Gaming

Razer's Huntsman Elite: A Keyboard for work and play

The Huntsman Elite is Razer's new flagship gaming keyboard.

Unlike most mechanical gaming keyboards in the market, the Huntsman Elite uses optical mechanical switches - specifically, Razer's newly developed Opto-Mechanical switches.

They work by having a constant beam of light, which is blocked by the switch stem, under each key. When a key is pressed, the beam of light is allowed to pass through and the key press is instantly registered.

In addition, each switch comes with its own metallic key stabiliser that flanks both sides of the switch, to prevent key wobble or misfire when you hit the edge of the key.

The switch provides a clicky feedback, but with a lighter actuation force of 45g, compared with 55g actuation force of my favourite tactile and clicky Cherry MX Blue switches.

Plus, Razer claims that the Opto-Mechanical switches can last 100 million key presses, compared with the industrial standard of 50 million key presses.


  • SPECS 

    PRICE: $339.90

    SWITCHES: Razer Opto-Mechanical switches, light and clicky with 45g actuation force

    FEATURES: RGB lighting, Razer Synapse enabled

  • RATING

    FEATURES: 4/5

    DESIGN: 5/5

    PERFORMANCE: 5/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 3/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

Apart from having new switches, the Huntsman Elite features a design overhaul with its matte-black aluminium top and "floating" keys.

It loses the column of dedicated macro keys found in the Blackwidow Chroma V2 - Razer's previous flagship keyboard. But it gains a customisable multi-functional click dial at the top right of the keyboard as well as a row of three nicely rounded multimedia keys beside the dial.

It comes with a plush leatherette wrist rest that has a proprietary connector to the main keyboard. This is because it needs power for the underglow lighting. The Huntsman Elite has a four-side underglow that extends from the sides of the keyboard and wrist rest to the front of the wrist rest and the back of the keyboard.

The keyboard has the usual high-end features, such as 10-key rollover anti-ghosting, fully programmable keys with on-the-fly macro recording and customisable backlighting with up to 16.8 million colour options like its predecessor.

On the downside, it loses the USB pass-through found in many of the flagship Blackwidow models. This is a shame as the Huntsman Elite requires two USB ports and you lose two USB ports from your PC as a result.

To be honest, I was not wowed when I first used the Huntsman Elite. I felt that the sound was not quite right or as high-pitched as my beloved Cherry MX Blue switches.

But after a week of usage, I grew to like the sound. It is actually quite loud and still provides that satisfying clicky response, but with less force required.

In fact, I found that I typed more accurately than I did on the Blackwidow Chroma V2, which I reviewed last year.

During gaming, the keyboard performed superbly for both first-person shooters and action role-playing games.

The wrist rest feels more comfortable compared with that of the Blackwidow Chroma V2. The latter places your wrists slightly higher than the surface of the keyboard, making it perfect for typing but strains your wrists when you press the same keys continuously for gaming.

Instead, the Huntsman Elite's version places your wrists at a comfortable angle for both typing and gaming. It is probably the most comfortable keyboard wrist rest I have used.

The biggest downer, though, is its price tag of $339.90, which makes it one of the most expensive keyboards in the market. But if you are using it for daily work as well as gaming, it could be worth buying, especially if it is as durable as Razer claims.

There is a cheaper version called Huntsman ($229.90) with the Opto-Mechanical switches, but without the dial, multimedia keys, underglow and wrist rest.

• Verdict: Apart from its astronomical price tag, the Razer Huntsman Elite is the ideal mechanical keyboard for both work and gaming.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 11, 2018, with the headline 'Keyboard for work and play'. Print Edition | Subscribe