New Razer Huntsman gaming keyboards work via lasers – seriously

razer huntsman

Not satisfied with the myriad key switches available for gaming keyboards today, Razer has developed another of its very own for two brand new products: Razer Huntsman and Huntsman Elite.

The Hunstman Elite is a full-sized gaming keyboard replete with number pad, a plush detachable wrist rest and media control keys beset by Razer Chroma RGB lighting not only beneath each key, but the entire device itself. (The version missing the ‘Elite’ moniker simply dials down the RGB lighting, loses the wrist wrest and lacks a macro saving feature.) 

But, those aren’t even the marquee features of these new keyboards.

That has to be Razer’s very own key switch that it calls ‘opto-mechanical’. If you hadn’t already guessed, the switch works through optics.

Specifically, underneath each switch is an infrared light beam that is claimed to precisely detect the actuation of key presses at a 1.5mm actuation point, as opposed to most other gaming keyboards that use mechanics to do the same thing.

razer huntsman

Razer's new 'opto-mechanical' key switch

Light is better than metal

Razer says that, because these switches actuate at ‘the speed of light,’ they’re 30% faster than traditional mechanical key switches. Not only that, but Razer says that these keys require a lighter actuation force of 45g than its previous Razer Green mechanical switches.

Finally, because these switches feature fewer mechanics, the opto-mechanical switch is rated for up to 100 million key presses – that’s double the reliability of proper mechanical switches, according to Razer.

Will beams of light turn out to be better than mechanical key switches in the end? You’ll have to wait for our full Razer Huntsman Elite review for that answer.

The Razer Huntsman and Huntsman Elite gaming keyboards are available now on Razer’s website for $149 / AU$249 (about £119) and $199 / AU$339 (about £159), respectively.

Joe Osborne

Joe Osborne is the Senior Technology Editor at Insider Inc. His role is to leads the technology coverage team for the Business Insider Shopping team, facilitating expert reviews, comprehensive buying guides, snap deals news and more. Previously, Joe was TechRadar's US computing editor, leading reviews of everything from gaming PCs to internal components and accessories. In his spare time, Joe is a renowned Dungeons and Dragons dungeon master – and arguably the nicest man in tech.