Not every single gamer has the luxury of a large desk that can fit a full-sized keyboard. Perhaps the better use case would be that despite gamers having the space, they’d rather dedicate more of it to their mouse. After all, you rarely need the number keypad on a keyboard for playing Warzone, but you’ll need to ensure that absolutely nothing gets in the way of your mouse movement. It is for this reason why 60% keyboards exist, and why Razer is now at the forefront of the mini-keyboard offering for gamers. The Razer Huntsman Mini is small in size, but packs the full punch of a classic Huntsman. It even contains the company’s second generation of linear optical switches. These switches contain the full benefits of a classic mechanical keyboard, but without the loud clicky sound which wakes the entire house up. It is worth noting that if however, you like the sound of the clicky mechanical keys, Razer also offers an option for loud purple switches.
The real attraction is the 60% form factor. At a price point of £120 (considering this is a premium Razer product, I expected it to be at least £150), the Hunstman Mini is the best 60% gaming keyboard that the market has to offer at this moment in time. It is also almost guaranteed to be a popular offering. After all, Razer claims that the Hunstman Mini was developed due to overwhelming demand on social media for a keyboard without the number pad and arrow keys. A lot of people could be used to having a keyboard without a number pad, but the lack of arrow keys is really going to put off a lot of people who want to use the keyboard for anything other than gaming. In fact, it personally took me a while to get used to having a keyboard without dedicated arrow keys; I still haven’t fully adjusted when it comes to non-gaming tasks. This doesn’t mean that there are no arrow keys at all. Instead, Razer has maximized the usage of the Fn button. In order to use the arrow keys, you now need to press Fn and the corresponding key on the keyboard. The same goes for other major functions including print screen, page up/down etc. All of these options are very clearly labelled on the keyboard (they are side-printed on each key), however it will take a very long time for someone to get accustomed to using this as a non-gaming keyboard. Razer has implemented a neat and user-friendly way to present the options to you. When you press the Fn key, all of the lights go off apart from the ones that can be used with the Fn key. This definitely made life easier for me.
The Hunstman Mini doesn’t come with all of the features and functionality that the Huntsman Elite has, and it shouldn’t either. The Hunstman Mini is cheaper, and is designed to minimize the amount of space used on your gaming station. For this reason, the Hunstman Mini doesn’t come with a wrist rest, nor does it have any dedicated media controls. It is a simplified version of the Huntsman Elite, with all of the key characteristics that are required for a high quality gaming keyboard, in a much smaller form factor.
I personally believe that the white version of the Hunstman Mini looks the best, and for a perfect match, the Viper Ultimate Mercury Edition would be the ideal partner. I do wish that Razer released a white version of the Naga Pro, or perhaps even had more mice in Mercury white. If anyone believes that a white keyboard won’t do the underlying RGB lighting any justice, they’d be wrong. Even in broad daylight, the Hunstman Mini’s underlying Chroma RGB lighting is extremely bright. Of course, its true beauty can only be appreciated when your surroundings are darker. There are a series of preset effects that you can activate too by using a combination of Fn + CTRL + a number key.
As far as build quality goes, the Hunstman Mini is unsurprisingly sturdy. That is largely due to its aluminium construction that gives it a sense of weight and durability. Although the base is plastic, the aluminium plate sits on top of it. Some may argue that having a plastic base is not ideal, however you really don’t notice the difference. In fact, if you turn the keyboard over, you’ll notice that in the plastic base, Razer has embossed their ‘For Gamers By Gamers’ motto repeatedly across the entire back. It’s a really subtle design choice but one that really makes me appreciate the attention to detail on the product. Razer could have very easily skipped that design choice, and not a single person would complain.
Should you want to customize the keyboard by replacing the keycaps, you can also do this. You can just swap them out for standard ones, or you can purchase custom ones. The Hunstman Mini already comes with doubleshot PBT keycaps, but you can buy additional doubleshot PBT keycaps should you want to change the design of your existing keyboard. In case you may be wondering, PBT keycaps are widely regarded as some of the best keycaps that you can buy due to their resistance to heat and chemicals. Doubleshot PBT keycaps ensure that the quality will never degrade and the labels won’t wear off either. With all of this in mind, Razer has used the absolute best on the Hunstman Mini.
