There is no denying that Razer is at the top of their game, pumping out some of the most exciting gamer hardware month after month. From the Viper 8K, to the Black Shark Pro; Razer has managed to impress time and time again. It does not seem like that winning streak is coming to an end anytime soon, if the quality and performance of the Razer Huntsman V2 Analog is anything to go by delivering a striking keyboard that offering all the bells and whistles any gamer could ask for, the Razer Huntsman V2 Analog is hands down one of the best keyboards I have used in a long while.
There has long been a debate about the superiority of analog to digital in controllers—and with the range of motion, and the ability to adjust settings based on needs; it is no wonder analog has become the standard for controllers. Razer is looking to bring this to the mainstream, offering a keyboard that features analog switches, compared to the original Huntsman’s optical design. Combined with all the other features on display with this keyboard, Razer has outdone themselves in all the right ways.
The Razer Huntsman V2 Analog has all the features we have come to expect from the brand’s high-end range of products. With a full size, solid keyboard, RGB Chroma, dedicated media controls, a multi-functional dial, and if that were not enough, a detachable RGB wrist rest—Razer seems to have packed every possible feature a buyer could want from a wired keyboard.
Each one of these features feel well-designed, with care put into how they work within the overall package. The media controls are subtle but satisfying, and the RBG manages to impress without overpowering the experience. Even the way the wrist rest connects—providing a fantastic angle for typing or gaming, that adds to the premium feel of the keyboard.
While each of these features gives the Huntsman V2 Analog a lot of value, it is the new switches that steal the show this time around. The new Analog Optical switches are impressive on paper and in practice. It provides a staggering level of customization and flexibility to the keyboard, and while most gamers may never scratch the surface on what they can do; for the select percentage of people that take advantage of the potential, this could be both a literal, and figurative game changer.
Analog Optical makes scalable input possible, thanks to the sensor that measures the intensity of light that goes through a triangular opening in the switch stem. Due to the way the switches work, each key can be customized in terms of actuation points. Offering a base activation point of 1.5 millimetres—five millimetres less than the two millimetres on offer with a standard Cherry MX Red switch.
Through Razer’s Synapse software, the activation point can be customized from the stock point of 1.5 millimetres, all the way to 3.5 millimetres for people that like a slight delay to their inputs. In testing, I found the stock worked for my style of gaming and typing. It offered a lighting fast input that felt like it could keep up with my movements while writing—this review was written on the keyboard—and while playing the many PC shooters I enjoy. While it may be slight, the speed can be noticed, especially if you are coming from a laptop or membrane keyboard. For people that are used to what Cherry has on offer, the difference may be too slight to really notice.
One notable feature Razer has been boasting about is the ability to allow for dual-step activation on each key. This could mean prepping a grenade with half a keystroke, and throwing it with the full press. In testing, it took a bit of getting used too, and a lot of muscle memory to retrain. In theory, this could be a fantastic feature for those who play at the one percent of skill level; but for the casual player, this could be too daunting to master. That being said, it feels like a future proof feature that I look forward to mastering as I spend more time with the Huntsman V2 Analog.
Another feature the Huntsman V2 Analog has on offer is the ability to have keyboard inputs act more in line with what a joystick could deliver—meaning you can have a slow ramp up as you press the key in, and it is impressive when it works. For games that support this feature it is exciting prospect—imagine being able to slowly press down the gas pedal in a driving sim, for example. It is a feature that again, will take some getting used to, but does make the Huntsman V2 Analog feel much more versatile, especially compared to many other mechanical keyboards on the market.
If that were not enough, the V2 Analog comes with Razer’s double-shot PBT keycaps, a USB 3.0 pass-through, and unlike past Huntsman offerings; offers a standard bottom row of keys. These all may seem like minor improvements to the range, but when you look at all the other aspects Razer has put time and thought into, these just act as icing to the already fully stuffed cake.
In practice, all the features work to make the V2 Analog a premium but overall impressive offering. The key caps are a pleasure to type on, giving the right level of feel without getting in the way of the experience. The USB 3.0 is great for people who still use a wired mouse, and want to reduce the cables cluttering the desk, and the standard key caps mean customizing the V2 Analog is easy, with no need to hunt down special sizes, as many had to with past keyboards in the Huntsman range.
Razer has managed to deliver a staggering offering with the Huntsman V2 Analog—providing a keyboard that crushes the competition, while still offering a mind boggling level of customization and features. While one of the more expensive mechanical keyboards currently on the market at $249.99, for the people who demand performance, few other keyboards compare. The Huntsman V2 Analog stands as a testament to what is possible with keyboard innovation, and I am excited to see how all these features are put to use professionally, and with players who like to experiment. Do yourself a favor and give the Huntsman V2 Analog a try, but be warned, you may find it hard to go back to traditional keyboards once you do.