A silent mechanical gaming keyboard
When I reviewed the first generation Razer Huntsman Elite, I loved its overt gamer look and was even a fan of the wraparound RGB lighting on the palm rest. But that also had its drawbacks. It took up a ton of space on my desk, and while its purple optomechanical switches were comfortable to type, they made a loud noise with every keystroke.
Razer has learned from this first generation model to refine the Razer Huntsman V2. Razer has reduced apparent lighting, thinning the keyboard bezel and adding sound deadening foam to cushion each key. The result is a buttery smooth typing experience that I never thought possible with a gaming keyboard.
Razer hasn’t done much to change the design of the Hunstman V2. This is apparently the same giant player-centric keyboard as the Huntsman Elite. The full-size version of the V2 comes with Razer’s Clicky Purple optical switches for $ 190, or the second-gen Linear Red for $ 200, the latter of which contributed to my pleasant typing experience. The Huntsman V2 TKL version comes with the same options for $ 150 and $ 160, respectively.
If you’ve seen or used the Razer Huntsman Elite, the first difference you’ll notice with the V2 is that there’s no underglow anymore. Razer limited the Chroma RGB to the keys and as a background on the four media buttons on the right side. I prefer that, and I think most adult gamers with the cash to spend would, too. The wrist rest has also seen its lights removed in favor of softer leather. Magnets hold it in place under the keyboard.
Razer has improved the keys it includes with the keyboard right out of the box. The Huntsman V2 has textured Doubleshot PBT keycaps, compared to the Huntsman Elite’s spray-painted ABS keycaps, which looked chintzy and cheap. Razer has also standardized the bottom row of the keyboard this time around so that you can swap the keys as you wish more easily, perhaps with the help of Razer’s own colorful keyboard. PBT keycap upgrade sets.
My favorite adjustment to the Huntsman V2 is that there is no longer a thick cable occupying two ports on my already scarce laptop docking station. Razer has removed the USB passthrough, and the cable now only requires one port to power on.
Butter soft switches
Razer has clearly prioritized the crowd of mechanical keyboard users, and that’s no more evident than in the way the company has refined its switches. I’m generally a Cherry MX / Gateron Brown user because I prefer a quieter typing experience, but the second gen Linear Red switches are pretty good. Switches don’t bounce, but they’re not mushy either. I can tell there is sound deadening foam between the keycap and when I bottom touch the key, as there is always a loud “click” after pressing each key. This soft landing ensures that my fingers don’t get tired at the end of the day from bouncing, which I felt before typing with the Razer BlackWidow V3 Mini Wireless, the last mechanical keyboard I reviewed from the company.
Unfortunately, the comfortable typing experience did not translate into a fast experience. In my job, I have to be fast. My typing test rated me at 105 words per minute (WPM) which is usually higher than the average person, but not compared to the 111 WPM I got with the HyperX Alloy Origins that I have. I reviewed last summer, which is roughly the same size in terms of length as the Huntsman V2. There is a bit of drag with every keystroke, like walking through thick mud that takes a second to let go of your shoe when you lift your foot. This leads to a sinking effect when my fingers scan the board.
However, I prefer my typing to be slower than nervous. Ultimately, keyboards are subjective as everyone has their own typing preferences and needs. At the very least, the Razer Huntsman V2 remains one of the quietest mechanical keyboards in my arsenal.
Beware of Synapse software
The reason you would buy a mechanical gaming keyboard is not only for the hardware that is tailor-made for your esports experience, but also for the bundled software that enables lighting effects and macro recording. Lighting effects are a good way to customize the keyboard to your liking. You can browse through different game profiles to enable macros specific to that title – something I’ll definitely be doing once this 10th anniversary edition of Skyrim shots.
I use Razer Synapse software almost every day in my use of BlackWidow V3 Mini Wireless Keyboard, and it’s not the most user-friendly app if you’re using an older PC. Synapse was part of the mechanical keyboard operate software aa long time ago, which is not great! On the bright side, to help combat the bloat that often accompanies this software, Razer has limited the number of its “modules” that it downloads automatically when you install the software. If you don’t care about the Chroma Studio and customizing the light of each key, you can leave it in the Razer’s cloud.
Mechanical gaming keyboards have become extremely popular in recent years, helped by the keyboard customization community, which has found new ways to achieve typing nirvana through independent switches and group buying. Seeing what it is against, Razer seems to be working on making its product line a bit more sophisticated for those who wish to drop that kind of money for their daily typing habit. But if you’re happy with the keyboard you have on hand, and you don’t have to spend the $ 190- $ 200 on the new Razer Huntsman V2. Unless, of course, you lead everyone to the wall with your hard strike—then Razer’s linear red switches may be the only thing that keeps your loved ones and coworkers from hating you.