Within the fantastic world of mechanical keyboards, there’s a kind issue for everybody. From the bog-standard full-size to the gamer-oriented tenkeyless keyboards, you’ll be hard-pressed to not discover a appropriate kind issue for you. For a very long time, the 60% keyboard was simply that for me. Nonetheless, I see plenty of learners mistaking the 60% for a tenkeyless and even some which have by no means seen a 60% keyboard in any respect. Add its shut sibling, the 65%, to the combination and the soup is prepared.

On this publish, I’ll hope to clear up a number of the thriller and reply a pair key questions reminiscent of:

  1. What are the benefits of 60% keyboards?
  2. Are 60% keyboards good for gaming?

With out additional ado, let’s get into the nitty gritty, beginning with the essential 60%.

The 60% keyboard

In respect to its title, the 60% keyboard covers proper about 60 % of the full-size keyboard. In follow, because of this you’ll have direct entry to all buttons in what is named the alphanumeric cluster. The picture under will illustrate what I imply if the terminology is unclear to you:

Pictured are the three frequent form-factors, the 60%, the tenkeyless and the full-size.

These of you who’ve by no means seen this earlier than is likely to be questioning what the purpose of going so minimalist is likely to be. You may discover that the pure 60% kind issue has no arrow keys, no F-row and no navigation cluster, and you’ll be proper. All of those features are accessible, however not with devoted keys. You might be giving up rather a lot to succeed in this state of minimalism. Let’s go over a number of the 60% keyboard benefits and conversely, disadvantages.

Anne Professional 2 is a really featureful and cheap 60% keyboard that does the trick for a penny. Picture courtesy of kbdfans.

60% keyboard benefits

If I needed to decide a essential attraction of of 60% keyboards, it could merely be their measurement. The very first thing you’ll discover with a keyboard this small is just how a lot mouse house you have got.


By taking away the numpad and the navigation cluster, you achieve about 15 centimeters (that’s about 6 inches in freedom models) of horizontal house on your mouse, whereas preserving the keyboard in the identical spot. This will let you hold your fingers nearer collectively, which is each extra ergonomic, and extra comfy. Ever seen esports professionals angle their keyboard like this?

Some skilled esports gamers do that since they’ve grown accustomed to the small house LAN setups often supply. Picture courtesy of Dreamhack.

That’s as a result of they’ve grown accustomed to slim desks in LAN setups they usually wanted to determine a solution to get extra room for the mouse. Significantly angling your keyboard recovers some house for the mousepad. With a 60%, this downside is virtually deleted from existence.

The small measurement additionally lends itself to taking it on the go together with you. When you do plenty of typing in your laptop computer, you may wish to take into account a 60% keyboard to go alongside – it barely takes house in your bag and can certainly really feel nicer to sort on than the chiclet keyboard of your laptop computer.


The 60% keyboard additionally lends itself properly to customization. They often include standard layouts and thus they benefit from the luxurious of being appropriate with principally each single customized keyset ever made. There are additionally numerous 60%-only keysets being made, which naturally units you again much less cash since they solely include sufficient keys for a 60% keyboard.

Customized instances are additionally plentiful for 60% keyboards, as all of them use the usual screw placements and because of this, you have got plenty of choices to show your keyboard into one thing distinctive.

The opposite good factor about them is that there are plenty of choices out there, and a few are an entire lot cheaper than common full-sized keyboards. Well-liked funds choices for instance are the Anne Professional 2 and the (now outdated) Poker 2.


For the reason that 60% kind issue has to compromise a lot to get the minimalist bodily look, the keyboard producers have provide you with a easy answer: a programmable layer. This often takes the type of a PN-key and by holding it, the features for every key change. Nearly all 60% keyboards have this performance and the perfect half is that you could program the layer nonetheless you need with a couple of easy keypresses. They’ll often be tailored to recording easy macros as properly, proper there on the keyboard with none want to put in sophisticated software program.

The programmable layer is each an answer to an issue, in addition to a singular benefit in that you could modify and tune the format to your liking.

Now, for the opposite facet of the coin. The keyboard giveth, and the keyboard taketh away.

