It seems Razer is now on a two-year release schedule for keypads. Its Orbweaver Chroma debuted in 2015, followed by the Tartarus V2 in 2017, and now we have the Tartarus Pro, its fourth entry in the keypad category and the first to use optical key switches.
The original Tartarus launched way back in 2013, with 25 fully programmable keys and an 8-way keyboard. Several years later, the Tarturs V2 came out and added more keys and a comfier design, along with a swap to Razer's "mecha-membrane" key switches—a membrane rubber dome designed to deliver the tactile feel of a mechanical switch.
At a glance, it appears the Tartarus Pro's design is the same as the V2, in terms of the mold, D-pad, and cushioned wrist rest. However, the mecha-membrane key switches have been replaced with analog optical switches.
These employ a light beam inside the assembly. When a user press a key, the light beam is broken, which in turn registers a keystroke. We've seen this in some of Razer's recent keyboards, like the Huntsman Elite, though in this case the key switches are also pressure sensitive.
"This allows the Tartarus Pro to emulate analog input similar to controller thumbsticks. Additionally, gamers can adjust the actuation point between 1.5mm for a faster keystroke, or up to 3.6mm for a deeper, and more deliberate press," Razer says.
Pressure sensitive keys enable finer grain control. For example, a half press of a key could make your in-game character walk, while a full press could make the character run.
Razer's wording makes it sound like there are two levels of pressure sensitive, as it refers to these as "dual-function" keys. As such, users can actually bind two separate actions to each key.
Other features include support for macros of "unlimited" length, eight quick toggle profiles, and of course RGB lighting.
The Tartarus Pro is available now for $129.99.