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Razer Huntsman Mini
80

Razer Huntsman Mini gaming keyboard review

A cutesy gaming keyboard with a form factor that's generally impractical for everyday use

(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

In an extravagant ideal world this responsive gaming keyboard would by my second string slab, held over purely for gaming. Because for everything else it's a source of potential frustration.

For

  • 60 percent boards are sooo cute
  • Responsive optical switches
  • Great gaming board

Against

  • 60 percent boards are sooo restrictive
  • Lotta cash for a lot less board

Looking at the Razer Huntsman Mini, it's like a real keyboard had a little baby. Aww. I genuinely think the Huntsman Mini is one of cutest-looking gaming keyboards known to humankind, but then I do seem to have a thing for really small mechanical boards. The only issue, however, is that a 60 percent keyboard is just not that practical in full-time use.

The Huntsman Mini, as the name would suggest, is a severely cut-down version of the full-scale Razer Huntsman keyboard. At the 60 percent size gone is the numpad, gone are the arrow keys and assorted control keys, and gone are the function keys too. That's a lot of sparkling mechanical switches sacrificed to make this thing so small, but if you're purely gaming then, for the most part, they're unlikely to be missed.

And if you're purely gaming then a 60 percent keyboard makes a whole lot of sense from an ergonomic point of view. With a smaller board, especially for right-handed gamers, being able to have your mouse hand closer to your WSAD hand is more comfortable for a long session. 

The missing, mostly extraneous, keypad et al on the right-hand side of a standard full-size board means that you also have a lot more desktop real estate for you to fling your mouse around. And if the only desktop plot you can fit into your home is of a modest scale then you'll appreciate the space savings a slimline gaming keyboard can offer.

You'll likely also appreciate the speedy Razer Opto-Mechanical switches too. I've been testing with the purple clicky switches, but Razer also offers the linear red optical switches too. These are different to the Cherry MX and Cherry MX-a-like switches most gaming keyboards run with in that they use light to actuate.

There's a beam of light inside each of the opto-mechanical switches and when it's pressed the light passes through the stem telling the system that a key has been hit. These switches require less force than most mechanical switches, and will also often actuate faster too. There's no debounce time either and full N-key rollover, which means button-mashing and face-rolling your Huntsman Mini is not just possible but actively encouraged. 

Actually no, don't do that. The clicky switches are real loud and can get rather spikey when you go face down on your board.

(Image credit: Future)

Huntsman Mini specs

Size - 60 percent
Switches - Razer Opto-Mechanical
Switch options - Red (linear), Purple (clicky)
Lighting - Per-key RGB LEDs
Keycaps - Doubleshot PBT
Connectivity - Detachable USB Type-C

I still feel like Razer's missed a bit of a trick with the optical switches in that it's purely using them for actuation, when you could actually create analogue keys on your board in the way the Wooting gaming keyboards have. But the Opto-Mechanical Razer switches are still speedy, responsive, and long-lasting.

And obviously replete with RGB lighting on a per-switch basis too, though I kinda wish I'd gotten the Mercury/white version to test as that one would really shine under the pink glow my review version is currently sporting.

For me, though, the Razer Huntsman Mini is just not practical for a full-time board. The typing experience is lovely, if a little clicky for my taste with the purple switches, but muscle memory is a killer and I just keep reaching out for keys that aren't there. Unlike our Jacob, I'm no alt-code aficionado, but I do need an arrow key when I'm writing on the odd occasion, and it's a constant frustration trying to hold down the 'fn' button and hit either I, K, J, or L.

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(Image credit: Future)
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(Image credit: Razer)
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(Image credit: Razer)

I love me some discrete media controls too. I can just about cope with having them hidden under F-keys, especially if, as with Logitech's boards, you can set the alternative function as the default. But when this 60 percent board requires such digital gymnastics to access them I just end up not using them.

But as a second board… well, that might just work for me. 

I'm all about extravagance and having a $120 gaming keyboard as your secondary slab is most definitely that. Yeah, $120 and fewer keys. And no wrist rest. Yikes. But even so, realistically I couldn't see myself able to run with the Huntsman Mini all the time, as cute, and as effective a purely gaming mechanical board it is.

The Verdict
Razer Huntsman Mini

In an extravagant ideal world this responsive gaming keyboard would by my second string slab, held over purely for gaming. Because for everything else it's a source of potential frustration.

Dave has been obsessed with gaming since the days of Zaxxon on the Colecovision, and code books for the Commodore Vic 20 (Death Race 2000!). He built his first gaming PC at the tender age of 16, and finally finished bug-fixing the Cyrix-based system around a year later. When he dropped it out of the window. Thankfully it's a lot easier to build a gaming rig now there are no motherboard jumper switches, though he has been breaking technology ever since… at least he gets paid for it now.