Razer is, arguably, one of the most bombastic brands out there. It’s the originator of the “gamer” aesthetic, due in no small part to its extreme branding stretching back to its founding in the late ’90s. And a big part of that branding is in its names.
Mice named after snakes. Keyboards named after spiders. Headsets named after fearsome sea creatures. Razer names its products not unlike a military branch naming a new fighter jet, seeking a moniker with a primal intimidation factor. After all, you can’t slay noobs if your keyboard has a name like “Intellitype,” right? At the same time, Razer’s names can be a little inscrutable, often settling on obscure Latin biology terms. If you know what “Cynosa” means without having to check Wikipedia, you’re probably an entomologist arachnologist.
So, I decided to take a look at the name of every single product Razer currently sells on its website. Excluding duplicate variants (like “X,” “Chroma,” “Stealth,” “Tournament Edition,” et cetera) and accessories that don’t really have names beyond a basic description, I found 44 current devices. And then I ranked them from best to worst. Because it was fun. [Editor’s Note: Michael’s definition of fun is…unique.]
When considering the names, I took into account the general name itself, the theme of the device family (snakes for mice, cats for controllers), and whether or not the name actually related to a characteristic of the gadget. That said, my rankings don’t rely on any scientific or linguistic basis, just a gut feeling.
1: Atheris Mouse
Razer’s mice are all named after snakes, or at least snake-adjacent monsters. The Atheris is a tiny little mouse, suitable for packing in a laptop bag or even a pocket, if for some reason you want to play PC games on your phone. Its namesake is a family of venomous snakes found in tropical African forests, none of which reach more than two and a half feet long. It fits into the device family, it fits the device itself, and it’s a little obscure: the ideal Razer device name.
2. Huntsman Keyboard
Razer’s keyboards are named for spiders. The Huntsman family is descriptively named because they run and chase their prey like a conventional predator instead of weaving trap webs. The largest, the giant huntsman spider of Laos, can be nearly a foot long. With its fairly well-known association and an aggressive name even if you don’t know the animals, it’s perfect for Razer’s flagship optical keyboard line.
3. Opus Headphones
Razer’s recently been branching out of specifically “gamer” gear, and one of its first efforts is the Opus noise cancelling headphones, pretty clearly inspired by mainstream models like the Sony WH-atev3rs. An opus is a musical piece, the singular form of “opera.” So, though it dispenses with the broader theme for Razer’s audio products (sea monsters), it’s just so good as a product name in and of itself that it gets very high on this list.
4. Blade laptops
Razer must have been saving “Blade” for a long time, just waiting for something good. It paid off: “Razer Blade” is damn near unforgettable as a product name. Its laptops are generally among the best in the gaming niche and have appeal even beyond for their stealth fighter looks.
5. Firefly mousepad
Razer’s mousepads are named after insects. The Firefly series was its first with built-in LEDs. It fits pretty perfectly. Even if no one’s intimidated by fireflies, Razer might have scored a few purchases from fans of old sci-fi TV shows—a nice bonus.
6. Deathadder mouse
One of Razer’s most enduringly popular products, the Deathadder mouse gets its name from the death adder of Australia and Oceania. Among the most venomous snakes in the world, the etymology of the death adder isn’t literal, as in adding death to any given situation: Adder is simply an adaptation of an ancient German word for snake. But the more literal interpretation to modern English speakers surely helps in this mouse’s branding appeal.
7. Naga mouse
Razer’s go-to “MMO” mouse for years has been called the Naga, a name inherited from semi-divine snake-like beings found in Hindu mythology. They often manifest as humans with the head of a cobra, or as multi-headed snakes. The latter might have been the inspiration for the mouse, as its signature feature has up to 12 thumb buttons, the better to bind for complex attacks in online RPGs, MOBAs, or RTS games.
8. Mamba mouse
The Mamba was Razer’s first wireless mouse. And like the Blade laptops, I get the impression the company was saving the name “Mamba” for something special. The mamba family of African snakes is among the most dangerous in the world, and the black mamba in particular might be the most dangerous, thanks to a combination of territorial aggression and fast-acting neurotoxic venom. It’s also entirely wireless. [Editor’s Note: KOBE!]
9. Goliathus mousepad
“Goliath” is specifically the name of a giant in the Bible, but it’s been applied to pretty much anything big, including the Latin-ish name of the Goliathus genus of absolutely massive beetles. They’re among the largest insects on the planet, and thus are a fitting namesake for Razer’s big mousepads: the extended version is more than 36 inches wide.
10. Basilisk mouse
Probably best known now for that bit in Harry Potter, the basilisk is a monster with a lot of mythological weight behind it. It’s often described as a mix between a snake and a rooster, and the basilisk is so venomous that even its trail can kill you if you come across it. Famously, the basilisk turns you to stone with its gaze. It’s a pretty fearsome name for a mouse, though how it relates to the signature “clutch” DPI button, I couldn’t guess.
