Mini Keyboards: A Compact Option for Your Gaming Needs

Mechanical gaming keyboard with backlight, close-up. Gaming keyboard with RGB backlight. RGB LED keyboard

Key Points

  • The best gaming mini keyboards are mechanical keyboards.

  • Mini keyboards are small but offer the same gaming experience as their full-sized counterparts.

  • Five companies produce the best gaming mini keyboards for gamers in 2023.

Gamers enjoy personalizing their gaming space in many different ways. They accomplish this by carefully selecting the hardware used for their computer – specifically the keyboard. Keyboards no longer simply act as a conduit between your mind and your computer. They're decorative pieces often used to show off. Keyboards also come in a variety of shapes and sizes, including a miniature variety. The best gaming mini keyboard lights up and does everything a full-sized keyboard accomplishes.

The best gaming mini keyboards come in a variety of forms, so you can choose what’s best for you depending on your needs. Manufacturers remove unnecessary keys, creating an entirely new subset of keyboards. These small yet mighty keyboards are a viable option for those with limited space for gaming or those who prefer to remain on the go but maintain the same functionality as their full-sized counterparts.

Mechanical Keyboards

Traditional keyboards use a rubber membrane to register a key press. This makes for a quiet, unenthusiastic experience. Mechanical keyboards, on the other hand, use "switches." Switches are the heart and soul of a mechanical keyboard as they change its feel and responsiveness when compared to traditional ones.

A switch in a mechanical keyboard provides audible feedback to its user. More than that, it's pressure-sensitive, making mechanical keyboards the preferred choice by gamers. This allows more control over movement in a game that you only otherwise get from a console controller.

A variety of switches are available for mechanical keyboards, each resulting in a different sound and feel. These keyboards cost more than traditional ones, but that price increase results in better durability and more customization.

Mini Keyboards

As the name suggests, mini keyboards are compact versions of full-sized ones. Mini keyboards eliminate the 10-key number pad found on the far right of full-sized keyboards along with the function keys at the top. These are unnecessary features for gamers that only get in the way. Additionally, mini keyboards come in different sizes, labeled as a percentage of a full-sized keyboard ranging from 60 percent to 75 percent.

Gamers have efficiency at the forefront of their thoughts for all gaming needs. This extends to desk space and hardware. Many gamers opt to use mini keyboards to save space, preferring to have more room for their mouse. These keyboards also provide more portability for gamers constantly on the go.

Furthermore, mini keyboards offer the same gaming experience as full-sized gaming keyboards at half the price. They’re great budgetary options when you want to focus on other components for your gaming setup. When a full-sized mechanical keyboard costs over $150, it's not a bad idea to invest in a mini keyboard unless the lack of a number pad and function keys is too vital.

Using a mini keyboard takes some getting used to due to the lack of keys, but once the learning period ends, a mini keyboard operates no differently from any other keyboard.

Best Mini Keyboards

Many brands exist in the PC gaming space that manufacture peripherals for every kind of gamer. From gaming mice to headsets to keyboards, they make them all. The top names in PC gaming create mini versions of their full-sized keyboards just as often as they produce updated versions of their pre-existing keyboards. These are the best gaming mini keyboards on the market.

Razer Huntsman Mini

Razer first released its Huntsman keyboard in 2018. Its revolutionary advancement from its previous keyboards made it the leading mechanical keyboard on the market. Its optical switches set it apart from traditional mechanical keyboards, boasting a faster response time to key presses. This is beneficial to esports players who need to react faster than their opponents.

With its rising popularity, Razer created the Huntsman Mini. This mini keyboard weighs no more than a pound, making it ideal for those always packing up their rigs to go on the road. It also comes with a detachable USB-C. This makes it easy to swap out if it gets damaged or lost. Its keys function identically to its full-version counterpart and retain its customizability. It comes in Mercury White or Classic Black (either is stunning) and your choice of "clicky" or linear keys.

Razer Huntsman MiniPhoto source:

Razer BlackWidow V3 Mini Hyperspeed

Razer's mini version of its flagship BlackWidow keyboard is up to its third iteration, this time bringing arrow keys with it. A lack of arrow keys on a keyboard takes some getting used to, but not everyone does. Razer's BlackWidow mini returns as a 65 percent version of its full-sized counterpart, giving gamers and Razer enthusiasts what they want. Better yet, this version comes with a wireless feature.

