Razer’s latest mechanical keyboard, the $250 Huntsman V2 Analog, looks similar to the company’s previous models, but the biggest differences lie in the switches. This model’s optical switches support adjustable actuation (the amount of movement required to register a press), allowing for near-endless customization through Razer’s Synapse software.
Perhaps the most appealing feature of these keys is that, instead of being limited to the usual on / off nature of key actuation, they can be programmed with analog inputs to emulate a controller’s joysticks for smoother, variable levels of movement and control. You’ll be able to program the keyboard so that pressing a key down slightly will make you walk slowly in game, while pressing it fully will have you running at a normal clip — just like an analog stick.
(Note that game support for using analog inputs and a mouse simultaneously will vary, but using this feature at all requires the Synapse software. And programming an analog input for a key will override its original use case, so you’ll need to revert it or flip to a different profile.)
Building on that feature, Razer’s keyboard also allows gamers to program two distinct functions that would usually require two buttons onto one key, with one firing off at one actuation distance and the other when you fully press the key. You could equip a grenade with a soft press of a key, then throw it by pushing the key all the way down, just to give an example.
In fact, Razer’s switches can be customized to your specific actuation preferences for gaming or any other use case. The Huntsman V2 Analog keys have a default 3.6mm travel, but you can adjust the distance to a much shorter 1.5mm or anywhere between those values. It’s important to note that this doesn’t change how the keys feel when you push them, but a shorter actuation will let you type a little softer without worrying that your keys won’t register a press.
This is how it works: instead of relying on separate physical mechanisms to delineate between actuation states, the switch’s sensor judges distance pressed by assessing the amount of infrared light hitting it. The embedded animation shows this in action.
A look at how the optical switch determines the actuation level. Image: Razer
Razer’s Huntsman V2 Analog has an aluminum frame, a set of dedicated buttons to control media, and a dial for adjusting volume, which all look and feel great. Razer includes Doubleshot PBT keycaps, which are said to wear better with age than standard keycaps, and you’ll also get a soft wrist rest that contains RGB lights and can be attached magnetically to the keyboard. As you might expect, the keyboard itself has bedazzling Chroma RGB lights all around it, too.
The cable that powers the Huntsman V2 Analog is USB-C, but Razer includes an adapter so you can plug it into USB Type-A ports. And if you want to use the keyboard’s single USB 3.0 Type-A passthrough port for an accessory, it has a second USB Type-A cable hanging off its back that you can plug into your PC.
By the way, in case this is your first time hearing about this kind of analog key technology and adjustable actuation, keyboard company Wooting beat Razer to the punch with similar keyboards dating all the way back to 2016. That company’s current keyboards start at around $150, far less than Razer’s $250 Huntsman V2 Analog. Whether Razer’s model can justify its high price will depend on your thirst for Chroma RGB lights, dedicated media buttons, and optional USB-C connectivity.
The Huntsman V2 Analog is now available exclusively at Razer.com through February 9th, when it’ll launch at more retailers.