The Razer Huntsman is officially Razer’s flagship keyboard line, so it’s only right to expect big things from the next major release, the Razer Huntsman V2. It’s faster, cheaper, and puts performance first for a competitive edge. Coming from the original Huntsman lineup, it brings improvements like PBT keycaps, 8k HyperPolling, and acoustic foam to improve typing sounds. At $189.99 for the clicky version and $199.99 for linear, it’s an expensive peripheral, so let’s see if it earns its keep as the “world’s fastest gaming keyboard.”

Razer Huntsman V2

Razer Huntsman V2 – Design and Features

The Razer Huntsman V2 and the V2 Analog (reviewed here) could be twins. Both keyboards feature the same stealth-black design. Both feature thick doubleshot PBT keycaps with backlit legends, dedicated media controls and the excellent multi-function dial first introduced on the Huntsman Elite back in 2018. The V2 bucks the compact trend that’s taken over the industry of late and is a full-size keyboard, complete with a function row and number pad. Looked at side by side, you’d be hard-pressed to tell these keyboards apart.

Look a little closer, though, and you’ll find that the V2 has been trimmed back from previous models. There’s no more wrap-around RGB strip encompassing the keyboard and palm rest. There’s no more USB passthrough for connecting peripherals (though this also means it uses a single USB connection this time around). In our meeting with Razer, the design team focused on bringing the Huntsman back to its fundamentals. If you opt for clicky switches, you’ll save ten dollars versus the Huntsman Elite, but linear will launch at the same $199 price. Compared to the hallmark releases of the Huntsman Elite and Huntsman Analog, which each had interesting new features, the V2 feels less exciting in comparison, even if it does have a few tricks up its sleeve.

Still, it checks the boxes for a high-end Razer gaming keyboard. Bright, per-key RGB backlighting? Check. Full programmability for lighting, macros, remaps, applications, and Windows shortcuts? Check. Aluminum top plate for a rigid, durable typing experience? Check. Detachable, braided USB cable? Check. You can map macros on the fly, choose between a selection of preset lighting effects, enable Game Mode to disable the Windows keys key and game-wrecking combinations like Alt+Tab. Standard fare if you’ve used a Razer keyboard before. The Huntsman V2 also supports five onboard memory profiles for swapping settings between games without the need for Razer’s Synapse software.

A focus on the fundamentals doesn’t necessarily mean the Huntsman is boring, especially if you’re a competitive gamer. Like the Huntsman Mini, it features Razer’s second-gen optical switches for faster response time. Since these switches don’t rely on mechanical contacts, they avoid electrical interference known as “debounce” which typically adds milliseconds of input delay. Instead, a beam of light fires under each key that is broken with each press, actuating the key instantly. Each key also features a stabilizer wire to increase stability under your finger, though it’s a double-edged sword when paired with the damping effect of the acoustic foam.

The linear switches are especially improved from the last generation and have been made less sensitive while still offering faster operation than traditional mechanical switches. Compared to Cherry-style mechanical switches, which typically actuate at 2mm, Razer’s linear optical switch actuates at 1.2mm. The clicky version also beats the average mechanical switch at 1.5mm. That may not seem like much, but it’s a difference you can absolutely feel. If your own skills are up to the challenge, either switch theoretically allows for more inputs than most other mechanical keyboards on the market today in a given time. Razer’s linears also feature internal silicone pads to quiet down keystrokes, turning them into a silent switch.

The board dials up the speed even more with HyperPolling. Most gaming keyboards transmit data to the PC at 1000Hz or 1ms. The Huntsman V2 joins the Viper 8K and cranks that all the way to 8000Hz, which translates to 0.125ms. If you’re wondering why a keyboard would need to report that quickly, I’m not convinced it does, but it makes an excellent pairing with those switches. The millisecond you press a key, your computer knows it and sends that input through to the game.

The V2 brings several other quality of life improvements to your gaming rig. The keycaps are now doubleshot PBT instead of thin-walled ABS. They’re thick and dense, dramatically improving upon the caps that came with the Huntsman Elite in sound and feel. The denseness of the material means they won’t shine over time and since the legends are made from a second piece of plastic, you won’t have to worry about them fading over time.

Above the number pad is a cluster of dedicated media keys and Razer’s excellent multi-function digital dial. All three buttons (play/pause, forward, back) and the dial itself are customizable with RGB backlighting. Dedicated media keys are always welcome on a full-size keyboard, but the real star of the show is the multi-function dial. It’s easy to use thanks to a slight overhang on the right side of the board and programmable within Razer Synapse like every other key. With some creative programming, it can easily be used within apps like Photoshop or Premiere Pro to adjust tools and scrub timelines.

