In the beautiful world of mechanical keyboards, there is a form factor for everyone. From the bog-standard full-size to the gamer-oriented tenkeyless keyboards, you’ll be hard-pressed not to find a suitable form factor for you. However, many beginners are mistaking 60% for a tenkeyless, and some have never seen 60% or 65% mechanical keyboards at all. Add its close sibling, the 65%, to the mix, and the soup is ready. This article will show you the two most popular keyboard form factors and tell you about their strengths and weaknesses. So let’s get into the business without further ado, starting with 60% and 65% mechanical keyboards.
THE 60% MECHANICAL KEYBOARD
To its name, the 60% keyboard covers 60% of the full-size keyboard. In practice, this means that you’ll have direct access to all buttons in what is called the alphanumeric cluster. 60% mechanical keyboard is perhaps the most common layout than others. As well as ditching the number pad, 60% of keyboards also lack an F key row at the top and the maritime cluster on the right. 60% of keyboards are a little more challenging to learn but provide excellent space and weight savings. That makes them super portable, and they plain look cool as well. Let’s go over some of the 60% keyboard advantages and, conversely, disadvantages.
ADVANTAGES OF 60% MECHANICAL KEYBOARD
By taking away the Numpad and the navigation cluster, you gain about 15 centimeters of horizontal space for your mouse while keeping the keyboard in the same spot. These allow you to keep your hands closer together, which is both more ergonomic and more comfortable. 60% keyboard will allow you to keep your arms in a more natural position. Thus, with your arms being closer to your body, you will not have to stretch as much. The benefit of increased comfort is something that no one can deny.
The small size also lends itself to taking it on the go with you. If you do a lot of typing on your laptop, you might want to consider a 60% keyboard to go along – it barely takes space in your bag and will indeed feel nicer to type on than the chiclet keyboard on your laptop.
The 60% keyboard also lends itself well to customization. It usually comes with standard layouts, and thus they enjoy the luxury of being compatible with basically every single custom keyset ever made. There are also several 60%-only keysets being made, which naturally sets you back less money since they only come with enough keys for a 60% keyboard. Custom cases are also abundant for 60% of keyboards, as they all use the standard screw placements, and for this reason, you have a lot of choices to turn your keyboard into something unique.
The other nice thing about them is that there is a lot of choices available, and some are a whole lot cheaper than usual full-sized keyboards.
Since the 60% mechanical keyboard form factor has to compromise so much to get the minimalist physical appearance, the keyboard manufacturers have a simple solution: a programmable layer. It usually takes the form of a PN-key, and by holding it, the functions for each fundamental change.
Virtually all 60% of keyboards have this functionality. The best part is that you can program the layer however you want with a few simple key presses. They can usually be adapted to recording simple macros as well, right there on the keyboard without any need to install complicated software. The programmable layer is both a solution to a problem, as well as a unique advantage in that you can modify and tune the layout to your liking.
For any FPS gamer, a 60% keyboard is probably the best solution. If you have ever played Call of Duty, you know that it is more important to have a gaming mouse. Taking this into account, you’ll want to have enough capacity for it.
The 60% keyboard is perfect for this reason. It contains all the necessary keys that can be used during an FPS game. Meanwhile, due to the expanded desk space, you also get enhanced mobility of your cursor. If you are a League of Legends player, on the other hand, then this might not be the best option for you. We say this because, for your overall performance, the keyboard’s versatility is a huge factor. Even so, we agree that if you spend enough time training, you can get used to this model and reap the benefits of space-saving.
DISADVANTAGES OF 60% MECHANICAL KEYBOARD
The keyboard gives, and it takes away because we all know that any positive thing must have a negative side.
Although the scale makes for the main attraction, it also makes for the most extensive and only flaw of the form factor. The size means that you lose dedication for the F-keys, the navigation cluster, and the number pad. Many of these functionalities are still available to you, but not as easy as a full-size keyboard.