It doesn’t end there for the keyboard however. Unlike most other gaming keyboards that have an attached cable, the Hunstman Mini comes with a detachable cable. It’s also completely braided and uses USB-C. A lot of hardcore gamers want to swap out their cables and use their own ones (you can even get ones that light up!). That is pretty much the only benefit of having the cable detachable. If somehow a gamer manages to wear out the original cable, they know that they can replace it with a new one. It’s something that the community wanted, so Razer delivered it. In case you’re wondering, the keyboard also has some feet at the back to allow you to angle it to just under 10 degrees.
Most gamers will instantly think that a Razer gaming keyboard is going to be loud and clicky. That is likely the case for the clicky version of the Hunstman Mini. However, I do want to stress that the linear optical switches are quiet. They aren’t whisper quiet, but they are closer to whisper quiet than loud-and-clicky. If you want to hear the loud click, the linear optical switches is not the right loadout. However, I do believe that they are better for gaming. They are lighter to actuate than the standard clicky keys and even have a shorter actuation point. In fact, the actuation point is 25% less than the standard cherry MX reds. Will it really make a huge difference to the average gamer? Not at all. Only those who compete at the highest level will have enough experience to possibly tell the difference between the actuation points of the two keycaps.
I went through a gaming phase where I felt it was necessary to have loud Cherry MX switches in order to feel like a pro gamer. Once you get past that phase, you realize that loud clicky switches do not always translate to better gaming experiences. Without a decent headset, you’re also likely to anger your party members who can hear you clicking away! I’m certainly not implying that linear optical switches will give you better gaming performance; I’m now at the stage that it really doesn’t bother me what types of keycap I am using, as long as they are comfortable and responsive. Ultimately, if you want a quieter set of keycaps with optimal performance, the keys on the Huntsman Mini are perfect. They still give you the satisfaction of a click, but they are considerably quieter and sound more like a traditional keyboard.
When Razer announced that it was going into the business of creating its own keycaps, I was pleasantly surprised. I knew that the company was widely regarded as one of the best for keyboards, but to go the extra mile to own the process of creating the keycaps couldn’t have been a small investment. However, by going down this route, it has given the company complete control over the keyboard layout and the Huntsman Mini is a prime example of this. Although, as I write this review, I am struggling to get accustomed to a layout that requires me to press a function key in order to use the arrows. Not having dedicated arrow keys is proving to be the biggest challenge. For gaming, it’s not a problem. For everything else, it’s a drawback. For the next iteration of Razer’s mini keyboard, I would love for them to somehow figure out how they can add dedicated arrow keys without increasing the form factor.
If you’re a battle royale gamer, I feel that the Huntsman Mini is perfectly suited to you. Such games require you to have some rapid response times, but also the real-estate on your desk to be able to carry those actions out. In fact, all shooters these days are very fast paced. The Huntsman Mini gave me significant more room to use my mouse, and this allowed me to even turn 360 degrees with my character without having to lift my mouse up. Of course you could just turn up your turning speeds using the in-game settings, but not every gamer can play on max sensitivity options.
With Razer now investing heavily in keycap technology, I expect the company to be also looking into developing further lines of mini gaming keyboards. The problem they now face is that they’ve set the bar extremely high with the Huntsman Mini. Although I don’t know how the clicky switches feel on this keyboard, the linear optical switches are an absolute dream to play and type with. Although there are competitors in this space, Razer is the only mainstream brand that has its own software (Razer Synapse 3) that will let you configure the Huntsman Mini (and any other Razer products) to let you personalize the Chroma effect, assign macros etc. As far as mini gaming keyboards go, the Razer Huntsman Mini is clearly the best that the industry currently has to offer, at a very affordable price.