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While the Razer Turret works fine as a basic living room keyboard and mouse, it's just too small to be a viable PC gaming device.
A lot of games work with a controller, but not all. Games in the MOBA, MMO, strategy, and shooter genres either don’t work with a controller or put you at a huge disadvantage with one.
That’s where a lapboard (a wireless keyboard and mouse combo designed to sit on your lap) like the Razer Turret comes into play. And while it’s still a new market, Razer isn’t alone, as the Corsair Lapdog and ROCCAT Sova are both competitors.
The list price for the Razer Turret is $159.99. The cheaper membrane version of the Sova goes for $150 (with the mechanical version selling for $199). For the Lapdog, its MSRP is $119 – but this doesn’t include a mouse and keyboard, and Corsair is listing it for $70 right now. Corsair offers bundles with a mechanical keyboard for more money (a mouse isn’t included with any of Corsair’s options).
Razer’s offering is priced similarly then, but the biggest difference between the Razer Turret and other options is the size — the Turret is substantially smaller. This makes it portable and easier to store, but it also gives you less room to work with. Does this prevent the Turret from being a worthwhile purchase? Let’s find out.
Specifications and Dimensions
Here are some quick facts you need to know about the Razer Turret:
- 40 hours of continuous use on a charge for mouse
- 4 months of battery on lapboard
- 3500 DPI mouse
- Chiclet styled keycaps with anti-ghosting
- Bluetooth and proprietary 2.4GHz wireless support for connecting to multiple devices
As for the dimensions of the keyboard, you’re looking at 20-inches long when open and 11.6 inches when closed. It’s 4.7-inches wide, and .4-inches tall. As mentioned in the intro, it’s fairly small. The most worrisome dimension for PC gamer is that width. The Corsair Lapdog and Sova are 11-inches wide, meaning there’s a lot more room to move around.
At the risk of sounding link a broken record, the first thing you’ll notice is that the Turret is small. Picture the smallest mouse pad you’ve ever seen, and the mousing surface of the Turret is even smaller than that.
Speaking of the mouse, it’s a little underwhelming and feels like it’s made of cheap plastic. This is in direct contrast to the keyboard and lapboard, which feel solid and weighty. The mouse has extra buttons and thumb supports on both sides, so it’s ambidextrous. The lapboard, however, isn’t. It’s odd to offer a mouse that works on the left, and not make the mousing surface modular.
The keys feel like a solid laptop keyboard. They’re quiet, which is great for a living room device.
First impressions aren’t strong with the Razer Turret, if I’m honest. I can’t be overly excited during the honeymoon period with the small mouse mat and cheap-feeling mouse. While it does help that the keyboard feels solid and the packaging is nice, it doesn’t overcome the negative aspects. But there’s always room to surprise, and the usability experience could solve everything!
Ease of Use
Fortunately, the setup process is quick and painless. Razer includes everything you need in the box. You can either plug the dongle directly into one of your USB ports, or you can use the extender cable to put it somewhere with better signal.
You’ll need to manually put the battery in the mouse, and while you’re in there, pull out the dongle, as it’s inside.
The keyboard has a switch on it that’ll let you flip between pure Bluetooth and proprietary wireless mode. There’s also a power button that you can use if you want to conserve a bit of battery.
Like all mice and keyboards in 2017, it’s plug and play. You can download the Razer Synapse software to adjust the settings more to your liking, but it works just fine without it.
For the most part, the Turret is a well-designed piece of hardware, but we’re going to need to come back to that major issue again — it’s just too small.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about some of the good aspects of the design. First, the back of the lapboard is made of a nice rubberized material that’s extremely grippy. This means that you can set it on your lap and not worry about it sliding off even during intense gameplay.
Another feature designed to help keep things from sliding is the magnetic mouse surface and mouse. It’s not magnetized such that you can’t move the mouse around smoothly — it’s just enough to hold the mouse in place on your uneven lap.
