(Pocket-lint) - Razer has taken its popular Huntsman gaming keyboard line-up and upgraded the setup to make it even more appealing. This keyboard is now a serious bit of kit for any Razer fan, gaming enthusiast or mainstream mechanical keyboard lover. It packs some seriously good, gamer-pleasing specs, from PBT keycaps to an 8,000Hz polling rate, plus a choice of optical switches.
What makes the Huntsman V2 appealing though are the upgrades you can't see. Subtle things that make this keyboard more appealing to use - like the inclusion of special dampening foam to make it more satisfying to type on. Does all this make a difference though? We've been gaming on it to find out.
The complete package?
- Full-size keyboard design with standard bottom row layout
- Razer Chroma RGB customisable backlighting
- Multi-function digital dial and four media keys
- Razer Doubleshot PBT Keycaps
- Aluminium matte top plate
- Braided USB cable
- Plush wrist rest
The Razer Huntsman V2 is a full-sized gaming keyboard which, on the face of it, has that standard Razer vibe. At first glance, it's not much to look at, but it certainly feels solidly built and well constructed. It has a matte finish and an understated look and feel - until you plug it in for the RGB lighting.
This keyboard comes with Razer's Doubleshot PBT keycaps as standard, designed to be more durable and long-lasting than standard keycaps. If you like the idea of an upgrade with your own keycaps, then that's an option. Razer has its own colourful keycap sets that you can purchase as an additional boost for this keyboard, but with a standard bottom row layout any keycaps should work.
We found the standard keycaps are nice enough for daily use. They have a curve to them and the finish is pleasant on the fingertips. One downside of the design is the doubleshot design means that the RGB lighting doesn't get completely through the etching of the lettering, leading to some dark spots when lighting is active - which is a shame.
Alongside the usual keyboard layout, there's also a nice set of multi-function keys. That includes four media playback buttons and a digital dial that can be used for volume adjustment as standard, or customised to do more too.
The Huntsman V2 also has onboard storage for up to five different profiles that can be customised in Razer's Synapse software, so there's plenty you can do to personalise the settings.
One external highlight is the faux-leather wrist rest. It's held in place with magnets, so moves away quite easily if you don't want to use it. It's also plush and supple - it really is a joy to the wrists.
There are feet to adjust the keyboard's height at an angle, with a choice of either six- or nine-degree slants should you so wish, but we found its standard slope good enough to tap away on.
Clicky or linear?
- Razer HyperPolling Technology - up to true 8000Hz polling rate
- Fully programmable keys with on-the-fly macro recording
- Hybrid onboard storage – up to 5 keybinding profiles
- N-key roll-over with anti-ghosting
- 100 million keystroke lifespan
- Gaming mode option
Where the Huntsman V2 shines is with its switch setup and responsiveness. The keyboard is available in two different variations, packing either red liner optical switches, or purple clicky optical switches.
These are premium optical switches that are designed to actuate via a beam of light, rather than a traditional mechanical contact. This means they actuate instantly and are more durable than the classic mechanical switches you'll find in other, lesser keyboards.
When you strip away some of the keycaps, you'll see Razer means serious business with these keyswitches. Each and every switch on the board is supported by a metal key stabiliser, ensuring less key wobble and movement and a more satisfying action when typing or gaming.
Whichever switch option you choose, you'll get a 100 million click guarantee. Meaning a keyboard that'll last and last. The setup is different, though, so it's worth knowing that before you buy:
- Razer clicky optical switches: light actuation, 45g actuation force, 1.5mm actuation point
- Razer red linear optical switches: light and instant actuation, 40g actuation force, 1.2mm actuation point
For gamers, the red linear switches are the most logical choice. They actuate fast, at just 1.2mm, meaning a light press and you're moving in game. The purple switches we used in this review need a little more pressure and distance before they register the click. They're also a heck of a lot noisier than the red version, making more of that classic Razer clicky sound with every keypress. You'll either love or loathe this sound, depending on how loud you like your gaming keyboard.
The good news is that with the combination of per-key stabilisers, dampening foam and the overall high-quality design, the key sounds are not so loud as to be obnoxious. If you're not sure what you'd prefer, Razer has a sample of the difference in key sounds you can listen to here.
Along with the fast actuating switches, Razer has also designed the Huntsman V2 with 8,000Hz Razer HyperPolling technology. This ensures that the keypresses are registered swiftly and that data is passed through to your gaming PC in a flash. The company says this keyboard has a 0.2ms response time. In reality, this means you can be as fast-fingered and frantic as you want during a gaming session and every keypress will get through. You'll be blasting your way to victory in no time.
Razer's Synapse software lets you customise more of the Huntsman V2, including activating gaming mode to disable certain accidental keypresses that might spoil your game session. You can also set the 8,000Hz polling rate here and reprogramme keys.
One highlight is the Razer Hypershift settings, which let you programme a secondary layer of actions. So although there aren't dedicated macro keys, there's certainly plenty of possibilities in how you setup this keyboard.
The Huntsman V2 is a smashing upgrade to Razer's original Huntsman outing, with some nice feature enhancements that make it more pleasurable to type and game on.
It's responsive, accurate and comfortable - largely thanks to that plush wrist rest. The optical switches are well-constructed and you'll find your gaming sessions are an absolute joy as a result.
If you like Razer gear and want a cracking keyboard - with clicky, clacky key sounds and all (the purple ones are a bit too much for our ears!) - then this is a great choice for gamers.
Corsair K65 RGB Mini
If the idea of an 8,000Hz polling rate appeals and desk space is at a premium, then the Corsair might be worth considering. This is a lot smaller, as its name suggests. However, it sadly doesn't have optical switches, but what it does have is great RGB lighting.
Corsair K100 RGB
A brilliant alternative - and one of our favourite gaming keyboards. It's full-sized with optical switches, an 8K polling rate, and a multi-function wheel too.