With a market saturated with mechanical keyboards, outside of the gimmicky, is there anything new to see? After all, we have seen everything from spill-protection to funky media knobs to spilt designs. Yet, with each of these boards, there is a similar story: the same old switches, doing the same old things. Can mechanical keyboards really do any better in 2019? Razer thinks so. This is our review of the Huntsman Tournament Edition by Razer.
- MSRP: $129.99
- Switches: Razer Linear Optical Switches (100 million keystroke lifetime)
- Actuation Force: 40g
- Actuation Distance: 1mm
- Key Caps: Razer Doubleshot PBT
- Polling: 1000Hz
- RGB: Razer Chroma equipped (16.8 million customizable color options)
- Software: Razer Synapse 3.0
- Anti-ghosting 10 key roll-over
- Hybrid on board storage with up to five profiles
- Fully programmable keys with on-the-fly macro recording
- Detachable braided fiber USB-C cable
- Aluminum matte top plate
It would be an understatement to suggest that Razer has a very specific pedigree: premium gaming gear with green, serpentine theming, a whole lot of customizable lights, and a desire to push the boundaries of what the consumer should expect out of a peripheral. Hot on the heels of their 2018 release, the Huntsman Tournament Edition pushes the limits of keystroke speed with their newly designed Linear Optical Switches.
Now, optical switches are nothing new; we have seen optical switches in other boards. However, the Huntsman has its sights locked onto primacy, not parody. While mainstream optical switches seek to mimic the tactile feel of their mechanical cousins, Razer’s Linear Optical Switches have a faster actuation point of 1mm at 40 grams of pressure. That is twice the response time as and 5 grams less pressure required than the venerated CherryMX Red switches. In split second situations, that speed could make all of the difference in competitive play between victory and defeat.
The switches are crowned off with double shot PBT key caps created using Razer’s own proprietary tooling. These caps are meant to stand up to the rigors of high impact situations. If the user wants to switch out Razer’s for a third-party variety, new caps will easily fit. However, the stock caps feel way too premium to be overlooked unless you have a specific cap that you just can’t live without.
For those who need an illuminated, aesthetic flare to go with your gameplay style, the Huntsman TE utilized Razer’s Synapse 3.0 software to make sure you look as good as you play. Have a specific color pattern or lighting scheme in mind? Make it happen with per-key customization. Can’t decide on a pattern? Why use only one when you can lay effects?
Throw onto the existing caps a slim font and that programmable RGB lighting sines right on through. Add to that the ability to set up macros on the fly or via Synapse 3.0, as well as a discrete, braided fiber USB-C cable connection and you have a board that is just as much beauty as it is beastly. With all of these aforementioned features, its sturdy aluminum top plate, and its ten-keyless, svelte stature, the Huntsman Tournament Edition aims to be the weapon-of-choice in any eSports arena.
And that is the Huntsman’s mark.
This keyboard is built for the competitive gamer. Whether you’re on the go or at your home battle station, the Huntsman TE is small enough and light enough to fit into any backpack, but has a sturdy enough build meant to withstand the abuse of competitive training, travel, and daily gameplay.
While it looks unassuming, with subtle adjustments from common components, the Huntsman is a calculated monster in the wild. The quickness of the keystrokes took some time to get used to, but once I did, there was an incremental improvement between my response time and the corresponding action in game.
Razer is no stranger to the PC peripheral arms race. With that knowledge, they have chosen to push the envelop with the Huntsman Tournament Edition, challenging consumers to expect more from a gaming keyboard in 2019. With mechanical keyboards (and their price tags) becoming more mainstream, it is refreshing to see features typically found in high tier offerings making their way into more accessible peripherals. You’ll still pay a premium, but you will get your money’s worth and more.
It’s discrete USB-C port, high quality braided cable with fitted connection housing, study make up, and programable macros, make the Huntsman TE a formidable addition to any competitive player’s arsenal. Outside of the lack of options in key types within the product line, there really is no negative that we could find with this keyboard.
With premium features, competitive pricing, and boundary-pushing components, the Huntsman TE represents a big win all around for gamers, giving the hunter the best tool to hit their mark.
- Premium features at accessible price point
- Linear Optical Keys are highly responsive
- Solid build quality (aluminum plate, double-shot PBT caps)
- Highly customizable via Synapse 3.0
- Lacks option to change out optical switches (i.e. more clicky or tactile switches vs. linear)
The product discussed in this article was provided by the manufacturer for the purposes of review.