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(Pocket-lint) - The K65 RGB Mini is Corsair's first 60 per cent keyboard. It's a tiny keyboard that packs plenty of punch - with features including an 8,000Hz polling rate, 20 layers of RGB lighting, and more.

If you've been looking for an awesome-looking compact keyboard, then the K65 RGB Mini might well be it. But is this Mini a massive delight to use for gaming?

Confusing by name, awesome by nature

  • 60% form factor keyboard with white backplate for more RGB bleed
  • Detachable USB-C cable 

The K65 RGB Mini is a 60 per cent form-factor keyboard - that's ideal if you want to maximise space on your desk for mouse movement or if you're just limited for space anyway. 

It has a compact frame but one that doesn't sit low on the desk, so it's not necessarily something for those who like low-profile 'boards. That frame is fantastic though, as this keyboard has a smart white backplate behind the keycaps which allows for some wonderful RGB light bleed. 

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It also sports some PBT double-shot keycaps which are designed to last and should prove durable over time. That is with the exception of the wonderfully styled space bar - which not only has a satisfying texture but leads to some eye-catching RGB too. 

Because it's 60 per cent scale, other keys that you'd commonly use are buried in other keys as secondary actions. Press the function key and you can then access various other things like changing RGB brightness, adjusting colour schemes, and more besides.

Corsair has been pretty clever with the layout of these secondary actions. As one example: the media playback buttons are located within easy reach on the right-hand side, which makes skipping tracks or adjusting audio volume a breeze. 

The directional arrows aren't as convenient as we'd like, though, as they're connected to U, H, J and K - which is a bit awkward and not as easy to access. 

Corsair has added more secondary actions than you'd normally see on a keyboard this size as well. The Q, W, E, R, A, S, D and F keys, for example, have mouse actions in them which is intriguing, so you can move the cursor, click buttons and more all from the keyboard. 

The K65 RGB Mini also has 8MB of onboard memory that allows you to program a multitude of profiles within Corsair's iCue software. You can actually create as many as 50 profiles that can be stored on the keyboard itself and then can be switched between using Fn+Z. 

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It's also possible to record macros on the fly with some quick key-presses without messing about with the software, which is a nice touch. Essentially, the K65 RGB Mini is capable of working without loads of programming within iCue, which we think is fantastic. 

Brilliance beneath the surface

  • Standard bottom row layout (suitable for custom keycaps)
  • Up to 20-layer lighting effects in hardware mode
  • Reprogrammable keys including macros
  • Up to 50 onboard profiles
  • PBT Double-Shot keycaps

One of the areas the K65 RGB Mini shines is the RGB lighting and overall aesthetic. This is a really nice-looking keyboard and the lighting is also fantastic, despite the PBT keycaps which can sometimes lead to less-than-satisfying light bleed. 

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At hardware level (without iCue running) you have access to a number of RGB lighting schemes with a couple of presses. Click Fn+C and you can switch between spiral rainbow, rain, rainbow wave, visor, type lighting, type lighting ripple, colour shift, colour pulse and static. You can also change the effect direction (Fn+V) and speed of that lighting (Fn+B) as well.

Dive into iCue and you have access to a lot more lighting customisation options. Doing that allows you to layer as much as 20-layers of lighting with various schemes and colours at your fingertips. We really enjoy that layering option on this keyboard as you can not only have per-key illumination but you can put effects on top of one another.

This might be something simple like base layer colour with other effects on top, or something more complex. The choice is yours and iCue makes that really easy to programme too.

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Like other current Corsair keyboards, the K65 RGB Mini has been designed with a standard bottom row layout. This means you can personalise your keyboard even further with the addition of Corsair's Double-Shot Pro keycaps. An additional purchase, but one that looks fantastic and allows you to not only improve the look of the keyboard but also deaden some of the sounds with optional o-rings too. 

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We created various nifty colour schemes, including creating a watermelon-styled keyboard, and colourful themes that really make this 'board standout from its standard setup. 

Switch setup and competitive polling

  • Choice of keyswitch options: Cherry MX Red, Cherry MX Speed and Cherry MX Silent switches
  • 45g Actuation Force, 2.0mm Actuation Distance, 4.0mm Total Travel
  • USB Polling Rate Up to 8,000Hz with AXON

For the K65 RGB Mini, Corsair has opted to offer a number of key switch options including Cherry MX Red, Cherry MX Speed, and Cherry MX Silent switches. Ours was equipped with Cherry MX RGB Red - which proves to be a good balance of decent actuation distance (2.0mm) and required force for typing and gaming.

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However, we did find the switch noise to be a bit scratchy and unpleasant in quieter situations. This could be dampened with some o-rings but unfortunately might be jarring for some.  We're left wanting and wondering why Corsair didn't use its OPX Optical-Mechanical keyswitches as it does in the K100. Those more accurate switches sport just 1mm of actuation and use light beams to register your clicks, making them a more logical choice in our mind.

That said, the K65 RGB Mini is still setup to help you up your game. This keyboard has an 8,000Hz polling rate and 4,000Hz key scanning, which means keypresses are registered swiftly taking just 0.25ms to send the signal to your PC. That's as much as four times faster than other gaming keyboards. The overall result is a keyboard that's great to use for working, surfing and emailing, but much more satisfying for gaming. 

Verdict

The K65 RGB Mini is a fantastic effort from Corsair. It's one great-looking 60 per cent keyboard with incredible features and loads of hardware-level controls.

We do question the lack of optical-mechanical switches considering the price, but otherwise it's a fantastic bit of kit. So if space is at a premium or you just want something that standsout on your desk without taking up unnecessary room then this is it.

Also consider

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HyperX Origins 60

This offering has a little more style, doesn't sit quite as high off the desk (and therefore is more comfortable), and has faster switches too. At roughly the same price, it's well worth a look. You can see it in our best keyboard buyer's guide here

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Razer Huntsman Mini 

This is an agile, tiny keyboard with great RGB lighting, durable PBT keycaps, fast optical switches and more besides. It's one of our favourite tiny gaming keyboards and a worthy alternative.

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Writing by Adrian Willings. Editing by Mike Lowe. Originally published on 28 May 2021.