(Pocket-lint) – Razer has enthusiastically rejuvenated the DeathStalker line-up. A compact version of the company’s flagship keyboard, the DeathStalker V2 Pro TKL is a pleasing, flat tenkeyless keyboard that looks fantastic on paper.
With some serious specs, including Razer’s low-profile linear optical switches, the promise of 50 hours of battery life, and HyperSpeed wireless, Bluetooth, and USB-C connectivity, it’s a serious piece of kit. At first glance, this keyboard might also be a great alternative to one of our most popular gaming keyboards – the Logitech G915 TKL.
However, how does the Razer DeathStalker V2 Pro TKL stack up against the competition? We worked and played with it to find out.
There’s no denying that the Razer DeathStalker V2 Pro TKL is an expensive keyboard, but you get a lot of keyboard for your money, even if it’s tiny.
We really enjoyed this tenkeyless keyboard and would happily recommend it as one of the best keyboards out there. Especially if you’re looking for a comfortable and capable low-profile keyboard with specs that justify the price.
Razer DeathStalker V2 Pro TKL
5 Stars – Pocket-lint Editors’ Choice
- Pleasant typing experience
- Premium feeling
- Solid build quality
- Minimal wobbling of the keycap
- Good key stabilization
- Pleasant RGB lighting
- Laser-etched ABS keycaps with durable coating
- HyperSpeed wireless (2.4GHz), Bluetooth or USB-C connectivity
- Multifunctional media button and media roll
- Onboard hybrid storage and cloud storage – up to 5 profiles
Before we got our hands on the DeathStalker V2 Pro TKL, we tested and reviewed its full-size big brother. We immediately appreciated what this keyboard had to offer in terms of style, build quality, and features, but thought it could be so much better in TKL form.
This is obviously a personal preference. Some players prefer 60%, some TKL and others insist on having a number pad. But for us, tenkeyless is the perfect size for a healthy mix of comfort and extra mouse room.
Razer has clearly taken this into account when laying out the DeathStalker V2 Pro TKL. The dedicated print screen, scroll lock, and pause buttons are buried as a secondary action on the insert, home, and page up buttons. Which isn’t too much of a hassle, but otherwise most other things are there.
There are also other handy keys that you can access by first pressing and holding FN. Our favorite is the battery button. Press FN and END and you’ll see the little lights beneath those keys come to life to indicate how much juice is left. Each light uses 25% of the total battery, so you can see at a glance how much time you have left.
You also get a nifty little multi-action volume wheel and media button. The wheel rolls up and down to adjust the system volume, while pressing mutes it. The small button next to it can be pressed once to play and pause, double-tap to skip, or triple-tap to rewind.
Aside from that, you can also dive into Razer Synapse and add additional key actions and macros to customize the keyboard with ease. If you do that, you’ll also be able to take advantage of the five built-in profiles, so there’s a lot to like here, even if you miss the extra buttons.
At this price point, you’d expect some serious build quality, and we’re happy to report that you’re getting exactly that. Although there are still some trade-offs worth noting.
The DeathStalker V2 Pro is crafted with quality in mind, meaning it includes a durable aluminum top plate and laser-etched ABS keycaps with a “durable” coating. The low-profile design of the switches and keycaps means it’s unfortunately not possible to use the PBT double-shot keycaps that you’d typically find on other premium keyboards. That might mean these keycaps wear out more easily over time, but based on quality we’d suggest that would be the case after fairly heavy use.
There is a lot of attention to detail here and it’s the little things that make the difference. The laser engraving is not only on the standard lettering, but also on the additional characters (such as the $, % and £ characters). The result of this is that the RGB lighting shines beautifully through every keycap and symbol on the keyboard. This makes it easier to see what you’re doing, but also results in an overall more premium aesthetic.
The durable coating is designed to keep dirt out and prevent damage over time. However, we found that both the keycaps and backplate seem to pick up oils from the fingertips with alarming ease. Wipes off easily, but can quickly spoil the view.
What is certain, however, is that the frame feels solid and you feel like you have a premium keyboard in your hands. It’s wonderfully unobtrusive and sits comfortably on the desk so your wrists don’t get raised while typing. In our eyes far more comfortable than standard keyboards.
There’s a small bulge on the back and feet to adjust if you want to lift it up a bit, but generally it’s thin and sleek. The additional bulge is used to hold the battery. That internal battery is clearly a beast and it was done on purpose to give the DeathStalker V2 Pro TKL decent battery life.
Razer says you can get up to 200 hours out of this keyboard with the lights off. We haven’t been able to test this, but with the lights on we’d say the 50 hour claim is quite reasonable. The battery life is interesting as it is affected not only by the RGB lighting but also by the optical switches.
Unusual optical switches
- Razer Slim Optical Switches (Linear) – 1.2mm actuation, 2.8mm full travel, 45gf actuation force
- Guaranteed up to 70 million clicks
- 50 hours of battery life (50% RGB) or 200 hours without lighting
Optical switches are nothing new. In our experience, however, they’re a rare sight on a low-profile keyboard and a welcome addition to a premium keyboard, which might partly explain the price.
Each switch on the keyboard has its own optical light beam to track your switch presses. This drains the battery significantly, but it also means you have accurate actuation registration that comes with the low-latency connection.
The DeathStalker V2 Pro TKL is only available with linear switches (if you want clicky you’ll have to buy the full-size model). That’s okay though, because these switches are a perfect balance of speed and convenience.
The low-profile optical switches actuate at just 1.2mm, meaning they only require a light touch to activate. This is ideal for hectic gaming sessions where fast pressing and reliable registration are important. And we certainly found the keyboard reliable and accurate, both in our day-to-day work and while playing Rainbow Six Siege and Escape From Tarkov. It’s awesome in both wired and wireless modes.
Many will be pleased to note that Razer has also opted for USB-C with this keyboard, so you can easily do that if you need to plug it in for a fee. And you can also opt to upgrade to a fancier custom cable if you wish.
One of the best TKL keyboards we’ve tried, especially if you’re a fan of low profiles and appreciate high-end specs like optical switches.
Writing by Adrian Willings. Editing by Verity Burns.