Razer has been a longtime champion of its personal mechanical switches – seen in all the pieces from desktop keyboards to laptops and even iPad covers – however the Huntsman and Huntsman Elite introduces the corporate’s first Optomechanical swap. That’s a mouthful to make certain, and the way in which Razer’s new key swap blends collectively mechanical components with freaking lasers is breathtakingly complicated, however the one factor you really want to know is that this keyboard is insanely fast.
We’ve fairly actually by no means typed faster on one other keyboard – and past that, the Razer Huntsman Elite has additionally delivered the most effective typing expertise we’ve ever skilled.
Pricing and availability
All of that pace comes with a whiplash-inducing $199 (£199, AU$339) worth for the Razer Huntsman Elite we’re reviewing right here. In case you positively have your eye set on Razer Optomechanical switches, you’ll additionally discover them on the lower-end Huntsman keyboard that omits the media shortcut buttons and an included palm relaxation for $149 (£149, AU$249).
The Razer Huntsman Elite’s most direct competitor in worth and pace is the $199 (£184, AU$279) Corsair Okay95 RGB Platinum. It may be outfitted with Cherry MX Velocity Silver switches, which mainly makes it the quickest purely mechanical keyboard available on the market.
In case you’re on the lookout for a extra reasonably priced, however nonetheless top-end keyboard, look to the $179 (£159, AU$279) Logitech G910 Orion Spectrum. Sadly, going this route leaves you with simply tactile Romer-G switches that aren’t practically as fast as both of its two opponents.
Regardless of the Huntsman Elite’s larger-than-life aspirations, it’s truly Razer’s smallest keyboard but due to it being the corporate’s first frameless design. All of Razer’s different keyboards so far have include a thick plastic fairing, however the Huntsman Elite ditches that for a less complicated design.
Floating keycaps hover over a jet black anodized aluminum keyboard deck, following within the custom of different frameless keyboards such because the Logitech G513 and HyperX Alloy Elite RGB. The place the design deviates is Razer sees everybody else’s lightbars and ups the ante with observe lighting throughout the perimeter of its keyboard. This contains – in the end – an RGB lit palm relaxation!
As ridiculously excessive as this may look, you received’t discover one other keyboard with extra RGB lighting. As ever, Razer is a grasp on this subject with Chroma including a vibrant, but gentle illumination to each key, button and a novel beneath glow impact due to the 360-degree observe lighting.
The Razer Huntsman additionally options probably the greatest units of media keys with three easy buttons for play/rewind and quick ahead together with a quantity wheel that encompasses a mute button in its heart.
The quantity wheel is the actual deal with right here because it hangs partially off the sting for straightforward changes. As quickly as you begin transferring it, the lighting inside its interior ring modifications to a pure white that will increase in depth as you elevate the amount. We simply want the amount wheel would click on bodily and audibly or simply flip with a clean scrolling movement, somewhat than be someplace in between.
Razer additionally cleverly locations the caps locks and different indicator lighting proper above the arrow keys, an space of lifeless house that usually goes underutilized.
Though the palm relaxation provides plushy help for our palms, we’re not loopy in regards to the metallic edges surrounding the palm relaxation. In case you’re wrists have a tendency to hold off and beneath the sting of your desk – which isn’t nice, ergonomically talking, by the way in which – you’ll really feel this metallic edge chopping into you on a regular basis.
Razer isn’t the primary peripheral maker to come back out with an optical swap keyboard – the Aorus K9 Optical and Tesoro Excalibur SE Spectrum beat it to the punch – however the Optomechanical swap has a novel really feel and is considerably quicker than others we’ve used prior to now.
In case you pull of any of the Huntsman Elite’s keycaps, you’ll discover a strange-looking purple swap beneath.
There’s the standard plus-shaped peg within the center, however surrounding it’s a field with branches related to a metallic bar that appears prefer it was pulled off of a takeout field. This whole top-section is there to supply a mechanical really feel as the underside half of the important thing swap is only a spring, hole house and the lasers that drive this optical swap.
Conventional mechanical keyboard switches sometimes backside out towards a metallic (normally gold) contact level to create a whole electrical circuit and inform your laptop when to sort out a personality. Razer Optomechanical swap fires the identical command besides it makes use of a beam of sunshine to take action, which is inherently quicker due to the pace of sunshine being 186,000 miles-per-second.
Razer additionally modeled the mechanical features of its new key swap after the most effective qualities of its opponents. This contains the 45g actuation drive of Cherry MX Reds combined with the clicky suggestions of Cherry MX Blue and Razer Inexperienced switches. The Optomechanical swap additionally has a 3.5mm journey distance and 1.5mm actuation level that’s practically as little as that of Cherry MX Velocity Silver.
Razer’s Optomechanical swap may sound like a terrifying chimera on paper, however it all works fantastically in apply. The mix of optical switches and a brief mechanical actuation quantities to our swiftest typing expertise but. All of the whereas the Optomechanical swap delivers a satisfyingly tactile and audible click on typically omitted on the quickest keyboards.
This editor specifically isn’t afraid to confess he varieties at a laughably gradual phrases per minute, however the Razer Huntsman Elite makes us as if we’re typing virtually twice as quick. At first it could actually take some getting used to and there can be loads of unintentional key presses, however when you get the hold of its pace you’ll seemingly additionally notice you’re typing quicker than ever as properly.
All of this pace is available in much more helpful for video games, in fact. First-person shooters, and particularly Mirror’s Edge, performs like a dream with the Huntsman Elite. The keyboard is extremely enjoyable to make use of when enjoying Hammond, the brand new Wrecking Ball character in Overwatch, to make completely round loss of life cyclones round seize factors.
In accordance with Razer, the Optomechanical swap actuates 30% quicker than a standard clicky mechanical swap. Sturdiness can also be mentioned to be doubled and the Huntsman Elite ought to final via 100 million clicks.
One down facet of this optical system is each single key produces its personal laser. Now, 104 particular person beams of sunshine, on high of all of the Huntsman Elite RGBs, makes use of up loads of power and it requires two USB ports always to work appropriately.
Neglect about Cherry MX Velocity or some other keyboard swap, Razer’s Optomechanical switches are simply the quickest keyboard switches we’ve ever typed on. In the meantime, the Razer Huntsman Elite is the closest factor we’ve seen to a superbly laid out keyboard.
After all, it’s not utterly good because the keyboard requires a ton of power and dropping two USB ports is a serious inconvenience. We additionally really feel Razer ought to barely tweak the ergonomics of the palm relaxation. To not point out, $199 (£199, AU$339) is an extremely steep asking worth for even a keyboard as superb as this.
That mentioned, we’d personally would splurge sooner on a Huntsman Elite than any of the opposite premium, top-shelf peripherals. The Optomechanical swap is solely unbelievable. Razer may need got down to construct the world’s quickest gaming keyboard, however the Huntsman Elite additionally delivers on the most effective typing expertise you’ll find at the moment.