Razer Huntsman Elite Keyboard Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Reviewed Aug 11, 2020 at 08:00 am
Razer Huntsman Elite Picture
7.6
Mixed usage
9.1
Gaming
1.0
Mobile/Tablet
7.3
Office
7.7
Programming
Connectivity Wired
Size
Full-size (100%)
Mechanical
Yes

The Razer Huntsman Elite is an outstanding full-size mechanical gaming keyboard. Like its smaller siblings in the Huntsman family, it's configurable with Clicky Optical (Purple) or Linear Optical (Red) switches. Our unit's Red switches provide a light and responsive typing experience; however, some may find them too sensitive, leading to more typos than usual. The build quality is excellent, it has dedicated media controls, and in addition to its full RGB backlighting, it has underglow LEDs on the keyboard and the wrist rest. All keys are macro-programmable and even the volume dial can be reassigned. Some customizations can be done on the board, but sadly, Razer Synapse 3 is needed to access full customization options and it's only available on Windows.

Our Verdict

7.6 Mixed usage

The Razer Huntsman Elite is a good keyboard for most uses. It's a well-built and feature-rich keyboard that provides an exceptionally responsive gaming experience. It comes with a nice leatherette wrist rest, it has full RGB backlighting, and every key is macro-programmable. The Linear Optical switches on our unit can feel too sensitive for typing, but on the upside, they feel light and don't cause any fatigue. It's available with Clicky Optical switches if you prefer, which are similar to Cherry MX Blue switches.

Pros
  • Good ergonomics.
  • Dedicated media controls.
  • Quiet typing noise with Linear Optical switches.
Cons
  • Overly sensitive for typing.
  • Slippery keys.
9.1 Gaming

The Razer Huntsman Elite is an outstanding gaming keyboard. The Linear Optical switches on our unit feel incredibly responsive due to their low actuation point, and they require hardly any force to actuate. There's full RGB backlighting, you can reassign or set a macro to any key, and its dedicated media controls include a customizable volume dial. Unfortunately, there aren't any dedicated macro keys for MMOs.

Pros
  • Extremely responsive.
  • Macro-programmable keys.
  • Full RGB backlighting.
  • Good ergonomics.
Cons
  • No dedicated macro keys for MMOs.
  • Slippery keys.
1.0 Mobile/Tablet

The Razer Huntsman Elite is a wired-only keyboard and isn't suitable for use with mobile devices.

7.3 Office

The Razer Huntsman Elite is decent for office use. With its incline settings and plushy wrist rest, it's comfortable to type on all day long. The Linear Optical switches on our unit provide a light typing experience, but their low actuation point can end up causing more typos than usual. Furthermore, the ABS keycaps are slippery and can get worse with oil build-up. Typing noise isn't an issue with the Red switches; however, the Purple switches are much louder.

Pros
  • Good ergonomics.
  • Light typing experience.
  • Quiet typing noise with Linear Optical switches.
Cons
  • Overly sensitive for typing.
  • Slippery keys.
  • No software support for Linux and macOS.
7.7 Programming

The Razer Huntsman Elite is a good keyboard for programming or coding. It's comfortable to type on, it has macro-programmable keys, and it has full RGB backlighting, which is great for those who like to work in the dark. Our unit's Red switches provide an okay typing experience, but some may find them overly sensitive, leading to more typos. That said, you can get the keyboard with Clicky switches if you prefer, which are similar to Cherry MX Blue switches. All keys work on Linux, but customization options are limited due to the lack of software support.

Pros
  • Macro-programmable keys.
  • Full RGB backlighting.
  • Good ergonomics.
  • Light typing experience.
Cons
  • Overly sensitive for typing.
  • Slippery keys.
  • No software support for Linux and macOS.
  • 7.6 Mixed usage
  • 9.1 Gaming
  • 1.0 Mobile/Tablet
  • 7.3 Office
  • 7.7 Programming

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Dimensions
Height
1.4" (3.7 cm)
Width 17.5" (44.4 cm)
Depth 5.5" (14.0 cm)
Weight 2.7 lbs (1.2 kg)

The Razer Huntsman Elite is a large full-sized keyboard and it takes up even more space if you choose to use the included wrist rest. If you want a compact keyboard, check out the Razer Huntsman Mini.

