There are a few things separating the Orbweaver Chroma and Tartartus V2 – price, keys, and adjustability.
I’ll get into all the details.
But first, why Razer? Aren’t there other options?
Not really – it’s either Razer, or a no-name keypad from a dicey brand with questionable reviews.
Logitech used to make the G13, but it’s been discontinued for a couple of years.
The Nostromo Speedpad n52 was one of the first keypads with mass popularity. It hasn’t been around for about a decade, though.
Razer bought the rights to the Nostromo from Belkin and made it for a while, then came out with the Orbweaver and Tartarus lines to add more keys and features.
Read on. I’ll break down all the differences and why you should pick one keypad or the other.
Since you’re here, you probably have a good reason for considering a keypad.
If you’ll be using a gamepad for World of Warcraft, Fortnite, real-time strategy games, and more complex FPS games like Battlefield, Fortnite, and Rainbow Six can benefit from a streamlined key layout and customization.
The keys are better aligned to your fingers than the “WASD” keys on a keyboard you’d usually use for movement.
Keypads aren’t only for gaming. To some, they’re better than keyboards for productivity apps.
3D modeling, Photoshop, Illustrator, and other pro software can take advantage of a keypad’s customization and layout.
It’s a good idea to think about how you’ll be using the keypad, and what features matter to you.
What features do the Orbweaver and Tartarus share?
Keys and buttons are fully customizable in the Razer Synapse software.
Both models have a similar ergonomic design for better comfort over long sessions.
Your thumb can reach a spacebar, directional pad, and thumb key to give you a lot more options than a keyboard.
The rest of your fingers can reach at least 20 programmable keys.
Hypershift can be assigned to any key. By holding it down, every other key can be given a second function.
Each key can be assigned macros of unlimited length.
Both the Orbweaver and Tartarus have full RGB lighting which can be configured down to the individual key.
So what’s different?
Keys and Buttons
One of the biggest differences between the Orbweaver and Tartarus is in the keys themselves.
The Orbweaver Chroma’s mechanical keys are Razer’s “green” key switches with 50g of actuation force. They’re tactile and clicky, with a great feel. Similar to Cherry Blue switches.
That doesn’t mean you should ignore the Tartarus V2. The Mecha-Mechanical keys, despite not being fully mechanical, have a good tactile feel as well. No mushy keys here.
If it’s fully mechanical keys or nothing for you, you’ll want the Orbweaver Chroma. Otherwise, continue on to the rest of the features.
The Orbweaver has 30 programmable keys, and the Tartarus V2 has 32.
The discontinued Tartarus V1 had only 25, so either is a step up.
The difference between 30 and 32 keys comes down to the added scroll wheel on the Tartarus V2.
It takes the place of one standard key, and can be given three functions – scroll up, scroll down, and press.
I find the extra scroll wheel is most helpful for zooming or scrolling through inventory items.
The thumb pads are different as well.
The Tartarus V2 gives you two options. It has a joystick cap for the thumb. This can be removed to expose a d-pad, similar to what you’d find on a console controller.
The Orbweaver has a hat button, also 8-way. I find it’s more wobbly and less precise than the Tartarus’s options. It’s best to program it for 2 or 4 functions so you don’t misclick.
One more thing on keys – there is also a model called the Tartarus Pro. About the only difference between the Tartarus Pro and V2 is that the pro has analog keys.
Analog keys respond to different levels of pressure from your fingers. The only good use I can think of is for analog keys is the throttle on racing games. But, you’re better off using a wheel and pedals if you’re serious about those.
I’d recommend most people skip over the Tartarus Pro and stick to comparing the Orbweaver Chroma and Tartarus V2 gaming keypads.
Shape and Adjustment
One big disclaimer on the shape – these keypads are for your left hand only.
Lefties who use their mice left-handed will need to look elsewhere. Seems the only options are off-brand keypads.
That said, Razer’s stuff is quite comfortable for left-handed use – more so than a typical keyboard.
The Orbweaver offers a lot more adjustment than the Tartarus.
This makes the Orbweaver a better choice if you have especially long or short fingers.
On the Orbweaver Chroma, you can do the following:
- Slide wrist rest forward or back
- Tilt the angle of the palm rest
- Slide the thumb buttons closer or further away
On the Tartarus, you only get one level of adjustment. The hand rest can be pulled off and repositioned. Forward position for shorter hands, back position for longer hands.
Both models come with a 2-year warranty, which is pretty good compared to the 1-year warranty many peripherals come with.
Typically, it’s about $30 less on Amazon.
Overall, the Tartarus is a better value.
It largely has the same features – with the exception of mechanical keys and some additional adjustment.
The Mecha-Mechanical keys on the Tartarus V2 are surprisingly good. The addition of the scroll wheel is nice. The thumb pad gives you more options and is more precise.
Top that off with a lower price, and the Tartarus V2 looks like the better way to go for most people.
Should anybody go with the Orbweaver Chroma instead?
If you have short or very long fingers and value comfort, yes, you should opt for the Orbweaver. It’s far more adjustable.
Or, if you’re dead-set on fully mechanical keys, the Orbweaver is the one to buy.
Otherwise, save some money. I think you’d be quite pleased with choosing the Tartarus V2 instead.