This keyboard is an excellent compromise between the featherlight feel of a membrane keyboard and the satisfying actuation of a mechanical keyboard.
However, you tend to either love or hate how it feels.
For what it is, it’s an excellent product, especially when it’s on sale.
The Razer Ornata Chroma is a brand-new, game-changing contribution from Razer: a hybrid mechanical-membrane keyboard.
As far as we know, the Ornata – which is no longer being sold by Razer – and the Ornata Chroma are the only mecha-membrane keyboards to exist so far. However, if they become popular, companies could certainly start to produce more of them.
We’ve used the Ornata Chroma – the Ornata and the Ornata Chroma are almost the same, but, following the terminology of other Razer products, the Ornata Chroma has programmable RGB functionality.
In contrast, the Ornata does not, and we’re here to give you our honest impressions of this new type of keyboard. Read on to learn more!
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The Mecha-Membrane Keyboard
The Mecha-Membrane Keyboard is a proposal from Razer that combines some of the functionality of a mechanical keyboard with that of a membrane keyboard.
The Mecha-Membrane Switches combine the functionality and softness of a membrane keyboard with the tactile click and feedback of a mechanical keyboard. The overall experience is much like typing on a very soft, featherlight mechanical keyboard.
If you’ve typed on a mechanical keyboard extensively before, this keyboard will not fool you. After all, the hardware behind it is all membrane keyboard, just with a mechanical switch added in for a more satisfying actuation.
However, it doesn’t feel quite like a membrane keyboard, either: it is one of a kind.
If you like the feeling of this gaming keyboard, you’ll quickly become addicted to it. For people who game, type, or work on their computers often, the keys are effortless to press, and they don’t cause finger fatigue nearly as quickly as a mechanical keyboard.
However, this all depends on whether you like the feel of this keyboard or not. The somewhat-alien feeling of these keys tends to polarize people to either love it or hate it. There’s no way in between.
However, it seems to be the case that mechanical keyboard users will have a harder time than membrane keyboard users in getting used to it, as it feels closer to membrane than mechanical.
If you’ve ever used the keyboard on a MacBook, you’ll notice that the sound of the Ornata Chroma is similar.
As far as volume goes, it’s not silent, but it’s not loud, either. The mechanical switch on the keys is there partially so that there’s a tactile “click” when typing, but it’s not obnoxious.
If you type slowly on this keyboard, you can eliminate the clicking sound almost entirely. However, if you type quickly and heavily, it becomes noticeable.
Besides the keyboard, however, this is a standard Razer product, and the quality is par for the course from Razer. It comes with Razer’s standard magnetic detachable wrist rest, and it’s equipped with Razer’s usual chromatic RGB light show.
Do note that the keycaps on this keyboard are half-height to allow for faster actuation, so this might surprise people who are used to full-height keycaps.
We like this keyboard, though it tends to be polarizing in how people react to it. This keyboard doesn’t feel quite like a mechanical keyboard, but it’s different than a membrane keyboard in feel.
It’s likely that, if you dislike how mechanical keyboards feel, you’ll still like the Ornata Chroma. However, if you don’t like how they sound, the Ornata isn’t for you, as it makes an audible click.
All in all, if you’re not quite ready – or not a fan of – mechanical keyboards, but you want something a step above standard membrane keyboards, this board fits that niche perfectly.
However, it’s also not a niche that everyone will understand. We highly recommend visiting a store and trying it in person before purchasing unless you’re sure that you’ll like how this keyboard feels.
The price of this keyboard is also a concern. It’s par for the course for most Razer products, but that also puts it in league with other high-quality mechanical keyboards.
If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative to mechanical keyboards, this is not what you’re looking for.