The Razer DeathStalker V2 Pro is Razer's new low-profile wireless keyboard.
Debuting together with a tenkeyless (TKL) version and a wired version, the DeathStalker V2 is Razer's version of the Logitech G915, the ever popular low-profile wireless gaming keyboard by Logitech.
Much like a lot of Razer's new products, the DeathStalker V2 reuses the name of a product line that was in the market at some point of time.
The first version of the Razer DeathStalker was low-profile chiclet keyboard that was made in 2014 when gaming keyboards were all about the RGB and still rocking membrane switches.
Fast forward to today, three years after the release of the Logitech G915, is Razer's version a little too late to the party, or does it offer much more than the G915 at a better price?
The full sized DeathStalker V2 Pro comes with a USB-A to USB-C cable, adaptor, wireless dongle and a manual in its packaging.
The external of the keyboard itself is nothing to write home about.
At a glance, it just looks like a normal stealthy low-profile keyboard. The G915 definitely has a more 'premium' look over the DeathStalker due to the brushed aluminium finish, but that again is a very subjective matter.
The keyboard is relatively thin and light (as most low profile keyboards) compared to a full sized keyboard.
The full-sized version has a smaller footprint than the G915 (due to the G915 having macro buttons on the left side of the keyboard).
When turned on, the RGB isn't overbearing, but you are also able to turn the brightness down or off entirely, if you like the stealthy look or would like to save some battery.
I am not going to spend too much time on the specs. By now, everyone knows that Razer's wireless is top notch, and it's no different here.
Connecting the keyboard with the 2.4GHz dongle is as good as connecting it with a wire, and the Bluetooth mode is nothing to sneeze at either. Response times are still quick, and pairing the keyboard to your Bluetooth device is painless and easy.
You aren't able to connect to multiple devices simultaneously, but you are able to save up to three of these connected devices to the keyboard memory. By pressing the profile buttons on the keyboard, you are able to swap to any of these saved devices at will.
Technically you do not even need to install Synapse to get the keyboard up and running because the RGB brightness and modes can be set on board the keyboard itself, so that is a win.
The new optical switches
Razer is using their new low profile optical switches for the DeathStalker V2.
The linear version that we received has a 1.2mm actuation length and has a travel length of 2.8mm. Razer also has the clicky version that has a 1.5mm actuation point.
For comparison, the mechanical switches on the Logitech G915 have a 1.5mm actuation on all their switch variants and a travel length of 2.7mm.
The reason why optical switches are superior to mechanical switches is that they are highly unlikely to cause any kind of double-click issues.
Mechanical switches use a switch leaf internally to actuate a key press, and sometimes through wear and tear, the leaf may actuate twice during a keypress, causing unwanted input in some situations.
Optical switches, on the other hand, use a mechanism to cut off an infrared light beam that will actuate a key press.
This is much more reliable, as the only moving part is the switch stem, and does not rely on actuating a metal leaf in the switch.
This is enough reason to choose an optical keyboard over a mechanical keyboard if they are priced the same.
The switch feel while typing however, is a different story.
The switches in the DeathStalker V2 are clearly padded to reduce sound.
It definitely isn't as tactile as the Logitech G915, and can feel mushy at times, though not overly-mushy. The typing experience is not too bad, but I wouldn't say it's fantastic.
Because of how dampened the switches sound as well, when you hit a key with stablisers in it like the spacebar, shift or backspace key, you can hear a very audible stabliser rattle.
This is perhaps the only downside of having such silent switches.
Keycaps, fixing the G915's most annoying problem
If there is one thing that annoyed me the most with the G915, it was the keycaps.
They were extremely rattle-y, and moved around on the switches a lot.
If you were missing a shaker or a maraca for your musical band, just grab a G915, it would do the job.
I am glad to report that the DeathStalker V2 has no problems of the sort. The keycaps sit well in place on the switches.
One other thing about the G915's ABS keycaps was that they were also very low quality. A few months into usage, you are able to see visible scratch marks and paint chips on the keys.
Razer claims that their DeathStalker V2 keycaps are 'laser-etched keycaps with ultra-durable coating'. Despite also being ABS, the keycaps definitely feel much higher quality than Logitech's.
I cannot confirm if it will last long, though, due to only having the keyboard for about a week.
Battery life, the bane of optical switches
The downside of optical switches is that the keyboard needs to also power the switches' infrared light beams. This is why you have not seen a wireless Razer Huntsman in the wild as of yet.
Despite the claims from Razer that the DeathStalker V2 has 40 hours of battery life, this was also tested with the RGB at 50 percent brightness.
The G915, however, runs at a 30 hour battery life with the RGB at maximum brightness.
With the DeathStalker V2 at maximum brightness, I got about 27 hours of use before it reached 5 percent from a full charge.
I have not tested it without RGB yet, so we will update this portion as time goes by. If you turn the RGB off, the keyboard will definitely last longer than any of these numbers shown here.
But, to be honest, a keyboard is mostly static half the time, and the DeathStalker V2 is light enough to move around. Charging it once every week or at the end of the day should keep it topped up well for usage for a few days.
The Razer DeathStalker V2 Pro is priced at S$319.99. In comparison, you can find the G915 for below $300 these days, and even below S$250 on sales days.
That said, if I had to choose, I would choose the DeathStalker V2 any day, simply for the fact that it has optical switches and the keycaps are much more superior to the G915's.
It can also connect to three different Bluetooth devices. Although you will need to switch profiles to connect to your preferred device, it is still much easier to connect to them compared to the G915, where you have to disconnect and re-pair to a new device if you would like to switch its usage.
All in all, this feels like the refresh that the G915 needed after being in the market for three years.
Right now, the DeathStalker V2 Pro feels like the keyboard to recommend if one is looking a multi-use low-profile keyboard.
Dominic loves tech and games. When he is not busy getting bodied in games or watercooling anything he sees, he does some pro wrestling.