Such 20% keyboards, or keypads, have been around for a while, but here comes Nordic Game Supply with "The Shrimp" mechanical keyboard to shake things up, or rein them in as the case may be.
When I first spotted this teeny little keyboard from NGS (opens in new tab) it took me a while to figure out the selling point. As a gaming keypad there are of course the standard benefits: not being relegated to using the WASD keys on your gaming laptop (opens in new tab)—great for a bunch of reasons including avoiding sweaty fingers in a heatwave—and of course they're a lot more portable than even their 60% counterparts.
But there's something about this keyboard that stands out, something it does differently to a lot of gaming keypads on the market today.
Consider the Razer Tartarus Pro (opens in new tab) gaming keypad with its super ergonomic wrist rest, thumbstick and pressure sensitive keys; or the frankly immense 26-key, hand-conforming Azeron Gaming Keypad (opens in new tab). Both are ergonomic to the max and kitted out with more greebles than a Star Destroyer. But what's different about The Shrimp keyboard is that it's just a standard keyboard chopped in half.
No frills or funky shapes, just good old fashioned cuboid click clacks.
"The Shrimp gives you the freedom to position your hands as you desire," says product designer Kari Viljanen. "No more twisting your keyboard, hands and shoulders into awkward angles to find a feasible gaming position."
I'm not exactly sure how holding back on ergonomics can make something more ergonomic, let alone be considered a selling point, but there must be a market for it. The keypads out there were getting a little ridiculous, I have to say.
"There have also been keypad sized gaming devices before the Shrimp but they have either been non-standard layout, made to adapt keyboard & mouse on gaming consoles or have had some off-putting futuristic 'space-captain' designs. I believe we have made a design that is both comfortable to use and looks great on your desktop."
The Shrimp comes in a 25-key global keyboard layout, with Cherry profile which means the keycaps are shorter and less angular than that of standard OEM keyboards. There's Gateron G Pro mechanical switches packed in there, and even RGB lighting that shines through some intensely large lettering.
Nordic Game Supply also boasts about The Shrimp keyboard's "Cool gadgety knobs," which is going on my list of potential band names.
To be fair, multimedia controls are always well received in my book, and I appreciate the snazzy colour ways. These include pink, blue with a monkey on the wrist rest, and one with a sticker-bombed wrist rest. There's still no word on pricing and availability, however.