The Razer Huntsman Elite has been one of the greatest gaming keyboards for several years now. The newly released Razer Huntsman V2 Analog looks a lot like its predecessor, but besides their appearance, they actually don’t have much in common. This keyboard isn’t just a new flagship product, but also Razer’s proof to keep on surprising with innovation. They listened to the community and managed to elevate an already incredible product to new heights.
Additionally to a ton of new features, most of the flaws of the Huntsman Elite got eradicated. Unlike the older model, the V2 Analog only needs a single USB-C or USB 3.0 cable for power supply, has a USB 3.0 passthrough and even an upgraded wrist rest.
That should already make for an amazing keyboard itself, but the most interesting changes come under the hood: Razer’s Analog Optical Switches. They allow for dual-actuation, joystick-inspired analog input and adjustable actuation. We’ve tested the newly added functionality and can tell you this much in advance: The sheer amount of customizability will optimize your gaming and typing experiences beyond anything you’ve tried until now.
But, with great power comes… a great price tag. Not only will the Razer Huntsman Elite V2 Analog be the most unique keyboard you’ve bought, but probably also the most expensive one. To acquire this exceptional keyboard you’ll have to invest a whopping $ 249.99.
Visually the v2 Analog shows a strong resemblance to the older Huntsman Elite. It’s a full-size keyboard with a matte black-on-black chassis and a sturdy aluminum top plate. The media controls located on the top right include keys to rewind, pause/play and forward, as well as a very refined clickable volume wheel, with an exposed edge for easy turning.
Its measures of 1.81 (height) by 17.45 (width) by 5.5 (depth) inches will take up quite a lot of space on your desk, but despite being a goliath, the keyboard shows a slick design. The key layout is very compact, with RGB light emitting from the narrow spaces between them, which makes for an elegant appearance. The height of the gaming keyboard can be adjusted with the two flip-out feet located on the underside.
One of the differences to the Huntsman Elite are the upgraded keycaps. The previously used ABS plastic caps have been replaced by more durable, textured double shot PBT caps, which have a longer-lasting finish that won’t wear down.
RGBs illuminate the underside of the deck, the media controls and the magnetically detachable wrist rest. One of the complaints about the wrist rest were the hard, sharp edges, which came close to the feeling of having a knife sitting under your wrist when used for longer periods. The refined model is now fully covered by extremely comfortable soft faux-leather coated foam. I’m usually not one to use wrist rests too much, but this one was extraordinarily pleasant to use. Once the wrist rest is magnetically attached, it wirelessly lights up an RGB rim around the edges and creates a nice underglow on your desk.
Power supply doesn’t take up two USB ports anymore, but rather uses either one USB-C (there’s also a USB-A adapter included) or USB 3.0 port. The cables aren’t detachable, which means that you can’t get custom coiled cables.
The V2 Analog features a much-appreciated USB 3.0 passthrough port on its left side, which sets it ahead of most competition’s USB 2.0 pass-throughs. The drawback here is that you’ll need to plug in the second cable into your PC to power the passthrough if you want to use it.
You might be familiar with configurable key switches like seen on the SteelSeries Apex Pro for example. Razer’s Analog Optical Switches are similar concerning their customizability, but the concept is quite different and even more versatile. For one, the switches are optical, which means that the actuation doesn’t happen by a mechanical mechanism, but rather by a beam of light closing the circuit. This mechanism is rated to have extremely low latency and a longer lifespan, as there is no physical wear and tear. However, this isn’t even the exciting part of the switches yet.
One feature of the new switches is that the actuation of any key can be customized to any desired actuation point between 1.5mm and 3.6mm in any increments of 0.1mm.
As mentioned in our Apex Pro review, this can be useful to set hotkeys that need to be actuated fast to low numbers and hotkeys that shouldn’t be pressed by accident to high numbers, as the increased travel distance will result in fewer misclicks. Experimenting with different actuations also allows you to find your favorite fit, as you’re usually bound to key switches with fixed actuation.
But that’s not all of it: The Razer Analog Optical Switches have a dual-macro ability, that works by registering half and full presses differently. In CS, for example, you could set a key to pull out the bomb when tapped lightly and plant the bomb when you fully press the key. Another use would be to half-press a button to walk and fully press the same button to run. In general this is useful when you have a sequence where one button always follows another. Those settings can be turned on in Razer’s Synapse, forcing your computer to interpret inputs as if they would be from a gamepad. Because of that, this functionality is only available in games that support controllers.
This feature has the potential for extreme efficiency and customization, but still is very specific and rather niche. Setting up the keys requires a lot of thinking about optimization, as you always want the half-press function to transfer into the full press one. If you put in a lot of thought, dual-macros can give you big benefits and maybe just the edge you need in some games.
I’ve personally never been a fan of using a gamepad on a PC, but the usual characteristic of a key either being activated or not on a keyboard, can give disadvantages in some games. However, the Analog Optical Switches can simulate analog input like you would usually know from joysticks and allows for very smooth 360 degrees of motion. In theory, this is a pretty nice feature, though in reality, it isn’t quite the substitute for a controller, as a gamepad will still have advantages in specific scenarios.
This is obviously a matter of taste and genre, but can be turned on at any time in Razer’s Synapse. Speaking of which, if you want to unleash the beast and reach full functionality, you’ll have to spend some time in the software. You’ll need it for actuation configuration, key mapping, macros and RGB customization.
The many features of the V2 Analog also bring a certain complexity to the setup of the keyboard. On top of just binding a key, you can spend time thinking about customizing actuation, custom release and a secondary function.
Design-wise Razer did a good job to make the UI clear and easy to navigate through, but the sheer amount of possibilities makes missing some things inevitable in the beginning. I feel like getting this keyboard probably comes down to a person’s characteristics. If you love optimizing processes and enjoy spending a lot of time thinking about the best settings, then this keyboard will be a blast for you. If you don’t really enjoy tinkering and just want a plug-and-play keyboard then you’ll miss out on a ton of features of the V2 Analog.
The software itself is done well and Razer noticeably put time and effort into streamlining it as much as possible. Once you’re done setting up different profiles you can store an unlimited amount locally and five profiles on the keyboards on-board memory.
If you want to play competitively and want the best you can get for your hard-earned money, then the Razer Huntsman v2 Analog is ideal for you. It’s innovative, streamlined to the gamers’ needs and performs like a beast.
The price is obviously something that can’t go without notice and is up there with other flagships like the Corsair K100 RGB. Even though the keyboard is more suited for people who like to invest time into tinkering and optimizing, the features it comes with are worth the price in any case.