Razer was using their own mechanical switches on their gaming keyboards for a very long time. With the release of the Huntsman and the Huntsman Elite Razer introduced their first optomechanical switches. If you’re not certain what that actually means: Razer is essentially just using the best of their mechanical key switches and added lasers to make the switches even faster.
And the switches are not only really fast, but the whole keyboard also delivers an astonishing experience and ensures you get the fastest typing results. The less bulky design makes the Huntsman Elite a good fit for basically any setup.
And the initially pretty high price of $ 199,99 just recently dropped to $ 149,99. Which is still much, but damn… The Huntsman Elite actually delivers.
The Razer Huntsman Elite was the company’s first frameless keyboard design and is actually counted towards their smaller models. The thick plastic fairing of previous models got removed and the keyboard received an overall very sleek-looking design.
Another really well-designed thing about the Razer Huntsman Elite are the feature keys located over the numpad. It consists of a set of 3 buttons for play, rewind and fast forward and also holds a volume wheel with a mute button right in the middle of it.
And I can’t stress enough how good the design of the volume wheel actually is: The wheel sticks out a bit over the edge of the frame to make it easily accessible. Whenever you adjust the volume with the wheel, the lightning of the inner wheel changes to white and increases in intensity as you raise the volume. Honestly, it’s just a charm to use.
Since the feature buttons are on the top right of the gaming keyboard, Razer moved the standard indicator lights above the arrow keys, which is a really clever solution and works really well.
Well, Razer isn’t the first brand that uses optomechanical switches. But to be honest, their purple switches actually feel very unique and are the fastest one’s tested yet.
The switches themselves carry their usual plus shape on the top and are surrounded by a box with branches connected to a metal bar. The whole top part of the switch is designed to give that mechanical feel, while the bottom just holds a spring and the leaser for the optical registration.
The whole switch feels like a mix of different Cherry switches. The upper, ‘mechanical’ part of the switches uses the Cherry MX Reds mixed with the clicking sound of the Cherry MX Blue/Green switches. With a travel distance of 3.5mm and a 1.5mm actuation point, the switches nearly reach as low numbers as the Cherry MX Speed Silver though.
The volume of the tactile feedback feels just about right and the switches deliver an overall very satisfying and swift typing experience. If you’ve never tried a keyboard like this, you actually might not believe how much of an impact keyboards have on your typing speed.
Well, maybe the typing speed doesn’t even matter at all to you. But there’s also a significant difference you can feel while playing video games. Stepping up your game comes really down to reducing all the added milliseconds. The reaction time, latency and keyboard/mouse actuation add up. The Huntsman Elite’s speed gives you all the edge a keyboard can give – whether the amount of time won is an actual factor is an open question.
Razer even states that these Optomechanical switches perform up to 30% faster than traditional mechanical switches. With an estimated lifespan of 100 million clicks, the Huntsman Elite also doubles the lifespan of the usual switches.
One of the downsides is that the Huntsman Elite does need a lot of power though and thus needs to be connected via 2 USB plugs at all times.
Not only is the keyboard layout of the Razer Huntsman Elite nearly perfect, but the optomechanical switches also deliver what they promise. It’s an incredibly fast keyboard with an incredibly good design.
If you got the buck for it, this is definitely something you should look into. The only two downsides I can think of are basically the permanent need for two USB ports and the not really refined wrist rest.
In conclusion: The Huntsman Elite is an absolute banger and if you’re looking for a top-notch gaming keyboard, this piece of art is on top of its game for sure.