An infrared light beam is used to detect each key press, allowing 50 percent more travel while retaining a mechanical tactile click action.
This week, Razer announced that it has developed the world’s first optical keyboard for use in laptops, with the Razer Blade 15 Advanced being the first gaming laptop to ship with it.
The desire to keep laptops thin means compromises have to be made on the design of the keyboards. Sometimes compromises to achieve thinness go too far, just ask anyone who’s purchased a MacBook in recent years. Razer decided to go a different route, and it’s one that’s apparently allowed them to satisfy the requirements of gamers with a better design.
The new keyboard relies on an infrared light beam to detect key presses (actuation). The end result is an actuation point of 1mm at 55 grams of actuation force. Razer is claiming 50 percent more key travel (1.7mm) while retaining a “satisfying mechanical tactile click.” It certainly sounds like a very satisfying keyboard to type on.
The change in design hasn’t meant losing any of the features gamers demand on their gaming laptop. The keyboard will be available first in the Razer Blade 15 Advanced laptop, which boasts N-Key Rollover with anti-ghosting. As the key detection relies on light, there’s also no debounce to worry about and therefore every single key press, however fast, is going to register.
Anyone who’s owned a Razer gaming laptop before will be pleased to hear the optical keyboard retains the Razer Chroma RGB back lighting across every key, with 16.8 million colors to choose from.
If this sounds like a keyboard you must have, be prepared to pay a high price. The Razer Blade 15 Advanced costs $2,649, but you are getting a laptop containing a Core i7-9750H processor, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, a GeForce RTX 2070 GPU, and a 512GB SSD. The 15.6-inch display is 1080p with a 240Hz refresh rate.
As the key detection does rely on light there’s a question mark over whether dust and debris build up could effect it. Hopefully Razer has thought of this and we’ll surely hear about any problems once gamers start using the new keyboard in anger for long gaming sessions.