Razer’s Opto-Mechanical Huntsman Gaming Keyboard revealed

Brodie Fogg 29 June 2018 NEWS

Mechanical switches meet the speed of light with Razer's latest gaming keyboard.

Whether you're in need of the near-instantaneous reaction time of a sturdy mechanical keyboard or you just love the meditative clickety-clack of typing on one, you no doubt appreciate the amount of craftsmanship that goes into designing every single key.

Mechanical keyboards have been around since the dawn of time (well, when computers became a household technology) but it was relatively recently that tried-and-true mechanical keyboards clicked with gamers.

One company that is, at the very least, partly responsible for the influx of mechanical gaming keyboards is Razer.

Its incredibly popular BlackWidow keyboard introduced gaming audiences to the pleasures of audible and accurate keyboard strokes with Cherry MX switches back in 2010, when the landscape was mostly peppered with spongy, cost-efficient membrane keyboards. That same keyboard went on to become one the most popular keyboard choices for gamers across the world year in, year out. The BlackWidow has seen many iterations, growing stronger and stronger with a multitude of attachments and switch options across the clicky or quiet keyboard spectrum.

Just last year, Razer released the most recent addition to the BlackWidow family, the Chroma V2. An advanced gaming keyboard that won the unanimous praise of fans and critics alike.

Ever the pioneers, the RGB-obsessed gaming peripheral manufacturer is staying eight feet ahead of the competition and pushing the limits of actuation with its brand-new gaming keyboard, the Huntsman Elite. A brand-new keyboard range with professional gamers in mind that brings with it an entirely new switch technology: Opto-Mechanical keys.

Razer Huntsman Reveal Trailer

Australian release date and pricing

Both the Razer Huntsman Elite and Razer Huntsman are available immediately via Razer's online store at $339.95 and $249.95, respectively.

We've been told that the Huntsman Elite and Huntsman will be arriving at JB HI-FI stores but an in-store release date is yet to be revealed.

Purchase the Razer Hunstman Elite

Purchase the Razer Hunstman Elite from Razer

Get the Razer Hunstman Elite shipped to Australia for free via the Razer Store.

View details

Purple Reign

These purple keys aren't just a style choice fit for a Mad Titan. Opto-Mechanical keys promise an experience unlike anything you've ever seen.

Each key has an infrared beam shooting from one end to the other. When you click down on a key, it actuates (responds) the moment that beam is interrupted.

Shining a bright red light on the shadowy area between clicky and linear, Opto-Mechanical keys allow for the same actuation and reset points as a linear switch while providing the tactile feedback of a typically bouncier clicky key.

So you get the same satisfying "click" of a regular Razer Green switch with a lighter actuation force of 45g (the force required for the keyboard to recognise your keystroke). A byproduct of this innovation is that you won't be hammering down the keys as hard, reducing key degradation. With less force required to actuate and no physical contact between the key and switch, you can expect around 100 million keystrokes per key before you might consider a replacement. That's roughly 20 million more keystrokes than you would get out of Razer's current range of switches.

Razer Green Razer Orange Razer Yellow Razer Purple
Actuation force 50g 45g 45g 45g
Actuation distance 1.9mm 1.9mm 1.2mm 1.5mm
Total keystroke distance 4mm 4mm 3.5mm 4mm
Lifespan (per key) 80 million clicks 80 million clicks 80 million clicks 100 million clicks

For those versed in the nitty-gritty of keyboard engineering, there's more to the Huntsman than meets the eye.

Razer claims its new switch technology has a 0mm actuation vs reset point (the delay required before actuating your next key). Now that might be nothing new for fans of the Razer Yellow's silent, linear switches but for someone looking for the tactile click of Razer Green, it's almost unheard of.

It also has the same travel distance as the Razer Yellow at 3.5mm and only a slightly higher actuation point at 1.5mm. Still a much different story to the clicky Razer Green, which has a 4.0mm travel distance and 1.9mm to the actuation point.

Razer Huntsman and Huntsman Elite specs

Razer Huntsman

  • $249.95
  • Razer Opto-Mechanical Switch
    with 45g actuation force
  • 100 million keystroke lifespan
  • Chroma backlighting with 16.8
    million customizable color options
  • Hybrid On-board and Cloud Storage
    – 5 profiles
  • Razer Synapse 3 enabled
  • Fully programmable keys with on-
    the-fly macro recording
  • 10 key rollover with anti-ghosting
  • Gaming mode
  • Braided fiber cable
  • 1000 Hz Ultrapolling
  • Aluminium matte black top cover

Razer Huntsman Elite

  • $339.95
  • Razer Opto-Mechanical Switch
    with 45g actuation force
  • 100 million keystroke lifespan
  • Chroma backlighting with 16.8
    million customizable colour options
  • Hybrid On-board and Cloud Storage
    – 5 profiles
  • Razer Synapse 3 enabled
  • Fully programmable keys with on-
    the-fly macro recording
  • 10 key rollover with anti-ghosting
  • Gaming mode
  • Braided fibre cable
    1000 Hz Ultrapolling
  • Aluminium matte black top cover
  • 4-sided underglow lighting with 38
    customization zones
  • Ergonomic wrist rest with 24
    underglow lighting customization
  • Dedicated media controls
  • Multi-functional digital dial

Creature features

While the Opto-Mechanical technology is the star of the show (and a fantastic name for a new Autobot), the Huntsman Elite also features an all-new dedicated media key layout. There are three tactile media keys and one customisable dial in the top right corner. All four media keys can be programmed via Razer Synapse 3 so whether you're after a standard dial for your master volume or looking to play DJ for a night with your strobing Chroma RGB, the choice is yours.

There's also a Chroma-illuminated ergonomic wrist pad (a returning feature from the Chroma V2 range) that plugs into the bottom of the keyboard via USB. In a chat with Razer, we were informed that the company has big plans to make use of this bottom USB port once the Huntsman is out of the pickle jar and into the wild. Razer's regional PR manager Raymond Lau even floated the idea of a detachable wireless charging pad, which sounds like a genius idea if it ever comes to fruition.

Razer Huntsman Elite review

We are currently testing the Razer Huntsman Elite. Check back to see what we think about Razer's bright Opto-Mechanical future at Gamefinder.

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