A couple of years ago I told Xataka how the change from a membrane keyboard to a mechanical keyboard had been. After a lifetime of using this type of keyboard, making the leap to a mechanical keyboard was a one-way street. We are now in 2022 and their majesties the Three Kings have left another mechanical keyboard at home, but this time 60%.
The keyboard that I used to date was a Razer Huntsman, and the truth is that I was very happy with it. It was (and is, that I have saved) a complete keyboard, with its numeric keypad, all the function buttons, little arrows, etc. That’s fine, since you have all the options at hand, but it’s a problem: it’s big, very big, something that is not ideal if you use the keyboard to play games. And that’s where the newcomer Razer Huntsman Mini comes in.
Let’s start at the beginning: what is a 60% keyboard? It is a keyboard that has removed the numeric keypad (the little numbers on the right), the function keys (F1, F2…), the little arrows and the complementary keys (Delete, Insert, End, Home… ). If a full keyboard has between 104 and 105 keys, a 60% keyboard has, as its name suggests, 60% of those keys, about 61 depending on the region.
It doesn’t mean that those keys are gone, but they have changed places. For example, the Home key is now on the + and is used by simultaneously pressing Fn. The little right arrow is on the L, so just press Fn+L to activate it. The same with the function keys, the volume rocker (Fn+Q or W) and the playback buttons (Fn + E, R or T).
Why switch to such a keyboard? There are several reasons. The main and perhaps most important is because I like to play on the computer. I like the shooters and they are games that, as a general rule, require a lot of mouse movement. More room to do it = better. Not to mention that the numeric keypad, function keys, and the like are rarely used. It is wasted space.
On the other hand, and according to this point, it is that there are keys that I don’t use too much. Here I make a point: I do not use them for my work or for my way of using the computer, but I do not want to say that there are not cases in which the function keys and others are not useful. Each user is a world and uses the keyboard as they want. I personally have barely used the function keys.
A more compact keyboard, as is the case, allows me to have more space on the desk, more space to move the mouse and, why not say it, a somewhat more minimalist setup in that my setup is as minimalist as I am as an astronaut. I insist, in the end it is a matter of taste and personal preferences.
I’m not going to go into the topic of switches because it’s something I covered in the article and the experience is the same. Are switches optomecánicosbut somewhat quieter. This is something I appreciate, because the Razer Huntsman is quite loud. The Mini is quieter and, although it continues to sound, it does not do so much. In the same way, I appreciate that improvement in precision and speed when writing, as well as less fatigue in the hands.
How about the change?
The truth is that the change has been really positive. Playing, in particular I have noticed it a lot. I don’t know how you put the keyboard, but when I play I put it to one side and diagonally. With the full keyboard, the part on the right was still taking up space for the mouse, but with 60% that problem has completely disappeared. I have almost the entire desktop to move the mouse.
At work (as you can imagine, my job is mainly to write), the experience has been equally positive. The keyboard is similar in feeling to the one it had before, so no problem in that regard. However, there have been a few times when muscle memory has played tricks on me.
A quick definition of muscle memory it is one that “involves the consolidation of a specific motor task in memory through repetition”. For example, I used to write the figures with the numeric keyboard. I recognize that if you work with excel sheets and doing numbers, this part is useful. Not that I used it much, but I did from time to time.
The first few days with the keyboard at 60%, my right hand automatically went to the side to press the number keys. In fact, I have come to make phantom pulsations in the air. It is a gesture that I had so memorized that it took my brain a couple of days to get used to the idea that those keys were no longer there. The luck of working writing is that the fingers train quickly, so it doesn’t happen to me anymore.
Another thing that I missed (not much, but something) are the little arrows. I edit video (SPAM moment: we have TikTok) and having the little arrows is useful for moving between frames more precisely. There have been some other ghost presses, but it’s all a matter of changing the chip so that, instead of pressing the little arrow, you press Fn+J, K, L or I, which are the keys with the mapped arrows.
Once that “mental barrier” is overcome, if we want to call it that, the use of the keyboard is intuitive and, for me, more comfortable. I recognize that it is not a type of keyboard that is made for all users, but if you are gamers and do not use all the keys on your keyboard on a daily basis, I recommend that you give it a try.