As one of the leaders in optical, mechanical switches, the Razer Huntsman V2 Analog’s introduction with new Razer Analog Optical switches almost makes complete sense. That is until you see the $250 price tag.
The best gaming keyboards can come in flashy colors, offer high programmability levels and different typing feels. However, they still haven’t ousted controllers or become the cemented leader in gaming control. A big reason for that is the joystick. Not only do joysticks provide a fun, assertive, and even nostalgic way to play games, but they also provide a type of input keyboards typically can’t offer: analog input.
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Razer Huntsman V2 Analog Specs
|Switch||Razer Analog optical|
|4 profile(no RGB)|
USB type-C, USB type-A for USB passthrough
1x USB 3.0 pass-through ports
17.53 x 5.52 x 1.71 inches
USB-C to USB-A adapter
Razer Analog Optical Switches
The big difference between analog mechanical switches and standard mechanical switches is how they read key presses. Most keyboards have a digital input, meaning that they read either a 0 value (not depressed) or 1 value (depressed).
With Razer’s Synapse software, you can set any of the keyboard’s keys to work like the functions offered via an Xbox controller’s left and right analog joysticks. It’s easy to set W, A, S, and D, for example, as left joystick up, left down, and right, respectively. Afterward, pressing W lightly in a racing game might move your car forward a bit, while pressing it all the way down will rev you up to max speed.
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In this way, this mechanical Huntsman V2 Analog can let you play supported games with the same type of control you’d have with a controller with joysticks. But Synapse even offers more customization, letting you select one of its preset configurations or choose what point in key travel represents what analog input value from 0-255.
Adjustable Actuation Points
The Huntsman V2 Analog’s switches also offer adjustable actuation points. If you download Synapse, you can set individual keys actuation points anywhere from 1.5-3.6mm in 0.1mm increments, as well as the reset point. The amount of force required to actuate an input will also change, starting at 54g if set to 1.5mm actuation and reaching a heavy 74g at 3.6mm.
Synapse makes setting your preferred actuation points simple and even offers a real-time mechanical pressure gauge. You can press a button as light or hard as you want, and a meter will visually show you your proximity to the 1.5mm actuation minimum or 3.6mm maximum. It’d be nice if the meter also told you how many millimeters you were at with that press (instead of just a representative green bar). Still, you can also set actuation points by entering a specific number.
One Keystroke, Two Inputs
For the advanced gamer, Razer’s Analog Optical switches also allow for two inputs in one press if you program the feature via software. In the image above, Q works as Q until I bottom out, when it turns into E, letting me quickly use two of Ashe’s special moves in Overwatch with rapid ease but still allowing me to stick with just the Q move if desired.
To use any of these features on your PC, you’ll need to play a game with analog input support. The Huntsman V2 Analog’s namesake switch features are only available in PC games that support both mouse/keyboard and controller input. If you set a key to a joystick function and try to use it without such a game, that key will do nothing when pressed).
Design of Razer Huntsman V2 Analog
Razer’s Huntsman lineup is always pricey, partially due to the optical switches. The Huntsman V2 Analog is on the upper echelon of the upper-tier. It carries a very similar design to its replacing as the brand’s most expensive keyboard, the Razer Huntsman Elite. That includes pleasing media keys and a lavish RGB wrist rest. The design here has some legs up on the Huntsman Elite’s design, though, and, believe it or not, one of its biggest advantages is its wrist rest.
The Huntsman V2 Analog has a fake leather wrist rest that’s also RGB-ready. To set it aglow, all you have to do is plug in the keyboard and magnetically attach the wrist rest to the keyboard. But with RGB brightness boosted up to about 40%, I got an impactful glow on my desk — even in a sunny room. And from afar or on a stream, the Huntsman V2 Analog’s RGB is definitely impressive. The wrist rest here is Razer’s plushest yet and provides a clean, natural look with its bezel-less design. The filling has a good amount of density but isn’t quite in the firm category. It’s also not as plush and doesn’t have the same squishy, cooling gel feel of our favorite standalone wrist rest, the HyperX Wrist Rest.
