review

RAZER Tartarus Pro Optical Switches Keypad With Thumbstick D-pad

Friday, January 17, 2020

When it comes to gaming, quick thinking and fast decisions can make or break you! This is particular true when gaming on a PC with a mouse and keyboard, which isn't as easy as playing with a gamepad controller.
If you like compact gaming, WASD keyboards and one-handed gaming keyboards such as the RAZER Tartarus Pro gamepad keyboard are great options, especially if you are on the market for an analog gaming keyboard. The Tartarus Pro, in particular, can potentially replace your current keyboard and mouse and, it's a neat solution for transitioning from console gaming to PC games that require fast hotkeys.
Analog gaming keyboards have been around for a few years now and, if you have used one before you know how convenient they are for gaming compared to digital keyboards. Compared to other analog gaming keyboards though, the Tartarus Pro keypad has a lot going for it, including its compact size. The Tartarus Pro also has non-membrane keys with analog optical switches and an analog thumbstick, which you currently don't find on any other compact keyboard.
The analog thumb stick is built into the d-pad but, it can be removed by simply pulling out the analog stick with your fingers. The d-pad isn't straight like most controller d-pads. Instead, the Tartarus Pro d-pad has a concave design, allowing the thumb to rest comfortably and securely inside it.
The key bed also has a slight concave design with the top and middle key rows slightly higher than the bottom key rows. Each key on the Tartarus Pro keypad integrates an analog switch in each key that allow you to actuate at two different distances.
You can, essentially, bind two keys on one command by being able to program two functions on the same key based on how far you press the key from 1.5mm to 3.6mm. Depending on the game and the situation, double assignment to one key is practical. That said, during fast paced action, actuating the right distance is very tricky.
non-detachable braided fiber cable
Besides the size, the keys on the Tartarus Pro keypad can be programmed, giving you a total of 32 programmable key commands, which is perfect for improving the reaction time in first-person-shooter (FPS) games, switch scenes faster when streaming OSU in OBS Studio and, even speed up video editing workflow with proper key commands.
There are two different positions on the palm rest, which are adjusted by simply lifting up the palm rest, revealing four insert holes and two long plastic posts underneath of the palm rest, which easily attach and detach from the body of the keypad. The Tartarus Pro palm rest is soft and as comfortable as the wrist rest that comes with Blackwidow Chroma V2 keyboard
foam padding covered with leather
The Tartarus Pro works with any PC so, you can potentially use the Tartarus Pro with Vista and XP computers.
That said, the Razer Synapse software only works with 64-bit Windows 7 computers and higher versions of Windows.
The software is not required for the Tartarus Pro to work but, it's needed in order to tweak the led lighting, re-program keys (including the d-pad/joystick), create macros and store profiles. You get unlimited macro length and profile storage with eight profiles to switch from on the fly.
On the base of the Tartarus Pro keypad, you will find thin gliding feet and a serial number design for registering the product via Razer's website. That said, you don't have to register to benefit from the 2-year limited warranty although, it's probably wise to register in case you lose the proof of purchase.
There are a total of 20 numbered keys, which includes a short spacebar (key 20) located beneath the analog stick/d-pad.
clickable mouse wheel
There is also a textured scroll wheel and a highly-responsive thumb button, which is super convenient for rapid-fire action. The overall construction of the keypad is plastic.
The three leds on the right side are the keymaps leds designed to provide feedback when creating new keymaps. Right out of the box, the Tartarus Pro keypad has default mapping with some keyboard functions, including TAB (key 6), CAPS (key 11) and SHIFT (key 16).
Functionality-wise, the Tartarus Pro has clicky, responsive keys and a ticky scroll wheel with precise steps to it. In the hand, the Tartarus Pro keypad feels like a glove but, if you are a right-handed user you will need to get used to the left-handed design of the Tartarus Pro, which resembles Ash's mechanical hand from the Army of Darkness movie. The adjustable palm rest helps change the position of the hands but, it will not change the length of the Tartarus Pro keypad, which is more suited for medium to large hands, in order to be able to reach all keys.
Depending on the lengths of your fingers, you may or may not be able to reach the top keys with your fingers (especially the pinky finger). To be able to reach the top keys comfortably with your pinky finger, you need a palm length, from the base of the palm to the top of the pinky finger, to be no less than 16cm in length.
The Tartarus Pro keypad measures 10cm wide and 19cm long. This takes into account the curvature of the palm rest, which measures 4cm high.  The frame of the keypad measures 2.5cm tall. Total weight is 360 grams.
If you have a HOTAS (hands on throttle-and-stick) setup, the RAZER Tartarus Pro keypad would be a neat addition for simulation games and massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGS) such as Elite Dangerous and WoW classic to bind more abilities instead of having to click on screen.

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