Fnatic has recently come out with an updated version of its bestselling keyboard, the Fnatic Ministreak. This new model comes with an emphasis on speed with low actuation force switches, which when combined with the tenkeyless design offers a keyboard better suited to competitive gaming.
I was given the Ministreak RGB Tenkeyless with Speed Silver switches to try out, and can confirm that the build quality of this board is excellent. It's a strong first impression, and there's absolutely no sign of deck flex. The keycaps are excellent, and angle in slightly towards the middle, although it took a few days of use to wear off a thin layer of somewhat squeaky material. At least it wasn't a permanent feature.
In line with most other competitive gaming kits, the Ministreak is also a compact design. That means it doesn’t have a number pad, or is tenkeyless as they say in the biz. This gives you a surprising amount of extra room for mouse movements, which is ideal for games where playing with a lower DPI gives you a big advantage, such as Call of Duty: Warzone or Valorant.
Also helping your competitive gaming prowess is the Ministreak's Kailh Speed Silver switches. They’re rated at 70 million presses, which is 20 million higher than the standard Cherry MX equivalent. They're also a linear style, meaning you won't feel any tactile response, and at just 40g of force to operate these can also be activated very quickly. This has advantages for gaming as you’ll get a very quick response from when you press the key to when it registers. However, that comes with its own downsides. I have found that I accidently register key presses because of a gentle bump or touch—many times I have had a hand on this keyboard and not realised that I’m in fact spamming a letter in a discord chat. Oops.
Overall, these switches should last you a long time. Although you may find yourself pressing keys without realising, especially if you’re like me and normally use a switch that requires more actuation force, such as Cherry MX browns.
One notable absence from the new model of the Ministreak is a wrist rest. On the underside of the keyboard there are two gaps which look like you could add a wrist rest, yet one is not included. The wrist rest is currently not available to purchase from the Fnatic store as a standalone product, but I'm told it plans on making it available soon for use with this model.
I am coming from the Corsair K70 keyboard, which has an included wrist rest, and now using a keyboard without one I do really miss it. When you’re gaming this omission isn’t a problem because you generally keep your left hand in a static place. For writing though, not having a wrist rest can make for a very uncomfortable typing experience. I often found myself stretching to hit keys and hovering my wrist in order to hit the top row. Unfortunately, since I spend a good deal of my day writing, I find this keyboard can be uncomfortable. More for pure strain gamers, this one.
Another downside to this keyboard is the software. But fortunately this is something Fnatic can change after the fact.
Switch: Kailh Speed Silver
Lighting: per key 16.8m RGB
Connection Type: USB Type-C to Type-A
Price: $109.99 (£100)
The software is currently in an early access stage, and so is subject to a lot of change. As of writing this review it’s rather bare bones. It allows you to make up to four different profiles, setting custom key binds or lighting effects for each one, and which you can swap between using a predetermined macro. The software also automatically loads in every time I turn my PC on. Not a huge deal but it means I just have to send it to the tray every single day, which is a little bothersome.
For the RGB lighting you can choose between a handful of presets: rainbow, the animation speed and direction of which can be changed; or you can set the LEDs to one solid colour using a colour picker or RGB value.
You are also offered the option to change your key bindings. Once you select a key on the on-screen keyboard, you're able to choose from a few actions to remap it to, such as changing it to be a different button or launching a certain application. Standard stuff but appreciated nonetheless.
The Ministreak does comes with your basic media controls—pause, skip, go back, etc.—although these are not discrete keys. You can access these by pressing ctrl then the function key associated by the icon on the keycap. On the top right of the keyboard you have a mute microphone, competitive mode, and mute volume button. The mute microphone button is a wonderful idea but unfortunately with my testing I couldn’t get it to work in Discord. My only other complaint with these buttons is that you can’t see them from a normal typing position because of the height of the keyboard. This means that until you remember where they are you’ll have to regularly lean over in order to use them.
This keyboard will cost you $109.99 (£100) from the Fnatic store. This is right down the middle of what you might expect to pay for some of today's most popular tenkeyless keyboards, which leave its price as competitive, but doesn't cement itself a spot as an amazing money saver either.
Overall, the Fnatic Ministreak is a solid keyboard, but you will have to be comfortable missing out on certain features. It comes in at a fairly reasonable price and is built like an absolute tank—it won’t be likely to break on you any time soon. It enters the tenkeyless market as a strong contender to rival the Razers and Corsairs of the industry, and the fast activating keys will definitely appeal to those who want to ensure they're always as close to the game as possible.
The form factor means that you get a surprising amount of extra room for your mouse, too—more than you might expect. For me personally, though, the comfort of typing on this keyboard wasn’t the greatest. I felt myself reaching for the upper rows and hovering my wrists as I tried to reach them. As someone who does a lot of typing and gaming I need a keyboard that is comfortable for both. If you’re not like me, and you only game at your PC, then the Fnatic Ministreak offers up a decent alternative to the usual names and faces.