The Razer Huntsman Elite looks and feels every penny of its premium price point. Retailing for $199, it’s certainly an expensive piece of kit, though it comes packed with a variety of perks that justify the cost of entry. A sleek deviation from what we’ve come to expect from Razer hardware, the Huntsman boasts a modern design and a diverse lighting setup that can be customized at will. Coupled with its incredibly fast key actuation and I’m hard-pressed to think of a better gaming keyboard currently on the market.
The Huntsman Elite is immediately impressive. With its slim frame and rounded edges, this is a step away from the angular designs of Razer’s older keyboards and instead falls more in line with what you’d expect from SteelSeries. However, the addition of the Razer Synapse software makes this much more customizable than its peers, with a slew of different lighting effects available at your fingertips. There are seven different effects available out of the gate: breathing, reactive, ripple, spectrum cycling, starlight, static, and wave. These effects can then also be switched around via Synapse, allowing you to create multi-colored effects that transform your keyboard into a neon rainbow.
I’ve never really considered myself one for flashy hardware, though the Huntsman Elite has made me rethink my stance with its various bells ‘n’ whistles. Playing Overwatch, I let out an audible “woah” as the keyboard flickered between blue and gold as I changed from Mercy’s damage beam to her healing beam. Synapse is equipped with a whole bunch of profiles for games in your library, adapting your Huntsman’s colors to whatever you’re playing. Its 4-side underglow and 38 customization zones really make the keyboard pop, and I spent a good amount of time idly tinkering with it until I found the settings that best suited me.
Razer Huntsman Elite Review: Click of a Button
The addition of the underglow ensures that while the Huntsman’s colors look the part, opting for a more elaborate light display isn’t as distracting as you might think. Even on settings such as ripple, which sends out a wave of pulsing color with each key that you press, it doesn’t really detract from the action happening on screen. Unlike more low-end keyboards where I’ve found myself reverting to default options in order to tone down the light show, with the Huntsman Elite I’ve happily made use of each of its various light settings without issue.
While the Huntsman Elite is certainly a pretty keyboard, it wouldn’t amount to much if it didn’t feel good, too. Fortunately, the addition of new optomechanical switches is a huge step up from the vast majority of Razer’s competitors. That satisfying, tactile bump is present with the Huntsman, though it faces zero delay issues as a result of its digital optical actuation, with a distance of just 1.55m from press to click. In layman’s terms, each key press has a nice chunky feeling to it, though the mechanical click doesn’t delay the in-game action. According to Razer, each switch is durable for 100 million clicks, as compared to the standard mechanical switch which apparently only lasts for around 50 million clicks. I haven’t quite clicked my keys 100 million times yet, though that’s an impressive stat nonetheless.
Razer Huntsman Elite Review: Turn It Up
The Huntsman Elite is the more expensive of two Huntsman keyboards, with it boasting a comfy, magnetic wrist rest you can use while typing away. However, the most impressive feature not available with the standard Huntsman is the Elite’s multi-function digital dial. This has received a lot of use since I received the keyboard, with it resting over the side of the frame to allow for easy rotation, allowing me to adjust the volume on YouTube videos, my Spotify playlists, and more.
Like pretty much everything with the Huntsman, it can even be customized to suit your needs, with you able to go into Synapse and select what the dial controls. If you don’t particularly need it for adjusting your audio volume, then you can sync it to your microphone and lower down your voice volume on the fly, or use it to quickly skip tracks. There are also three buttons that allow for skipping and pausing/playing your media that sit to the side of the dial, giving the keyboard its own multimedia section.
While the Huntsman Elite’s price point will put some off from buying it, those who have the cash to fork out on this extravagant keyboard won’t be disappointed. This has effectively shoved all of my other keyboards into the closet to gather dust, and while I have a couple of minor quibbles — it requires two USB ports which is a pain, and sometimes its multimedia dial will experience lag between programs — they are easily overlooked when you consider the Huntsman’s myriad of strengths. Razer has outdone itself here.
Razer Huntsman Elite review unit was provided by Razer.