I really feel like whereas the dimensions makes for the primary attraction, it additionally makes for the shape issue’s greatest and solely downfall. The dimensions signifies that you lose devoted keys for the F-keys, the navigation cluster (the arrow keys and the bunch of navigational buttons above them) and the quantity pad. You continue to have entry to all of those features, it’s simply not as handy as it’s with a full-size keyboard.

The F-keys, for instance, are often accessed by holding an FN-key (you’ll be accustomed to this in the event you’ve ever used a laptop computer) and urgent the numbers 1-9 and the symbols that make up the remainder of the row. Equally, the arrow keys are sometimes accessed by holding the FN-key and mimicking the arrow keys elsewhere on the keyboard. All of this requires some finger-acrobatics and places your pinky to the check because it wants to carry both the PN, or the FN-keys to entry totally different functionalities.

Must you get one?

Most individuals are postpone from the 60% just because it has no devoted arrow keys. If that’s the case for you, you might simply get a tenkeyless keyboard, which has the F-row in addition to the navigation cluster, sacrificing solely the quantity pad.

However one other challenger simply may need a solution for you, and that’s the 65% keyboard.

The 65% keyboard

The 65% keyboard is a godsend and a saving grace for most individuals that simply can’t get used to the 60% keyboard. It is because the 65% keyboard is principally a 60% keyboard with arrow keys. It comes with it’s personal set of benefits and drawbacks, however most of what I stated in regards to the 60% keyboard, applies right here as properly. Right here’s a picture of a reasonably in style 65% keyboard, the Tada68:

The Tada68 is a budget-friendly choice to enterprise into 65% keyboards. It options one of many extra frequent 65% layouts that sacrifice keycap compatibility for aesthetics and button placement. Picture courtesy of kbdfans.

So long as the keyboard is a 60% keyboard with arrow keys, the official designation for it’s the 65%.

65% keyboard benefits


For the reason that 65% may be very near a 60% in bodily measurement, the identical benefits apply. You’ll get the identical ergonomics and added mouse house. Moreover, the 65% may make for a good higher laptop-companion, because it comes with a rudimentary nav cluster, one thing I discover invaluable when engaged on a laptop computer.

Arrow keys

The one benefit over the 60% are the devoted arrow keys. When you really feel like you’ll be able to’t get used to the FN- and PN-layer jiggling to entry your arrow keys on a regular basis, the 65% keyboard is best for you. The shut proximity of the arrow keys to the alphanumeric cluster may put you off for some time, but it surely’s simple sufficient to get used to.


The 65% keyboard trades off some issues with the intention to match within the arrow keys, and that is its solely drawback when in comparison with the 60% kind issue.

The primary draw back is that there aren’t very many choices in the event you’re in search of customization. Becoming within the arrow keys typically signifies that the fitting facet modifiers are squished, and that the nav cluster keys are on the wrong rows, leading to customized keysets to both not match, or look humorous after they do. Some 65% keyboards keep away from this by leaving bizarre gaps round a number of the extra ill-fitting keys, just like the Varmilo VA68 under.

The Varmilo VA68M is a compromise between keycap compatibility and options. Picture courtesy of Drop.

Going for a 65% additionally signifies that you’ll be hard-pressed to seek out customized instances that match. Some keyboards, just like the Tada68 have non-obligatory aluminum instances that you could order it with, however most instances you’re caught to the plastic default case the keyboard ships with.

Ought to I get one?

If the one factor preserving you from 60% keyboards is the shortage of arrow keys, it is best to go for the 65%. Simply needless to say additional customization may show a little bit bit tough, in the event you’re into that type of factor.

In my view, 60-65% keyboards symbolize peak efficiency for players, particularly in the event you primarily play MOBA or FPS video games, which often don’t have too many keybinds so that you can fear about. I discover that only a few video games these days make the most of the F-row, and for that purpose I’m completely happy to toss it to realize entry to the house financial savings these keyboards supply.

When you completely can’t reside with out arrow keys, the 65% is a perfect alternative for you. If even that’s not sufficient, you may wish to transfer to even bigger keyboard layouts.

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