Top 10: Small and Compact Mechanical Keyboards for Gaming
Best Mini Mechanical Keyboards For Gaming
Logitech Illuminated K740
- Minimalist design
- Backlit keys
- Rigid wrist-rest
First one on the list is a low-profile keyboard from Logitech. The K740 is one of the slimmest gaming keyboards in the market. It comes equipped with somewhat of customizable backlighting. Since the keyboard is low profile, the buttons have a very minimal travel distance and likely to be pressed by mistake. This is something that you’d have to deal with every slim keyboard, so there is no reason to see it as a downside.
It also comes with a non-detachable wrist rest, due to the keyboard being so low to the ground, this is barely noticeable and provides the ergonomic needs. Thought it cannot be tagged as a proper gaming keyboard, it’s close to it when it comes to portable options.
- Laser-etched backlit keys – This is a great addon to the budget-friendly keyboard. It is easy to turn on/off using a combination of keys on the keyboard itself. Each key is capable of independent lighting, but the keyboard allows you to light different sections of the keyboard.
- Slim but wide – Thought the keyboard is very slim, it features a full sized numeric pad. This is not necessary of much of a use for gamers but can come in really handy if you often work with calculation oriented documents.
Logitech G Pro Gaming
- Small and sleek
- Detachable Micro USB
- Quite expensive for the set of features
Next up is the Logitech G Pro, It is from the range of portable keyboards manufactured by Logitech. It is not as slim as the K740 but its compact design makes it a great contestant for the portable keyboard roundup. Priced just under 100, It is one of the best selling tenkeyless keyboards.
It is equipped with Romer G switches, which deliver a 25% faster actuation that regular mechanical switches. Actuation time of a keyboard is an important factor to consider for gamers, faster actuation can guarantee you a clear advantage over your enemies.
- Portable Sleek Design - It is a compact tenkeyless keyboard, which will allow you to use desk space more efficiently.
- Detachable Micro USB - Power to the keyboard is delivered through a removable micro USB, this makes it much easier and safer to carry in a travel bag.
- Rubber Feet - Most gaming keyboards have rubber feet to ensure stability during intensive gaming sessions. The special aspect of this keyboard three adjustment feet which can be used to adjust keyboard's angle, making is highly comfortable for users.
Tesoro Gram XS G12ULP
- RGB illumination
- Low profile design
- Elegant looks
- Mechanical switches
Though Tesoro manufactures leads the compact gaming keyboard niche, it's still not very popular. The Gram XS was launched earlier this year and .k.nown to be the slimmest of them all. U.nfortunately, there is no. Tenkeyless version of this. Available yet, but there are few rumors that it would be coming out soon.
Available in 2 color variants; white and black, It is slightly on the expensive side. Despite being slim, it's not tenkeyless, which makes is very limited when it comes to portability.
- Low profile design - Tesoro markets it as an Ultra Low profile keyboard, which it surely is, with Chiclet-style keypads and high-quality switches. The slim design gives it an elegant and unique look. The low profile switches used in this keyboard feature a very accurate actuation, Note that these switches are mechanical; Due to the slim design, their working is not very similar to other generic mechanical switches in the market.
Razer Deathstalker Expert
- Slim design
- Razer Synapse supported
- Chiclet keys
- Expensive for the set of features
Razer Deathstalker comes in 3 variants, unlike most other brands which differed their models with minor modifications, All three variants of this keyboard are very different from each other. The first one is called the deathstalker essential, As the name suggests, it is a minimalistic keyboard with basic features and has no backlighting.
The mediocre version of this keyboard is called "expert," It is our major focus in this listing. Beyond that is the "Ultimate" version, it has a quite a few unnecessary features.,. Mainly a small touchscreen w.hich a be configured to displace anything you desire. The "expert" version is a good middle ground, It has backlit, which means can work or play games even if there isn't enough light available.
- Backlit - It is backlit with the infamous Razer green color lights, These are great for gamers as it allows a much definite keyboard view at night.
- 10-Key rollover - Key rollover is very essential for gamers and writers. This feature makes sure all the pressed keys are registered accurately. 10-key rollover means the keyboard is capable of logging 10 keys simultaneously.
- Chiclet keycaps - Mechanical keys are sure better when it comes to gaming, but when portability is introduced as a need, it can be hard to find the right mechanical keyboard. Chiclet keycaps are a perfect alternative; they are slim, have low actuation time and used in most low profile keyboards.
SanSonic ANNE Pro
- Budget Friendly
- Stylish and Compact
- RGB backlit
- Excellent build quality
- Only day-long battery life with LEDs on
- Unpolished mobile app
Mechanical, RGB, Compact, Slim, Wireless and under $100, what else could you ask for?
It's is probable that you have never heard of SanSonic, It's not one of the big brands in gaming peripheral niche, but their ANNE Pro keyboard would get anyone drilling. It is slightly inclined; this makes it very easy to use while giving it an authentic keyboard look, The slant follows by a step up each row. Usually, the only problem you'll face with a slanted keyboard are the uncomfortable keys, ANNE has addressed this well with angling keys towards the user with each row.
The keycaps are great as well, they are non-glossy, meaning you won't have to worry about sweat or oil sticking on it after long gaming or typing sessions.
Since many people are concerned about keypress sound, here is what all you need to know about it. The keypress sound just like any other mechanical keyboards, ANNE uses "Red switches" in this keyboard, which are not the original Cherry MX as you might assume, but an equivalent budget alternative.
One downside of this keyboard is the bigger keys like spacebar and shift, they sound and feel little off compared to rest of the keys.
- RGB Backlit - Backlit is an important feature for almost anyone. Not only from the usability perspective, but it is also very appealing and enhances the overall looks. The RGB lighting can be customized using a software; it can also be configured to perform several Rhythmic effects which act upon key presses.
