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Razer Cynosa Lite review: More proof membrane keyboards can be good

Razer's mild update to its already excellent membrane keyboard is good, but hard to find.

Razer Cynosa Lite
(Image: © Windows Central)

I like the Razer Cynosa Chroma a lot. I used one at my work PC for some time, in no small part because it's spill-resistant, and that feature got put to the test on multiple occasions. Membrane keyboards still have a place, and even now, as I type on the newer one, I'm enjoying the relative silence compared to my usual mechanical keyboard.

The Cynosa Lite is, in many regards, the same as the Cynosa Chroma. In fact, they're incredibly difficult to tell apart, so much so that I was left wondering just what I was going to say about it. That's not a bad thing since the first one was so good anyway. But the Cynosa Lite is, for the most part, a rebadge and tweak affair.

The good stuff remains in the Razer Cynosa Lite

Razer Cynosa Lite

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

For more context, it's worth checking out the review I wrote of the original Cynosa Chroma. That's because most of this keyboard is the same. So it's a good keyboard.

What that means is you have the same Blackwidow-esque design, the same quiet, cushioned membrane keys, and the same long key travel that gives this keyboard some feeling when gaming.

Gamers will be interested in what you can do through the Razer Synapse application, and even though this is an entry-level keyboard, you still get access to features from Razer's mechanical keyboards including custom keymaps, macros, and Hypershift that allows you to add secondary functions to keys without changing their primary, with a specific keypress enabling it then you can just hit the keys normally.

Razer Cynosa Lite

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

It's still a full-sized keyboard with a number pad, and you still have media function keys and individual keycap lighting.

In fact, one of the big changes to the visuals is the way the Chroma lighting is delivered. On the Cynosa Chroma, the light floods the entire keyboard area. On the Cynosa Lite, it's limited to just a single zone, and only the markings on the keycaps are lit. Which you prefer, well, that's down to personal taste. I certainly don't mind it this way though, especially on those late evenings working.

And the big reason I used the original Cynosa Chroma for so long is also retained. The Cynosa Lite is also spill-resistant, and while I haven't yet dropped a cup of coffee on this one, based on prior experience, I'm going to assume it handles it like a trooper.

What you won't like about the Razer Cynosa Lite

Razer Cynosa Lite

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

There are some things, small things, about this newer model that have frustrated me throughout my time with it. The first is that the space bar was sticking throughout on the left-hand side, which is precisely where I always press space. It could just be an isolated issue, but equally, I can't just pop it off and have a rummage around as I could on a mechanical keyboard.

Razer also, for some reason, decided to make the primary enter key smaller than the right-hand shift key. It's a minor thing, but when you're used to typing without looking at your keyboard, a small change like this means lots of missed presses. I've examined the design of the Cynosa Chroma, which has a regular-sized enter key, and for the life of me can't quite see what needed to be different.

Anywho, rant over.

Of course, there's also the fact this isn't a mechanical keyboard. As far as membranes go, it's still one of the best around, but you can buy mechanical keyboards cheaper than ever, so it's unlikely this will sway die-hards.

Oh, and it seems to be impossible to get hold of right now, at least in the west. Razer's own site in the U.S. and Europe doesn't seem to mention it at all, though it is on sale in a bundle currently in India.

The bottom line

Razer Cynosa Lite

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Gamers will traditionally lean towards mechanical keyboards with good reason, but they're also pretty loud, and can be expensive. The Cynosa Lite, just as with the Cynosa Chroma, is a particularly good choice if you're looking for a good, quiet, general-purpose keyboard that you can also turn to for a bit of gaming.

Slight irritations aside, it's actually not bad for gaming, and with access to the same features that you get on more expensive Razer keyboards.

The only trouble is most can't get this exact version right now. It's available in places like India, but for everyone else, the original Cynosa Chroma is still on sale (opens in new tab).

Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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