The Razer Ornata V2 aims to solve an old argument. Should you get a membrane or mechanical keyboard? Its answer is simple. Why not have both? Built as a successor to the Ornata Chroma, this mecha-membrane device combines the best bits of each - the 'click' of mechanical decks and the feel of traditional membrane switches.
Does its strategy work? Mostly. While it's not a slam-dunk, the Razer Ornata V2 offers the best of both worlds. It's also an essential step up from its predecessor.
The Razer Ornata V2's mecha-membrane approach is its headlining feature. To get technical, that means its keys are fitted with the rubber dome from membrane keyboards alongside the mechanisms of a mechanical switch. In Razer's own words, the Ornata V2 "combines the best of both worlds by providing a soft cushioned touch for gaming comfort, along with a crisp tactile click".
Those mid-height keycaps are another selling point. Their low profile allows for quicker actuation, meaning that your key-presses are registered faster. This - and the generous pleather wrist-rest - make it a good fit for competitive shooters. Naturally, those keys are also lit by RGB with 16.8 million possible color combinations and can be programmed as you see fit.
Elsewhere, a new volume scroll wheel above the number pad has been added to go with dedicated media controls on the top right-hand side. That's one of the biggest improvements over the old Ornata Chroma; that one lacked media controls entirely.
A low-profile keyboard with the usual Razer hallmarks, the Ornata V2 blends a plain, matte black frame with soft rubber keys. It gives a slick first impression as a result despite its lack of premium build materials, especially when its RGB backlighting is fired up.
That pleather wrist-rest is the star of the show, though. It even looks comfortable. And because it's magnetic, you can quickly disconnect it for a smaller footprint if you'd prefer.
OK, onto the important bit - how is the Razer Ornata V2 for gaming? Good, broadly speaking. It's responsive and easy to use, with the keys sitting a comfortable distance from one another so you don't have to contort your hands into unwieldy shapes to hit ctrl or shift. That was particularly useful for shooters such as Call of Duty: Warzone; it's much easier to crouch, drop, or sprint with this keyboard than it has been on others I've tested.
It was the same story when I jumped into a match of DOTA 2 or returned to my old character in World of Warcraft. Everything's in easy reach, and it was comfortable resting on or near my suite of abilities. That's mostly because of the durable rubber keycaps - they're smooth and pleasant to the touch. In fact, my only criticism would be their propensity to pick up grease marks.
The feel of them for gaming or typing is just as satisfying. They've got a weighty (but not obnoxious) 'click', yet the action feels more like a traditional setup. It's softer, making the Ornata V2 a good first gaming keyboard. Even though that 'clack' noise is a bit strange at first when moving the camera using WASD in sim games like Planet Zoo - it gives the impression that the keys are stuck until you get used to it - it's really satisfying for doling out orders or hitting space to activate a command in strategies such as Gears Tactics. Alright, you don't always get that gratifying click each time you hit a key. But most of the time, it's a delight.
A lower actuation also bears fruit. Being able to dive behind cover or hit reload ever so slightly before your opponents is handy for obvious reasons.
I appreciate the scroll wheel in the top right corner, too. It's so much easier to tweak volume via the keyboard itself than mess about with the Windows tab (potentially having to exit your game in the process). Similarly, the cushioned pleather wrist-rest is leaps and bounds ahead of the competition. It's so much more comfortable than plastic alternatives.
The thing I didn't like? The enter key. It's a bit too small, and I often found myself accidentally hitting something else instead. I'd have preferred it to be slightly longer. This clearly isn't a disaster and you get used to it, but it's something to bear in mind.
It doesn't get in the way of the Razer Ornata V2 being a worthy addition to the list of Razer keyboards, either. If you're new to the area (in which case, be sure to check out our guide to the best gaming keyboards) and/or can't decide whether you'd prefer a mechanical or membrane device, this is the perfect choice.