- PBT Keycaps - Non-Glossy keycaps are a perfect addon to this keyboard, They are high-quality and quite durable.
- Function key - Being a mini-keyboard, it doesn't have dedicated function keys, but an "FN" key located just beside the right alt can be used to convert the layer number keys into function buttons.
Logitech K380 - Non-Mechanical Wireless
- Excellent build quality
- Great value for money
- Easy connection switches
- Long battery life
- Small keys
The reason for this keyboard making its way into this list is its unique looks and portable nature. This is one of the slimmest keyboards you can get; It is entirely wireless, very affordable and available in a verity of colors.
The K380 cannot be compared to any other keyboard mentioned in this roundup; It is one of it were kind and targeted towards a very niche market. There is no doubt it can't compete with any mechanical keyboard when it comes to gaming, yet it is a great option if you travel a lot and looking for a solution which is easy to carry and can be used to play games.
From a windows gaming pc to an Apple TV it works almost any device which supports Bluetooth pairing.
It is not one the compact desktop keyboard but dedicated for users who travel a lot. It doesn't have mechanical switches or high-quality membrane switches with fast accusation time, but the low profile keyboard design and switches to make it very responsive.
The concavely shaped keys are very comfortable and make one of the major contributions to its unique looks. The quiet membrane keyboard is a great addition; it might be turn off if you are looking for the clicky mechanical switch sound.
One of the most amusing parts of this keyboard are the function keys, unlike the previous Mini mechanical keyboards which have an "FN" key, this one dedicated function keys which make accessing the multi-media and other settings a breeze.
- Compact Mini-Keyboard - It is the one of the smallest Bluetooth membrane keyboard, which is usable for almost any kind of use.
- Connection Profile - It can be connected to up to three devices simultaneously. Supporting almost every operating system and hardware, it makes switches between devices an easy task.
- Small keys - The keys are very small which can make the keyboard unusable if you if have large hands.
10Keyless vs. full keyboards
A standard keyboard has 104 keys, they worked well for a long time, but as the need for flexible usage arrived, the base keyboard designs have been modified immensely. There are kinds of different keyboards, terms such as 60%, 75%, and 90% keyboards are used to define the size of a keyboard. These percentages are usually compared to a regular 104 keys keyboard.
Since we are mainly looking for portability here, the smaller the keyboard, the better, right?
That is not always true, with portability, another factor to consider is the use. Smallest keyboards that you will find are the ones used for tablets and iPads. These are great to write on a mobile device but if the use is as complicated as gaming, which has its needs. Cheap Bluetooth keyboard won't satisfy the needs.
When it comes to keyboards for gaming, there are several factors that matter. Some of them being, anti-ghosting, n-key rollover and key registration time. Most importantly the keyboard switches; Mechanical switches are quite wide, this is due to their design. Though brands have developed slim mechanical switches, these are very limited when it comes to performance.
What are the best mini mechanical keyboards for gamers?
As mentioned, mini-keyboards are quite limited to features, but the best option as of now is 75% keyboards. Going with anything smaller will force you into suffering features, and 75% keyboards are quite portable and can be carried easily in a travel bag.
Though most small keyboards are tenkeyless, some have num-pads. These keyboards are not great for gaming or general use. A numeric pad on a mini keyboard means other keys would be even smaller. Thought it might sound like a great deal, it can be hard to work on these, If you are looking for small and portable keyboards, we highly recommend choosing one without a numeric pad.
5 Things you need to know about Keyboard Form Factors
Just like computer cases and motherboard, keyboards also have form-factors. Though they are not referred to as ATX, Mini-ITX or Micro-ATX, they are referred to as x-percentage of a regular sized keyboard.
Few of the widely used form factors are 60%, 75%, and 80%.
The smallest one i.e., 60% is usually considered for portable usage. There are many 60% mechanical keyboards you can find that are built for gaming; these can save a lot of your desk space whiling delivering the same gaming experience of a full sized keyboard.
Moving on with the bigger sizes keyboards, i.e., 75% and 80%, they are usually considered for the looks. Just like the 60% form-factor, most of these are also tenkeyless, meaning without the numeric keypad. At least for gamers, the number pad is not very useful and thus going with a smaller form factor not only eliminate the unnecessary keys and leaves you with more desk space but also can save you a few bucks.
Which size is the right for you?
Unfortunately, there is not an absolute answer to this question; it really depends on the purpose you expect a keyboard to fill.
The most portable gaming keyboards
If you travel a lot and like to play some games on the way, the mechanical keyboard might not be the best option. Not only most of them require a constant stream of power, but they are mostly wired. The best option would be to go with a Bluetooth keyboard. Above mentioned Logitech K380 is a great option, it's very thin keyboard with very long battery life.
Another reason to get a Bluetooth keyboard for traveling is their ability to pair with almost any device. A wired keyboard is restricted to only be compatible with a single socket (Mostly USB), while a wireless keyboard, on the other hand, can be paired and used with almost any device which supports Bluetooth.
The Smallest Keyboard for Gaming
75% and 80% keyboards are great for gaming, you can get smaller form factor, but for gaming, the button size matters more than anything. Smaller and closely tied buttons are likely to register accidental keystrokes which can be very annoying while gaming.
Small keyboards do save a lot of desk space, which is very critical especially if you have a small desk.
If are not a serious gamer and not bothered about problems that come with a small keyboard, The smallest one you can get would be Vortex Core which is a 40% mechanical keyboard with a hefty price tag. It uses Cherry MX-Blue and features a CNC aluminum casing; with only 47 keys, it is the smallest mechanical gaming keyboard in the market.