Razer Huntsman TE – After 60 Days Finally A Review!
My gaming setup has changed quite a lot in the past few months.
I’ve replaced the Razer Viper Ultimate mouse with the XTRFY M4 RGB mouse that I absolutely love. I am constantly in between headsets too, right now I’m really liking the Sennheiser GSP 370 Wireless. I also stopped gaming on my personal ThreadRipper system and instead I’ve been using this insanely compact and powerful CORSAIR ONE i165 that has the same hardware as my Intel workstation, which is just insane. However, the one piece of the puzzle that actually hasn’t changed in the past two months is the keyboard: The Razer Huntsman TE.
Features & Design
I would say Razer gets major points here for actually listening and releasing a keyboard with all the features that people have been asking for. It’s well-priced too at the $129 USD. The Huntsman TE actually has an upper hand compared to offerings from Logitech and SteelSeries, and it’s so good that I’ve actually been using it for two months. We intentionally wanted to postpone our review so that I wasn’t just using it for a week and giving you my impressions on the build quality and all the features. Instead I can deliver a longer-term piece that allows me to see if anything has gone wrong with this keyboard after extended use.
First, let’s go over the basics. The frame itself is surprisingly light, it’s mainly plastic with a thin metal plate below the key caps, which are floating style. The first thing that I appreciate here is the standard bottom row with MX stems on the switches for easy key cap swapping and customization. This is something Logitech refuse to do on their latest Logitech G Pro X keyboard. We have a USB Type-C connection with a braided long cable on the left side. This is awesome for those who want to use a custom USB Type-C cable. On the bottom, the dual height adjustment is always a nice addition, but the keyboard is not as stable with these extensions, especially on a mousepad surface.
The key caps are Double Shot PBT and that coming from Razer surprised everyone. They are slightly more grainy and matte textured compared to what Ducky offers, but really solid keycaps overall. They are a bit lighter in color than the frame, so they’re more dark gray than black. These caps are so much better than what Logitech and SteelSeries offer at the same price. Also, no more gamer-y font, it’s a slightly bolder and larger font versus the Huntsman Elite. It’s clean, it’s easy to read, except for the font size for the top right keys, which is just too large and looks kind of awkward spanning the entire key cap. However, there are many keys with uneven lighting caused by the black injection molding in the bottom, and it’s honestly not a deal breaker as brightness is quite strong, while vibrancy and color are beautiful. While the secondary characters on the F keys are not illuminated, they pop just fine in white.
Now what we have under the hood are Razer’s new linear red optical switches. They are incredibly light at 40 grams, actuating at 1.0mm which is super fast, with total travel distance of 3.5mm. They are light, super fast, and smooth. There is no metal on metal contact to register the keystrokes since they’re optical, so the entire movement up and down is clean, effortless, and loud when you bought them out. The switches are rated at 100 million keystrokes, which is obviously excellent. Now each switch comes with its own stabilizer, and this means presses at off angles result in smooth motion. No sticky keys here. The execution is perfect, but the sound characteristics are a bit more clunky, especially when you bottom out and that sound just kind of reverberates through the entire frame. It’s not that pleasant.
If you love speed switches, this thing is absolutely a no-brainer. The actuation point is high and the switch is very light. It’s one of the reasons why I’ve been using the keyboard for so long, just to try to get used to the feel while in-game and for text. For example, the weight of my fingers would press into the key without my attention either activating shifts, space bar or pressing A, and this doesn’t happen with my MX Browns from Ducky.
Secondly, typing errors in the first two weeks were annoyingly common. I had to develop new finger memory for more precise key strokes during text input. Fast forward to now and I am perfectly comfortable with the weight and the speed of the switches. This is my gaming keyboard of choice for CS:GO and anything casual. I’m really fast at typing with the Huntsman, but I do prefer the MX Browns on the Ducky for anything texts related because the switches are heavier and quieter too.
And now the thing you’ve all been waiting for, what issues have I discovered in the past two months? Nothing major, but basic things like dust pickup on the sides of the key caps is a minor thing because they’re so textured. My ALT key is starting to wear out at the front edge, and no one in this household likes the sound of this keyboard, including myself. At least four times that I can remember I have accidentally activated the sticky SHIFT key by pressing it five times. And that has resulted in multiple frustrations, like not realizing what was happening in-game where I’m walking without pressing shift or doing something really strange in Photoshop. The actuation happens so fast, and the reset point is exactly at the same time, so you can be pressing it as fast as you can. Just be mindful that this switch is very fast and requires a bit of readjustment in terms of finger memory, and realize that the weight of your hand will press on those keys.
Software & Conclusion
Lastly, the setup software is optional because of Guest Mode, in which you can macro every single key, change up the lighting, save the profiles to the keyboard, and then migrate to computers without Synapse installed.
To Conclude, what I’m hoping this keyboard would do is send a shockwave to other brands, because of just how well this keyboard has been received, not only by gamers, but by the entire keyboard community as a whole. It’s a strong recommendation from me, if you want fast and light switches, and if you don’t mind the sound.