Razer’s new Optical Switches are on the brink of changing the keyboard industry forever. While we had previously seen startups using optical switches, Razer is the first major keyboard player to adopt optical (opto-mechanical) switches for their keyboards like the Huntsman Elite. This new keyboard technology is vastly superior to traditional mechanical tech and offers higher speed, stability, and durability for the same price!
Wondering which keyboard to buy? The Huntsman Elite with Razer’s new optical switches might be the answer
The Razer Optical Switches use a completely different actuation method when compared to traditional mechanical switches. While most premium keyboards out there actuate using a metallic contact inside the switch, Razer uses a light beam for every single one of its keys.
A light beam passes through the switch stem when a key is pressed, which then actuates via a receiver that sends the corresponding signal to the computer – bringing actuation at the speed of light. The new Razer Optical Switches also include an additional key stability bar (the silver one seen on the GIF on the left) which reduces key wobble and makes the experience feel more consistent. A balanced keypress is achieved across all four corners of the keycap regardless of the press-down location.
1. Much higher lifespan for the same price
Oh, and did we mention that optical switches last for much longer than their mechanical counterparts? While the contacts inside mechanical switches wear off as time goes by, an optical switch has far fewer moving parts. In fact, when Razer slapped on the impressive 100 million keystroke certification on its Huntsman Elite, the testing machine calculating the keystrokes was still going and had already passed 110 million. And the best part? You get all this increased keyboard life span for absolutely no additional cost compared to a traditional mechanical keyboard (the Huntsman Elite goes for the same price as other high-end mechanical keyboards).
2. Much smoother and higher stability for the same price
Remember the metal insert we mentioned earlier? The fact that there are no metal contacts and just a button being pressed down, breaking a beam, already means the typing experience is vastly improved; but the metal insert allows Razer to achieve very high stability on its optical switches which would normally be very hard to replicate on a purely mechanical design.
We also asked Razer’s Global Product Evangelist for Keyboards the secret behind the Optical Switch durability:
Optical switches are designed with fewer moving parts within the switch system. With this, we are able to overcome the design limitations of a traditional mechanical switch, resulting in a switch that is smoother, and more durable.
The added key stability bar also makes sure that partial presses – imagine if you press a key on just one corner instead of in the center – still result in very smooth and uniform press and almost completely eliminates key wobble. – Marquis Tan, Global Product Evangelist (Keyboards)
3. No debounce delay
Razer’s Optical Switches are also quantitatively faster than mechanical ones. Not one for marketing mumbo jumbo? Take a look at these waveforms then:
Traditional mechanical switches have something called a bounce. Whenever they are pressed they have a very short period of time where they bounce uncontrollably. During this time, the software deactivates the switch and waits for it to stabilize before sending the signal. This “patch” is called a debounce delay. It can be anywhere from 7 ms to 20 ms depending on the keyboard. On Razer’s Optical Switches, bounce has been completely eliminated and there is 0 debounce delay. What this essentially means is that input has almost no noticeable latency from the point where you press the key to the point it’s registered by the computer.
4. Actuate at the speed of light with instant reset
Because of the fact that the Razer optical switches have no debounce, they are also able to reset instantly. While traditional mechanical switches have to wait for the debounce delay, the Razer Optical Switch does not wait. The frequency of inputs is as fast as you can make it to be as the key will reset instantly and consistently – every time. If you are someone that mashes keys – this feature is for you!
5. Available in Linear and Clicky variants
The Razer Clicky Optical Switches give a light yet clicky feel (45g actuation force vs 50g for traditional clicky switches) for those who want the tactile feedback. On the other hand, for those of us that would like to venture into the brave new world of Linear Optical Switches, Razer has introduced an extremely smooth linear switch with a 40g actuation force.
You can buy the new Huntsman Lineup featuring Razer’s Optical Switches over here:
Ethics disclaimer: This is a paid-for, sponsored post. Affiliate codes to track sales may be included by the vendor.