement approach, but that could only be done by their Tier 2 help desk...who would get back to me within 24-48 hours. Two days later (this morning 3/1/2018), I received an email that said they would send me a new product and a shipping label, but would require that I pay them first ($79.99 +tax) as a 'guarantee', and would hold my funds until they received the broken product back, plus an additional 10-15 business days. At this point, it's looking like it will be ~1.5-2 months since my product broke for me to receive a replacement and I'll have to pay twice for it and *hope* they reimbursement my funds in a timely manner.
I'm not sure what has changed at Razer, but my only other experience with their help desk and replacement process was completely different. I had a switch fail on one of my Black Widow Ultimate keyboards a few years back and was contacted by a rep in less than 2 days, was told they would send me a new keyboard out the same day, and all I had to do was send them a picture of my keyboard cable being cut in half. I was super impressed with how easy it was and had a new keyboard in my hands within days. It's clear *something* has changed, and unfortunately, not in favor of the customer.
I didn't buy this to game with, though I'm looking forward to trying it out in the future. My goal for this purchase was to streamline my workflow, both for ergonomic and speed reasons. Working with a wacom + keyboard setup on my small desk was wreaking havoc on my shoulder, and because I do this professionally, I can't afford to miss work thanks to pinched nerves or sore arms. On top of that, I use a variety of programs throughout the day and I have trouble remembering all those shortcuts. I considered buying just an average keypad but I didn't much care for the idea that I'd have to switch up my shortcuts for everything, especially since I don't always work from home with my own setup.
Enter... the Orbweaver.
As a woman with fairly small hands, I worried that this device would be too large for my needs; Now that I have it with me, I can see why some reviewers struggle with its size. My fingers don't quite reach the top row, and the bottom row can be a little on the awkward side to use. But because I'm not using this for gaming, I don't really see this as an issue. I've assigned my top row for things I don't typically need all that often (Save As, New Layer, etc) and it's worked out just fine.
As for comfort, I found the default configuration to be best for my needs. I've suffered no pain when using it (well, at the fault of the device anyway; more on that later) and I have yet to have the glue seepage issue arise (but I'm keeping an eye out for it). My thumb can reach the side buttons fine, though the SPACE button is out of reach; again, since I didn't buy this for gaming, it hasn't been much of a problem. I imagine if/when I do pick up a game, I can always reassign that button to one I can actually reach if need be.
This thing has completely changed my workflow for the better. I'm using it for three apps right now (one at a time, so I can get used to my key layouts -- more on that later) and aside from some minor things here and there, it's been a dream to use.
I love that I can change the backlighting per profile. Esoteric Spine is set to red, PS is blue, CSP is currently lilac. I'm able to create countless profiles, each with a bunch of keymaps if I need it, and I've got half a dozen already! I do have some tips at the end of this review to help you create your own layouts, so check that out if you need it.
Yes, there are cons... as much as I love this device, I'm disappointed by a few things. These things are pretty much all SYNAPSE related. Synapse isn't a terrible app; I'm pretty okay with it, to be honest. Still, the hiccups and compatibility issues have given my Orbweaver quite the... uh, personality, and while I can find workarounds and fixes for some of its quirks, I'm still annoyed by its failings sometimes. Most of these things are issues that probably won't plague others, except for maybe the Mac version of Synapse: the biggest drawback I think we Mac users can all share in here is that one cannot change the color of the individual keys like advertised. Not a dealbreaker, not even really a big issue, but it's still an ability I would have liked to have.
Okay, now for the fun part my write-up... TIPS!
When I first considered using the Orbweaver for my art needs, I combed the internet looking for recommended layouts and everything, and I found... NOTHING. I know, I know... a layout is a personal thing, based on one's own preferences; what works for one person isn't going to necessarily work for someone else. Still, I wish I at least had a list of suggestions I could go by.
TIPS ON GETTING STARTED:
(Now, I'm still working on my layouts. Don't be frustrated if you don't have the perfect setup right away; it takes time to figure out what feels right. But here is what I've picked up so far.)
-My BIGGEST tip for you? Create an OFF mode! Disable every key for every keymap on this profile. Whenever you create a new profile, do so by duplicating this profile; that way, you have a clean slate every time you make a profile. This saves you SO much time, since Synapse doesn't seem to have a disable all option.
-Whenever you start a new profile, give it a version number. (Example: Clip Studio Paint v1.) When you decide to make changes, duplicate that profile and make changes to your new version. That way, if you decide you prefer the old layout, you can just switch back. (I test out the new layout a few days and then delete the old one if I prefer the new one.)
-I have found that 8, 12, and 14 are best used for my most frequent keys, since my fingers naturally rest on them. In Esoteric Spine, for example, I have these keys set to translate, rotate, and scale -- everything one needs to animate a character. I radiate out from these three keys by importance of other tools: copy/paste, play, save, etc. (Personal preference tip: 19 is great as undo! It's within quick reach, but you aren't going to accidentally hit it.)
-Utilize multiple keymaps. You don't need to fill out one keymap completely before starting on the second! Like I said before, I assign my keys starting from where my fingers rest and radiating outward from that based on importance/frequency of use, but instead of sending certain shortcuts out of reach, I make them share keys with other shortcuts by using keymaps. (Brush is assigned to 8, for example, but so is brush size, because it's easier to remember for me. I can toggle between keymaps using left Alt, easy peasy!)
-Assign harder to reach keys to things not so important/frequently used. (01 is assigned to Save for me. 03 is new layer. 05 is delete. etc.)
-Either hunt down someone's lineart of the Orbweaver or make your own and print out a dozen or so copies to keep on hand. You can use these to visualize a layout plan and/or to put together a cheat sheet while you're learning to use your new keypad. Bust out some colored pencils and make a nice chart for yourself.
-Seriously, you have to spend like... a week using the orbweaver and ONLY your orbweaver when it's time to make some art. Place your keyboard somewhere terribly inconvenient to you so you don't end up using it out of habit. You will be slow the first hour or so, but you'll be back to your usual speed by the end of the day; as you get used to it, you'll find yourself going MUCH master than before. Do this ONE PROFILE AT A TIME! You'll have a hard time remembering everything if you're switching between your profile for After Effects and your profile for Photoshop. Trust me, I tried. One program at a time, one profile at a time if you can.
Good luck! If you have any questions about how I use the orbweaver, just drop me a line in the comments.