The 60% form factor is relatively new, but it’s seen an explosion in popularity in recent years. The competition is getting steep, with excellent mechanical keyboards like the HyperX Alloy Origins 60, the Redragon K530, and the Cooler Master SK622 bringing various features and price points to the field. But what if you’re not a fan of mechanical switches and still want a premium 60% keyboard?
Enter the Razer Huntsman Mini. This 60% keyboard uses Razer’s own brand of optical switches to set itself apart. Razer is one of the best-known names in the world of gaming peripherals, so we were very excited when they reached out to us and requested a fair and unbiased review. Here’s what we found.
Zoom In: Specs
- Type: Wired (detachable USB Type-C)
- Colors: Black or Mercury (white)
- Razer Optical Switches: Purple (clicky) or Red (linear)
- Keycaps: Double Shot PBT
- Body: Aluminum
- Other Features: Onboard memory with lighting presets
- RGB? Yes
- Software: Razer Synapse
- Dimensions: 1.5” x 11.6” x 4.1”
- Weight: 15.3oz
The Razer Huntsman Mini is an extremely well-built keyboard. They sent us the Mercury (or white) colored version for our review. It has a very clean-looking aesthetic, with a white body, white keycaps and a white braided cable. The frame is made of aluminum, which is considerably more durable than plastic while still remaining light.
The keycaps are made in-house out of double-shot PBT plastic. This makes them more durable than ABS keys, and means that they’ll maintain a matte finish for much longer (rather than developing a shine on your most-used keys after a while). The braided USB Type-C to Type-A cable that comes with the keyboard is removable and seems to be of premium quality. Don’t be confused, though — the fact that the cable is removable doesn’t mean that the keyboard is wireless.
The backside of the keyboard has two sizes of feet, which can be used to give the keyboard a slight incline. I always find this to be a nice feature since I personally find a flat keyboard makes for an uncomfortable typing experience. All of the feet are made of a grippy rubber that ensures the keyboard won’t move around on your desk while you use it.
Razer Optical Switches
One of the main reasons the Razer Huntsman Mini didn’t make it onto our list of the best 60% keyboards is because it isn’t mechanical, but we may have judged it too harshly. The Razer Optical Switches come in two varieties — Purples, which are clicky, and Reds, which are linear. The version they sent us came with the Razer Optical Reds, and I have to say I’m impressed.
They’re softer and quieter than most red switches I’ve used in the past, and while they aren’t mechanical, the typing experience is comparable in quality. In fact, according to Razer, their switches offer “faster, lighter, and smoother actuations than mechanical switches, and lasts longer as it requires fewer moving parts that operate with less friction.”
I won’t say that they’re better or worse than top-of-the-line mechanical switches, but they are an excellent alternative for someone who has tried mechanical switches and doesn’t care for the feel of them.
The Huntsman Mini can be controlled via onboard memory profiles and key-controls. That’s useful in a lot of situations — like if you’d like to use it with an Xbox, for example — but you’ll get a lot more versatility if you use it with the Razer Synapse software. There’s so much functionality in this software that it’s honestly a little overwhelming at first glance, but it’s surprisingly easy to use. You can re-assign keys for both the primary and FN layers, which is handy, but the big winner is the lighting controls.
Lighting customization is top notch. You choose from eleven different lighting effects in the quick lighting menu (Ambient Awareness, Audio Meter, Breathing, Fire, Reactive, Ripple, Spectrum Cycling, Starlight, Static, Wave, and Wheel), or you can use the Chroma Studio to layer the effects and create new ones. You can also create multiple profiles and even assign them to specific programs and games. Then after you’ve done all that, you can use the Croma Visualizer feature to synch all your Chroma-enabled devices so all your Razer gear’s lighting effects match.
Razer Synapse is probably the best control software we’ve seen so far. It’s versatile, customizable, and easy to use.
Gaming and Productivity
The Razer Huntsman Mini doesn’t have any major functionality issues when it comes to typing or gaming. The actuation speed feels good, the keys are well spaced, and there weren’t any noticeable dropped keystrokes. Reactions in game felt fluid and you start to forget the keyboard is even there after a while, which is just about the highest praise I can give a gaming keyboard. There’s even a cool preset built in that makes the lighting change when you hold down the FN key so that only the keys with secondary functions light up.
The one issue I had with it was with the default placement of the arrow keys. I don’t know why Razer decided to place them on the I, J, K, L keys, but that placement made them difficult for to access. You can always reassign them through the software, but they are still printed on the front of the keys, which can be frustrating. This is particularly bad, since the arrow keys are often the most used primary keys that get removed from a 60% keyboard.
Cutting Edge 60%
For some gamers, it’s mechanical or nothing. This keyboard isn’t for them. Razer set out to build the best non-mechanical keyboard on the market and I think they’ve succeeded. The Huntsman Mini’s optical switches make for a truly premium gaming and typing experience and its software is second-to-none.
It’s worth noting, though, that it’s quite expensive. The $119.99 price point makes it significantly more expensive than most of its mechanical brethren. It also lacks wireless functionality. Buyers may find better value elsewhere unless they are either dedicated to Razer’s optical switches or the synchronicity available through their Chroma software.
Zoom Out: Verdict
The Razer Huntsman Mini may well be the best 60% optical gaming keyboard on the market. It’s build quality, functionality, and software are all top of the line. It is expensive however, and lacks wireless capability.
- Optical Switches set it apart from other premium keyboards
- Removable USB Type-C connection
- Quality double-shot PBT keycaps
- Odd FN key placement makes arrow keys difficult to use
- Not wireless/no wireless option
- Expensive for a 60%