Razer Huntsman Elite Opto-Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
Having recently entered the PC gaming space, I’m thrilled to have had the opportunity to review Razer’s new Huntsman Elite Opto-Mechanical Gaming Keyboard. It’s the first mechanical keyboard I’ve used for an extended period of time, and I’m happy to report it’s an exceptional piece of hardware.
Brace yourself, there’s a surge of technical mumbo-jumbo headed your way. If you’re a specs junkie, the following description will seem downright pornographic. If you’re merely concerned with how the keyboard feels and performs, I’ve done my best to translate the Skynet-like details to layman’s terms.
Razer has placed the speed of light at your very fingertips. Believe me, that’s not an exaggeration. Differing from traditional mechanical switches, Razer’s opto-mechanical switches function through the use of optical light technology. The majority of mechanical keys actuate with metallic contacts, whereas the Huntsman Elite utilizes a beam of light that passes through the switch stem every time a key is pressed. The resulting signal is immediately sent to the computer at the speed of light, literally. It’s not the first of its kind, but it may be the first to perfect it.
The merit doesn’t end there. While conventional mechanical keys click and then actuate, the Huntsman Elite’s tactical click and optical actuation are designed to work in parallel; therefore, your keypress immediately registers with the computer. In other words, the Huntsman Elite’s keys have officially gone digital. The keys also possess an additional stabilizer, providing consistency with each press and reducing wobble. Whether hitting the direct center of the keys or their corners, each press feels identical. As an added bonus, this board is packed with a modest lifespan of 100 million keystrokes.
While I love my trusty Corsair K55, the click and clack of its keys pale in comparison to this beast. The audible and physical sensations of the Huntsman Elite’s light and clicky keys are as satisfying as many other mechanical boards I’ve had my hands on, but their functionality is seemingly unparalleled. Naturally, I hopped straight into a variety of shooters. I’m not particularly skilled at any of them, but the keyboard feels great when playing Quake Champions, Far Cry 5, Fortnite, and Hunt: Showdown. Over a period of about 15 hours, not a single key has failed me. Granted, my Corsair has never hindered me either, but the immediate registration of each keypress is distinctly noticeable. In fact, the Huntsman Elite’s switch tops average switch speed by 30% by clicking, actuating, and resetting simultaneously.
The board also includes a convenient multi-functional digital dial that can be mapped to a multitude of functions via Razer Synapse. From adjusting the volume to switching weapons in-game, the dial performs wonderfully. Allocating your weapon wheel to the dial surely lacks practicality, and curiosity viscerally killed the cat. The good news is the dial performs admirably despite leading me on a path of relentless death in Fortnite.
Two of the more prestigious features are the Hybrid On-board and cloud storage options. The Huntsman Elite is the first of Razer’s keyboards to include onboard memory, offering up to 5 profiles for storage on the board or on Razer Synapse. To recall any custom keybinding presets, you simply press the function and menu key. I personally mapped multiple color presets within synapse to give the onboard recall feature a radiant run for its money. As expected, my wish is its command, as each preset activated as often as I selected them.
Courtesy of the included ergonomic wrist rest, the Huntsman Elite is an especially cozy keyboard as well. For hours on end, my wrist feels comfortable and rather fancy due to the rich leatherette material. The rest connects magnetically to keyboard and features an elegant under-glow that syncs with all of your Razer Chroma peripherals. I fondly admire aesthetics, and the Huntsman Elite looks gorgeous in action. I’m a simple man, so my keyboard remains in a static red hue to match my rig and prevent distraction. However, you can have a lot of fun with customization through Razer Synapse. With over 16.8 million colors to choose from, 168 customizable zones, and individually lit keys, there’s practically an endless variety of ways to tweak the appearance of the board. I played with the idea of having the board ripple a shade of blue every time I press a key. It looks fantastic, but I’m regularly distracted by its alluring majesty in the heat of battle.
My only minor gripe is board’s requirement of two USB ports; each of which power the wrist rest and the keyboard itself. A USB passthrough isn’t included, as it supports data and power transmission through pogo pins. Razer claims that the additional port enables them experiment with many peripherals such as wireless charging and a built-in trackpad, but those features don’t necessarily appeal to me. Although, the Huntsman Elite’s extensive set of features mostly outweigh the sacrifice of two ports.
To be fully transparent, I love this keyboard overall. Sure, it’s the first mechanical board I’ve ever owned, but it’s chock-full of new, entirely reliable features and an insane amount of personalization options. All in all, the Huntsman Elite is an outstanding piece of hardware and serves as a stark representation as to why Razer remains at the forefront of gaming peripherals. The Huntsman Elite Opto-Mechanical Gaming Keyboard is available now for $199.99 via Razer.com. For your convenience, I’ve provided the full list of specifications below.
- Razer Opto-MechanicalTM Switch with 45 G actuation force
- 100 million keystroke lifespan
- Razer Chroma backlighting with 16.8 million customizable color options
- Underglow lighting with 38 customization zones
- Ergonomic Wrist Rest with 24 customization zones underglow
- Multi-Function Digital Dial
- Dedicated media controls
- Hybrid On-board and Cloud Storage – Up to 5 Profiles
- Razer Synapse 3 enabled
- Fully programmable keys with on-the-fly macro recording
- 10 key rollover with anti-ghosting
- Gaming mode option
- Braided fiber cable
- 1000 Hz Ultrapolling
- Aluminum matte top plate
***Keyboard provided for review by Razer***