For instance, the F-keys are usually accessed by holding an FN-key. If you have ever used a laptop, you’ll be familiar with this and pressing the numbers 1-9 and the symbols that make up the rest of the row. Similarly, by keeping the FN-key and imitating the arrow keys elsewhere on the keyboard, the arrow keys are also accessed. All of this involves some finger-acrobatics and puts the pinky to the test to reach various functionalities. It needs to keep either the PN or the FN keys.
65% MECHANICAL KEYBOARD
65% mechanical keyboards are one of the keyboard world’s best-kept secrets, optimizing size and shape to build an ultra-compact, comfortable keyboard to type on. For specific individuals who can’t get used to the 60% keyboard, the 65% keyboard is a godsend and a saving grace. It is because the 65% keyboard is simply a 60% keyboard with arrow keys. It comes with its own sets of benefits and drawbacks, but much of what we said about the 60% keyboard also applies here. The popular budget choice, for example, is the “Varmilo Miya Pro mechanical keyboard.
VARMILO’S 65% MECHANICAL KEYBOARD
Varmilo Miya mechanical keyboard is considered by many to be the best of the best when it comes to quality mechanical keyboards. A company from China and a company from Taiwan come together to produce a Japanese style keyboard, and the results are sublime. This board isn’t much smaller than a standard TKL board thanks to the four navigation buttons located on the right, and it’s packed with some premium Cherry switches, backlighting, and some space-saving functional buttons.
Varmilo Miya Pro is a 65% keyboard, with the extra 5% comes from the four navigation buttons located to the right of the backspace. The board has 68 keys, so you can see why the size is similar, but they save the space on the width as it sits at just 11 cm. This is down to the function keys being paired up with the number keys near the top. They have implemented standard size keys into such a small case, and it only has a height of 3.4 cm, making it only half a cm taller than the Corsair K70 Low Profile board.
ADVANTAGES OF 65% MECHANICAL KEYBOARD
Since 65% is very similar to 60% in physical size, the same benefits apply. You’re going to get the same form factor and extra mouse space. Because it comes with a rudimentary navigation cluster, which I find indispensable while operating on a desktop. The 65% could make for an even better laptop companion.
2. ARROW KEYS
The dedicated arrow keys are the only advantage above 60%. The 65% keyboard is ideal for you if you feel like you can’t get used to the FN- and PN-layer jiggling to gain access to your arrow keys all the time. You might be turned off for a while by the proximity of the arrow keys to the alphanumeric cluster, but it’s fast enough to get used to it.
A perfect 65% keyboard for gaming would feel amazing to type and play on. No questions asked, no rattling, no creaking, no wobbling at all. It will offer many great switching choices and enable flexibility that allows gamers to play as they wish. An example is Varmilo Miya pro mechanical keyboards shares some similarities with the other 65% keyboard. The layout is almost the same except that the Vamillo adds up and down page keys to the collection of keys above the arrow cluster.
On the Varmilo, you get backlighting as well, and regular key size, with your keycaps and lighting, is a more straightforward keyboard to make your own.
It’s perfect to have the option of a 65% metal case keyboard with solid rock stabs and a great gaming experience.
DISADVANTAGES OF 65% MECHANICAL KEYBOARD
The 65% keyboard cuts off some things, which is its only limitation compared to the 60% form factor. One of the downsides is that if you are looking for customization, there aren’t too many choices.
Fitting the arrow keys also involves squishing the correct side modifiers. Going for 65% keyboard also means that finding a customized case that suits would be damn difficult. Some keyboards, such as the Tada68, have alternative aluminum cases that you can order with but you’re quite often stuck with the regular plastic case that the keyboard is shipped.
SHOULD YOU GET ONE?
The 60% and 65% mechanical keyboards reflect peak output for gamers, mainly if you mostly play MOBA or FPS games. These days, we notice that very few games use the F-row. For that effect, we are happy to toss it to obtain access to the space savings that these keyboards deliver.
If you can’t do without the arrow keys, 65% is an ideal choice for you. You may want to switch to even larger keyboard designs if even that isn’t enough. However, since 65% mechanical keyboards are now more popular than 60% mechanical keyboards, we have got the best collection of 65% mechanical keyboards; click here to check them out.