The best mini gaming keyboards

Thanks to their convenience and functionality, mini keyboards have grown from their enthusiastic beginnings to mainstream popularity.

One of the main reasons for their rise is that they cut unnecessary keys that most gamers don’t use. Smaller mini keyboards are easier to carry for tournaments, providing more desk space.

Buyers have a number of sizes to choose from, like Tenkeyless (TKL), 60%, and one-handed keyboards. TKL keyboards like the Razer Blackwidow V3, also known as 80 percent or 87 percent keyboards, look like full-size keyboards with the missing number pad. Keyboards that are 65% smaller, like the Drop ALT, move the arrow keys closer to the alphabet keys so that there is no space. Some gamers prefer even smaller 60% keyboards like the Ducky One 2 Mini RGB, which mute the arrow keys completely.

One-handed keyboards are designed exclusively for gaming and only have a handful of keys. Unlike other types of mini gaming keyboard, the one-handed options aren’t ideal for typing or office work, as their limited keys don’t cover the entire alphabet.

Image: Razer

The Razer Huntsman V2 TKL is for professionals looking for the most responsive switches and a fast poll rate. At 8,000Hz, its polling rate is one of the highest of any gaming keyboard, but the speed improvement may only be noticeable by gamers with 240Hz or 360 monitors. Hz.

Instead of mechanical switches like most mini keyboards, the Huntsman V2 TKL features Razer’s proprietary optical switches. When you press an optical switch, a light beam passes through the rod to activate the key. Optical switches are faster than mechanical alternatives and more durable, with an expected life of 100 million presses.

Lighting fans will be happy to know that there is per-key RGB lighting as well as custom downloadable profiles for compatible games like Apex Legends and Monitoring via the Chroma app. They can also define macros and profiles with Synapse 3.

The Huntsman V2 TKL’s high polling rate and optical switches set it apart from other mini gaming keyboards. On the other hand, it’s quite expensive and many buyers won’t notice the difference in performance compared to keyboards. with lower polling rates.

Best mini gaming keyboard 65%

Image: Drop ALT

The Drop ALT mechanical keyboard offers buyers unlimited switching options and exceptional build quality. Buyers can get this keyboard with popular switch types like Cherry MX Blues or Brown or use the hot-swap feature to add the switches they prefer. Key cap and switch pullers are included in the box.

There’s no doubt about the quality of the Drop ALT, and it exudes class with a sturdy aluminum frame and high-quality double shot PBT keycaps. Its magnetic feet and two USB-C ports set it apart from other keyboards on this list. USB-C ports allow users to connect the cable to the left or right side of the keyboard, while the magnetic feet can be attached at different angles to increase or decrease its height.

Customizing the software is not as easy as the BlackWidow TKL as this keyboard uses open source QMK software. It’s not as user-friendly as Razer’s apps, but it gets the job done and allows users to map additional layers and customize the lighting.

Quality is paramount and the Drop ALT is no exception. Its design and hot-swap features are top notch, but it costs a lot more than the Huntsman V2 TKL. This keyboard is interesting for enthusiasts who will use the hot swap function or buyers willing to pay extra. Anyone may prefer the other options below.

Best mini gaming keyboard 60%

Image: Ducky

The Ducky’s One 2 Mini RGB has an eye-catching two-tone design and is available with a wide range of switches.

This keyboard has an all-plastic design, but it’s firm with no flex. The top plate and double-shot PBT keys are black, while the bottom frame, including adjustable feet, is white. Like the Huntsman V2 TKL and Drop ALT, it has a detachable USB-C cable. Ducky also adds some unique touches to increase the freshness factor.

Switching options abound for the One 2 Mini. It’s available with a huge range of Cherry MX, Kailh, Gateron, and TTC options, including the popular Red, Blue, and Brown variants.

One of the areas where the Ducky One 2 Mini RGB lags behind the alternatives mentioned so far is its software, or rather its lack of software. The keyboard has adjustable RGB lighting with three macro layers and up to six profiles, but the only way to configure it is to use a combination of keys. While this system does the job, it can be unnecessarily complicated for some buyers.

Image: Cooler Master

Mini gaming keyboards don’t get any smaller than the Cooler Master ControlPad. Its size and limited keys make it a niche product, but it’s still an attractive choice for gamers who want minimal clutter and as much desktop space as possible while playing.

Compared to the other keyboards mentioned so far, the ControlPad has a simple but functional design with 24 numbered keys in a grid layout and a pair of aluminum scroll wheels. If the numbered keys aren’t your thing, replacement key sets with in-game, Premiere Pro, or Photoshop symbols are available for an additional fee. Cooler Master also includes a detachable wrist rest with plush faux leather padding to provide some support.

The Control Pad comes with Cherry MX or Gateron Red switches, standard options on many mechanical keyboards. A different feature, however, are pressure sensitive switches. Cooler Master calls it Aimpad, and it uses infrared sensors to detect key movements and set different actuation points for each. This feature allows users to map multiple functions to a single key at different actuation points, much like an analog stick.

While the Control Pad isn’t the best for typing, it has more than enough keys to play with with the added benefit of pressure-sensitive keys. Some buyers may not like the number keys, but they are easily replaced.

Image: SteelSeries

Mini keyboards don’t have to be expensive. The SteelSeries Apex 3 TKL costs a lot less than all of the alternatives on this list, but there’s a catch. It comes with membrane switches instead of mechanical or optical variants. Most standard keyboards come with membrane switches, known for their mushy feel. On the other hand, they are durable and inexpensive.

Thanks to its membrane switches, the Apex 3 is IP32 certified and is more resistant to dust and water than other keyboards on this list. It is able to withstand light spills, although it is not advisable to start spraying or splashing water on the keyboard.

Besides membrane switches, the Apex 3 can compete with other keyboards on this list when it comes to features. It has a rigid plastic frame with six dedicated macro keys and a scroll wheel. Buyers can adjust 10-zone RGB lighting with the SteelSeries Engine app.

While membrane switches may put some buyers off, the Apex 3 is still a perfect entry point for newbies who want a taste of mini gaming keyboards. It also has many features similar to its mechanical rivals, but costs a fraction of the price.

Honorable mentions

Kechron K6 – The Kechron K6 is a 65% aluminum frame keyboard that works with either a USB or Bluetooth cable. It comes standard with Gateron switches, but it also has hot-swap capability, so users can add any switches they prefer.

Logitech G Pro – Logitech’s flagship TKL gaming keyboard features the company’s GX Blue clickable mechanical switches. Other features include a detachable USB cable and 12 programmable macro keys.

Anne Pro 2 – The Anne Pro 2 is a 60% mechanical keyboard available with a range of Gateron and Kailh switches, including common red, blue, and brown variants. Like the Kechron K6, it works with a USB-C or Bluetooth cable.

Margie D. Carlisle