The Cynosa Lite is a great all rounder, and this is the kind of keyboard you can take straight from the office to a LAN party
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With the release of the Viper Mini, there was a definite attempt from Razer to appeal to the budget market. The Cynosa Lite continues that trend, being one of the cheapest keyboards Razer has released at only $45. The Cynosa Lite has a very BlackWidow-esque design and comes with soft-cushioned gaming grade keys. Not only is Razer opening up to the budget-minded consumer, they’re also interested in the office space, as the Cynosa Lite has a spill-resistant and durable design. The backlighting is more subdued than the Cynosa Chroma, giving it a less gamery and more professional look. The Cynosa Lite is meant to be an all-rounder at an accessible price point.
This is not a new keyboard of course, just a variation of the Cynosa Chroma that was released in 2017. The main difference is that the Chroma has underglow RGB whereas the Lite has per-key RGB. Not necessarily a downgrade – just depends on what you like. So it’s not hard to figure out that this design is heavily inspired by the BlackWidow series. We have the all plastic casing, sunken keys and familiar curves. For an all plastic build, the keyboard feels quite sturdy, with minimal frame bend. It doesn’t feel cheap or flimsy, which is the most important thing. The cable is a standard rubber cable that is not detachable. Pretty much what you would expect at this price. On the bottom we have four corner feet and fold outs. The fold outs are not rubber tipped, so the keyboard is a bit slipery, especially on the right where it’s lighter. Definitely not optimal, but doesn’t have a real-world impact for the most part.
When I reviewed the BlackWidow Chroma TE, I said it was one of the best looking keyboards I’d ever used, and the same goes for the Cynosa Lite. The main reason why Razer keyboards look so good to me is the font. It just looks so clean and elegant. Even the way they use all lower casing on the bigger keys, and the nuanced icons on F1-12. Everything just looks right. Personally I like the more subtle per-key backlighting, as it matches the professional and elegant mood of the font. It isn’t all sunshine and rainbows though, as the plastic plungers of the keycaps block some of the backlighting. There is an ungainly vertical line running through each legend. Not the end of the world, but mars an otherwise beautiful looking keyboard. RGB customisation is also limited with only one lighting zone, but the Colour Cycle effect looked so good that I wouldn’t have used another scheme anyways.
The keycaps are ABS, and unfortunately it’s that grease-magnet finish that you find on a lot of Razer keyboards. I’m hoping Razer opts for a different finish on their keycaps in the future. The fingermarks were visible after a few minutes of use, and the space bar had a big smudge on it. What’s interesting to note here is that the keycaps are shorter than conventional OEM keycaps, which means the keyboard has a flatter feel even with the fold outs in use. This feels similar to the Cherry profile, and it was comfortable on the wrist during extended typing and gaming sessions.
The keypresses feel nice and light, and you get that appreciable tactile bump as the rubber dome collapses. A little bit mushy, but that’s to be expected from a membrane keyboard. No official specs, but the actuation force feels like 50-55g. The cushioned keys make a pleasantly soft sound, and you definitely won’t get annoyed glances at work. I really enjoyed typing on this keyboard, and it was refreshing to use such a gentle and soft sounding keyboard. It’s much quieter than a linear mechanical keyboard, which is what I usually use. Love the sound.
Pretty good stabilisers. The space bar was a little bit rattly, but I didn’t notice it for the most part. Overall a very good typing experience, and I was easily hitting around 130 on the Aesop typing test, with a top speed of 137. So pretty impressive that a membrane keyboard allows me to reach a high speed. My max speed on a keyboard tells me a lot about its performance, so thumbs up to Razer here.
Like the typing, the gaming experience is superb. The keys feel light and fast, and I like the slight tactile bump you get with membrane keys. I have to say the gaming performance is comparable to my favoured Cherry MX reds. A good measure of gaming performance for me is individual key spam and alternating key spam, for example rapidly switching between your gun and knife in CSGO. This keyboard is very fast and I didn’t feel inhibited with my movement in CSGO and Apex. Just take note that the Cynosa only has 10-key rollover, and not N-key rollover. This could be an issue for some.
Synapse 3 is very robust, and a lot of users will be happy to learn that it isn’t compulsory to create an account anymore; you can log in as a guest. You can reprogram any key, and also assign a secondary function with Razer Hypershift. As far as RGB goes, you’re limited to four quick effects, as the Cynosa Lite only has one lighting zone. Even though Chroma studio is available, you won’t get much accomplished with the single lighting zone.
Overall, I really like this keyboard. It’s a great all rounder, and this is the kind of keyboard you can take straight from the office to a LAN party. You get excellent performance paired with the Razer aesthetics. I wouldn’t say $45 is ridiculously cheap for a membrane board, but is reasonably priced and will definitely offer some competition to the Logitech G213 and Corsair K55.