11. Raptor monitor
At the time of writing, Razer has only one monitor, the stylish but somewhat overpriced 27-inch Raptor. It fits into Razer’s general naming scheme: stuff that would sound good as an off-brand muscle car or Sith Lord. [Author’s note: my editor informs me that Ford makes a souped-up pickup truck called the Raptor, so there ya go!] As predatory birds are generally fast, it works well with the monitor’s 144Hz refresh rate. But if Razer makes any more monitors, it’ll have a better chance to flesh out this category with more distinctive names. Alternately, it could name them after dinosaurs, a decision I will preemptively endorse.
12. Kraken headset
The Kraken is a giant sea monster of Norse myth, generally represented as a giant squid or octopus. Razer’s audio products have a sea monster/predator theme, so it fits well, and the big selling point for the basic model is 50mm drivers. Big squid, big drivers… yeah, it works.
13. Leviathan soundbar
Razer’s only soundbar is also its biggest sound product, so sticking with the sea monster theme and naming after something really, really big fits perfectly. The “leviathan” is a name for a sea monster mentioned several times in the Bible, and like Goliath, it’s become something of a shorthand for anything big.
14. Viper mouse
The Viper was one of Razer’s first gaming mice, predated only by the Boomslang (which, yes, is also a snake). The most recent iteration is ambidextrous, as was the original, but why it’s been given that old name isn’t clear. I suppose snakes are ambidextrous, in that they are equally inept at using either right or left hands. The Viper is on the lower end of the snake-mouse scale for lack of distinctive branding.
15. Hammerhead headphones
The AirPods-like true wireless headphones are designed for mobile use more than explicit “gaming,” but because they stick out of the side of your head in a way very slightly reminiscent of the iconic shark, I guess it makes sense.
16. Thresher headset
Presumably referring to a family of sharks, Thresher is a pretty solid Razer name thanks to association with a big piece of equipment and a verb that means “to strike repeatedly.” But thresher sharks are known for a distinctive long tail, and there’s nothing in the headset that mirrors that trait.
17. Tomahawk PC case
Razer’s rather light series of PC cases are named after a type of axe used by Native Americans. It’s a loan word from Algonquin, now used for more or less any small axe. As the only entry in this category, it’s hard to judge the Tomahawk cases as fitting into a theme, but the name works fine on its own. A bonus factor is association with a series of long-range missiles.
18. Raiju controller
Razer’s game controllers don’t have a very tight theme, generally being named after big cats or other furry toothy scary creatures. Even so, naming a controller after a legendary lightning beast of Japanese folklore is pretty metal. The raiju’s tendency to sleep in people’s belly buttons doesn’t seem to have a parallel in the product itself.
19. BlackWidow Keyboard
One of Razer’s most popular products, the BlackWidow obviously fits in with the spider keyboard theme, and anything black works for Razer. But I’m knocking it down the list for omitting the space and for camelcasing. BecauseIcan.
20. Tetra headset
Tetra are small freshwater fish, popular in home aquariums. They’re only intimidating if you happen to be a gnat. But they fit the aquatic audio theme, as the Tetra is Razer’s smallest and cheapest console headset, more like something you’d find in a truck stop electronics section than a Gamestop. It’s a weird but fitting choice—I’d have gone with “Snapper” for the same effect but more aggression.
21. Kishi controller
A kishi is a two-faced, vaguely hyena-ish demon of Angolan folklore. It’s all about luring in victims with smooth talk, then eating them. It seems only vaguely connected to the theme of big scary cats and wolves established in the other controllers, and there’s no connection to the mobile aspect of the excellent iPhone/Android-friendly Kishi. Maybe the two halves of the controller count as two faces?
22. Wolverine controller
Come on, this controller only got in because of the Marvel character, bub. There are a lot of other intimidating furry creatures you could have chosen—“Lynx” even has the gaming association built in!
23. Panthera controller
Panthera is the genus of felines that includes the classic big cats—lions, tigers, panthers, et cetera. It fits in the theme for controllers, but it’s kind of generic. I get the impression that someone thought “Razer Panther” sounded too close to something offered by MadCatz.
24. Turret keyboard and mouse
The Turret is a combination wireless mouse and keyboard for the Xbox One. So going by the established themes, it would be named for either a snake or a spider, or both. The obvious pick here is Pseudocerastes urarachnoides, the terrifying spider-tailed horned viper… but that’s hard to fit on the side of a retail box. I suppose the idea of a “turret” as a weapon that you have to set up fits, as the Turret deploys a mouse pad for use in your lap.
25. Nommo speakers
Razer’s only current stereo speaker offering is named after a series of fish-like spirits venerated by the Dogon people of Mali, central Africa. It’s a pretty loose connection to Razer’s shark/sea monster theme, and there doesn’t appear to be any distinctive feature that has to do with the speakers themselves.
