Sunday, October 1, 2023

The best 60 percent keyboards money can buy

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Shreya Christina
Shreya has been with for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider team, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.

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Gaming keyboards are plentiful and diverse right now. You can buy them in black or white, wired or wireless, and with at least a dozen key switch options. And every year they’ve gotten bigger and more complex, with media and macro keys and bright rainbow LED lighting. However, in the past year, some manufacturers have gone in the opposite direction, introducing 60 percent keyboards that are cute and compact. But are they worth buying?

cafe-madrid’s Choices

How many keys does a 60 percent keyboard have?

Kris Naudus / cafe-madrid

First, it’s worth noting that gaming keyboards follow one of three different configurations. The most common is the full-sized deck, which usually has anywhere from 100 to 110 keys, depending on whether the manufacturer has media buttons or macro keys. There is always a function row at the top of the keyboard and a numeric keypad on the far right. Most gamers prefer a full-sized model rather than a compact keyboard, as they can perform many different functions with just the touch of a button and set macros for activities that aren’t already built into the keyboard.

Tenkeyless decks have been quite common for a while now; those are keyboards that omit the numeric keypad on the right. That is it. They still have function keys and media controls, but they are narrower because they omit 17 keys. Yes, it’s actually more than 10 keys, but “seventeenkeyless” doesn’t sound the same. Gamers can opt for one of these if they need a little more desk space, and don’t need a quick way to enter numbers or do calculations (which is my main use case for the right pad).

Then there are 60 percent keyboards that, as the name implies, cut out 40 percent of the standard keyboard size and have only 61 keys. Not only do they remove the numeric keypad, but the function keys are gone, along with the arrow keys and those weird system keys like “print screen” and “home” that are only useful if you happen to need them. They don’t even work on some computers.

On a 60 percent keyboard, you can access these buttons with the function key; there’s no standard layout between companies, so you’ll have to learn new keyboard shortcuts as you switch between manufacturers like Razer, HyperX, or Corsair. They also lack built-in wrist rests, although the height is at least adjustable.

Razer also just introduced a 65 percent keyboard, a less common configuration that keeps the arrow keys and some functions, but still ditches the rest to maintain a smaller profile. This is probably a preferred option if you use the arrow keys a lot. I need them because I edit a lot of text, and some games may use them instead of the standard WASD array to control your character.

What are the benefits of a 60 percent keyboard?

60 percent keyboards on a bed of colored paper

Kris Naudus / cafe-madrid

With so many features removed, why buy a 60 percent keyboard? The main reason for using a compact keyboard is, of course, space. If you’re gaming in cramped spaces or just have a lot of junk on your desk like I do, it’s nice not to have to push stuff to the side to make some room to move. It’s especially helpful if you tend to eat near your computer, as the small size of a 60 percent keyboard makes it easy to slide out of the way to set a plate or bowl on your desk. It also keeps the keyboard a lot cleaner as I can easily shake crumbs out of it with one hand.

A smaller keyboard also makes it more portable, of course, with a 60 percent keyboard taking up less space than a laptop in your bag, though it’s still a bit thick. At least they have lower profile keys than standard decks, but if thickness is your main concern, carrying a mechanical keyboard probably isn’t for you.

One key feature that isn’t talked about much is that all recent 60 (and 65) percent decks aren’t wireless keyboards and use detachable USB-C cables. So if you often switch between workstations, you can easily leave a cord at each desk to quickly connect your keyboard. As someone who tests a lot of keyboards, I found this useful because I can turn off the deck and leave the cord intact. It’s often very tedious to unplug and pull cords out of my office setup every time I try a new keyboard, but for the 60 percent models, I’ve used the same wire for all of them.

Best for most gamers: Razer Huntsman Mini

Best for most gamers
Razer Huntsman Mini


The best of the top 60 percent keyboards out there right now is the Huntsman Mini. It uses Razer’s opto-mechanical switches, which I wasn’t too fond of in the past, but the company seems to have made some changes that make it a much more enjoyable typing experience. This gaming keyboard is quiet and smooth with good response time, although those who prefer a springy key feel should look elsewhere. It’s not a wireless keyboard, so if you’re taking it with you on the go, make sure you always have a USB-C cable handy. The Huntsman Mini Gaming Keyboard is also available in white, meaning it will blend in more with your decor than most gaming accessories, especially if you choose to customize the LED lighting.

Advantages: Appealing; good typing feeling; comes in white.

cons: No wireless; not everyone will be a fan of opto-mechanical keys.

Runner Up: HyperX Alloy Origins 60

Second place
HyperX Alloy Origin 60


If you need a solid, solid rock of a 60 percent keyboard, the HyperX Alloy Origin 60 is a mechanical deck on a metal plinth. It’s heavier than the other options on the market, so it may not be the best if you want to keep your travel bag as light as possible. But if you’re a particularly rough typist, this is the one that can tolerate hard keystrokes best. It also earns points for being the only 60 percent keyboard that places the secondary arrow functions at the bottom right of the deck that you’d normally look for, rather than tucked them away in the middle.

Advantages: Solidly built; cheaper than other 60 percent options; well placed arrow keys.

cons: heavy; no wireless.

Best with arrow keys: Razer BlackWidow V3 Mini HyperSpeed

Best with arrow keys
Razer BlackWidow V3 Mini HyperSpeed


Razer’s BlackWidow line has long been a favorite of the gamers here at cafe-madrid, and the V3 Mini is no exception. Unlike the other keyboards on this list, it’s a 65 percent keyboard, meaning it still has arrow keys and a column of miscellaneous keys on the right that can serve as macro buttons. Two switches are available to suit different typing preferences, either clicking and tactile (green) or linear and silent (yellow). It’s worth noting that the latter description is the company’s term, and the typing of the V3 Mini is still noticeably audible to those around you.

Advantages: Two types of key switches available; has both 2.4G and Bluetooth wireless; contains keys that other keyboards don’t have.

cons: Expensive; the lip on the bottom is bulky.

A cheaper but disappointing option: Corsair K65 RGB Mini

A cheaper but disappointing option?
Corsair K65 RGB MINI


Corsair K65 RGB MINI

Users who have already invested in Corsair’s iCUE software may want to keep their accessories streamlined under one customization package – if so, this is a good option.

$109.99 at Amazon

Corsair usually makes pretty good keyboards, but I can’t necessarily say that about the K65 RGB Mini, its entry into the 60 percent market. The materials were substandard for the company, with a plastic case that felt hollow and keys that made a jingling sound when struck. But it’s not a completely terrible accessory, and users who have already invested in Corsair’s iCUE software may want to keep their accessories streamlined under one customization package rather than having to bounce between different interfaces. If that’s not an issue for you, the HyperX Alloy Origin 60 is both better and cheaper.

Advantages: Uses Corsair’s iCUE software; test feel is good.

cons: cheap materials; noisy typing experience; no wireless.


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