Razer Tartarus V2 vs. Pro: Which to buy…?

In the world of gaming peripherals, there are few companies that can match the quality and product line of Razer. From laptops to mice to ergonomic gaming chairs to “mental performance drink mixes,” Razer is the king of gaming products and peripherals.

Razer Tartarus V2 and Razer Tartarus Pro are gaming keypads. Gaming keypads are smaller than a keyboard, and function almost like a keyboard that is used with one hand rather than two. Typically, they are more ergonomic in design, and feature programmable macros that allow the user to create customizable shortcuts. Due to the ergonomic design and customizable keys, gaming keypads are the perfect peripheral for serious gamers.

Because Razer offers so many choices in their product line, it can get confusing to choose one from the other. In this article, we will discuss the Razer Tartarus V2 mecha-membrane gaming keypad and the Razer Tartarus Pro analog optical switch gaming keypad.

Product

Tartarus V2

Tartarus Pro

Design

Switches

Mecha-membrane

Analog-optical

Adjustable actuation?

No

Yes

RGB lighting?

Yes

Yes

Color options

1 (Black only)

2 (Black & white)

We will cover the differences and similarities between Razer Tartarus V2 and Razer Tartarus Pro, and help you determine which product is best for you. Continue reading for an in-depth discussion.

Razer Tartarus V2 vs. Tartarus Pro: A Quick Buying Guide

If you don’t want to read the entire article, here is the abbreviated version:

Both Tartarus V2 and Tartarus Pro are excellent gaming keypads with programmable keys, customizable lighting, ergonomic wrist rests, and a nearly unlimited amount of customization due to unlimited user profiles and programmable macros.

Razer Tartarus V2 is the older version, and is available for a (significantly) lower cost. It has mecha-membrane switches that are actuated at the middle of the key. This means that pressing a key is binary, meaning it either activates or doesn’t. Think of this like typing on a keyboard — once you press the key with a certain amount of force, the button activates and the corresponding letter appears on your screen. Similar to a light switch, the key is either “on” (pressed) or “off” (not pressed).

Razer Tartarus Pro is the updated version, and comes with a premium price tag. It has analog-optical key switches that can be actuated to any amount of pressure that you desire. This means that, rather than a key either being activated fully or not at all, it can also be partially activated. Think of this like a dimmer switch on a light bulb — it can be on, off, or anywhere in between. This analog input functions with many games that have controller support, so the feature will come in handy for gamers especially. Because you can adjust the amount of pressure needed to activate a key, you can customize this keypad to your exact preferences. Additionally, the keys are dual-function, and can have both a primary and a secondary actuation point. This means that one key can provide two different functions, depending on how hard you press it. The example that Razer gives is that you can press the key lightly to walk, or press the key harder in order to run.

If the dual-function keys and adjustable actuation features are important to you, and worth spending some extra money on, choose the Razer Tartarus Pro. Otherwise, save the money and choose Razer Tartarus V2, which is almost identical in every other way.

Similarities between Tartarus V2 & Pro

In most ways, Tartarus V2 and Pro are nearly identical products. Both are Razer gaming keypads with 32 programmable keys in the same configuration. Each product has an 8-way directional thumbpad, programmable scroll wheel, adjustable wrist rest, and highly-customizable Razer Chroma RGB lighting. The polling rates (basically the same as a refresh rate, or the speed of the response) are the same, and you can set unlimited profiles and unlimited macro lengths with each keypad.

Tartarus V2 and Pro both use Razer Synapse 3 software, and unfortunately lack any built-in memory. And each device comes with a 2 year warranty from the manufacturer.

The Tartarus V2 and Pro have more similarities than differences, and we will cover these in more detail in the following sections.

Design

Technically, the devices differ in their size and weight. However, this is really only something you will notice on the spec sheets. We won’t spend a lot of time discussing a 1/32″ size difference or ½ ounce weight difference. Even in a side-by-side comparison, we didn’t notice any size or weight differences. So, effectively, we will just consider them as identical in size.

The major difference in design is that the V2 uses mecha-membrane keys while the Pro uses optical switches. Neither of these are “better” by definition, but just different. If you have the ability to test either of these products before buying, take the opportunity to do so. It all comes down to your personal preferences, and what you are used to.

The ergonomics and design of both keypads are the same, and the wrist rests can be adjusted to 2 different positions. While the keypads are marketed as highly ergonomic and good for hours of non-stop gaming, some users complain about hand discomfort and awkward thumb positioning. I didn’t have any issues during testing, but obviously your experience will depend on the size and flexibility of your hand and fingers. Again, take the opportunity to test before buying if you can. And Razer typically allows for a 14 day no-obligation trial period, so this is also something to consider.

The keypads are identical in their arrangement, and both V2 and Pro have the same thumbpad and scroll wheel. The RGB lighting is vivid, and can be customized in a nearly-unlimited number of ways. These keypads have a sleek design that looks pretty nice alongside a gaming computer setup.

The Tartarus V2 is only available in classic black, while the Pro comes both in classic black and mercury white.

Switches & keys

As mentioned above, the switches are the biggest differentiating factor between the two devices.