8.5
Design
Build Quality

The Razer Huntsman Elite has an excellent build quality. It has a plastic frame with an aluminum plate on top. It feels solidly built and only flexes a little bit. The keycaps are made of ABS plastic and they feel well-made, but they're slippery and it gets worse if there's oil buildup. The keys are stable except for the spacebar, which actuates easily by hitting the desk; an issue that was also present on the Razer Huntsman Tournament Edition keyboard that we reviewed. The incline feet feel a tad flimsy and the rubber pads under them don't provide enough grip; however, the weight of the keyboard itself helps prevent it from sliding around.

7.5
Design
Ergonomics
Board Design
Straight
Incline Settings
2
Wrist Rest Detachable

The Razer Huntsman Elite has good ergonomics. It has two incline settings and it comes with a plushy leatherette wrist rest. Combined with the Linear Optical switches' low actuation force, it doesn't feel tiring to type on for long periods.

10
Design
Backlighting
Backlighting Yes
Color RGB
Brightness Settings
Yes
Individually Backlit Keys
Yes

The Razer Huntsman Elite has full RGB backlighting with individually-lit keys. There are many preset lighting effects to choose from and you can also create custom lighting profiles through the customization software. There's also LED lighting around the edges of the keyboard and wrist rest to produce an underglow effect. These LEDs require extra power, so the second USB connector must be plugged in for them to work. For the underglow LEDs on the wrist rest, the wrist rest must be connected to the keyboard via the pogo pins. The legends on the media keys don't light up, making them difficult to see.

Design
Cable
Detachable
No
Length 6.7 ft (2.0 m)
Connector (Keyboard side) Not Detachable

The cable is braided and feels high quality, but it's quite stiff and it retains kinks easily. It should be long enough for most people to reach their desktop.

0
Design
Wireless Versatility
Bluetooth
No
Proprietary Receiver
No
Multi-Device Pairing
No
Battery Type
No Batteries

The Razer Huntsman Elite is a wired-only keyboard.

Design
Extra Features
Media Keys
Dedicated
Macro Programmable Keys
All
Extra Controls
Wheel
USB Passthrough
No
Numpad Yes
Windows Key Lock
Yes

The Razer Huntsman Elite has many extra features. All keys are macro-programmable and you can program them on-the-fly using the macro recording hotkey instead of doing it through software. You can lock the Windows key to prevent accidentally minimizing your game, and there's a 'Sleep' hotkey that puts your computer instantly to sleep. It has dedicated media controls, which include a multi-function volume dial that you can reassign to perform other functions. The media keys don't feel as premium as the rest of the keyboard and they have extremely low travel distance.

Design
In The Box

  • Razer Huntsman Elite keyboard
  • Wrist rest
  • User guide
  • Razer stickers

Typing Experience
Typing Experience
Keystrokes
Key Switches
Razer Linear Optical
Feel
Linear
Actuation Force
37.2 gf
Pre-Travel
1.00 mm
Total Travel
3.54 mm

Our unit of the Razer Huntsman Elite is fitted with the Linear Optical switches (Red). They don't provide any tactile feedback and require very little force to actuate. The pre-travel distance is extremely short, which makes the keyboard feel very responsive. You can get the keyboard with Clicky Optical switches (Purple) if you prefer. The Purple switches are advertised to have slightly higher pre-travel distance and actuation force, and they provide tactile feedback, similar to Cherry MX Blue switches. If you want to see how the Purple switches perform, check out our review of the Razer Huntsman Mini.

6.5
Typing Experience
Typing Quality

The typing experience with the Linear Optical switches is just okay. It feels incredibly responsive and light, and the included wrist rest is very comfortable, so it shouldn't cause any fatigue over time. Due to the lack of tactile feedback, it can be difficult to sense if a keystroke is registered. While the extremely short pre-travel distance and light actuation force are great for gaming, it's too sensitive to recommend for typing. We experienced the same issue as with the Razer Huntsman Tournament Edition, where the spacebar would activate by simply hitting the desk near the keyboard. Also, the ABS keycaps feel slippery, more so if there's oil buildup. You can buy PBT keycaps from the Razer store or other retailers, but it's an additional expense.

