NEW PERIPHERALS, PCs & GAD­GETS RE­VIEWED

For­get those rusty old me­chan­i­cal switches; what you need is op­ti­cal ones...

APC Australia - - Front Page - ■Joel Burgess

MI­CROSOFT CLAS­SIC INTELLIMOUSE: THE ORIG­I­NAL GAM­ING MOUSE RE­TURNS WE HAVE SEEN THE LIGHT: RAZER 'OPTO-ME­CHAN­I­CAL' KEY­BOARD ASUS PG27UQ GAM­ING SCREEN: 4K, G-SYNC & HDR... FOR HOW MUCH?

Cir­cuit-based ac­tu­a­tion has been con­sid­ered the gold stan­dard in gam­ing key­boards for some time now, but Razer be­lieves it has an even bet­ter key switch that could rev­o­lu­tionise the mar­ket. Tak­ing the best bits of the me­chan­i­cal switch and blend­ing it with a new op­ti­cal sen­sor, Razer’s se­cret weapon is a hy­brid ‘opto-me­chan­i­cal’ switch. While the tech’s not ex­clu­sive to Razer, the com­pany is one of the first to mar­ket with the hy­brid switches, which ap­pear o n it’s new Huntsman Elite flag­ship key­board.

The head­line fea­ture of th­ese new switches is that they’re sup­pos­edly 30% faster than tra­di­tional me­chan­i­cal switches, us­ing in­frared light beams to trigger key­strokes and al­low­ing vir­tu­ally in­stan­ta­neous re­sponse times, which con­sid­er­ably out­pace the con­tact-based elec­tri­cal cir­cuit mech­a­nisms in tra­di­tional me­chan­i­cal key­boards. They’re com­bined with new Razer-made ‘pur­ple’ keys that are sup­pos­edly more durable, con­tain­ing fewer mov­ing parts and, there­fore, re­duc­ing the op­por­tu­nity for mal­func­tion through wear. Razer claims this amounts to dura­bil­ity rat­ings of 100 mil­lion key­strokes, ef­fec­tively dou­bling that of most me­chan­i­cal keys. You might be scep­ti­cal about dura­bil­ity if you’ve kept up with the news of Ap­ple’s in­creased mal­func­tion rate on it’s op­ti­cally-trig­gered but­ter­fly switches, but Razer’s reps as­sure us that its pur­ple switches are en­cased in a fully dust-proof en­clo­sure, mak­ing it im­per­vi­ous to in­ter­fer­ence from dust.

The new opto-me­chan­i­cal switches have an ac­tu­a­tion force of 45g and a travel dis­tance of 1.5mm, mak­ing them most sim­i­lar to a Cherry MX Silver switch at 45g ac­tu­a­tion force and 1.2mm trigger travel. This tun­ing makes them ex­cep­tion­ally re­spon­sive and com­fort­able to type on, but still of­fers the kind of feed­back you’d ex­pect from a heavy­weight ‘clicky’ gam­ing key­board.

The Huntsman Elite is a full sized frame­less key­board com­plete with numpad, ded­i­cated me­dia con­trols and a de­tach­able palm rest. Razer has taken a leaf out of Log­itech’s book by ad­ding a scrol­lable vol­ume wheel in the top right-hand cor­ner, along­side three other ded­i­cated me­dia con­trols. You can switch to dif­fer­ent gam­ing pro­files us­ing the 12 func­tion keys across the top of the de­vice, but there are no ded­i­cated macro but­tons or USB passthrough sock­ets. The stream­lined fa­cade is rather sub­dued for a gam­ing key­board and it wouldn’t feel out of place in an of­fice set­ting — at least un­til you turn its lights on. It wouldn’t be an ‘elite’ gam­ing key­board with­out per-key RGB light­ing, but Razer has taken this a step fur­ther by skirt­ing the en­tire edge of the ‘board with down­ward- fir­ing LED light­ing that’s even in­te­grated into the palm rest.

Price is the Huntsman Elite’s main short­com­ing: at $340, it’s one of the most ex­pen­sive gam­ing ‘ boards in Aus­tralia. If you’re open to ditch­ing the palm rest and me­dia con­trols then you can bag this new set of switches on the stan­dard Huntsman for around $250. Other than the price and a me­dia con­trol wheel (which we feel could do with some WD40), there isn’t much to com­plain about, so if you’re keen on the keys to the fu­ture of gam­ing key­boards, then this is a solid bet.

GAM­ING KEY­BOARD $339.95 | WWW.RAZER.COM

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