A famous man once said that it’s not how you feel, it’s how you look, and I think that adage applies quite nicely to the Razer Cynosa Chroma keyboard. The swanky RGB lighting and respected Razer logo makes it look like a pricey gaming keyboard, but the fact it’s a membrane keyboard means you’re not going to have to drop hundreds of dollars on it.
We don’t necessarily recommend membrane over the mostly mechanical options we have in our Black Friday gaming mouse and keybaord deal hub, but considering the Razer Cynosa Chroma is just $30 (opens in new tab) right now, it’s hard to pass up for some cheap and cheerful gaming.
It’s hard to say no to a mechanical keyboard, it’s true, although it gets a whole lot easier when you look at the price tag on some of those things. But the Cynosa Chroma isn’t just a cheapo last resort. In fact, it holds a place on our list of best gaming keyboards (opens in new tab), as not just the best membrane keyboard available, but also as one of the most affordable gaming keyboards on the market—and that’s at regular price.
The Cynosa Chroma is fairly basic in terms of features: It doesn’t come with a wrist rest, nor does it have dedicated media keys, but it is spill-resistant—without revealing too much about my in-house habits, that’s a definite boon for me. It also has fully programmable macros via the Razer Hypershift software, and—this is probably the biggest hook—supports 16.8 million colors on individually backlit keys, which can be synced with numerous big games and equipment from more than 30 hardware partners. Ten-key rollover and a two-year manufacturer’s warranty rounds out the package nicely.
And while mechanical keyboards are generally considered superior, membrane units do have one distinct advantage: They’re quiet.
“One of the most positive aspects of the membrane switches on this board, however, is the noise—or lack thereof,” our pals at hardware site TechRadar (opens in new tab) said in their review. “This keyboard is going to be a huge hit with anyone who likes to game late at night, because unlike its mechanical brethren, the Cynosa Chroma makes little to no noise, while still providing a tactile experience.”
I don’t mind loud keyboards—my primary, a Unicomp Model M, is incredibly noisy—but I can tell you from experience that other people do. If that’s a problem you’ve got, this might be the solution you need. And even if all you really need is a cheap keyboard that doesn’t suck, this is it: One of our favorites for just 30 bucks. If you’re not hung up on having Cherry MX switches under your fingertips, this is a very tough deal to beat.