- Manufacturer: Razer
- Model: Cynosa V2
- Type: Membrane keyboard
- Provided by: Razer
The Cynosa V2 is Razer’s budget-friendly membrane gaming keyboard, but just because it is not an expensive mechanical keyboard does not mean it has no merit.
I have been using the Cynosa V2 this past 2 weeks for gaming, writing, editing and everything inbetween. The Cynosa V2 has put up with countless hours each day with me thumping away at it.
The body of the Cynosa V2 is constructed from a durable textured plastic. Unlike the plastic found on most keyboards in this price range, the Cynosa’s body still feels durable and nice to the touch. No sharp edges or cheap-feeling plastic here, it all feels sturdy and well constructed.
Though well constructed, there is still a fair amount of flex in the keyboard. It’s not significant enough that normal use would make it noticeable, but its still worth mentioning in case you are particularly heavy-handed when typing or gaming.
The body has a fairly simple shape, with a thick border around the usable key area with the only styling in terms of the shape being a sharp downward slope at the front of the keyboard. This acts as a comfortable spot where your hands can rest without the use of a palm rest.
The Cynosa V2 has very subtle styling. It has a very minimalist appearance and this extends to the branding, too. The only branding on the whole face of the keyboard is a small embossed Razer logo in the centre of the front slope, which is so discrete you could quite easily miss it. Some people prefer the brash, loud and stand out branding often associated with gaming hardware, but I am a big fan of Razer’s minimal branding and the clean style I have seen in their products recently.
The keys are fairly standard black plastic keycaps, sitting on stabilizers and a membrane. They allow the RGB lighting to pass through and illuminate the key indicators, and they feel really nice and stable. The typing experience is quite nice for a membrane board, with a comfortable bottom out and nice actuation. This is definitely one of the better membrane keyboards I have used and it’s a vast improvement over the Deathstalker ultimate I used daily years ago.
Where the Cynosa V2 becomes iconically Razer, is the RGB. Chroma is now a staple of the Razer ecosystem of products, signifying that the product in question is going to light up and animate in the greatest of luminescent fashion.
Now, I have previously mentioned in my Ornata V2 review that part of the appeal to Razer’s membrane keyboards is just how glorious the RGB is. The Cynosa is no different, and the Illumination is second to none, shining through the membrane in perfect full coverage beauty with the perfect amount of diffusion. The membrane allows the RGB to fully cover every exposed part of the board’s internals, no hotspots, no dark spots, just perfect coverage. It allows just enough light through to make for vibrant colours and to just reflect off the side of the keys, but never enough to hurt your eyes or even pollute past the edges of the key cutouts.
To add to the functionality, not only does the Cynosa support the full Chroma studio inside the synapse software, it also supports the streamer companion app. So, for £60 you’re not only getting a stunning looking keyboard that is comfortable to type on, you are getting a keyboard that can react to stream events live, adding that extra little connection between viewer and creator (if that is something that interests you, of course).
The only annoyance I have had with any of this is that when you use the streamer companion app you lose all chroma studio functionality, so unless the lights are a reaction to a stream event you will be stuck with one plain colour.
The final additional feature on the top of the Cynosa is the media controls. This is one of the few things I did not like about the Cynosa. There are four buttons and a rocker switch, that are used for skipping forward/backwards, pause/play and mute. The buttons themselves are perfectly fine. They are easy to locate and use, and they are made of the same sturdy plastic as the rest of the board, but pressing them has a very smushy feel.
It’s not all that bad considering it is still on the membrane, but the part I really don’t like is the rocker button that controls volume up and down. The rocker still has the same press as the rest of the buttons but somehow feels worse. Furthermore the upper portion of the button always seems to make strange creaking noises whenever I press it. In general, that rocker just doesn’t seem to have the same quality as the rest of the Cynosa V2. I’d have preferred maybe a dial or a scroll wheel of some kind, or even another set of two separate buttons, as I suspect the reason it is different is a combination of it being both a rocker and its location at the edge of the board.
Moving to the underside of the Cynosa V2 you have your standard 4 feet, one in each corner, that do a fine job of keeping the keyboard planted. Two flip-up riser legs angle the keyboard forward rather than flat, and lastly there are three cable routing channels. These are used to route the braided cable so that it exits to either the right, left or centre of the back of the keyboard. This is an extremely nice feature, especially if you like to keep a clean and tidy desk.
When it comes to features, the Cynosa V2 has a couple of useful tricks up its sleeve.
Game mode, activated by holding the function key and pressing the F10 key, can be used to deactivate buttons such as the windows key. This is a fully programmable system that you can edit in Synapse to enable or disable any keys you wish while active.
Next is the macro function. The first press of the macro key will allow you to record the key entries you would like, the second will then wait for you to assign the sequence to a macro key. Once saved, you just hold the assigned key and your macro will play. You can easily reset these in the Synapse software if you decide you don’t have a need for them any more.
In terms of budget-friendly keyboards, the Cynosa V2 is amazing. There are so many desirable features here for a £60 keyboard; Fully addressable per-key RGB, the full Chroma studio, the streamer companion app, sturdy construction, cable routing and a great user experience all round.
I would still opt for the Razer Ornata if I were choosing a membrane keyboard, but I would in no way be disappointed in the Cynosa V2 making its home on my desk. Between the looks, styling, cable routing and features, I think it’s a fantastic product for this price range.