Razer Huntsman V2 Tenkeyless
RRP $ 150.00
“The Huntsman V2 TKL from Razer is a gaming keyboard that will convince you with its smooth switches.”
Oh-so smooth linear opto-mechanical switches
Great comfort and ergonomics of the palm rest
Detachable USB-C cable
No media buttons
While the palm rest is comfortable, there are a handful of problems
No tactile switch option
Razer is releasing a new TKL gaming keyboard today, just a week after the launch of its new Basilisk V3 gaming mouse. This one is called the Huntsman V2 Tenkeyless, and we have a sample on hand to see if it’s good and worthy of competing with the best gaming keyboards you can buy.
The Huntsman V2 TKL is part of the Huntsman line of ultra-performance wired gaming keyboards that are designed to excel in competitive gaming without costing as insane as the BlackWidow series.
As a result, they aren’t the most feature-rich boards, but the Hunstman V2 TKL proves that its superb switches and form factor are still a fantastic PC gaming companion.
When you look at the Huntsman TKL, the first thing you notice is the simple design – it’s just a simple TKL keyboard without any fancy extras in the periphery. The media keys are built into the F keys instead of being dedicated, there’s no volume control, and there aren’t tons of RGB qualities in all sorts of disgusting nooks. There’s some RGB there, but it’s just under the main buttons.
Combine that simplicity with the all-black design and aluminum top plate, and you get a fairly slim keyboard that, oddly enough, doesn’t attract much attention. Razer used to be a company that built eccentrically styled gear that was unmistakably “gamer,” but these days it seems to be leaning towards sleeker, more sophisticated designs. Maybe it will grow up along with its core audience.
Also included with the Huntsman V2 TKL – and this is probably the biggest upgrade compared to the original – is a synthetic leather palm rest. I first got to know this soft, plush palm rest with the BlackWidow V3 Pro, and here I am still just as in love. The height is perfect for comfort, and because it’s so soft, it makes typing a real pleasure.
There are a couple of caveats: the softness won’t last forever – I feel like the thin material wears out relatively quickly by peeling off relatively quickly, and on warm days it can just be a little too plushy for you to beg for something need to be more breathable.
Fortunately, Razer also sells its palm rests separately from the keyboards. So if you type enough to wear them out, replacing them shouldn’t be a problem. Plus, the palm rest isn’t actually attached to the keyboard – there’s not even a magnet to hold it in place.
The keyboard is connected to your PC with a detachable, braided USB-C cable.
The reason to buy a Razer Huntsman keyboard is for the optical switches, or as Razer calls them, the optomechanical switches. These hit the market in 2018 and enjoyed rapid popularity for good reason.
Niels Broekhuijsen / Digital Trends
Our sample of the Huntsman V2 TKL came with the red linear version of the switches, and these are by far my favorite. In general, I’m a tactile (brown) switch type, but on a keyboard as geared towards gaming as the Huntsman V2 TKL, I prefer a linear switch. Thanks Razer for that. The keyboard is also available with clickable optical switches, but there is no tactile option.
But what do I like so much about the optomechanical switches? It’s the suppleness.
Razer markets the optical switches as faster and touts them in all sorts of wondrous terms like “the speed of light” and “the fastest performance you’ll ever experience,” but I don’t care about those things. Sure, they could outperform classic electro-mechanical switches in a scientific test because they don’t have to take debouncing into account, but if you can find me a person who can determine the speed difference in a blind test, I’ll buy you a beer. Maybe two.
Niels Broekhuijsen / Digital Trends
But the suppleness. I can hardly describe it, as I have only come across a few switches that offer similar smoothness. With a switch like Cherry or Gateron Red you could lubricate them and mount damping O-rings on the stems – and only with all this effort could you achieve the same smooth suspension travel.
The stroke of the switches is so smooth that it gives off a feeling of luxury that you don’t get with many keyboards – at least not without entering the expensive custom keyboard territory.
It is the ease of movement of the opto-mechanical switch that makes the Huntsman V2 TKL so appealing.
The switches are also almost noiseless. Thanks to a sound-absorbing foam layer inside the keyboard, this is one of the quieter mechanical keyboards you will find.
There’s just one catch: because the switches are optical, they consume more power than traditional electro-mechanical keys, which means the keyboard cannot be wireless. So there is a cable. And the stabilizers aren’t the same as those on Cherry-based boards. Most keys will fit, but the longer keys will not. However, the standard keycaps are double-shot PBT, so most people don’t bother updating them.
When starting out in gaming, the Huntsman V2 TKL is a happy companion. The keyboard’s smaller layout isn’t quite as game-friendly as something really small like the Razer Huntsman Mini or the BlackWidow V3 Mini or the Corsair K65 RGB Mini, but because of the additional mouse space, it’s miles better than a full-size keyboard. This allows me to play at a lower DPI, which results in more accurate recordings.
Niels Broekhuijsen / Digital Trends
Combine that with the comfortable palm rest, height, and sleek switches and you’ll largely forget about the keyboard while gaming – and that’s the best compliment I can give a keyboard. It’s all just smooth sailing.
While the keyboard queries at 8,000 Hz, 1,000 is enough, and Corsair’s K70 RGB TKL Champion Edition has already shown that you don’t need 8,000 Hz on a keyboard.
Razer’s Huntsman V2 Tenkeyless is a simple but well-executed TKL keyboard for PC gamers. It’s not wireless, which is not possible with optical switches (not without very limited battery life). It also doesn’t have media buttons and I have a couple of issues with the included palm rest.
Despite these nitpicks, however, you will fall head over heels for it due to the excellent opto-mechanical switches and comfortable form factor.
Are there alternatives?
The next alternative from Logitech is the G Pro mechanical keyboard, which offers largely the same range of functions. But it doesn’t come with the same great switches and comfy palm rest, so I’d pick the Razer of the two.
Corsair now offers the K70 RGB TKL Champion Series, which has media keys and also carries out 8K polling, but, like the Logitech board, does not have the same convenient switches. The palm rest is also missing here.
How long it will take?
The Huntsman V2 TKL should last at least five years of normal use, though I expect the palm rest to need replacing early during that time – maybe twice. Razer covers the keyboard with a two-year warranty.
Should I buy it?
Yes sir. Priced at $ 150, the Huntsman V2 TKL is one of the best TKL keyboards available today.