It’s a good bet that many of you reading this are A.) reading from home, B.) working from home, and C.) wishing you could make working from home feel a bit more professional since home is now your office. Thanks, pandemic. It’s interesting how the PC peripheral market has been so overwhelmingly and completely dominated by “gaming” product that it’s easy to forget that things like keyboards and mice were designed for doing actual work like document editing and spreadsheets, not fragging and unleashing zerg attacks.
Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of outstanding peripherals out there that can be used for non-gaming work, but often the “extreme” aesthetics might not convey the seriousness of what you’re working on. Anyone who’s ever scoured store shelves, both physical and digital, looking for professional grade PC accessories that didn’t look like glowing transforming spider toys. You know what I’m talking about. You’ve had to make due.
Razer wants to answer the call with their new Productivity Suite of non-gamer peripherals for more discriminating workers, partnering with Humanscale, an industry leader in ergonomic comfort and clean, futuristically sparse designs. The first offerings are the Pro Type Keyboard and Pro Click Mouse, easily the most elegant “office” computer peripherals we’ve ever seen. Think Jony Ive’s earlier design work crossed with an almost retro-styled minimalism. We hope you like white, because that’s all you’ll get.
So the real question is this: can the company best known for making some of the highest-quality gaming accessories also make high-quality productivity accessories? The answer is resoundingly yes, though such luxury comes at a cost, literally and figuratively.
Design: Futuristic Retro Minimalism
There’s going to be a lot of overlap between the reviews for both the Pro Type Keyboard and Pro Click Mouse, but read through both as there are key differences between them (when it matters). Generally, both over users exquisitely clean, attractive high-end devices that will look great at your workstation, both connect over Bluetooth and 2.4 GHz (via a USB dongle) wireless, both offer pairing up to 4 different profiles (3 via Bluetooth, 1 via USB), both can be used tethered to their USB charge cables and both can be moderately customized using Razer’s Synapse software.
Of the two peripherals, the Pro Click Mouse really showcases the Humanscale effect, having been ergonomically designed to slant and pivot in all the right ways. This is a chunkier, yet at just 0.23 lbs is an impressively light mouse that doesn’t feel cheap or compromised in any way. The contrast between the smooth white plastic and textured gray base, coupled with the silver trim borders lines, make it one of the most attractive computer peripherals I’ve ever seen. It’s so beautiful that you almost don’t want to touch it.
But touch it you shall, with every available button within easy access and comfortably clickable. The ribbed scroll wheel is almost heavenly responsive, especially when used as an additional click button, with two additional customizable left/right tilts. Two thumb-friendly side buttons curve ever-so-slightly at perfect angles for easy access.
On the bottom are the switcher button that lets you switch between Bluetooth and 2.4 Ghz connectivity (and also doubles as the power button), as well as the Bluetooth profile button. To be honest, cycling through (and pairing) the mouse with different machines wasn’t very intuitive but the feature is there if you need it. I also loved how the USB dongle was housed safely inside a plastic cover, as opposed to how the Pro Type Keyboard simply attaches magnetically.
If you’re thinking about adding the Pro Click Mouse to your setup you’ll seriously want to add a third, less expensive, member of Razer’s productivity family: the Razer Pro Glide mouse mat, a HUGE 14″ x 10″ rubbery foam mesh pad that’s both super soft yet still grips to surfaces nicely. You’ll definitely want one, especially as it stylistically complements both keyboard and mouse. Just make sure you’ve got the space for it – it’s huge!
A word for lefties: the Pro Click Mouse has been ergonomically designed for right-handed users only and may not be the best fit for you (but you lefties are probably used to this).
While I’d never trust battery “estimates” for any wireless keyboard, wireless mice are an entirely different thing, and this includes the Pro Click. During my extensive testing period (2 weeks) I never ran out of juice and never needed to recharge mine, which is fairly standard given how great most wireless mice go on a single charge or battery. Razer promises up to 400 hours when connected via Bluetooth and up to 200 hours via 2.4GHz wireless, and there’s no reason to disbelieve them.
Of course, you’ll be able to use the Pro Click Mouse while charging through the USB cable, so battery life isn’t something you’ll have to worry about as long as you don’t mind a few cables mucking up the otherwise clean (i.e. wireless) setup.
Synapse Software: Absolutely Necessary
As with most of Razer’s high-end gaming mice and keyboard you’ll need to download and install their Synapse software to get the most from both peripherals, allowing you to customize keys and buttons to your liking, finetune sensitivity settings and lighting effects (when applicable), and even save profiles between workstations to help speed up productivity. It’s also not optional, at least if you want to get the most from either peripheral.
