As you can see from the picture above the keyboard is relatively big and has a shiny surface, just like the new iPods. I looks quite stylish compared to my old Logitech G15.
One thing you notice right from the begining is the rather odd key layout. In order to keep the width of the keyboard to a minimum, the key section above the arrow keys are rotated 90 degrees clockwise.
The keyboard has some normal standoffs to raise the keyboard so that it's more comfortable to use. They are made of the same thick plastic as the rest of the keyboard.
Even though the Tarantula primarily is a gaming keyboard it does have some nice multimedia features such as Zoom +/- and rotate. On the right side of the keyboard there are some media control buttons such as: play, skip +/-, stop, open media player. Besides that there is a volume control and shuffle function control on the right side of the keyboard.
Besides the common media functions and stuff like that the Tarantula features two USB 2.0 ports on the back along with two mini-jack ports. These USB ports are connected via two USB connectors to the motherboard's USB ports. This enables you to connect two power demanding USB 2.0 peripherals to the Tarantula keyboard instead of just one. The two mini-jack ports enable you to use a headset with a short wire.
To my surprise the Tarantula is actually a bit lower than the G15. The height of the Tarantula is a nice compromise. It is comfortable and doesn't look like a giant sitting on your desk in the same way as the G15 does.
When it comes to lighting the Tarantula is a bit disappointing because only the ten L and R keys are back lighted. I quite liked the keys on the G15 because the lighting was really bright and therefore easy to see when it's dark. To make up for this Razer has announced a BattleLight which can be mounted in the BattleDock of the Tarantula.
One of the most interesting things about the Tarantula is the changeable keys. The system allows you to remove any key on the keyboard and replace it with a blue special character key.
This is how it looks when you replaced the original L or R keys with some of the special keys that come bundled with the keyboard. Instead of having a character on them they have an icon. As you can see from the images above the special key set looks quite nice in the dark.
The reason why all this is possible without breaking the internal contacts of the keyboard is this.
There is a specially designed key remover that can grab the keys without applying unnecessary force. The buttons on the keyboard are situated on top of a hollow plastic box which means that the buttons are only held in place by it and the rubber contact on the bottom of the keyboard. A normal keyboard has a retaining mechanism made of metal holding the buttons in place, thats why you can't remove the buttons on a regular keyboard without the risk of ruining it. Razer has found a nice way to get around this particular problem and after replacing the same button ten times there was no noticeable damage to the socket.
This keyboard has the same glowing logo as the DeathAdder, only it's a bit bigger. It looks nice but isn't really useful in any way.
The Tarantula cord splits up into 4 separate connectors, two 3.5mm mini-jack connectors for sound and two USB 2.0 connectors for internal power to the USB hub in the Tarantula. As you can see on the picture above the connectors are quite sturdy.