26. Tartarus keypad
I’m of two minds on this one. The Tartarus left-hand keypad is my favorite Razer product, and “Tartarus” is technically a genus of Australian cave spiders, fitting the keyboard theme. But it’s pretty damn obscure—only four species, with one being noted for its white pigmentation and blindness. Tartarus is, of course, the name for an even deeper portion of the underworld (beneath Hades) in Greek mythology. There’s nothing in either that fits the product—the similar but discontinued Orbweaver keypad was a much better fit for the theme.
27. Abyssus mouse
“Abyssus” is a Latin word that means the same as abyss, i.e., something deep and dark, possibly the sea or hell. Its only connection to Razer’s snake mouse theme is that “abyssus” sometimes gets used for the “pit” part of “pit viper” snakes in the biological taxonomy. It’s a very tenuous connection and doesn’t have anything to do with the budget ambidextrous features of the mouse, which is why this is the second-lowest ranked mouse on this list.
28. Ornata keyboard
Ornata is a Latin word meaning decorated, the root word of the English adjective ornate. It’s often used in taxonomy for striped or spotted animals and plants. The only spider I could find is the peocilotheria ornata, AKA the ornate tiger spider, a big tarantula in Sri Lanka. That’s a pretty weak link to the theme when Googling “ornata” will get you a bunch of plants first, and there’s no connection to the unique mecha-membrane switch feature.
29. Cynosa keyboard
“Cynosa agedabiae” is a single species of wolf spider from North Africa. It appears to be so obscure, at least in terms of biology, that I couldn’t find a single labeled image of it. The Cynosa is Razer’s last full membrane, non-mechanical keyboard, so this odd choice for a name might be more fitting than intended.
30. Sphex mousepad
The Sphex is a small, thin, inexpensive mousepad. It’s named after a genus of small wasps with more than 130 species. So, it’s pretty indistinct… which I guess fits, as there’s nothing particularly remarkable about the mousepad. The wasp’s predictable behavior, which is used as an illustration in some philosophy texts, probably doesn’t enter into the equation.
31. Seiren microphone
Come on Razer, that’s just a misspelling of siren. Which I guess counts broadly as a “sea monster,” and sort of fits in the audio theme. But there’s no reason not to call this the Siren. It even makes sense, as it’s a microphone and sirens sing.
32. Junglecat controller
Razer’s not even trying with this one. And there’s so much they could have done with a Switch-style controller pair for phones! Nope, super generic name. A shame.
33. Kiyo webcam
Kiyo or Kiyohime is a Japanese folklore character, a woman who transformed into a giant serpent when her love rejected her. Because the Kiyo is the only webcam Razer makes, it doesn’t have a theme to fit into … but even so, this name would work better for a mouse. It’s a weird choice here.
34. Nari headset
Based on my research, “Nari” refers either to an obscure son of Norse god Loki, or an even more obscure Slavic monster generated from the soul of a dead child. Either way, it doesn’t fit Razer’s aquatic audio theme or the alleged comfy features of the Nari headset.
35. Kraken Kitty headset
This is just the Kraken headset from above, with decorative kitty ears, available in black/green or pink/white. The ears light up, because of course they do. While I appreciate Razer getting out of its aesthetic comfort zone, something so unique really demands its own name—perhaps “Ariidae,” a genus of catfish. (I’m not sorry.)
36. Core X eGPU
The Core X is an external GPU—you stick a desktop graphics card in there, plug in a USB-C laptop, and play some sweet computer games. The product and the category are really cool, which makes it disappointing that Razer phoned in the name with a bare descriptor.
37. Pro Click mouse, Pro Type keyboard, and Pro Glide mousepad
After I praised the Razer Opus headphones, it’s discouraging to see Razer get so utilitarian with its latest products aimed at more conventional office workers. Just because you’re going for “work” doesn’t mean you can’t have fun names.
38. Razer Phone
Okay, I can appreciate the flat, direct branding of Razer’s self-titled gaming phone, at least from a marketing perspective. But given how well the Razer Blade works as a product name, simply calling a phone a Phone is a big let-down
39. Acari mousepad
40. Gigantus Mousepad
I like the Gigantus a lot as a product, but there’s no getting around the fact that the name is just faux Latin for “big.” It’s a huge wiff next to the similar Goliathus, which ticks the same mental box but fits into the insect theme perfectly.
41. BlackShark headset
Razer, did you seriously run out of sharks? This one goes particularly low on the list for more camelcasing.
42. Raion controller
This six-button controller is made especially for fans of 2D fighting games with clicky mechanical buttons. It’s unique in Razer’s lineup… but the only references I can find to the word “Raion” with that spelling are Soviet-era administrative land divisions. Baffling.
43. Iskur gaming chair
The only reference I can find to Iskur before Razer announced its gaming chair collaboration with SecretLab is the Turkish government’s employment agency. If it’s referring to anything else, perhaps in some other language, I can’t find it.
44. Arctech phone case
Either this is a deliberate misspelling of “architect” or—far more likely—the name of this phone case series is entirely meaningless.
This post was written by Michael Crider and was first posted to www.reviewgeek.com
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