In brief: Razer just released its newest mechanical keyboard, which uses analog optical switches. The unique mechanics bring new possibilities to KB/M gaming. Variable movement speed, adjustable responsiveness, and dual-function keys stand to change the way you play your favorite games.
On Wednesday, Razer announced the Huntsman V2 Analog gaming keyboard. From a physical design standpoint, Razer’s newest mechanical keyboard is identical to the excellent Huntsman Elite. The difference between the two comes down to the switches. The Huntsman V2 Analog replaces the Elite’s linear optical switches with pressure-sensitive analog mechanisms. These new actuators bring a few key features to the table.
The first is adjustable responsiveness. The keys on the newest Huntsman have a max travel distance of 3.6mm by default. However, using Razer’s Synapse software, users can adjust keystrokes to as short as 1.5mm. Razer says, “At shorter actuation heights, the switches become lighter and more responsive, making them ideal for game genres where reaction and speed are critical.” It’s important to note, though, that this does not change the feel of the mechanics.
A second advantage that analog switches bring is analog control. Adjusting movement speed with one key is as easy as varying the pressure you apply, just like an analog joystick. By lightly pressing the key, players can make their character walk, and as they increase pressure, the game can respond with faster speeds up to a sprint. This new mechanic is more granular than the traditional walk/run toggle, and might take some getting used to, but it could be a game-changer. Razer says that the Huntsman V2 works with any title that is compatible with an analog gamepad.
Finally, the Huntsman V2 Analog offers what Razer calls “Dual-Step Actuation.” This feature allows users to program two functions to one key. The first will execute with a light press and the second with full pressure. For example, if you have two skills in a roleplaying game that you always use in rapid succession, you can program one key to trigger them. Razer’s announcement video (above) shows another example where light pressure equips a grenade, and a full press throws it.
A few other features set this keyboard apart from the Huntsman Elite, including Razer’s “Doubleshot” PBT keycaps, customizable RGB backlighting, and USB 3.0 passthrough. For now, the Huntsman V2 Analog is only available through Razer for $250. Amazon and Best Buy are scheduled to carry it starting February 9.