Today we have a special guest in the office, a keyboard that has already been creating some speculation and hype. That’s right; it’s the HyperX x Ducky One 2 Mini keyboard. The exclusive collaboration between two industry giants. Does it live up to all the excitement? Let’s find out.
A quick disclaimer, my experiences with mechanical keyboards is limited to the realm of TKL and greater. This is one of the first dives I’ve done with a 60%, so my review will reflect that of someone relatively new to the layout. But like my other reviews, I will be looking at this keyboard with the same critical eye by testing it both in gaming as well as with productivity tasks.
Are you a fan of 60% keyboards? See our roundup of the top options.
Zoom In: Specs
Here’s the nuts and bolts of this limited edition keyboard:
- RGB Backlighting
- HyperX Red Linear Switches
- PBT Double-shot Seamless keycaps (with extra accessory keycaps)
- Ducky Keycap remover
- Type-C USB cord
- 302 x 108 x 40 mm Keyboard (11.89 x 4.25 x 1.58 inches)
- 590 grams or 1.30 lbs
- Plastic keyboard cover
- Two-year Warranty
As someone who has heard a lot about Ducky keyboards in the last few years, I had some high expectations when I heard about the joint effort between Ducky and HyperX. My first impression is simply that I didn’t realize how compact a 60% board could really be.
As one would expect from a 60% keyboard, the form factor is a very welcome change when compared to the HyperX Alloy Elite 2. I wasn’t expecting the difference to be as great as it was, but I seriously enjoy the extra few inches of wiggle room that 60% provides me.
The setup for the HyperX x Ducky One 2 Mini keyboard is about as analog and simple as it could be in 2020. There’s no download process other than the drivers provided on the Ducky site, but they aren’t required. It’s a welcome change of pace. I was a little disappointed that the keyboard did not feature a wireless option since many 60% keyboards are now making that shift of either being completely wireless or offering both wired/wireless interfaces.
Right after plugging in the Type-C USB to your computer, you’re greeted by the lovely RGB HyperX Switches, which really are quite radiant. Much like other HyperX keyboards I’ve had the fortune to review, the lighting of the One 2 Mini is outstanding.
This keyboard features a matte plastic black body, accompanied by a matching black set of keycaps. I have noticed after some use that the shiny back of the keyboard will soak up any part of them you touch and proudly display fingerprints. Thankfully, this shiny material is only on the bottom. The gray accent color keycaps are an interesting choice and I personally do not find them as exciting as the delightful red keycaps that HyperX x Ducky unveiled in their past collab.
They included keycaps that offer more of the gray accent color, but I just opted to keep them all black. On these double-shot extra keycaps you’ll find both the Ducky and the HyperX logo, a special Ducky Year of the Rat Key, and a spacebar adorned with assorted 8-bit icons.
In my opinion, the spacebar design seems like it was made by someone who isn’t aware of the gaming community and has only heard of 8-bit. Each of the icons on their own is cute, but it loses its appeal when the icons are oddly spaced and they seemingly just slapped in the word “gamer” for good measure. That being said, the spacebar and other extra keycap icons look sharp when they are lit up by the vibrant LED backlighting.
Speaking of backlighting, there are a lot of options on this keyboard. There are ten preset modes, five of which can be edited by each RGB channel, which is pretty unique. It does take some understanding of color theory to mix your colors correctly though. Another thing to note — there is no supporting software for this keyboard. You can flip fairly easily between the presets, but to design your own color scheme it can get a bit tedious doing everything manually with key commands.
I didn’t know I relied on the arrow keys as much as I did until I plugged in the One 2 Mini and tried to navigate a spreadsheet. I was disappointed not to have access to them but that’s the 60 percent experience. I can’t knock HyperX / Ducky for that. Then, I noticed that there were arrow keys available through the Fn key. My feelings of disappointment turned to joy!
These feelings once again tumbled when I saw the placement of the arrow keys. For me, with the Fn key being on the right-hand side, I would prefer the WASD to act as arrow keys. It is the layout most of us in the gaming community are accustomed to, afterall. What the One 2 Mini offers, however, is IJKL performing as the arrow keys with Fn is activated.
This may be common amongst Ducky keyboards, but it takes me more time to use these arrow keys than it’s worth. We have an AJAZZ keyboard in the office that has the right Fn key immediately next to the arrows keys. The AJAZZ keyboard feels more natural to use.
It’s a slight gripe but, if you find yourself using the arrow keys often, you may want to consider a 65% keyboard rather than a pure 60%.
There are a lot of customization capabilities that I can see with this keyboard as well, like changing key layouts, swapping keycaps, and even most of the CM1 and CM2 settings. Some of these settings I didn’t play around with since the instructions were very unclear. They read as though they were rough translations from Chinese. With a little experimentation, however, I imagine most users can overcome that. I did discover that you can set the Fn key to capslock (on the left side of the keyboard) which did help since I could press this and use my right hand to navigate the IJKL arrow keys.
The HyperX Red Linear switches that are featured in this keyboard have been very well received by the gaming keyboard community. Some gamers even prefer them to the Cherry MX Red Switches. Both switches used the same actuation force at 45g, but the HyperX Reds have a 0.1mm shorter travel distance — slightly faster than the Cherry MX.
I understand the appeal of this keyboard and what each company is bringing to the table. The weight and ease of use of the Ducky keyboards are massively popular, and I can see why. I was able to transport my keyboard from the office to my home and back numerous times without trouble.
All-in-all, this is purely a gaming keyboard that wouldn’t double well as a board for most work-related tasks. At $110, it’s a pretty big ask, considering you can get the full-size HyperX Alloy Origins with the NGENUITY software for the same price (you can find our review of the Origins here). The design and extra keys look nice, but they aren’t stunning like the vibrant red of the previous Ducky and HyperX collaboration. At the end of the day, you’re getting a petite form factor with well-performing gaming switches in the HyperX Red Linears, but it seems evident that you’re paying a bit of a premium for this “limited edition” collab.
Zoom Out: Verdict
The collaboration between HyperX and Ducky brought a lot of speculation and hype to the table. Unfortunately, this joint venture arrives on the platter as an ultimately disappointing meal with too high a price tag. At the cost of sometimes twice the competition, the value one receives from this joint venture is unfortunately less than ideal. However, if you want a keyboard to play discount minesweeper on, you’ve found your choice.
- Small form factor design
- Ducky fans will enjoy
- Bright RGB Colors with decent customization
- HyperX Red Linear Switches
- Key layout
- Lackluster design choices
- “Limited edition” premium
- No software