Those who are trapped deep in the dark world of the PC Master Race know that the name Razer comes bundled with two keywords: quality and expense. There’s a sense that when you buy something from Razer, you’re buying something premium and there’s a premium price tag associated with that.
That’s not always the case, however, and Razer’s mid-end products have offered affordable options for gamers that are seemingly never talked about. This is where Razer’s entry-level kit comes into play; these products aim to bring the high built quality and premium feel to lower budget gamers while also not breaking the bank too hard.
With a total price tag of £169.97, it’s still not exactly cheap for those who are on a real budget, but it is more affordable than most. But what are Razer touting as their entry level products? Well, it’s the essentials really—a keyboard, mouse and headset, everything you need to be immersed in your gaming experience. For the sake of a nicely formatted article and readability, let’s go through this one-by-one.
Razer Abyssus Essential – £49.99
The Razer Abyssus mouse is my favorite item in the entry level kit and it is also the most basic. If you’re looking for a solid mouse and not much more this is the place to go; you aren’t going to find any meaningful additions to the design outside of the bare necessities. It’s a mouse: left-click, right-click, the scroll wheel and middle mouse button are all here. No extra buttons, no macros, no weird phone-style keypad on one side of the device. Instead, Razer has gone for, well, the device’s namesake. It’s the Essential! You get the bare necessities, and that’s it. It’s great!
As far as design goes, the Razer Abyssus Essential is beautiful. The small and slender chassis may appear rather petite for anyone who may suffer from a case of gargantuan-hand-syndrome, but Razer has done a good job making the device fit perfectly in the palm. As the product page says, the Essential is incredibly ergonomic and the smooth plastic back combined with responsive mechanical mouse-clicks feels immensely satisfying. Also boasting an ambidextrous design, this mouse doesn’t favor one hand over the other, the testing of which was a pain.
The sensor that powers the device’s movements is about as accurate as you’d expect from a modern computer mouse – it’s pretty much perfect. Those who play shooters that rely heavily on tracking-over-time should feel right at home. Small and swift movements are as easy to perform and long and smooth ones; the Essential glides well across most surfaces, too, which makes everything feel that much nicer. Whether you’re gaming with or without a mouse mat (in true brand-confidence I was using a Razer mouse mat from my Abyssus 2000) it should feel incredibly accurate for all your pointing and clicking needs.
For just £49.99, the Abyssus Essential is a fantastic piece of kit. Even without macros and side buttons, I can wholeheartedly say that it is one of my all-time favorite mice (sending this back to Razer will sink my heart). With the addition of Razer Synapse lighting on the top and bottom, the Essential does manage to sneak in just a bit of that classic Razer style for your money. It’s a beautiful piece of kit, and if shelling out fifty quid for a mouse is what you want to do, this is a solid choice. In fact, since our unit had to be sent back to Razer after testing, I now have my own. (It was a great birthday present and is now my mouse of choice)
Razer Cynosa Chroma – £64.99
A great PC gaming experience isn’t complete without a solid, nice-feeling keyboard. Razer’s candidate for this in their entry level offerings takes the form of the Cynosa Chroma. There is no doubt that this board finds its foundations in the same spot as the Abyssus Essential – it’s a necessary keyboard… outside of its will to have every single key individually lit with a multi-color LED.
Instead of providing the awe-inspiring “COOL GAMER” aesthetic that many other boards offer, the Cynosa is simplistic and stylish. Build quality is suitably strong, as you’d expect from Razer, and throughout my testing, there was barely anything that felt cheap or out of place. Mechanical keys are suitably scrapped in favor of a set of soft, high-response membrane ones, but this is to be expected.
With that said, the keys on the Cynosa are a bit on the squishy side – even for membranes. Feedback is near-instant, but outside of the hard and clunky enter key there isn’t a sense of heft to any of the board’s buttons. However, travel between letters is minimal and the smooth dipped keycaps allow you to easily glide from key-to-key. Media control shortcuts are also easy to use; the easily labeled buttons allow anyone to learn the board within just a few hours.
Implementation with Razer’s Synapse program (a program which allows you to change the colors and timings of each LED on the keyboard) is a cool addition, but it feels like it’s the only thing driving up the board’s price. At £64.99 this is the most expensive product in the entry level kit and while there aren’t as many keyboards in this price range that feel as nice to simply rest your fingertips upon, there are cheaper alternatives that could be substituted onto your desk instead.
Electra V2 Gaming Headset – £54.99
With a keyboard and mouse in the bag, the only other meaningful addition to your PC gaming setup should be a decent pair of headphones and a mic, preferably a two-in-one if you’re on a budget. The entry level kit does feature an impressive little two-in-one for a modest price – the Electra V2 Gaming Headset.
Unlike the Cynosa and the Essential, Razer’s headset offering doesn’t feature RGB lighting. In this case, it’s another bonus; not only does the absence of RGB mean you don’t get a constant colored glow in your peripheral vision, but it also means Razer could put efforts elsewhere.
The build quality, much like the other products, is rather impressive. The chassis feels nice all around and is a comfortable fit for most heads. The device’s soft foam banding on the top does feel rather cheap compared to the other components, but it is supported with a sturdy plastic band both inside the foam and above.
As far as sound quality goes, Razer’s offering in this department is good but not great. Audio has a nice range but many situations, mostly those with a lot of different layers, start to become slightly muffled and echoed. Bass, in particular, takes a hit, but gaming normally offers a nice experience that is comparable to other headphones in this price range.
Impressively, the Electra V2’s microphone is a simple attachment to the core headset. The small, flexible extension plugs directly into its own 3.5mm port in the right headphone. It’s crisp and clean, no matter what you use it on, and actually surprised me with its quality. For those who can’t be bothered to alt-tab back to Discord to mute your microphone, you can simply unplug it from the device – handy for when you’re losing an argument and need to retreat.
The entry level offerings here from Razer are great options for those who are gaming on a bit of a budget. There are obviously much cheaper alternatives, but rarely any will feel as nice and solid as those being offered here.
The Abyssus Essential and the Electra V2 are the best products in the bunch; there’s a sense of style and quality while also only providing the features that consumers need. Razer’s keyboard, however, feels like it misses the mark just a bit. It may feature beautiful programmable RGB keys, but it falls flat compared to the other products here. It definitely has a premium feel on the outside, but heavy use (like the week and a half we’ve used it for) might make you wish for something with a little more feedback to it.
For £169.97, you are getting a great kit here that won’t break the bank too hard. If you needed definitive proof that Razer does make products for those who can’t afford the “latest and greatest” kit, here it is.