The Razer Huntsman V2 Analog is the company’s new flagship keyboard, which not only sports high-end features such as optical switches, an RGB-adorned wrist rest, and USB 3.0 pass-through, but also includes analog switches. Like those on the Cooler Master MK850 and Wooting Two HE, these switches can track the depth that you’ve pressed a key, allowing you to provide analog input – like the analog triggers on a gamepad – direct from the keyboard.
It’s an intriguing technology and, unlike the MK850, Razer includes it in every key on this keyboard, so you can program the lot to act just how you like. The keys can also be set up to trigger two different actions depending on how far down the key is pressed. The problem is that it’s quite tricky to get the level of finesse required to use them in a meaningful manner.
While it’s easy to carefully press one or two keys precisely, combining the inputs required for smoothly steering a car or controlling an airplane is very tricky. It’s a similar story when it comes to the two-level activation. It’s such an unnatural feeling to try to tap a key with a certain amount of pressure when in the heat of battle.
Considering you can buy perfectly capable gamepads and joysticks for well below $100, the use case for such analog input on a keyboard seems limited. Steering wheels are admittedly rather more expensive for half-decent models, but you can save $100 towards one by opting for a normal keyboard.
All that said, for slower-paced games such as Microsoft Flight Simulator, or for using the keyboard as an analog control surface for music making, for example, there is greater scope here. More dedicated interfaces will still be preferable for both, but there’s potential here as a single device to do it all.
Razer has now added Rapid Trigger Mode to this keyboard and the Razer Huntsman Mini analog. This takes advantage of the analog keys to allow the keys to be instantly re-pressed the moment you’ve slightly let the key rise. This means the key can be triggered as fast as you can move your fingers without needing to worry about the range of motion of your fingers. Like the analog control, it’s a niche feature, but adds further to the range of uses for this keyboard.
Given their analog ability, this keyboard’s switches understandably have a linear action, so they lack the tactile feedback of some switches. However, they’re still surprisingly loud. This seems to be down to a combination of the relatively light construction of the keyboard, so it doesn’t dampen the sound that much, and the very sharp, clacking sound of the switches themselves. We measured a sound level of up to 67dB from a distance of 20cm, which compared to around 64dB from a typical keyboard with linear switches.
Every other aspect of this keyboard is very good indeed. For a start, it’s very stylish, with its black color scheme, aluminum top plate, and fantastically integrated RGB lighting. The latter wraps around the edges of the magnetically-attached, padded wrist rest, as well as the keyboard. Razer has also included premium doubleshot PBT keycaps, so they shouldn’t wear to a shine and lose the key legends over time.
There are plenty of features too, with chunky multimedia buttons in the top right corner, along with a knurled volume wheel. There’s also a USB 3.0 pass-through port on the left edge, which is a great feature – very few keyboards have USB pass-throughs these days. However, the cables for the keyboard and passthrough are separate and exit the left rear of the keyboard (with no routing options), which seems a slightly odd arrangement.
Razer Huntsman V2 Analog pros and cons
- Good build quality
- Stylish design
- Loads of extra features
- Versatile analog switches
- Other analog input devices are better
- Loud keys
Razer Huntsman V2 Analog specs
The Razer Huntsman V2 Analog spec list is:
|Dimensions (mm)||448 x 140/229 x 43 (W x D x H)|
|Weight||1.2kg (1.67kg with wrist rest)|
|Format||Standard – 105 keys|
|Switch type||Razer optical analog|
|Switch life||100+ million keystrokes|
|Extras||USB 3.0 pass-through, padded RGB wrist rest, multimedia buttons|
Razer Huntsman V2 Analog price
The Razer Huntsman V2 Analog price is $200 (£175) making it a premium mechanical keyboard, but this is reflected in its large feature set.
Price: Expect to pay $200 (£175)
Razer Huntsman V2 Analog review conclusion
The Huntsman V2 Analog is a fantastic premium keyboard, with its RGB lighting, great design, and plenty of extra features – including masses of easy programmability via Razer’s Synapse software. However, its big selling point to justify the high price – its analog keys – isn’t entirely convincing, and the noisiness of the keys is slightly off-putting too. Nonetheless, the sheer amount of potential functionality here means this keyboard comes very close to making our best gaming keyboard list.
Analog keyboard input looks likely to have niche appeal, but the rest of this gaming keyboard is fantastic.