Our Verdict: Razer Huntsman Elite Opto-Mechanical RGB Gaming Keyboard is the best keyboard to buy right now, whether you are a gamer or an enthusiast. It excels at a lot of aspects that are important for a gamer.
If you cannot decide which will be the best gaming keyboard to buy right now, this review will clear the clouds and remove all the confusion for you.
After reading this detailed review, you’ll have a clear picture as to why this keyboard is the perfect choice for a gamer or an enthusiast.
Before starting the review, here’s a quick rundown of the basic specs.
Specifications of Razer Huntsman Elite
The Razer Huntsman is the best gaming keyboard to buy in 2021. Whether it’s a competitive tournament or a random battle with your fellow teammates, this keyboard got you covered.
- Size: Full (100%)
- Mechanical: yes
- Switch Type:
- Razer Clicky Optical Switch (Purple)
- Razer Linear Optical Switch (Red)
- RGB: Yes
- Connectivity: Wired (attached)
- Interface: USB
- Software: Razer Synapse 3
- Color: Classic Black
- Media Keys: Dedicated
- Wrist rest: Yes (detachable)
- Passthrough: None
- Dimensions: 17.5” x 5.5” x 1.4” (44.4 cm x 14 cm x 3.7 cm)
- Weight: 2.7 lbs (1.2 kg)
There are 3 main highlights of this keyboard:
- Typing Speed
- Gaming Performance
- Aesthetics (and RGB!)
Look and Feel
As a gamer and an enthusiast, it’s important for us to consider the look and feel of a keyboard. All I can say is that this keyboard nails it!
The Razer Huntsman Elite is a full-size keyboard, including Numpad. Despite this, it manages to keep a small footprint compared to other 100% keyboards. Though with the wrist rest attached, it occupies quite a lot of desk space.
The keyboard frame is made of plastic, with an aluminum top plate. This aluminum top plate feels very smooth and cold to the touch. It also gives a nice weight to the keyboard.
As for the wrist rest, it has a plush leatherette feel. It feels very soft and comfortable to rest the wrists on.
The only place containing a branding is the middle portion of the wrist rest, which has a Razer logo that is very subtle. That’s very important for a clean look.
The keyboard is available in only one color: classic black.
Overall, this keyboard has a very clean and sophisticated look. If you are someone like me who absolutely loves a clean look, this keyboard will definitely live up to your expectations.
For a gamer, build quality matters a lot since we will game on it for long hours. The build quality of the Razer Huntsman Elite is excellent.
Despite having a plastic frame, there is very little flex, thanks to the aluminum top plate.
Keycaps are made of ABS plastic, they are well made.
When it comes to the incline feet, they are a little flimsy, and the rubber pads don’t have enough grip. But that’s not an issue since the keyboard is hefty and if used with wrist rest provides enough grip to not slide.
As for the switches, since they are optomechanical, they use fewer moving parts leading to less wear and tear over time. The rating for these keys is 100 million keystrokes. It’s twice as much as their competitor Cherry MX which has 50 million keystrokes.
On the other hand, the only downside is that the dedicated media control keys feel inferior to the rest of the keys on the board. They also have less travel and bottom out easily.
Finally, this keyboard leaves almost no room for complaint when it comes to the build quality and durability. You can surely take the durability for granted on this keyboard.
Type of Keys
Now, let’s discuss the keys and the switches beneath them.
It is an opto-mechanical keyboard. If you haven’t heard of this term, let me break it down to you:
Unlike mechanical switches that use metallic contacts to register keypress, opto-mechanical switches use light to do the job.
How? You might ask. Well, Razer opto-mechanical switches have a light source and a sensor inside every switch. Every time someone presses a key, the light can reach the sensor, and hence, it registers a keypress.
Traditional mechanical switches also have a debounce delay. When a key is pressed, it bounces uncontrollably for a short period of time (7-20 ms depending on the keyboard). To mitigate this, the keys are deactivated for that short time. That’s the debounce delay.
In opto-mechanical switches, there is no debounce, hence the debounce delay is zero.
Due to these two advantages of the opto-mechanical switches, there is almost no latency and actuation occurs at a much higher speed compared to mechanical switches.
This keyboard is available at two variants of switches, both are opto-mechanical:
- Linear switches (Red)
- Clicky switches (Purple)
Linear switches move straight up and down, and they do not have any tactile bump or feedback. They also don’t have any ‘clicky’ noise. As a result, the feeling is that of a smooth and consistent actuation.
On the other hand, clicky switches give a tactile bump and they also produce a ‘clicky’ noise, like that of a typewriter.
If you are confused between them, let me simplify it for you:
Linear switches are best suited for gamers because of their smooth travel and rapid actuation. There is no bump and the actuation force to press a key is also very low, resulting in increased sensitivity. They are also quieter than the clicky ones so there’s no distracting noise. You would not have to think about your mic picking up keyboard sounds and disturbing your friends in an online gaming session.
Clicky switches are best for people who type a lot. With the satisfying typing sound and tactile feedback, you can type in confidence and satisfaction. That being said, if you are a gamer, these switches can be pretty loud for you.
If you are an enthusiast, here are the actuation point and actuation force differences between them in this keyboard:
1. Razer Optical Linear Switch (Red):
Actuation point: 1.0 mm
Actuation force: 40g
2. Razer Optical Clicky Switch (Purple):
Actuation point: 1.5 mm
Actuation force: 45g
For both of them, the total travel distance is 3.5 mm.