Unlike some of the more egregious “necessary” software suites out there, Synapse is easy to use and manage, with a clean interface that helps make customizing your fancy new productivity tools relatively painless – if you’re an experienced gamer, that is. Synapse was clearly built for – and mostly serves – Razer’s gaming peripherals, so most of the more interesting features don’t apply to either the Pro Type Keyboard or Pro Click Mouse.
It would have been nice had Razer developed an “office” tier so that newer users unfamiliar or even uncomfortable with customizable software could have a quicker, less congested interface that matched the physical experience but this is a minor, easily fixable gripe.
Powering the performance is Razer’s 5G advanced optical sensor, allowing for insanely smooth levels of DPI (dots per inch) in whatever application you’ll be working on. Customizing the Pro Click Mouse is essentially limited to remapping the 8 available buttons (the left/right buttons can’t be changed) and being able to adjust the available DPI settings to cycle through 800, 1800, 3200, 5000 and all the way up to 16000, allowing a degree of granularity and precision you’ll need for high-end 4K video and photo editing (not to mention zipping your cursor across several display desktops).
Conflicting Formats: Less Synergistic
Both the Pro Type Keyboard and Pro Click Mouse have lots of connectivity in common, namely both can use Bluetooth and 2.4 GHz wireless (via USB dongles) to pair up to 4 different devices per peripheral, 3 via Bluetooth profiles and 1 directly via USB. This is an outstanding feature I wish more devices had, as many users often jump between different machines, platforms, etc. It just would’ve been nice if both peripherals played as nicely together as they do with different machines.
Unfortunately, Razer’s wireless world isn’t quite the unified utopia you wish it was. Those opting for 2.4 Ghz wireless connections will need two different USB dongles as each device pairs only with its proprietary dongle, lacking the unified accessibility of something like Logitech’s Unifying dongle.
Furthermore, both the keyboard and mouse recharge using entirely different USB cables; the Pro Type using newer Type-C and the Pro Click using older micro USB. While not a dealkiller, it’s a major missed opportunity to keep such basic compatibility clean and unified, especially as both peripherals can be used “wired” when connected – and charging – over USB. Worse, the Pro Click’s charge port is heavily recessed, meaning your cheap micro USB cable probably isn’t going to easily fit in there. Hang onto that included USB cable, as you’re going to need it.
The Elephant in the Office
As beautiful as both the Pro Type Keyboard and Pro Click Mouse are, as great as both perform their respective duties, and as much as we should applaud Razer for taking the initiative to move the industry forward from gaming-centric peripherals to great looking office peripherals, there’s no getting around one very important, very unavoidable fact. Apart from their very pretty, very professional aesthetics…neither don’t really do anything better or more efficiently than cheaper alternatives. In fact, in many ways they do a lot less, and less well at that.
The desire to remove all traces of “embarrassing” or childish gaming aesthetics or features may have led to an overcorrection in their design, cleaving away additional buttons or functions that might have proved useful in an actual work environment. In many ways, the ability to actually be productive seems to have taken a backseat entirely to looks, with form definitely taking the lead over function.
The Pro Click Mouse fares better in this department than its Pro Type Keyboard cousin, if only because having immediate access to high-end DPI settings will help you be more productive, but that’s about it. Again, Razer’s 5G advanced optical sensor works overtime here, but you’ll have to consider if that’s worth the premium price.
When you consider the current asking price for both keyboard and mouse, adding both to your setup will run you close to $300 for the privilege. It’s obvious you’re paying a premium for great looking peripherals, and not for any true “productivity” features. For some, this visual declutter will be more than enough to finally rid their desks of sharper angled, boxy rainbow-lit monsters.
Conclusion: Get to Work, In Style
Both the Pro Type Keyboard and Pro Click Mouse achieve their primary goal of offering users a sophisticated suite of productivity-minded peripherals that look beautiful and perform beautifully. The Pro Type is a typist’s dream and the insane precision – and easy access – to the Pro Click’s DPI levels make this suite a match made in minimalist heaven. That beauty doesn’t come cheap, however, as both command premium pricing and the experience is marred just a smidge by their mixed USB ports. But there’s no denying they do their job and do it well, and while Razer’s first attempt at office perfection isn’t quite perfect, and those looking to escape the world of hardcore gaming peripherals should take a look.