I’ve been a PC gamer for pretty much the last decade, going from playing Counter-Strike 1.6 in LAN cafes to PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds on an Asus gaming laptop. About a year-and-a-half ago, I decided to get a powerful PC that would satisfy my gaming needs and also double as a reliable instrument to work from home.
Upon using a powerful PC that could run games as smoothly as butter, I soon realized that I should get better peripherals to bring out my full gaming potential. You know, a gamer’s wants and needs never end.
I had recently been eyeing a small form factor keyboard to give my mouse more desk space to be flicked around. I have always used full-sized (104 keys) keyboards, which I would normally have to place at an angle when gaming to make up for the vast space it took up.
I finally went with Razer, considering that I’m currently using a Razer mouse, and picked up the Huntsman Mini (it was discounted 😋).
It’s worth noting that I had no interest in getting a wireless keyboard, as I don’t intend to use the keyboard anywhere other than my desk. And even if I had to, the wire on the Huntsman Mini is detachable, so the keyboard can easily be packed and taken along with you. If I had to go the wireless route, the Razer Blackwidow V3 Mini Hyperspeed would have been my choice. MobileSyrup staff reporter Jonathan Lamont has a love-hate relationship with the wireless keyboard, which you can read about through the link below:
Now, let’s dive in and explore the Huntsman Mini!
The Huntsman Mini is a 60 percent keyboard with 61 optical-mechanical (purple) switches that ditches the number pad, arrow keys and the function keys, giving you access only to the keys that matter while gaming. To me, that means that I have much more space to flick my mouse around, a necessity as I play on a considerably low DPI. The small form also provides a minimalist aesthetic, and gives you room to place other accessories on your desk without it looking too crowded.
The keycaps on the Huntsman Mini are Razer’s ‘Doubleshot PBT’ keycaps with a textured finish that feel great to press, and aren’t as loud as a traditional mechanical keyboard, but still offer the right amount of sound feedback. The keys bounce back fairly quickly, and the average scan rate on the keys comes out to about 22 to 45 ms. That is true for all the keys, except the spacebar.
The average scan rate of the space bar was about 50ms, and that is easily noticeable when pressing it. It also has different sound feedback when compared to the rest of the keys, and feels overall heavier to press. That said, it doesn’t make or break the keyboard. The frame of the keyboard is made of plastic with an aluminum plate on top that adds some weight and keeps the peripheral sturdy.
The keyboard connects to your PC through the accompanying braided USB Type-C cable that is long enough to be tucked away. The cable isn’t proprietary, and any Type-C cable that you own will do the work if you wish to mix things up. The Huntsman Mini has two feet that prop up the keyboard, though those aren’t high enough, and it took me a day or two to get used to it.
Another learning curve with the Huntsman Mini relates to its close key proximity. The keys on the keyboard are tightly knit together, and at first, fat-fingering while typing became a common phenomenon for me. Though, after using the keyboard for the better part of the week, I developed the muscle memory needed to type and game without making errors.
That being said, I wouldn’t recommend the keyboard to someone who only wishes to use it for typing/working. The lack of arrow keys and the number pad are substantial for someone like me, considering that I devote the majority of my day to writing news for MobileSyrup and I prefer to navigate without having to take my hands off the keyboard. The lack of a wrist rest also makes it so that typing on the Huntsman Mini for long periods isn’t very enjoyable.
I constantly see myself switching between my full size and 60 percent keyboard while working and gaming, respectively. However, if you’re someone whose work doesn’t necessarily involve writing huge paragraphs, the Huntsman Mini’s shortcut keys are good enough to replace the missing number pad, arrows and functions. Pressing the ‘fn’ button illuminates only the keys that serve as a shortcut, making the process of identifying them easier.
Now that we are on the topic of lights, it’s worth noting that having RGB lights on a keyboard wasn’t a precursor to me buying the Huntsman Mini. I’m indifferent to the RGB, though having them is a plus. The keyboard offers a wide range of colours and effects to choose from directly in the Razer Synapse application. The app also lets you set up profiles (in case more than one person intends to use the keyboard) and macro commands to initiate a specific command, including the ability to launch a different application, multimedia controls, Windows shortcuts and more with the click of a button. It also adds a bit of convenience as the same app serves to customize the Viper V2 Pro, the mouse I’m currently using.
Competitive first-person shooter games like Valorant require you to stand still while shooting to achieve peak accuracy. Inadvertently, standing still makes you an easy target to shoot at. This is where counter-strafing comes in. Counter-strafing is the act of pressing the opposite movement key to where your character is moving to bring the character to a standstill. For example, if I’m moving left (by pressing A), I can press D and release it to make my character stand still. When done with precise timing, and repetitively, counter strafing allows you to keep moving left and right while allowing for a small window when your character stands still. That brief moment is when you can fire your shot with peak accuracy, and continue strafing left and right to avoid being hit.
Now, I’m not saying that the Huntsman Mini will make you a movement god, but its 45-gram actuation force and 1.5 mm actuation distance help in timing your mid-strafe shots correctly. Check out Canadian Valorant streamer TenZ (Tyson Ngo) explaining how to counter-strafe correctly:
The Huntsman Mini is definitely a solid wired compact gaming keyboard with ultra-responsive switches, good build quality, RGB lights with a range of customization options, sound feedback that isn’t too loud and no built-in battery that you have to constantly recharge and stress about. It connects to your PC via a Type-C cable that is detachable and non-proprietary, giving you the freedom to use any Type-C cable that you like. The small form factor allows you to flick your mouse around more violently and provides an overall minimalist aesthetic.
However, if you need a gaming keyboard that would double as a daily driver that you can work on all day long, there are better options on the market that offer support for the wrist, and additional buttons like the arrow keys and a number pad for you to navigate pages with ease. Normally, I would also mention that you can get better 60 percent keyboards for the price you’d pay for the Huntsman Mini, but considering that the keyboard is currently discounted on Best Buy and Amazon, the price aspect goes out the window.
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