Razer Huntsman Mini is the gaming keyboard your cramped workspace craves
Small and agile, the 60% Mini feels great and takes up a minimal amount of space.
Lori GruninSenior Editor / Advice
I've been reviewing hardware and software, devising testing methodology and handed out buying advice for what seems like forever; I'm currently absorbed by computers and gaming hardware, but previously spent many years concentrating on cameras. I've also volunteered with a cat rescue for over 15 years doing adoptions, designing marketing materials, managing volunteers and, of course, photographing cats.
ExpertisePhotography, PCs and laptops, gaming and gaming accessories
coming to battle the small fries who currently dominate the market of 60% mechanical keyboards with its Huntsman Mini, the first prebuilt mainstream model and Razer's first. It will come in two colors -- black and Mercury (the Huntsman Mini Mercury Edition) -- with a choice of Razer's purple (clicky) or red (linear)optical switches. And if you're shoehorning your workspace or gameplay into a small spot, this may be just what you need to make everything fit more comfortably.
keyboards have typically been the province of niche companies, like Ducky. That began changing recently when HyperX entered into a partnership with Ducky for a codeveloped model in May, using HyperX's switches and Ducky's doubleshot PBT keycaps (keys made from two pieces of PBT molded plastic, one of which has the legends, rather than typical ABS keycaps, which are a single piece of thermoplastic with the legend printed on). But that Ducky One 2 Mini was a limited edition.
You can get the Huntsman Mini clicky model now for $120 and the linear version in August for $130; those prices are on the steep side, but hey, Razer. Any replacement keycap set that's Cherry stem compatible will work with them, though Razer's offering its own set of Doubleshot PBT keycaps in pink, white, acid green or black.
The Mini's more than just a shrunken version of its bigger siblings, though. Razer's made some improvement to the switches, adding sound-dampening silicone to the linear ones and improved lubricant on both for a smoother glide and reduced echoing. It uses a normal sized detachable USB-C connector, unlike its typical slim one that makes using anyone else's cables impossible. Yay!
The keyboard also supports onboard storage of five keybind profiles and you can cycle among color presets, so you don't have to deal with the overhead of Razer's Synapse utility. You do need Synapse to customize per-key RGB or combine effects, as well as for defining the keybinds to download into the keyboard.
What's in it for you?
Narrower than a 15-inch laptop and less deep than the length of a mouse, 60% keyboards define the notion of compact for their species. Unlike tenkeyless (TKL) keyboards -- also known as "80% keyboards" -- which jettison just the number pad, 60% keyboards additionally ditch the home key cluster and function key row, making them 60% of the size of a traditional keyboard.
60% models are geared toward esports players and hardcore gamers for several reasons: the smaller size leaves the mouse more room to move and it means a smaller gap between your keyboard and mousing hands. The latter lends stabiliity -- as photographers know, the steadiest position for shooting is with your elbows tucked into your sides -- and in this case it really does give you a much better sense of control when using them.
That's true for all types of uses -- not just gaming -- and I find it's better for my posture while working. My workspace is cramped as well and I like having the extra space for mousing. The legends on Doubleshot PBT keycaps are more durable than ABS and the keys retain their grippy matte texture instead of developing that worn, shiny look and feel. Anyone who types for hours a day can certainly appreciate that, though that's an upgrade you can do with many gaming keyboards.
For mainstream and newbie gamers, it also confers benefits, though. It's small enough that I can move it off center and angle it to match the way my left hand falls naturally on the WASD grouping. The smaller keyboard is also less distracting, with less of it jutting into your peripheral vision; I normally configure full size boards with the lighting off except for select groups of keys, but with the 60% I don't really need to create custom illumination. The size is great for shoving into a bag as well if you want to take it with you.
Whether you like it or not for gaming depends on your dexterity and sensitivity. With the exception of the change in lubrication, the clicky switches are essentially the same as the ones that have been on the Huntsman since Razer debuted its optical switch technology, so you can extrapolate from those as to whether you'll like them or not if you're sensitive to slight differences in actuation points (when a keypress registers) and reset points (when the key is ready to register a subsequent press).
I like a response gap between them because it keeps me from too many accidental double taps when my fingers get twitchy, a bigger issue than missed presses when I'm running, crouching and shooting; double tapping when you're trying to crouch can be especially frustrating.
But the Mini feels really, really good to type on, at least the clicky model I got to test -- I generally prefer super clicky and tactile to linear and like a keyboard that fights back -- though it's as loud as ever. The illumination is bright and even, but doesn't shine through the secondary functions printed on the front of the keys. That's a huge annoyance for some people, including me. If you use the home and arrow clusters a lot, it's hard to get used to the 60% where the arrows, Del and others are secondary functions, especially since they don't light up.
Compact enough to tuck under a 24-inch monitor, as long as it's not missing any critical keys for you it's a great solution to fitting a better keyboard into a tiny workspace. If $120 is too steep to fit in your budget, though, there are a lot of much cheaper models you can still consider.