The Razer Huntsman keyboard is loud. Extremely loud. I have tested quite a fair few mechanical keyboards with a variety of switches, however the Huntsman probably takes the crown as one of the loudest and clickiest keyboards I have used to date. It is also why it takes the crown as my favourite. Of course, the loud sounds of mechanical keyboards are not for everyone, however the majority of gamers who have mechanical keyboards generally like the clicky nature of the keys. If you’re in the same boat, you’ll love what the Huntsman has to offer. If you enjoy late-night gaming sessions and have someone sleeping in close proximity to you (it doesn’t have to be the same room), it is highly probably that they will be able to hear you clicking away on your keyboard. It is likely that you’ll be rocking a headset anyways, so upsetting a few family members in order to enjoy the Huntsman experience is definitely worth it.
Whilst there are other mechanical keyboards with more silent switches, none look as beautiful as the Razer ones. In particular, the Huntsman is powered by the company’s Razer Chroma technology, which means that its lights can be fully customized to suit your preferences. What sets this gaming keyboard apart from many of its competitors is the optical light sensor that is underneath each key. Essentially, any key presses are registered even before the key is fully pressed. Theoretically, this means that your in-game actions are going to be registered just that much faster, since the response time between you wanting to press a key and the action being carried out is fractionally smaller. It’s not a complete game changer most of the time. Even in FPS titles where reaction times are important, 99% of the time you won’t feel that the optical light sensor technology was the reason that you beat an opponent. However, in the 1% chance that you did need a fractionally-faster reaction time to beat an opponent, the Huntsman will help you win the battle. Razer claims that the actuation distance is actually 30% less than other major keyboards.
Due to the clicky nature of the Huntsman, the tactile feedback is also second to none. The key travel doesn’t feel any more or less than some of the other major mechanical keyboards in the market, however the keystrokes just feel more responsive. The keys are also perfectly spaced for my stubby fingers. For me, a gamechanger is also the Enter key. I must have a keyboard with a large Enter key. Fortunately, the Huntsman has this too.
The keyboard has two positions for standing. One is a completely flat position – this is my least favourite option. I personally cannot use keyboards when they are lying down completely flat. I always need the keyboard and keys to be slightly angled towards me. The second option is much better. The feet of the keyboard can be extended so that all of the keys are angled towards you. If you’re the type of gamer who needs a wrist rest (all hardcore gamers really should have one), you are probably better off buying the Huntsman Elite. I found myself using a wrist rest since it’s the only way you can game comfortably for extended periods with the keyboard’s legs fully extended.
The build quality of the Huntsman is second to none. You really won’t see yourself needing to buy another keyboard throughout the life cycle of your PC. The top is made from aluminium however still manages to remain quite light. Unlike other mechanical keyboards, Razer doesn’t slap its branding across the entire keyboard. Instead, its logo is nicely tucked away in the top right corner. Despite the great build quality, if you’re the type of gamer who feels a lot of rage when playing, I wouldn’t recommend the Huntsman. This is too expensive for you to punch, and despite the durable frame, you’re still likely to break the keyboard if you smash it.
In any gaming keyboard, macro support is vital. The Huntsman contains some excellent macro support. Through the Razer Synapse software, the company’s Hypershift technology will allow you to program any combination of any keys to be mapped to the macro buttons. You can actually program keypress combinations as well, so if you are often pressing a sequence of keys, these can also be programmed into macros that can be executed with extreme ease.
In fact, Razer’s hardware support through the Synapse tool is what sets the company’s equipment apart from any of the competition. Instead of asking the gamer to learn complex keystrokes to program macros or lighting effects, all of this can just be done via Razer Synapse 3. This tool is essentially a configuration tool for all of Razer’s hardware. Therefore, if you have many Razer products, you don’t need multiple software; all of them can be configured via the same tool. The software is also incredibly easy to use. It will identify what hardware you have connected and will give you the options to configure macros, Chroma settings very simply.
The Chroma lighting system is a technology that Razer is clearly very proud of and are rolling it out to every product. This system allows you to intricately control the lights on the hardware using a full RGB spectrum. In addition, it offers integration with actual games should they have options for Chroma settings. Synapse 3 doesn’t just allow you to choose from over 16 million colours, but also modulate the lighting effects. The Chroma lights on the Huntsman can be static, light up on key presses, pulsate etc. Most gamers will probably choose the option to have them always on or always off. There’s no denying that the Wavelight Chroma option is an amazing way to show off the keyboard to your friends!
One of the best features of the Huntsman is the ability to switch on Game mode. In this mode, the Windows key is fully disabled so that your game is not interrupted if you accidentally press it. I found this incredibly useful and it’s likely that every gamer will be using this mode when playing games that require a lot of keypresses in a short amount of time.
For those who want a more feature-rich version of the Huntsman, The Huntsman Elite costs another £50 more. It would make more sense for hardcore gamers to invest a little extra to get the full experience. The Huntsman Elite not only comes with a wrist rest, but also additional features. The Elite contains extra media keys and a dial that can do whatever you need it to do (its function can be configured via Synapse 3). Finally, the Elite has Chroma lighting that goes all around the keyboard and the wrist rest to give an under-keyboard lighting effect.
The one major downside of the Huntsman is that it doesn’t have a USB pass-through for a mouse. You’ll need to connect the mouse to your PC directly. For most gamers, this isn’t a concern, however it would have been a useful feature to have a USB pass-through.
Regardless of whether you go with the Razer Huntsman or Huntsman Elite, Razer’s keyboard offering is the best I have experienced to date. If you can ignore the fact that it has extremely loud keystrokes (something I personally love), the Huntsman is the perfect PC gaming keyboard no matter what level you’re at. To take this to the next level, you can group the Huntsman with one of Razer’s gaming mice and the Razer Goliathus extended mouse mat.