If you are interested in the Razer Huntsman Elite, then you must be a die-hard gamer. You will have also most likely heard of their saying “Welcome to The Cult of Razer”!
Well, since Razer developed the world’s first gaming mouse in 1999, they have had quite the following. They are now one of, or maybe even the largest gaming peripheral manufacturers in the world.
Razer has now developed the first keyboard with Opto-Mechanical switches. The Razer Huntsman Elite features the latest in keyboard technology that will allow you to compete with the top gamers, but it doesn’t come cheap.
So, let’s go through our in-depth Razer Huntsman Elite review to find out more…
Right off the bat, the box that the Huntsman Elite comes in exudes quality. It features a fantastic little cutout window that will let you see and feel their new keys with Opto-Mechanical switches before you even open up the box!
When you flip open the box lid, you will immediately notice the keyboard protected in plastic and surrounded by foam padding.
Feels like Christmas…
You will find a user manual and warranty information tucked away in small integrated pockets on the inside of the box lid.
There is an indiscrete flap at the top of the keyboard that needs to be opened, and then you can lift the keyboard right out of the box. Underneath the keyboard, you will find the detachable magnetic wrist rest.
Razer crafted the Huntsman Elite out of matte-black stainless steel. With the keyboard in your hand, it feels very sturdy and doesn’t flex or twist.
The magnetic wrist rest also features the same matte-black stainless steel look but with a plush leatherette cushion on top of it. To connect the wrist rest, you simply line it up with the keyboard and slide the two together. Once the wrist rest is securely attached, it will light up.
Speaking of lighting up, the Huntsman Elite features a 16.8 million color RGB backlight, with each key having a four side underglow. It also has 38 customization zones on the keyboard and 20 on the wrist rest.
How is this powered?
Coming out the back of the keyboard, you have a thick 6-foot-long braided cable with two USB connections. One of these connections will power the keyboard, and the other one the wrist rest.
All in all, the keyboard looks good but feels sort of chunky to us. The bezels aren’t as slim as we have seen on other equally priced keyboards, and with the wrist rest attached, it takes up quite a lot of space.
Razer has developed a first of its kind switch for the Huntsman line of keyboards. They call it Opto-Mechanical because each of its 104 keys uses infrared beams to determine when a key is actuated.
Since you only need to break the infrared beam to actuate a key, you will notice the actuation force and point are much less than compared with your typical mechanical keyboard.
Why’s that important?
This allows for a registered keypress on the Huntsman Elite to only require 45 grams of force and 1.5mm of travel.
The mechanical part of the switches gives you the “Clicky” type sound you experience with standard mechanical switches. They are rather loud, so you might not want to use the keyboard in the office.
If you were to take off one of the keycaps, you would notice that besides a stabilizer bar on each, the majority of it is hollow. With the use of light and very few mechanical parts, the overall lifespan of the keys is greatly extended.
Let us explain…
Your typical mechanical keyboard will give you up to 50 million clicks before the performance starts to degrade. With Razer’s Opto-Mechanical keys, you can expect them to be just as responsive even after 100 million clicks!
Razer has also integrated three tactile keys and a multifunctional dial into the top right of the Huntsman as well. You can use these particular keys to control the volume and play or pause music, among other things.
Like with other gaming keyboards, you need to download manufacturer software to customize it. In this case, you’ll want to download Razer’s Synapse 3 software.
If the keyboard is connected to a Windows computer, you will most likely be prompted to do this automatically once you plug the keyboard in.
What about Mac users?
Razer’s Synapse 3 software is currently only available on computers running Windows 7, 8, and 10 in 32 or 64-bit configurations. Sorry Mac users, you are out of luck.
The Synapse 3 software allows you to create macros and rebind keys for specific games. It also allows you to create custom lighting profiles for the keyboard and the wrist rest.
If you own any other Synapse 3 compatible products, you can then sync their lighting together. The Synapse 3 software also stores your most-used profiles directly on to the Huntsman Elite.
Is that good?
Absolutely. This allows you to take the keyboard from one place to another and have it operate just as it would at home!
Overall, the Razer’s Synapse 3 works well, but mapping out keys could be easier. You may also notice that it occasionally bugs out as well, and you can’t switch profiles. Fortunately, Razer has a massive online forum that will help you if the keyboard or software acts up.
Once you have created your macros and set up the lighting just how you like it, you are ready to start playing.
According to Razer, their Opto-Mechanical keys perform up to 30% faster than your standard mechanical keys. For us, after a lengthy session playing a variety of first-person shooters, it is very evident just how much more responsive they are compared to a standard mechanical keyboard.
This is in part because of the anti-ghosting technology onboard that can recognize up to ten simultaneous key presses. If the keys didn’t “Click”, you might not even realize they are actuating; they are just that smooth while still remaining precise.
To increase keyboard accuracy while gaming, the Huntsman Elite also has a Gaming Mode option. Gaming Mode allows you to disable certain keys like the Windows one that could interrupt your gameplay.
You will also find a key allowing you to create macros on the fly. This works well, and we found it to be especially useful while playing a few MMOs that require a string of inputs one after another.
Since you won’t always be using this keyboard for gaming, we decided to test it out while writing this review. Even if you aren’t a fast typist, this keyboard’s responsiveness leaves you feeling like you are.
Even though the keyboard looks bulky, it is rather ergonomic. Keys are spread out yet still easy to reach. There are also a couple of adjustable feet on the bottom of it that allow you to angle the keyboard in two different positions.
Overall, this truly is one of the most responsive keyboards we have ever tested. It works well, no matter if you are just typing up an essay or playing your favorite MMORPG.
If we were to nitpick on smaller details, we would have liked the wrist rest and keyboard’s magnetic connection to be more secure. When you put the keyboard’s feet down, the angle it creates allows the wrist rest to detach rather easily.
Pros And Cons Of Razer Huntsman Elite
- Brilliant per-key RGB lighting.
- Attractive matte-black stainless steel build.
- Infrared key actuation.
- Super-quick response.
- Anti-ghosting tech.
- Not Mac compatible.
- Key clicks too loud for office use.
- Quite bulky with wrist rest attached.
Wanna Check Out The Competition?
Read our Steelseries Apex Pro Review to find out more about another worthy contender for the best gaming keyboard on the market. Alternatively, browse by preference through our Best Expensive Gaming Keyboards Review, the Best Membrane Keyboards Review or our Best Quiet Mechanical Keyboard Reviews!
You might also what to check out our Best Silent Mouse for Gaming Review, our Best CPU for Gaming Reviews, our Best Sound Card Review, the Best Motherboard CPU Combos Review, the Best Powerline Adapters for Gaming Review, the Best Network Switches for Gaming Review, or our Best Gaming Glasses Review for 2021.
OK, back to today’s review…
Razer Huntsman Elite Review – Our Verdict
If you can afford it, the Razer Huntsman Elite keyboard is pretty exceptional. It is a comfortable yet precise keyboard that can easily be used for hours on end, thanks to the plush wrist rest.
With Razer’s Synapse 3 software, you can customize the keyboard to your liking and create game based profiles. Having the ability to create macros on the fly is also fantastic and is something we haven’t seen on other similarly priced keyboards.
It is a power-hungry keyboard that requires two USB ports to function fully, though. This could be an issue for laptop users, and you may find yourself needing a USB hub to go along with the keyboard.
Enjoy your gaming!