Here’s a comparison:
The Cherry MX Speed switches which are a direct competitor to the Razer Optical Linear (Red) switches have an actuation point of 1.2 mm.
The Cherry MX Blue switches which are a direct competitor to the Razer Optical Clicky (Purple) switches have an actuation point of more than 2 mm.
What does this mean for you?
The switches are very light (takes very little force to press), actuation points are very low (takes very little press to register keys) so the overall typing experience is very smooth and fast.
Each key also has a metallic stabilizer bar which helps to stabilize the key across all four corners, resulting in almost no key wobble. Also when you press a key at the corner, it still registers the press.
The key legends are nicely done without any fancy styles.
So, it’s safe to say that if you want the switches which offer the best speed, sensitivity, and stability, then the switches of this keyboard are perfect for you.
This keyboard is perfect for someone who wants to enjoy long gaming sessions. Due to the excellent optomechanical switches, there is no issue with sensitivity, and less actuation force results in less fatigue.
It has a Windows lock key, so you wouldn’t need to worry about accidentally minimizing your game. It features a 10-key rollover with anti-ghosting. So you can press up to 10 keys at the same time and they all will register.
So, I would recommend this keyboard to anyone who wants the best gaming experience in a keyboard.
That being said, if you want dedicated macro keys for MMO like some other keyboards of this caliber, this keyboard does not have that feature.
Now comes the part where Razer is really good at, RGB.
This keyboard has individual lighting on every key. It also has underglow LEDs all around on the keyboard (38 customization zones) and on the wrist rest (20 customization zones) as well.
The RGB lighting is very well done, as expected from Razer. Lots of excellent lighting presets are present. Brightness and lighting preset can be applied via the hotkeys.
More customizations and custom profiles can be made via the Razer Synapse 3 software. The keyboard has on-board memory where up to 5 profiles can be saved. And via the software, more profiles can be saved. Whether you want a different effect, pattern, speed, frequency, or color, all can be done.
The RGB looks very well-synced, the colors blend nicely and overall it offers a nice glow.
My only complaint is that the dedicated media control keys, though have their own lighting, are not backlit. It makes them difficult to see.
If RGB is your number one preference, look no further. This is the perfect keyboard for you.
Ergonomics and Office Use
Ergonomics is very important if you sit in front of your computer for a long time. As a gamer, I take ergonomics seriously.
The board design is straight, with two incline settings. The wrist rest is very comfy and is detachable.
Combined with the opto-mechanical switches with their least actuation force, this keyboard is perfect for a long session of typing or gaming.
That being said, if you plan on using this keyboard in the office, beware of the loud clicky sound of the Clicky Purple switches, which can be annoying to your colleagues. And for some folks, the Linear Red switches despite being significantly less noisy, can be too sensitive to type on for a long time. The oil build-up can make the keys slippery and you can start having more typos.
The Razer Huntsman Elite is fully compatible with Windows 10, along with the software.
As for macOS, some keys don’t work. They are Screen Lock, Pause/Break. The Razer Synapse 3 software is also not available as of now.
For Linux, all keys work as expected, but there is no software support.
For all the keyboard enthusiasts out there, the keycaps can be replaced with those of other brands. All keys might not work, so it’s a bit of a hit or miss.
Razer sells double shot PBT keycaps on their website for $30, which are guaranteed to work fully on this keyboard. So that will be the best option for you.
If you are planning on custom keycaps for this board, do proper research before buying.
Customization and Software
The Razer Huntsman Elite requires Razer Synapse 3 software to avail of all the features and customizations. This software works offline, but the initial setup requires a Razer account.
This is an all-in-one software for Razer gadgets like keyboards and mice. The Razer account stores all the customizations which can be synced across devices.
This software allows us to customize the RGB, re-assign keys and program macros. Lots of changes can be made to the lighting, whether it is pattern or effect or some other stuff.
The volume dial can be assigned to do other stuff like change brightness and launch apps.
So it’s safe to say that, if you are into customizing your RGB or re-assigning keys, this software is capable of all of that.
Cable and Wrist Rest
The cable is a non-detachable USB one. It is braided and of high quality, but quite stiff. Two USBs come out of the cable, one for the keyboard and key lighting, the second for the underglow on the keyboard, and the wrist rest. So, if you want underglow lighting, the second USB also needs to be plugged in.
The wrist rest is very soft and has a plush feel as stated above. It connects to the keyboard via the proprietary pogo pins.
My personal recommendation would be to buy the keyboard as it is both comfortable and elegant. This is the best keyboard under 200$.
- Outstanding gaming performance
- Light and responsive typing experience
- Excellent build quality
- Full RGB backlight (along with underglow)
- Detachable plush leather wrist rest (with underglow)
- Dedicated media controls (with programmable dial)
- Lots of customization via software
- Clicky purple switches are very loud
- High price tag
- No USB passthrough
- No dedicated macro keys
- Keys can be too sensitive for some
This is an excellent keyboard for a gamer that ticks most of the boxes. The main highlights are the typing speed, build quality, looks, RGB, and of course, longevity.
The Razer Huntsman Elite Keyboard excels at all of that. It’s very hard to find a keyboard that combines all such features together. If you are in the market looking for such an array of features, this will be the best keyboard for you.