The palm rest has also been upgraded from last generation. It now features edge-to-edge padding, saving your wrists from hard plastic bezels. It turns out to be a mixed bag thanks to weak magnets that hold it in place on the edge of the keyboard. Move the V2 even a little bit and the magnets separate, leaving you wishing for something more stable.

In a direct nod to the custom keyboard community, the Huntsman V2 has been outfitted with sound dampening foam inside the case. Foam has become a staple in enthusiast custom keyboards, reducing the hollowness of keystrokes and improving acoustics. It works well…perhaps too well. I tested the linear switch version, and between the silent switches and sound damping foam, the lack of clack revealed other unwanted noise from the stabilizers under each switch.

Razer Huntsman V2 – Performance

The Razer Huntsman V2 offers stellar gaming performance. I tested it across multiple first-person shooters, RPGs, and even took a respite in Final Fantasy 14 before sitting down to draw my conclusions, and there simply wasn’t a case when the keyboard was less than ridiculously responsive. The added layer of programmability afforded by Synapse also allowed me to keep custom keymaps and onboard profiles for individual games, so I didn’t have to go hunting through settings before launching and diving into a game. I don’t consider myself a competitive gamer, but in both Call of Duty and Battlefield, the Huntsman V2 had me feeling nimble and ready to react.

It might be tempting to attribute this responsiveness to the new HyperPolling technology, but I actually think the linear optical switches had more to do with how good the V2 felt to game on. They were buttery smooth under my fingers and the heightened actuation point meant they reacted noticeably faster under my fingers. Unlike the first generation of these switches, they’re not as easy to trigger by mistake (in fact, they require slightly more force than Cherry MX Reds) which lowers the learning curve and helps to avoid typos.

HyperPolling, on the other hand, feels a bit gimmicky. I don’t doubt Razer’s claim about 8000Hz polling, it’s proven it can do it with the Viper 8K, but ask yourself, will you be able to tell the difference between 1ms and 0.125ms – is it even possible to send inputs that fast? Side by side with the Huntsman Analog, which is a 1000Hz keyboard, I wasn’t able to tell any difference in responsiveness. Depending on your sensitivity to these things, your mileage may vary, but a keyboard running at 8000Hz doesn’t have the same noticeable impact as an 8K mouse where you can see the cursor tracking across your screen.

Like usual, to get the most out of the V2, you’ll need to download Razer Synapse. The software is easy to use and fairly intuitive, so programming in custom keymaps and macros was fairly easy. There’s a lot there, and the programming UI can look a bit busy, so be sure to allot some time to click through each tab in the Customize section. Everything from mapping basic keys, to mouse functions, Windows shortcuts, lighting, or tying whole applications to a keystroke can be applied by clicking the target key and setting some basic parameters in the software.

Also like usual, the Huntsman V2 is over-reliant on this software. It features gorgeous, bright RGB backlighting, but if you’d care to customize any of the presets, you’ll be forced to do so through the software. Likewise, on-the-fly macro recording flat out doesn’t work without Synapse running, which is a sad thing to say when smaller companies like Ducky and Vortex have been offering it for years.

The keyboard performs like a champ, but falls short of its acoustic goals – at least on the linear switch version. Ironically, this seems to be because Razer was too successful with its sound dampening foam and silenced switches. The foam cuts out hollowness and reverberations throughout the case, but in doing so reveals all of the extra rattle from the stabilizer wires beneath each key.

For years, keyboard enthusiasts have been complaining about the sound of rattly stabilizers under the larger keys. Once you notice the louder, rattly clack these keys generate, it quickly becomes irritating. The same effect, minus the added volume from the bigger keys, now applies to every single key on the Huntsman V2. Instead of a simple, silenced keypress like you’d find on silenced mechanical keyboards, every bottom-out is underlined with a subtle rattle that’s hard to ignore.

These wires have been on Razer’s optical switches since the beginning, so to make sure I wasn’t going crazy, I put the V2 side by side with the Huntsman Tournament Edition with Gen 1 switches and the Huntsman V2 Analog. Both of the other keyboards have a similar rattle, but it’s masked by the added noise of bottoming out the key. You can barely hear it in normal use. On the Huntsman V2, you hear it with every keystroke.

Whether or not this is a big deal will vary from user to user. If you’ve never noticed the rattle on your larger keys before, you aren’t likely to notice the quieter rattle under the rest here. Likewise, if you opt for the clicky version, I suspect this won’t be an issue at all, as the normal click should hide most of the wire noise. Still, the linear Huntsman V2 just doesn’t sound as clean as most other linear gaming keyboards, including others in the Huntsman line-up.



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