Razer Huntsman Elite Opto-Mechanical Gaming Keyboard review — Razer’s fastest keyboard yet

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Introduction

Gamers always desire more speed. Whether its a more responsive monitor, or a beefier graphics card, it’s always about speed. It goes without saying though that fractions of a second mean a lot more to a gamer as it could be the difference between a win or a loss. To that end, we have switches with earlier actuation points and less travel, and also optical switches. Razer combines both methods to get the Razer Opto-Mechanical switches, found in the Razer Huntsman keyboards. We have here the Razer Huntsman Elite, the higher end of the two Razer keyboards with the new switches.

Unboxing

The keyboard comes in a rather large box, which houses quite a few contents aside from the Razer Huntsman Elite itself. For starters, there are more stickers, including Razer Chroma labels that we haven’t gotten with any previous review samples from Razer. Cool stuff. Then there are the mandatory love letter from Min Liang Tan himself as well as a quick user guide.

Appearance

The Razer Huntsman Elite’s main difference from the standard Razer Huntsman is the included leatherette palm rest and the dedicated media controls up in the right corner of the keyboard. I really dig the control dial as it definitely makes controlling the volume more convenient. And the center of the dial is a mute button, just in case 😉 The palm rest is plush, but it might take some getting used to coming from keyboards without palm rests.

The palm rest, which also features Razer Chroma illumination, connects to the keyboard via pogo pins in the center of the bottom edge of the keyboard. In a nice move, Razer also decided to add LEDs along the bottom edge of the keyboard. While those who use the palm rest may never see the LEDs here, it is a nice touch for those who decide to do away with the palm rest. In fact the side of the palm rest that meets the keyboard also features LEDs, which is somewhat of a surprise, since that edge will never ever be seen.

The LEDs run all around the keyboard, but here we can see the Razer Huntsman Elite doesn’t have an ergonomic tilt by default. Those who prefer a tilt will need to flip out the feet under the keyboard.

For some reason, the sticker seems to be stuck on the wrong way. However the sticker actually has a guiding notch, and apparently it is supposed to be oriented like this. Weird. The huge rubber feet aren’t nearly as weird, and you know what they say about keyboards with huge feet. They stay put on the table, that’s what.

Specifications

Body material Aluminium top plate, plastic case
Keycap Laser-etched ABS keycaps
USB report rate 1000 Hz
Switch type Razer Opto-mechanical Switches
KRO 10KRO
Anti-ghosting Yes
Microprocessor N/A
Cable Braided cable, non-detachable, requires two USB ports
Included accessories User guide, love letter from Min-Liang Tan, Razer stickers

Razer’s latest opto-mechanical switches are rather cool. They feature a little stabilizer bar running across every switch, when most keyboards just have a stabilizer assembly for the long keys. Also, they come with purple sliders. Can’t say no to that.

User Experience

To fully power all the LEDs in this keyboard, you need TWO USB ports. Yep, this baby comes with two USB connectors, and one of it is dedicated to powering up the palm rest. With the more powerful USB 3.0 ports, I would expect a keyboard like this to be able to be powered off one, but nope, it definitely requires two, or your palm rest just won’t light up.

Now of course it goes without saying that Razer is at the top of their game with it comes to RGB illumination. The keyboard dazzles in all the all 16.8 million colors, and it’s not all just for show. It can even be used to notify you about in-game status like HP or mana levels via Razer Chroma’s extensive API. But for simpler users like yours truly, turning the volume dial up makes the LED ring there brighter, while lowering the volume dims it. Tapping on the mute key turns the ring red. That’s already plenty nifty to me.

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You can individually customize the lighting for each and every key on the keyboard. The RGB accents around the sides of the keyboards are also customizable. The keyboard itself houses 38 customization zones, while the palm rest is home to another 24. Ridiculous, I know. Not only are the RGB illumination options offered on the Razer Huntsman Elite ridiculous, the key remapping feature is pretty insane too. You can even remap the volume dial, changing the function it triggers when it scrolls up or scrolls down. If it tickles your fancy, you can even turn it into a mouse scroll.

Now onto the typing experience. If you like clicky switches, and you found the conventional Blue switches to be just a bit too stiff, this might be right up your alley. These keys are light, requiring just 45g of actuation force. By comparison, the standard Razer Green switches require 50g of actuation force. Not a whole lot less, but just enough for you to feel that these keys are lighter. Then there is the earlier actuation point and key travel. It doesn’t actually feel all that different in use though. The switches are pleasant to game and type on, but the keyboard could be better dampened for the asking price.

Conclusion

The new switches aren’t actually all that new if you ask the veterans in the keyboard industry. But judging it from my typing and gaming on it, this is definitely the smoothest clicky switch I have tried. If you are a fan of clicky switches, by all means, this is a good keyboard for you. Despite not enjoying the noise of it all, the keyboard is really enjoyable to use. I loved the Razer Chroma lighting, and the customizability of everything on this keyboard. Razer is asking for RM949 for this keyboard, which isn’t an amount I would be willing to part with. If you are a fan of clicky switches, and also a die-hard fan of RGBae, then there probably isn’t a better keyboard out there for you though.

Our thanks to Razer for providing the Razer Huntsman Elite for our review purposes!