Review: Razer Anansi Keyboard (Mac)
December 15, 2011 — by Per Christensson
Here is a simple truth that I have come to realize in the past few years: the perfect keyboard does not exist. While there are hundreds of keyboards sold by dozens of manufacturers, there is simply no such thing as the perfect keyboard. With that in mind, I purchased the new Anansi Mac keyboard from Razer, hoping to upgrade from my old Logitech Wave model.
You know you have a Razer product when the packaging is so high quality that you can hardly bring yourself to recycle it. The Anansi keyboard's box contains another black cardboard box that houses the well-protected keyboard. The packaging is so rugged, it seems it could double as a case for an automatic weapon. Inside the box is a black sheath that holds the Anansi manual and other documentation. It is an impressive presentation.
Of course, even the finest packaging means nothing if the hardware doesn't impress. Fortunately, Razer's commitment to quality is evident in the keyboard as well. The keyboard's matte black plastic finish creates a stunning appearance. It is truly the best-looking keyboard I've seen. Additionally, the smooth tactile feedback of the keys is among the best of all keyboards I've used. The tops of the keys are exactly the right size so they are easy to press and. While it took me a few days to transition from the layout of my old Wave keyboard, I hardly ever miss a key.
The Anansi's keys are backlit, which is great for working (or gaming) in low-light conditions. If you're short on USB ports, however, you should know that the keyboard requires two USB ports for extra power. You can use the Razer Anansi.app program to choose a specific color for the backlight or let the keyboard cycle through a whole spectrum of colors. The Anansi app also allows you to assign key combinations or macros to specific keys. This is especially useful for assigning the M1 - M5 keys on the left of the keyboard and the T1 - T7 keys below the space bar. I currently use the M1 - M5 keys for macros and the T1 - T7 keys for application shortcuts.
The Anansi has a lot of things going for it. But remember – there is no perfect keyboard – and the Anansi is not an exception. One thing I miss from my Logitech keyboard is the power button in the upper-right corner of the keyboard. I would use the power key to put my Mac to sleep each time I left my desk. The Anansi has no such key, and worse yet, the Command+Option+Eject keyboard shortcut does not work. Therefore, there is no way to use the keyboard to put the computer to sleep. I contacted Razer about the problem and they have acknowledged the issue and are currently working on a solution.
The Anansi also does not have a calculator key or specific media keys. Instead, the media keys are combined with the Function keys. It's not as user-friendly as having separate keys, but it works. Fortunately, the F13 key doubles as a "Gaming Mode" toggle key, which makes all the function keys perform their default functions while you are playing a game. It's important to note that the Anansi is designed to be a gaming keyboard, and for that purpose, this keyboard excels in spades.
My final complaint – and this is a big one – is that the Razer Anansi does not include a wrist rest. It does have an extended base below the space bar that tapers down nicely, but the area is not long enough to serve as a wrist rest. A removable wrist rest like the one included with the Logitech G19 would have been a great addition. Instead, I had to buy a wrist rest for about $20 that does the job. Since the Anansi retails for $99, you can expect to pay a 20% premium if you prefer a keyboard with a wrist rest.
While the Anansi isn't perfect, it is a great keyboard. I am thrilled that Razer made the effort to develop a Mac-specific version of the Anansi, since the vast majority of their consumer base uses Windows computers. Whether you need a solid gaming keyboard or just want to upgrade the basic keyboard that came with your Mac, the Razer Anansi is a great choice.