The mouse surface is also hard and smooth, which hurts control a bit since you don’t have that textured feel you’re used to. However, the magnets provide a bit of extra friction, so I was able to get used to the feel quite quickly.
The charging base is fantastic! You slip the mouse and keyboard in it vertically, and everything charges while looking great. One thing Razer always nails with its devices is making them look cool, and this one is no exception. However, charging with a base does have a drawback — you can’t charge while you play. You’ll have to interrupt your session to put the device back on the base.
Sadly, there are some other negatives in the design. First of all, neither the keyboard or mouse have any kind of lighting. I don’t really care about the RGB lighting for style purposes, but I do care about backlit keys. A device this expensive should have this basic feature.
Most people are more likely to have dim lighting in a living room than an office, so not having backlit keys really hurts the experience.
The mouse that comes in the package isn’t the best for anyone with larger hands. It needs to fit on that tiny mouse surface, so I understand why Razer made it small, but that doesn’t make it feel any better!
However, the scroll wheel on the mouse feels quite good, as do the left and right click. The small size makes it easy to get to the additional buttons on the side, which is something I have issues with on some mice.
You’re going to be stuck with the mouse that comes in the package, as other mice have a difficult time tracking on the surface, and they don’t have the magnet to keep them in place. Additionally, unless you have a portable mouse, it’s not going to fit well.
The size, while a detriment, doesn’t make the device unusable for gaming. In fact, I was a little surprised that I was able to get used to the mouse surface for slow-paced games like Civilization and X-Com. It doesn’t work as well as sitting at a desk, but it works.
However, I just couldn’t get comfortable with the feel for games where I needed to move quickly. World of Warcraft was playable but less so than strategy games. For shooters, like Player Unknown’s Battleground, I definitely felt the lack of space and it had a substantial impact on my play.
As for the wireless aspect, I actually didn’t have a problem while connected through the dongle or Bluetooth. I have seen some users complaining about lag, so your mileage may vary there. Generally, a wired keyboard is always going to be preferable for gaming.
The chiclet keys feel decent enough, but I definitely prefer the feel of mechanical keys. If you’ve ever played games on a laptop, then you know what to expect. These keys could actually be a positive if you’re in a room with other people who don’t want to listen to you slamming mechanical switches all the time.
Another positive of the keyboard is anti-ghosting. With this feature, you can push up to 10 keys at one time without the computer missing any of your inputs. This is necessary for gaming, as you’ll often push multiple keys at once.
The primary advertised purpose of the Turret is PC gaming, and unfortunately, it falls short in just about every single way for gaming. The mouse is too small, the surface is too small, the keys aren’t mechanical, it’s wireless – which can introduce lag – and the arrow keys are tiny.
General computer usage is actually where the Turret does its best work, but that’s not really its main purpose. Still, if you don’t like the feel of the Logitech keyboards with a touchpad, you can easily use this mouse and keyboard combo. However, at $160, it’s a little expensive for that purpose.
For any of you Android users, there’ are some Android specific keys and Bluetooth that makes this a fantastic (albeit expensive) way to control your phone or tablet. The portability really shines there, as you can easily fold up the lapboard and throw it in a backpack. If you find yourself looking to do work on your Android device and you want a reliable, smooth surface, this could be worth buying.
In the end, the Turret really does work well for any general computing task. I used it with a media center and it was a flawless experience. I also tried it out with some basic image editing, and while I prefer to be closer to the screen, it did a great job and tracked accurately enough to make even small selections.
However, I have a hard time recommending anyone buy this for basic computing tasks, as it’s too expensive. You can get the aforementioned Logitech for an MSRP of $40, and it’ll handle all of those same tasks.
Should You Buy The Razer Turret?
In the end, I really can’t recommend the Razer Turret to anyone. While it’s a solid device for general computing, it’s too expensive to be used for such. For PC gaming, the mouse area is just too small to play anything other than slower strategy games.
With the far more usable Corsair Lapdog and ROCCAT Sova both available in the same price range with much larger mouse mats, I can safely say that either of those is a better choice than the Razer Turret.