No need to clutter your game station with more wires. Sit back and enjoy your games further back if necessary as well. This keyboard responds with the same speed as its wired sibling, hence its "hyperspeed" name. Better yet, the BlackWidow Mini Hyperspeed takes a cue from Huntsman and switches out the old switches for optical switches, further increasing the keyboard's response time. However, using its RGB lighting dramatically drains the battery, so keep the charging cable close.

Razer BlackWidow V3 Mini HyperspeedPhoto source:

Corsair K65 RGB Mini

Gamers trust Corsair's name as it consistently produces high-quality and reliable components from its power supplies to its keyboards. The K65 RGB Mini makes no exception. This keyboard rivals Razer's Huntsman Mini with its lightning-fast responsiveness. Just like other keyboards, the K65 features a removable USB-C, adding to its blazing-fast 8,000Hz polling rate. This blows all other keyboards out of the water since the average is 1,000Hz. That's not to say the K65 Mini isn't without its drawbacks, though.

Its cost sits a little higher than other keyboards of the same caliber and the K65 lacks latches to raise its elevation. This seems like a must-have feature on keyboards, so it's surprising Corsair neglected it. Other than that, gamers are hard-pressed to find a mini keyboard to compete. It registers every keystroke without flaw and weighs just under two pounds, making it easy to carry around from LAN party to LAN party. Not to mention, every individual key is customizable with its RGB lighting through Corsair's iCUE software.

Corsair K65 RGB MiniPhoto source:

HyperX Alloy Origins 60

HyperX stepped up its game with the Alloy Origins 60, crafting it from aircraft-grade aluminum and fitting it with a vibrant RGB lighting system that outshines competitors. Where Corsair's k65 Mini lacks any elevation adjustment, HyperX installed three adjustable angles for the Alloy Origins 60. This is a 60 percent keyboard, meaning it lacks arrow keys, a number pad, and function keys. However, be careful, its lower-than-average price tag comes at a cost.

While it's a gorgeous device from its lighting to the material it's made from, the keys are noisier than most gamers prefer. If you intend to use the Alloy Origins 60 for work as well, it might be wise to invest in headphones to drown out the noise. This peripheral might be missing the function keys commonly found at the top of full-sized keyboards, HyperX programmed them to work with other keys on this one. By pressing the "FN" key in conjunction with one of the numbers at the top of the Alloy Origins 60, you utilize the same action as the corresponding function keys.

HyperX Alloy Origins 60Photo source:

Whirlwind FX Atom

Lesser known manufacturer Whirlwind FX takes a different approach to gaming components than its competitors and that's visible with the Atom mini keyboard. Much like Razer, Whirlwind FX boasts itself as a company that's for gamers and by gamers. However, they strive to create a more immersive gaming experience through their products.

They do this with a robust lighting menu from its proprietary app that comes with its products. Sit by a campfire in a game and the keyboard lights up orange. Get hit in a first-person shooter and it flashes red. Furthermore, its fast response time leaves behind a lasting impression. With a 3,000Hz rolling rate, the Atom doesn't miss a keystroke. Whether you're playing a fast-paced shooter like Halo or a slower real-time strategy game like Starcraft, the Atom is a reliable and affordable tool. However, don't expect to remap any of the keys or customize macros because Whirlwind FX chose to focus on immersion first.

Whirlwind FX AtomPhoto source:

Less Is More

These miniature versions of their bigger selves offer much more than meets the eye. They take some getting used to as gamers normally use the arrow keys and number pad on most keyboards. Even laptop keyboards have all of that. However, once you get used to it, you learn other ways to accomplish the same tasks and find that mini keyboards are efficient devices. When it comes to gaming, an entire keyboard isn't necessary since you use the same keys for most games.

If you're a gamer, computer programmer, or somebody in need of saving desk space, a mini keyboard offers a perfect alternative to a full-sized and expensive keyboard. It's just as portable as a laptop and provides more space for your mouse to move in all the erratic directions it needs to for gaming.