Razer Tartarus Pro has dual-function keys, which allow for a button to have one function if pressed partially, and another function if pressed further. This is a great feature which can take your gaming to another level. 

For anyone who is accustomed to gaming on a console, this feature will feel comfortable and familiar. It is similar to the joystick on console controllers, where pressing the control further will result in a stronger response. Again, the example used by Razer is that you can press the button halfway to walk, and fully to run.

The actuation is also adjustable on the Pro. This means that you can make the button as sensitive or firm as you wish. If you set the actuation to a low setting, the button will activate with almost no pressure required. And if you set the actuation to a high setting, the key will only register if you press it firmly. 

You can fully customize the actuation to any setting that you desire. This is true for both the primary actuation point and the secondary actuation point.

While we love the customizability, the dual-function keys still aren’t perfect. Our main complaint is that once you have activated both functions of the key, you can’t inactivate the second without releasing the key entirely. 

We will illustrate with the walking/running example. If you press the key lightly (to the primary actuation point), your character walks. If you continue to press the key more firmly and reach the secondary actuation point, your character now begins the run. But, you cannot return to low pressure and return your character to walking. Instead, you have to release the button entirely and let your character stand still. Then, you can lightly press the key again to return to a walk. 

So, even though we said the dual-function will be appreciated by console gamers, the dual-function keys on the Razer Tartarus Pro still aren’t a perfect replacement for the joystick on a PlayStation controller. 

The Razer Tartarus V2 has simpler mecha-membrane switches that can’t be customized. There is no dual-function capability, so each key only has one function when pressed. And the sensitivity cannot be adjusted. Instead, the keys are actuated at the middle of the key, so it takes a moderate amount of pressure to press the button.

While the function and actuation are less sophisticated than the Pro, remember that the device still provides a lot more function than a typical keyboard. The buttons are all programmable, and you can create macros of unlimited length. So, whether you are using it for gaming, coding, or office work, the Razer Tartarus V2 still packs a lot of punch.

Software & programmability

Both the Tartarus V2 and the Pro use the Razer Synapse 3 program. As mentioned above, neither keypad has built-in memory. This means that you need to have the Razer Synapse 3 application open for full functionality. For privacy-focused users, this means you will need to grant system access to Razer Synapse 3 in order to customize your keypad and use it to its full capabilities. While we love the convenience of programmable macros (we have even written about how much it can improve the efficiency of office work), it is frustrating that a simple function like this requires signing up for an account and providing Razer with system access.

Having complained about the app in the above paragraph, we should point out that it is well-designed and highly functional. The customization is managed through the app, including macros, RGB lighting, key actuation, and coordinating with other devices. With Razer Synapse 3 running, you have an almost infinite number of customizations available to you. This is especially true when you have your Tartarus connected to other devices with RGB lighting, or even Amazon Alexa or Philips Hue. 

Both Razer Tartarus V2 and Razer Tartarus Pro allow for unlimited profiles, 8 of which can be accessed via quick toggle. And both allow for macros of unlimited lengths, so you can set your shortcuts to be as long and elaborate as you wish. The RGB lighting is identical between the two models, as is the 1,000 Hz polling rate.

Final thoughts

Optical switches are the only reason to spend extra money for the Razer Tartarus Pro, rather than saving a chunk of change by purchasing the Tartarus V2. If the dual-function keys and adjustable key actuation are valuable to your gameplay, the Tartarus Pro is hard to beat, and will be worth every penny you spend on it. But if you want a cost-effective yet quality gaming keypad, Razer Tartarus V2 is one of your best options. You still get an abundance of programmable keys and customization, along with vivid RGB lighting, an ergonomic design, unlimited macros and user profiles, and an ultra-fast polling rate. For a serious gamer, gaming keypads are a gaming peripheral that can take your play to the next level.


FAQs

What’s the difference between the Razer Tartarus Pro and V2?

Razer Tartarus V2 (2017 release) is the earlier version, and Razer Tartarus Pro (2019 release) is the updated version. Tartarus V2 features mecha-membrane keys that are designed to provide the “clicky” feel of mechanical keys with the soft cushion of a traditional membrane keyboard. The keys are actuated at mid-height, and cannot be adjusted. Tartarus Pro has analog optical keys which provide dual-function and have adjustable actuation.

Simply put, Tartarus Pro has higher-end keys that are more adjustable to your preferences. Tartarus V2 is less expensive, but has keys that are single-function and cannot be adjusted to your desired sensitivity.

What is Razer Tartarus V2?

Razer Tartarus V2 is a gaming keypad, which is similar to a half-keyboard that is operated with one hand. The gaming keypad has keys that can be programmed for different functions, and also gives you the ability to program macros (essentially shortcut codes) of unlimited length. There is also a directional pad and chroma lighting. Due to the shortcuts and programmability of the keys, these keypads are also popular for coding, photo editing, or any computer work that relies on repetitive tasks.

Can you adjust Razer Tartarus V2?

You can program the keys, adjust the lighting, and create macros of unlimited length. You can also add as many user profiles as you desire. And the wrist rest is adjustable to multiple positions. However, you cannot adjust the actuation of the keys themselves. The keys will activate at mid-height, and this cannot be adjusted.