The first gaming keyboard I can remember purchasing is a Logitech G110. It had plenty of macro keys, some backlit keys, and a switch that could disable the Windows key function. Other than that, I don’t remember much about the G110. Regardless this is the keyboard that sparked my interest in “Gaming” peripherals. Only two keyboard purchases later and I found myself the owner of a MASSIVE Corsair K95 RGB with Cherry-MX Red switches.
Have you Googled the K95 yet? Its massive! Which after plenty of use, drove me to wanting something a bit smaller. This time my terrible idea was a Razer Huntsman Tournament Edition in all black rocking Razer Green switches. This keyboard eventually proved to be way to loud for even myself. So I once again returned to my Corsair K95 RGB, but still wanted something a little more compact.
In came the Logitech G413 with Romer-G switches. These new Romer-G’s were supposed to be something like a Cherry-MX Brown. Tactile but much more muted than the Cherry-MX Reds. On top of being a bit quieter, it was also a standard sized keyboard lacking any dedicated macro-keys at all. The lack of macro-keys was fine for me because I was working in roles where I couldn’t load in any fancy off-the-shelf software nor could I leverage macros in a meaningful way anyway.
I used this Logitech G413 in my IT Support roles from 2018 well into my ‘settled’ NOC role here in late 2021. After being my longest used keyboard ever, I figured it was time to try something new. This time, I went small…. maybe too small… I chose to pick up this Razer Huntsman Mini with the Optical Linear Red switches in Mercury White from MicroCenter for $130. Coming in second place for most expensive keyboard I’ve ever purchased.
About The Huntsman Mini
At only 60% the size of a standard keyboard, it has no dedicated arrow keys, nor any dedicated F-keys. This means that you need to use the Function <Fn> key pretty dang often. It does come with a removable USB cable that is well braided. One end is USB Type-A and the other being USB Type-C. The Type-C end that fits into the keyboard has a “keyed” moulding to help support it in place. The feet on the underside have two possible positions, 3* and the standard 6*.
Let me start with what I do not like about this keyboard; that is a much shorter list. First and foremost is the Sleep shortcut that cannot be unbound. <Fn+Z> will put any plugged in device into sleep mode. You cannot unbound this poorly positioned shortcut even in Razer Synapse.
Speaking of not being able to unbound a shortcut in Razer Synapse, the software behind this keyboard stands to do nothing particularly useful besides help you pick your favorite colors. While this isn’t a Synapse v G-Hub review, I wish this software was better for building useful macros. As of today, Sept. 24th 2021, Razer Synapse is borderline useless macro support.
My final gripe… The special keys such as <tab>, <caps lock>, <shift>, <enter>, and <backspace> are all oddly sized. This results in them being in a slightly different position than I am used too. Even after 60 days of continuous use I find myself bumping <caps lock> when hunting for <tab>. This is the one occasion where the super neat, super responsive optical switches are always messing with me!
Whats good you ask? The per-key RGB lighting is awesome, the LEDs inside provide plenty of brightness and great color reproduction. The optical linear switches are in-fact linear in feel and don’t really stiffen up near the bottom of the keystroke. The actuation point versus the reset point of keystrokes are unbelievably close since its an optical sensor. The provided USB cable is plenty long and the braiding on it is very well done which does give it some physical “memory”. Something I can really appreciate.
The build quality and typing experience are overall great. If you spend hours a day typing emails and find that you don’t really need a 10-key and would like to save some of that valuable desk space, than this is a great deal. Fully worth the $130.
IT Professionals and Power Users beware!!! The Razer Synapse really does bring down the value of this keyboard to us. The limited number of keys in which you can bind a macro, plus the terrible macro software make this….. a strong “Maybe”. But if you are someone of this group you also gotta keep in mind that even the arrow keys are bound to Function <fn>.
I hope this write-up and video can help education someone on the Razer Huntsman Mini and I at some point soon I will have a video created on the Logitech G413 to compare them a bit closer.