Analog Gaming Experience
The Huntsman V2 Analog’s customizable actuation points and double inputs work with any game or app. Still, for the keys to be pressure-sensitive like a joystick, you’ll need a supported game. Razer told me this is any game that allows for both game/mouse inputs and controllers. Inconveniently, the brand’s yet to share a list of supported games, but a similar tech, Aimpad, has its own list of supported games, which will also likely work with the Razer keyboard’s analog features too. We’ll update this review if Razer shares a list of supported games.
Feeling natural and comfortable while keeping a key pressed, say, halfway, will take some getting used to, though. Since these switches are linear, at first, it felt challenging to maintain just the right amount of pressure to achieve the amount of acceleration I wanted with my car.
Linear switches are great for fast, interruption-free input, but I’d love to see an analog mechanical switch with tactile feedback. It may be easier to keep the key half-pressed (or so) comfortably if there’s a bump along the travel that can serve as a resting point. Full disclosure: I generally prefer tactile switches over linear ones.
General Gaming Experience on Razer Huntsman V2 Analog
Even if you’re not playing a game that supports our review focus’ analog features, there’s a potential advantage to be had in the Huntsman V2 Analog’s customizable actuation points. The most popular linear switch, Cherry MX Reds, have a 2mm actuation point, 4mm total travel and require 45g. Since you can set the Huntsman V2 Analog’s switches to have an actuation point as low as 1.5mm, your fingers can have 0.5mm less to travel to register an input. On top of that, the reset point is also customizable, so you can really get the feel you want. Actuation force is greater than Cherry Reds though, with the Razer switches ranging from 54g with 1.5mm actuation and maxing at 74g.
In general, the keyboard’s well-spaced layout and premium keycaps with their pleasant sound and slip-0resistant texture made long hours of game a breeze.
Typing Experience on Razer Huntsman V2 Analog
The Huntsman V2 Analog debuts Razer’s Analog Optical mechanical switches, which have many tricks to them, as we detailed above. But in their simplest form, they’re linear switches. One of the best parts is that the typing experience is somewhat up to you. No matter what, you’ll have linear presses that go down smoothly with no bump or clicking noise along the way. But with the ability to set each switch’s actuation point from 1.5-3.6mm, you can decide if an input requires a light press or nearly bottoming out. Lighter actuation points can make for quicker input, while requiring a harder press may help avoid accidental inputs.
Linear switches are known to have zero clickiness, but the double-shot PBT keycaps make a delightful noise that reminds me of someone writing with chalk. The switches are also specced for 4mm total travel and actuate with 54-74g of force.
I’m an aggressive typer, so when typing a lot, I’m usually bottoming out. As a result, bringing up the actuation point didn’t make a big difference for me, since I probably continued bottoming out anyway.
Features and Software on Razer Huntsman V2 Analog
Razer’s Synapse software is essential for adjusting the Huntsman V2 Analog switches’ actuation point and offers other customization options. If you do download Synapse, you can save as many profiles as you want and set them to launch with specific games or other apps automatically.
The Customize menu lets you assign different functions to each key and even the media controls. The scroll wheel even has three programmable functions (scroll up, down, or press in). There’s a massive range of options, from launching programs and switching profiles or RGB to macros. You can even assign mouse functions to the keyboard. And if you assign a button as the Razer HyperShift key, every key will offer an additional function when you’re holding down that key. This all equates to a massive amount of input customization, even without the analog features.
My Final Verdict
Reason to buy
- Highly customizable analog mechanical switches
- Satisfying typing experience
- Comfortably padded RGB wrist rest
- Handy media controls.
Reason to Avoid
- Wildly expensive
- No macro keys
- Customizable actuation could go lower
- Limited PC support for analog control
The bottom line
The Razer Huntsman V2 Analog is one of the most expensive gaming keyboards you can get. And it does a lot to try to earn that title. The Razer Huntsman V2 Analog keyboard is premium in its feature set, design, and price; although, dedicated macro keys would’ve been nice. Pressure-sensitive keys bring a fine level of control to PC games, and they’re highly programmable, from their sensitivity to their reset point and functionality. For those who can put Razer’s new analog optical switches to work, this is as swanky as it gets.