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Last Updated: September 1, 2023

How a 60% gaming keyboard can improve productivity

It was time for me to get a new keyboard, as the one I had failed.

I immediately looked for Razer keyboards, as I have a mouse already from this great hardware manufacturer.

I looked at the different types available, and I went for their new mini keyboards, called a 60% as it's 60% of the regular size of large keyboards.

It has no function keys, arrow section or number pad.

I read reviews, as some people hate it because of the lack of arrows, i had some fears too.  But after a few days, I am hooked.

Advantages of a 60% keyboard

  • You can have the main area of the keyboard (where the letters are) in front of you. So your back alignment is normal.
  • With the Hypershift key, we can access the vital arrow keys.  It's even faster than a traditional keyboard as we don't have to move our hands to a different part of the keyboard.
  • Gaming keyboards are designed for accuracy and speed.  It types faster than my old keyboard. 

Cons of a 60% keyboard

  • You will have to get used to it.  The arrow keys are the main thing I didn't realize I was using much.  (But with the right configuration, it's actually faster now to use them as I don't have to move my hands to a different section of the keyboard.  I can access them using the Razer Hypershift function accessible with the CAPS key (see more details below)).

Choosing the right types of keys

Razer offers 5 types of keys.  The optical key of the razer mini is quiet. I had the clicky keyboard before, and it can get annoying. And now if I record some video tutorials and type, it's much less annoying. (even though having the viewers of the video hearing the typing can be a great indicator that someone is typing).

Customizing the key assignments with the Razer Synapse software.

The configuration options with the razer synapse are wonderful.

The hyper shift key works with the mouse too. So it's very easy to use the arrow keys when having the right hand on the mouse.

Best surprises

The small enter key is fine on a small keyboard

I was worried about the small Enter/Carriage Return key. I used to prefer a large UK style enter key as I used to sometimes to miss the smaller US style Enter key. But the reason was simply that the keyboard (the part where the letters are) were not in front of me. This is not a problem anymore with the 60% keyboard.

Lack of arrows is a bliss

Not having the physical arrow keys is even better than having it.

Why? Because it's faster now to use the arrow keys using the Razer Hypershift functionality.

I started by configuring the left alt key to be an additional Hypershift modifier (in addition to the FN key on the right-hand side).  Then I tried to set the CAPS key to be the Hypershift modifier.

Wow, what a much faster way to type!

By having the arrow keys directly where you type allows you to access them without changing your hand position.  It's fantastic for productivity.

I have programmed by CAPS key to act as a Hypershift modifier.

So when i want to use my arrow keys, i simply "hold" the CAPS key and they use the arrow keys on J, K, L and I

I have programmed the D key to be the ctrl key, and the F key to be the Shift key.

So I can ctrl + right arrow to move word by word, or ctrl + shift + right arrow to select multiple words. Of course, that can be down forward and backward.

What I didn't think about.

The keyboard is higher than my previous keyboard. So I got a wrist rest for both my keyboard and mouse.

Things I would like to see improved.

The lettering of the F1 to F12 keys, arrows, sound functions are printed on the front side of the key caps and are not lit. That makes it hard to see at night in a low lit environment.  It's good enough during daytime.

Options to consider

  • Get a separate set of key caps to visually see where the arrows are.  I have picked some green PBT key caps.
  • Add a razer Tartarus. It's fully configurable and you can have your number pad, arrows and multimedia functions.  And place it on the left side of your keyboard.
  • Get a razer mouse, it's again configurable, and you can configure some side buttons to Hypershift too.  It works across devices.

Leave a comment or ask a question.

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Denis Ethier

I help startups and established businesses communicate the value of what they do using design, copywriting and the latest tools.

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