Quite some time ago, Razer introduced yet another keyboard that should continue Razer's winning streak in keyboard design, started way back when the company introduced the Tarantula. For starters, you must bear in mind that the Razer Lycosa is a gaming keyboard, so the entire design is aimed at gamers and their needs.
At first glance, Lycosa doesn't really look like a gaming keyboard. Dont' get us wrong, it looks good indeed, but until you plug it in, it just looks like a plain but cool keyboard. The first thing that you will notice is that there are no macro keys, but we'll get to that later. We mentioned the lack of macro keys because Lycosa is as compact and light as it can be.
Even with the supplied wrist rest, Lycosa is still smaller and lighter than the rest of the gaming keyboards. The mentioned wrist rest is also detachable, so you can take it off by unscrewing the four screws located underneath.
Razer included the microphone, headphones and USB port on the back of the keyboard, which means that you plug your headphones directly into the keyboard and thus avoid any problems that might occur when you try to reach those little things behind on your computer.
With the USB port on the back and the audio connectors, Lycosa needs four connectors to be plugged in your system. Besides the usual audio and regular USB for the keyboard, Razer's Lycosa needs another USB port for the "USB extension port" on the back of the keyboard to work. Razer probably didn't want Lycosa to be affected by some other device, so that would be the obvious reason for a second USB connector.
The front design is very good, as Razer decided to use keys with non-slip rubber finish. These are really comfortable and as quiet as a keyboard can be. Although I haven't heard anyone complain about losing a match because their finger slipped on a certain key, it does add to the general feel and the design of Razer's Lycosa.
The rest of the keyboard, namely the area around the keys excluding the wrist-rest, is glossy and you should get used to seeing all the fingerprints and every little speck of dust that falls on this keyboard. So, don't be surprised if you find yourself cleaning it with a soft cloth and thinking how you wouldn't let anyone touch it again.
The real fun starts once you plug in this baby. A nice soft blue glow lights up each key including Razer's TouchPanel media keys. The glow is pleasant and every key can be seen even when sitting at a certain normal angle and not just from above it. The Razer snake logo on the wrist rest doesn't light up which is, in my opinion, a great thing, because it is too big and it would outshine the keys and would probably glow directly in your eyes.
The mentioned glow has three modes, "off, gaming and work." The first one kills all the lights except for the Num, Caps and Scroll lock indicators. The only drawback we found is that the letters are translucent and a bit hard to see when the keyboard is in "off" mode. However, this is only an issue if you are unfamiliar with the layout of the keyboard, but for gamers or any other experienced computer user this might even prove to be nice.
The "Gaming mode" lights up the WASD cluster, which is a bit brighter than in work mode. That's a great feature for those LAN parties when you need to find your way back to those main buttons while blasting enemies in your favorite FPS. The work mode lights up the entire keyboard, including the TouchPanel media keys. As the name suggested, Razer has decided to add touch-sensitive media control buttons in the right upper corner of the keyboard. This is also where the illumination control touch button is positioned. The Razer logo also acts as an on/off button for the Windows key.