Get the Razer Cynosa v2 on Amazon
The Razer Cynosa v2 is another budget-friendly offering that joins Razer’s Cynosa line up. The v2 is meant to be an upgrade over the Cynosa Chroma, which was released back in 2017. It features the characteristic low-profile design and membrane domes. This board is powered by Razer’s Chroma RGB backlighting, and features N-key rollover with 1000hz polling rate.
At first glance, the v2 doesn’t look all that different from its predecessor, however there are quite a few changes. Most notably, the Cynosa v2 sees the addition of dedicated media keys, whereas the Cynosa Chroma only had media keys on the Fn layer. To accommodate these media keys, the status lights have been moved to between the Nav Cluster and arrows. The Razer branding on the case is more understated, with the engraved Razer text instead of the usual backlit logo. The other change can be found on the bottom of the keyboard, where there is cable routing, so you can route the cable to suit your desk setup. Like the Chroma, the v2 features individually backlit keys, so there is a customisable LED underneath each key. If you’re coming from the Cynosa Lite, then this would be an upgrade as the Lite only has single zone backlighting. I feel like the more subtle branding and name change implies that Razer wants this to be an all-rounder. The Cynosa v2 would look right at home in a flashy RGB setup, but it would definitely not look out of place in an office environment, especially with the static white backlighting mode.
As far as typing and gaming performance, the Cynosa v2 is pretty much what you would expect from a membrane board. The typing experience isn’t going to blow you away, and the membrane domes have a slightly mushy response. With that being said, I actually enjoy typing on these Cynosa boards, and it even matches some mechanical boards I’ve used. The membrane keys are fairly light, and the low-profile design is extremely comfortable, especially if you’re going to be using it for extended periods. I also love the soft and gentle sound of this keyboard. The soft cushioned keys have a nice muted bottom out sound. You don’t run into mechanical keyboard problems like metal ping and rattle. I even reached a top speed of 136WPM, so this board doesn’t slow me down at all. I don’t use a wrist rest, but would’ve been nice to see one included, especially as some competing boards have this feature. The Cynosa v2 has 1000hz polling rate and N-key rollover, which is non-negotiable on gaming keyboards nowadays. So those boxes are checked. I was very happy with the gaming performance, and the keyboard felt snappy when playing CSGO and Valorant.
So the Fn layer is very basic. What’s quite nice is when you press Fn, all the Fn keys will be illuminated white. There is a key for on the fly macro recording, a gaming mode, brightness control and a sleep mode. By default, the gaming mode will disable the Windows key, however you can add other key combinations with the software. One thing that’s lacking here is the ability to change the RGB mode, which can only be done with the software. This is a bit of an inconvenience, and feels like Razer is enticing you to use their software.
The Cynosa v2 has the the same plastic enclosure with the matte black finish. While it is an attractive looking case, it isn’t the strongest build ever, as the keyboard felt quite bendy and creaky when holding it in my hands, but for general use it held up just fine. Unless you’re very heavy handed, the case won’t bend during general use. Not the best for keyboard rage though! In addition to cable routing, there are four rubber feet on the bottom, and also dual fold outs at that will give you 6 or 9 degrees of tilt. This is a nice feature, as you can set the keyboard to your desired level. These are the same ABS keycaps of the Chroma and Lite versions. While ABS is to be expected at this budget price, I’ve never been a fan of the smooth finish Razer go for. These keycaps attract fingermarks and dust quite easily, and I definitely prefer the grainy ABS finish. The board is also spill-resistant, so it will survive a few episodes of coffee spillage.
One area where you know a Razer keyboard won’t disappoint is aesthetics. The Cynosa v2 is absolutely stunning with its matte black case and vibrant Chroma RGB backlighting. On top of that, the Razer font looks very elegant and professional. This is by far my favourite font and lettering style of any keyboard. The size and thickness is just perfect on the alphanumerics and modifier keys. They even manage to make the Fn icons look good. The end result is a very clean look with no clutter. The Chroma RGB backlighting is obviously a big attraction of the Cynosa series, and pictures just don’t do it any justice. You have to experience this for yourself. This really is some of the most vibrant and smooth backlighting I’ve seen. The RGB shines through very nicely, and the plastic plungers don’t block any of the light, which is sometimes the case with membrane boards. The underglow literally makes it look like the keycaps are floating, and the keyboard really has that wow factor.
There are 11 colour modes accessible with the software, and you can also activate the Visualiser to sync the RGB with games and audio. If that doesn’t satisfy your RGB needs, you can fire up Chroma Studio, where you can create your own RGB modes. Here you can layer different RGB effects on top of each other, choose individual keys or key groupings, and even import modes that others created. When the Visualiser is activated, the Chroma RGB is integrated into games for a more immersive experience. This basically means that the backlighting will react to in-game events. There is an official list of supported games, and the software will automatically integrate if you have any of these installed on your machine. You can also download third party software for non-supported games, for example Gamedog works with CSGO and DOTA. The Chroma visualizer will also react to any audio being played through your device. You have full control over the behaviour of the visualiser, with the options of setting the background and visualisation mode.
Although the software can be a little intimidating due to its complexity, it’s very useful once you get the hang of it. There is comprehensive single key remapping, including multimedia, macros and program launch. Hypershift gives you complete control over the Fn layer, so you can map your own Fn layer. This is a very powerful feature. Razer Chroma also works with Nanoleaf and Philips Hue, so you can do full home integration for an even more immersive experience. You can also add voice control with the Alexa module.
So in summary, the Cynosa v2 is another solid offering in the Cynosa line-up. At $60 it’s a very attractive prospect, especially if you’re looking for an entry level gaming keyboard, and you’re not quite ready to fork out over $100 for a mech yet. The v2 has just enough extra features to make it worth upgrading from the Chroma.