The Cynosa range has always been a good entry-point to the world of gaming keyboards, and the latest installment, the Razer Cynosa V2, doesn't let the side down. Affordable yet reliable, this is a budget product that doesn't feel 'cheap'. If anything, it improves upon the legacy and supplants its predecessors.
The high performance and low cost of the membrane Razer Cynosa V2 makes it great for newcomers. It's comfortable and familiar, yet a distinct step up from traditional 'office' alternatives. If you've never owned a gaming keyboard before, this is the perfect place to start.
Price: $59.99 / £59.99
Form factor: Full
Switches: Membrane (soft cushioned)
Keycaps: ABS plastic (spill resistant)
Media keys: Dedicated
USB passthrough: None
Tested on an Nvidia RTX 2080Ti-powered gaming PC
This new and improved version of the Razer Cynosa doesn't try to break the wheel, either. The membrane design is still present, low-profile keys on a sleek black design remain, and a full numpad layout can still be found here. However, the V2 goes one better with new per-key backlit RGB lighting. That makes it feel all the more arresting - not to mention premium.
The keyboard's biggest update would be the dedicated media controls, though. The Razer Cynosa V2 now features volume, play, skip, and mute buttons on the top right-hand side to give greater control. Add in superior cable management and spill-resistance and you've got a device punching above its weight-class. Yes, it's lacking a wrist-rest and more durable keycaps, but you can't complain all that much at this price-point.
In terms of looks, the Cynosa V2 doesn't stray all that far from previous designs. In fact, it's very similar to the Cynosa Chroma or the Essentials variant: it still hinges on a low-profile approach to go with black matte plastic. In fact, the only visible differences would be the media keys and the lack of a shiny logo panel at the bottom (the latter has been replaced by more subtle Razer branding engraved on the plastic).
The new per-key RGB lighting makes more of an impact. It's vibrant and eye-catching, helping the keyboard feel more expensive than it really is. If the Razer Cynosa V2 is your first gaming keyboard, it'll impress. Just remember, you need to download and use the Razer Synapse software to take advantage of that functionality.
When it comes to performance, not a great deal has changed: the new Cynosa is still the same great keyboard it ever was. That means it's excellent for typing and gaming, making it just as at home in the office as it is playing Apex Legends.
Specifically, the speed and resistance of each key is spot on. Your fingers fly across them when typing, but the keycaps need just enough force to actuate that they don't feel cheap. That speed makes the Razer Cynosa V2 a good fit for the likes of Call of Duty: Warzone. It becomes second nature to cover open ground at a sprint before diving into a prone position when under fire, before quickly tapping open your map to check the location of the gas wall closing in. Similarly, it's nice and responsive when spinning the camera around for A Total War Saga: Troy, letting me survey the battlefield swiftly and respond to threats to my army's flanks at a moment's notice. Although it's not up to the standard of the more expensive Corsair K57 RGB Wireless (arguably the best gaming keyboard when it comes to membrane decks), it's pretty good nonetheless.
It's satisfying to type with, too. I've been using the Razer Cynosa V2 as my office keyboard for the last couple of weeks, and it's been a good companion for work as well as gaming in everything from write-ups to Planet Zoo. It's a fairly quiet device as well; not totally silent, of course, but much less noisy than mechanical decks like the Razer Huntsman Mini. And even though the keys are prone to getting greasy (they're not doubleshot PBT so will show wear and tear more easily), it feels more premium than it really is. The keys are solid and show very little wobble under stress, and the only sign of cost-cutting is a plastic cable instead of Razer's usual braided wires.
The only real complaint I have? The keys can be pretty squeaky when pressed. It's not a constant issue, but it is noticeable and has always been an issue of the Cynosa range (plus, the enter key is too small as per most Razer keyboards). However, that's all a worthy trade-off for something so affordable.
Overall - should you buy it?
The Razer Cynosa V2 brings an old favorite back into play, and now it's better than ever. An affordable yet reliable entry-point to gaming keyboards that doesn't feel cheap in spite of a low price-point, it's the perfect budget or starter deck.