The best thing about using a mechanical keyboard is the high response rate and audible feedback satisfaction as you type along each and every switch. Gaming-wise, Razer is no stranger to providing gamers with such keyboards, especially in the high-end category. Their latest entry, the Razer Huntsman and Huntsman Elite, promises a step further in the experience with an innovative approach to mechanical switches, as well as some added features in the mix. We will be focusing on the Huntsman Elite which was generously provided by Razer for this review.
The Huntsman is Razer’s first keyboard to feature the purple Opto-Mechanical switches where instead of relying on a metal contact point to signal which character is being typed out, a beam of light (lasers!) is used to electrically deliver each key press to the computer. While not apparent to an everyday user, the Opto-Mechanical approach transmits faster than a traditional mechanical switch. This benefits day-to-day typing, as well as quick responses while gaming.
The media controls on the Huntsman Elite is worth highlighting with an intuitive layout for the play, pause, rewind, and fast forward buttons for your media consumption needs. On the top right of the keyboard, you’ll find a dial where you can adjust your volume and also the light illumination of the device. The dial has to be my favourite function of the Huntsman as it acts as a faster alternative to lowering or increasing audio volume than using Fn + Volume Key shortcut methods that I’ve always been accustomed to with the keyboards that I own.
The Huntsman sports an aluminium matte plate which gives it a sturdy feel compared to common plastic keyboard bodies. Ergonomically, the keyboard is comfortable to use with its traditional keyboard layout. Even more so with the Elite variant which comes with a magnetic wrist rest. Rarely would I even consider owning a keyboard with such addition, let alone considering to give such pampering to my wrists. But having them situated nicely on the Elite’s cushioned leather wrist rest while using the keyboard or even in idle situations has convinced me otherwise. Granted that you’ll require extra space on your desk for the wrist rest, but it’s usually self preference if you decide to have it installed or not. That said, the Huntsman can be quite hefty to be lugged around, and it may disappoint certain gamers as it lacks additional macro keys for shortcut key binding needs.
Being a Razer product and a gaming keyboard at that, it’s a given that the Huntsman Elite is to be equipped with a Chroma RGB lighting setup, which has been the current fad nowadays. The keyboard itself is a desktop sized light festival with a robust array of light rings displayed from the keys, the sides of the device, and even from the wrist rest. Aside from using the aforementioned dial to adjust the light illumination, further customisations can be done the Razer Synapse 3 software to have a more personalised experience. Upon running certain supported games such as Overwatch, the software will activate preset light settings on the keyboard which will display a fixed colour based on the character you have selected. My only gripe is that, for the complete Chroma experience, it is required to have two USB ports available to have it set up: one for they keyboard, and one for the wrist rest. Yes, the wrist rest’s Chroma lights are powered separately.
In a whole, the Razer Huntsman Elite is a worthwhile (opto)mechanical keyboard to own if you’ve not previously owned one or if you’re planning on an upgrade. It’s solid yet comfortable, sports a brilliant media dial, and stands out with its flashy Chroma lighting. It has a price tag of MYR 999 but if you’re in the market for a high-end keyboard with some neat features, the price is well worth it.