Do note that the typing experience is very different with the Clicky Optical switches, as they provide tactile feedback, and they're advertised to have higher pre-travel distance and actuation force. Our units of the Razer Huntsman and Razer Huntsman Mini are fitted with the Clicky Optical switches, and they don't have the same issue with the spacebar being overly sensitive.

Typing Experience
Typing Noise
Noise
Quiet

The Linear Optical switches on our unit of the Razer Huntsman Elite don't generate a lot of typing noise; however, the Clicky Optical switches are much louder, as seen in our review of the Razer Huntsman.

Software and Operating System
7.5
Software and Operating System
Software
Software Razer Synapse 3
Account Required
No
Profiles
6+
Onboard Memory
No
Cloud Sync
Yes
Backlight Programming
Yes
Macro Programming
Yes
Software Windows Compatible
Yes
Software macOS Compatible
No

The Razer Huntsman Elite has good software support. Razer's Synapse 3 software allows you to reassign keys (including the volume dial), program macros, and customize the RGB backlighting of each key individually. You can save as many profiles as you want and there's a cloud sync option, although it requires an account to use it.

This keyboard has onboard memory to save up to five custom profiles; however, it didn't work during our testing. We're not sure if this is a hardware or software issue, and there have been reports of this issue from other users as well. If you have experienced this issue, please let us know in the discussions below.

7.2
Software and Operating System
Keyboard Compatibility
Windows Full
macOS Partial
Linux Partial
Android No
iOS No
iPadOS No

The Razer Huntsman Elite has decent compatibility. It's fully compatible with Windows and there are no issues. For macOS, Screen Lock, Pause/Break, and Context menu don't work, and the Insert key becomes the 'Help' key. On Linux, all keys work as intended, but like macOS, there's no software support, so customization is limited.

Differences Between Sizes and Variants

The Razer Huntsman Elite is the flagship model of the Huntsman lineup, which includes the Razer Huntsman, the Razer Huntsman Mini, and the Razer Huntsman Tournament Edition. It only comes in black and there are two types of switches to choose from: Linear Optical (Red) or Clicky Optical (Purple).

Compared to other keyboards

The Razer Huntsman Elite is an outstanding gaming keyboard. Compared to other keyboards in its price range, it stands out for its incredible responsiveness. However, it lacks features such as dedicated macro keys and USB passthrough, which the Corsair K95 RGB PLATINUM XT offers for the same price. For more options, check out our recommendations for the best gaming keyboards, the best mechanical keyboards, and the best RGB keyboards.

Razer BlackWidow Elite

The Razer Huntsman Elite and the Razer BlackWidow Elite are very similar in terms of build, comfort, and extra features. The biggest differences are that the BlackWidow Elite has a USB passthrough, and the Razer Orange switches provide a much better typing experience than the Linear Optical switches on our unit of the Huntsman Elite. That said, both keyboards offer multiple switch options.

Razer Huntsman

The Razer Huntsman is basically a less-featured version of the Razer Huntsman Elite, as it doesn't have dedicated media controls, underglow LEDs, and doesn't include a wrist rest. Otherwise, they're nearly identical and they both offer the same switch options. The Clicky Optical switches provide a better typing experience than the Linear Optical switches, but they also generate a lot more typing noise.

SteelSeries Apex Pro

For most uses, the SteelSeries Apex Pro is much better than the Razer Huntsman Elite. The SteelSeries has a customizable OLED screen, USB passthrough, and its Omnipoint switches provide a better typing experience than the Linear Optical switches on our unit of the Razer. You can get the Razer with Clicky Optical switches if you want, but they generate more typing noise. The SteelSeries has better compatibility, as its customization software is available for macOS.

Corsair K95 RGB PLATINUM XT

Overall, the Corsair K95 RGB PLATINUM XT is better than the Razer Huntsman Elite. The Corsair has dedicated macro keys, a USB passthrough, and it comes with extra textured keycaps. The Cherry MX Blue switches on our unit of the Corsair provide a much better typing experience than the Linear Optical switches on the Razer, although both keyboards offer multiple switch options.

Razer BlackWidow

The Razer Huntsman Elite is better than the Razer BlackWidow for the most part. The Elite is available in two different optical switches, including the Linear Optical switches we tested. It's better-built and it comes with a wrist rest too. However, the Razer Green switches on the BlackWidow offer a better typing quality.

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