Analog keyboards have been around for a while: you might remember the Wooting One from a few years ago, which allowed gamers to press each key by degrees in order to adjust input. This is similar to the way that analog sticks or triggers work on a game controller. Razer’s taking a stab at this input with the Huntsman V2.
Razer’s new optical switch design can sense how hard you’re pressing each key. Razer
At $250, the Huntsman V2 is Razer’s new flagship mechanical keyboard, and still features the light-activated “optical” switches from the previous model. But with the new analog sensors in each switch, the keyboard can detect how far down each switch is pushed, and use that data in real time. It’s more interesting than you might think, especially with the ways Razer is using it. With the analog sensors, you can:
- Adjust the actuation point where a key activates, from a super-light press to a hard one. The range is from 1.5mm to 3.6mm.
- Add multiple actuation points for different functions or macros: a light tap tosses a rock, a hard tap tosses a grenade.
- Change the key to complete analog: how hard you press determines how hard your character stomps on the gas pedal.
Oh, and based on the specs, you should be able to trigger a macro with full actuation of any text key … so if you’re so inclined, you could activate Shift + the letter to TYPE IN ALL CAPS WHEN YOU’RE REALLY POUNDING DOWN ON THE BOARD. (I don’t have the Huntsman V2, I had to hold the Shift key for that. Like some kind of caveman.)
All of this is managed in Razer’s Synapse software. While some games support analog input from the keyboard, you’ll probably have to do a lot of fine tuning, especially to use those multiple actuation points. Reviews of the Wooting One said that analog input was great for shooters and racing games (especially those that supported it), but more finicky in RPG and third-person action games.
On top of the neato switch technology, the Huntsman V2 adds pretty much all of the bells and whistles you could ask for in a Razer keyboard, including full per-key RGB lighting, edge lighting zones, a pass-through USB port, and media controls with a volume dial. The keyboard comes with its own faux leather wrist rest, attached to the board magnetically … which gets its own addressable RGB lights, too. It’s all topped off with high-quality PBT illuminated keycaps, though you should be able to add your own MX-compatible caps thanks to the standard ANSI 108-key layout.
The Huntsman V2 Analog is available for order from Razer’s site today for $250. The upgraded analog switches should make their way into other Razer keyboard products, like different sizes of the Huntsman and the Tartarus keypad, in the future.