Performance without the fluff.
Whenever someone quotes “gaming keyboard”, the first thing that comes to mind is a crapload of RGB and lighting in your face. Possibly a ton of macro buttons or even underglow lights. While we respect the fact that the majority of people do in fact love bright, loud, rainbow induced gaming keyboards – the professional or aspiring competitive player doesn’t. Performance is key and that’s where the Razer Huntsman Tournament Edition or TE comes into play.
Razer has been on a roll towards the end of 2019 releasing products left right and centre focusing on core performance without the fluff and that’s a segment within the market that’s been left quite untouched in a while.
- Price: $220 AUD RRP
- Type: TKL (Tenkeyless)
- Switches: Razer Optical Switches (Linear)
The Razer Huntsman TE has it all in the name. Tournament Edition means it’s designed for esports or competitive players and revolves the design elements with that in mind. As mentioned above, the Huntsman TE doesn’t feature much loud design elements. It’s clean, simple and minimalistic which almost feels barebones from a normal standpoint but in fact, it includes the necessities a competitive or pro gamer would want.
The switches of the keyboard are mounted on a metal base enclosed with a plastic casing. While the case of the keyboard does, in fact, feel cheap and ‘almost’ too light (it’s hard to tell whether the base was plastic or metal at first), it’s virtually lightweight and easy to carry and transport. Why this doesn’t sound important to most gamers, for those who travel with their gear every day (I normally do) keyboards can be quite hefty in your backpack combined with other items.
Apart from the standard rows of tenkeyless keys, the board itself doesn’t have much else apart from it has four grippy rubber stands, three height-adjustable rear feet and a removable USB-C connector. Yes, that’s pretty much it – a simple minimalistic layout. There’s no macro keys, massive scroll wheels or any other form of lighting apart from it’s per-key RGB.
Performance is key with the Razer Huntsman TE so we’ll jump straight into that.
What lies beneath the keycaps is Razer’s linear Opto-Mechanical switch. Razer has been implementing the use of optical technology for a while now in it’s Huntsman lineup keyboards and recently their gaming mouse – Razer Viper. If you don’t know what optical switches are, it basically uses light instead mechanical lights to actuate. The Razer Linear which is featured in this keyboard actuates at a 1.0mm distance which is rather fast and ultimately perfect for competitive gamers and pros that wants something instant.
The linear optical switch is so responsive, you can basically touch-type when using the Huntsman TE. The only downside to this is that it sometimes feels ‘too’ responsive in real-world gaming and general typing, that you’re bound to accidentally press keys. This took a bit of time to get used to, especially if you’re coming from a mechanical keyboard.
It was a bit daunting at first at how responsive the switches were but like all mechanical keyboards, when you change switches – there’s always a learning curve or timeframe on when you need to adjust to the keyboard again. This took roughly less than a week to adjust to the Razer Opto-Mechanical switches as I’ve never used optical switches before but once I got the hang of the actuation and feel of the switches, I was fragging hard in Battlefield V and Rainbow Six Siege.
Razer has been listening and taking notes lately and it’s evident in their recent product launches – the Huntsman TE being one of them. Some notable features I have to point out here and while small, it’s bloody damn refreshing to see a big brand do this.
The Razer Huntsman TE features Cherry MX tops on their Opto-mechanical switches which means users can buy and install aftermarket Cherry MX keycaps to customise their keyboard. (Razer recently launched their own line of custom keycaps as well) – so if you want rubber or pudding keycaps, you can. Razer has also implemented a ‘standard’ bottom row meaning those aftermarket keycaps can definitely fit the whole row (cough Logitech G Pro X cough).
It’s quite refreshing to see a big brand, especially Razer listen to what the community wants in a product. I’ve personally stayed away from Razer due to their focus in the mainstream until this year where you can see they’ve looked at what enthusiasts and competitive players want. The Razer Huntsman TE is a prime example of a performance keyboard made for the community with those little features going a long way.