Razer Huntsman V2 TKL Linear review: Same same but different

·Yahoo Esports & Gaming SEA team
·7 min read
Razer Huntsman V2 TKL Linear (Photo: Yahoo Gaming SEA)
Razer Huntsman V2 TKL Linear (Photo: Yahoo Gaming SEA)

When the Razer Huntsman Tournament Edition (TE) was released in 2019, it marked a small change in direction moving forward for Razer-made keyboards. Razer started listening to fans of the brand, and included long requested features like a standard bottom row key layout. The build quality was superb, it was easy to carry around for LAN parties, and also came with a detachable USB-C cable.

There are only two major differences on the Huntsman V2 TKL compared to the Huntsman Tournament Edition (TE), which is what this keyboard is supposed to supersede:

  1. The switches and feel of the keyboard

  2. The polling rate

The exterior of the Huntsman V2 TKL is exactly identical to 2019’s Razer Huntsman TE. The key layout, the build structure, the PBT keycaps — they are all the same. 

If you were to place the Huntsman TE and Huntsman V2 TKL side by side, you'd be forgiven for not being able to visually identify which is the newer model.

If you can tell them apart, you deserve a cookie (Photo: Yahoo Gaming SEA)
If you can tell them apart, you deserve a cookie (Photo: Yahoo Gaming SEA)

Let's just highlight the bells and whistles that are similar between the two first.

  1. TKL layout

  2. Razer PBT Keycaps (standard bottom row layout)

  3. RGB (you are able to use Razer Synapse to control this, or use the preset effects)

  4. Wired with detachable USB-C Cable

  5. Made out of hard plastic with an aluminium plate

  6. Raiseable kickstands

The build quality of the V2 TKL feels no different from the TE. The keyboard is solid and looks like it is able to take a beating, if you are the kind to take it out for LAN events and such (and live in a place where it's safe to do so).

With that out of the way, let’s get to the biggest changes to the keyboard for an end user.

In 2019’s Razer Huntsman TE, the optical switches present in the keyboard actuate at a mere 1mm (for those who don't know, this means when the keyboard registers the key being pressed).

Users of the TE were divided on this. On one hand, you are able to actuate the switch as soon as possible, but on the other, the switches felt like they would actuate as soon as you so much as brush your fingers on the keys, leading to a lot of accidental input and fat-fingering.

If you are used to the typical keyboard switches like Cherrys and Gaterons, the average actuation point for those switches were 2mm. It doesn’t sound like much, but if you are used to using 2mm switches, you are probably used to depressing the keycaps deep in before the switch actuates.

Even when compared to Cherry’s gaming switches, the Speed Silvers (which are present in many gaming keyboards like the Corsair K95), it is only a mere difference of 0.2mm for their actuation points as the Speed Silvers actuated at 1.2mm. What you don’t see, however, is users of these switches having much issue with accidental actuations as opposed to those on the Huntsman TE.

This is why with the new Huntsman V2 TKL, Razer has lowered the actuation point of the optical switches to 1.2mm. These switches are also the same switches that were present in the Razer Huntsman Mini, and the public generally loved this new implementation.

In our testing, this rings true. There were fewer accidents happening in our typing tests, and the keys also felt slightly heavier to actuate due to this change compared to the old Huntsman TE.

Not only that, the new optical switches are also dampened, so there are less “clicks and clacks” of the keyboard present in the new V2 TKL. 

Is this a good thing ,though? It really depends on what you want. 

Some people prefer the noisy clacks of the old TE, but the majority that used the TE seemed to mostly prefer the sound and feel of the dampened switches. This is an extremely subjective matter, however, so it really is up to the user to determine if this is a good or a bad change. 

However, if you are someone who prefers the noise of the TE but wants the lowered actuation point of the new switches, you are out of luck, unless you are open to buying the clicky version of the V2 TKL. 

Yes, Razer will also release the Huntsman V2 TKL with their purple clicky switches, but fans of the loud linear switches will be disappointed.

Besides the switches, Razer has added a higher polling rate for the V2 TKL. It can now go up to 8,000hz polling rate just like their Razer Viper. 

Most normal keyboards in the market come with the standard 1,000hz polling rate, including the TE. Razer touts that the 8k polling rate option will reduce the V2 TKL’s latency down from 1 millisecond in the 1,000hz option to 0.1 millisecond, but in our testing, we could barely tell the difference between 1,000hz, 2,000hz, 4,000hz and ,8000hz polling rate, be it for daily usage or gaming. 

This feature may only be a “nice to have” as it sees no real-world usage at the moment, giving the impression it's either there for marketing purposes if not for future-proofing.

On a side note, Razer also sent us the Razer Phantom keycaps to use on the Huntsman V2 TKL, but we discovered that it looks weird on the Huntsman because of the way the optical switches are built. Light will only shine through the top of the keycaps because of the opaque body of the Huntsman’s switches.

The LED of the Huntsman doesn’t shine through the entirety of the Phantom keycaps (Photo: Yahoo Gaming SEA)
The LED of the Huntsman doesn’t shine through the entirety of the Phantom keycaps (Photo: Yahoo Gaming SEA)

However, when placed on a keyboard with translucent switches, the keycaps look fantastic. 

If you have a mouse with a dark frosted finish like the Xtrfy MZ1 or the Endgame Gear XM1, the Phantom keycaps compliments these nicely. 

If you are looking to purchase the Razer Phantom keycaps for the Huntsman, our advice is to stay away, unless you like your lights shining through only at the top part of the keycaps.

The Razer Phantom keycaps on a keyboard with translucent switches (Photo: Yahoo Gaming SEA)
The Razer Phantom keycaps on a keyboard with translucent switches (Photo: Yahoo Gaming SEA)

Final thoughts:

If you loved the old Huntsman TE, stick to it. Maybe purchase a couple more in the market before it runs out of stock and disappears for good. 

If you loved the high actuation point of the switches and the sound the keyboard makes, the extra 8k polling rate present in the V2 TKL will barely justify an “upgrade”, unless you are some professional esports player that needs all the advantage you can get. 

Even if the polling rate does give you an advantage, it is extremely miniscule. At this point, one can even debate that the lowered switch actuation from 1mm to 1.2mm will affect any kind performance.

If you hated the noise and the sensitivity of the TE, but loved its form factor and the idea of optical switches, this is a worthy buy. 

The switches are quieter and slightly harder to actuate, and you get a bonus “future-proof” 8k polling rate with the keyboard, if 8,000hz polling rate ever becomes the norm. 

You even get a wrist rest with the purchase, though we doubt that it should be a reason for anyone to purchase a gaming keyboard.

Here is Razer's MSRP for the new keyboards:

Huntsman V2 Full-size (clicky) - S$299.90

Huntsman V2 TKL (clicky) - S$239.90 

Huntsman V2 Full-size (Linear) - S$309.90 

Huntsman V2 TKL (Linear) - S$254.90

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