Mechanical keyboards 65% belong to the compact class. Their main difference from the full-size ones is the missing number block on the side and the F1-F12 keys on the top. They are replaced by layers, which are activated by key combinations. Compared to the 60% keyboards, they have a few extra system buttons and control arrows. Their design and ergonomics allow them to be placed on surfaces with limited space. And the convenient form factor allows you to easily carry the input devices, leaving them with virtually full functionality.
The 65% keyboard is designed for people with active lifestyles who appreciate portability, but don’t want to miss out on convenience. Gamers will also love it because it gives you more space on your desk for your mouse to move around. Compact size allows you to reach all the main keys without changing the position of your hands. At the same time, accountants and users of engineering programs will not like it because of the need to use combinations often, together with the physical buttons.
Rating of the best 65% keyboards
Keyboards 65% are quite rare, but they are made in different designs and applications. Among them are both restrained variants for working with text, and bright ones for gamers and active young people. The best representatives are presented in different categories below.
The criteria for selecting nominees are based on the main characteristics of the devices. Weight, cost, battery life and wireless interfaces. For gaming keyboards, an important parameter is a high hertz, stylish appearance and ergonomics. For the working keyboards the main accent is made on the typing speed and the tactile feeling when you press the keys, availability of soundproof pad.
- Best weight: Ducky One 2 SF
- Best for gaming: Keychron K6 (Hot Swappable)
- Best budget: Velocifire TKL71WS
- Best for typing: Leopold FC660C
- Best wireless: Royal Kludge RK68 (RK G68)
Parameters of selected keyboards
The 65% keyboards have one thing in common: a moderate compactness. Otherwise, they differ both in type of use and design. For the convenience of choice and comparison of characteristics all data is collected in the table.
|Keyboard||Number of keys||Backlighting||Keycaps||Weight, g||Connection|
|Ducky One 2 SF||67||RGB||ABS, PBT||635||Wired|
|Keychron K6 (Hot Swappable)||68||RGB||PBT||1020||Wired, Bluetooth|
|Velocifire TKL71WS||71||No||ABS||790||Wired, wireless 2.4 Hz|
|Royal Kludge RK68 (RK G68)||68||RGB, No||ABS, PBT||650||Wired, wireless|
65% Best Keyboards Review – Highlights at a Glance
Ducky One 2 SF
Compact and stylish keyboard with RGB backlight control and additional keys – PageUp, Page Down, Del and arrows. Good for Internet surfing and typing. The Enter key is noticeable because of the interchangeable caps of bright colours, of which there are 10 in the set. The colours are distributed randomly.
The Ducky Macro keys are programmable except for the first base layer. The LED blinks during selection and the Caps Lock diode blinks when going to assignment mode. There are two buttons that cannot be reassigned – Fn and Caps Lock.
The body is made of plastic, the layout of the keyboard type ANSI, the gaps between the buttons are small. One 2 SF is easy to place at the desktop and find a comfortable position. Supported by popular Windows and Linux platforms. Mac OS may have problems – the manufacturer reports limited support for Apple devices.
Connection is wired, with a removable cable length of 1.5 meters. USB-C (USB 2.0) connection interface. The port is located on the left side of the case. Keys are made of durable and expensive PBT-plastic by double-shot technology and are not exposed to fading in the sun. This guarantees a long service life and preservation of the inscriptions by embossing on the back side. The high sampling rate of 1000 Hz significantly improves the response time to 0.2 ms. All this combined with a light touch allows you to use Ducky One 2 SF both for work and play.
The dimensions of the device: 32.5×10.8×4 cm
A noticeable disadvantage is the lack of wireless connectivity, which makes it difficult to transport and work on the road.
- Availability of additional buttons and interchangeable caps;
- The small weight of 635g;
- High-quality key materials;
- The assignment of buttons Ducky Macro;
- The ability to add colours to the backlighting palette;
- The high response rate.
- Only wired connection;
- Unstable operation with Mac OS based devices;
- The thickest part of the keyboard is 4cm because of the retractable legs;
- Short 1.5m cable.
Keychron K6 (Hot Swappable)
Gamer keyboard with a small size and close proximity of the keys without gaps. The case is made of aluminum. The number of keys is 68. Keycaps are made of PBT plastic and easily distinguishable by colour: set – dark, system – gray, Esc – orange. There are 18 options for static RGB backlighting, controlled by pressing the function button in the upper right corner and FN with arrows. Additional PageUp, Page Down and Home keys are provided.
The keyboard connects to desktop and mobile devices based on Windows, Android, Mac OS, IoS via Bluetooth 5.1 interface. No drivers installation is required for operation – you can use immediately, without setup. Supports simultaneous connectivity on three devices and switches between them easily. Wired mode is available using USB Type-C (USB 2.0). The port is located on the left side of the case on the side.
The 4000 mAh battery allows you to work not only at home but also to take the Keychron K6 to work or on the road. One battery charge lasts up to 72 hours of typing with RGB backlight turned on.
Of the useful features of the device stands out the controller of simultaneous presses N-key. Now, despite the speed and number of strokes, each press will be detected. Gateron switches guarantee a long life of 50 million keystrokes, high reading speed and 2 ± 0.6 mm button travel.
Compact dimensions of 317 x 107 x 37 mm Keychron K6 makes it possible to work and play at a small table, and take it with you – fits in the usual briefcase. Besides it supports hot swap technology – you can swap orange, blue and brown Gateron switches without soldering in a few seconds while working.
The obvious disadvantage is the rather high case and in case of long work the rational solution would be to use a stand.
- 18 customizable RGB backlight modes;
- Hot-swappable switches;
- Compact size and high capacity battery;
- Works with all major devices and operating systems;
- N-key function to register keystrokes for high-speed typing and gameplay;
- Aluminum body and tactilely pleasing keys.
- High profile;
- Heavy weight of 1020g.
Budget mechanical 65% keyboard for typing and gaming – it takes a couple of hours to get used to it after a full-size keyboard. Because of the price, the quality of the case material suffered – ABS plastic is not durable, prone to burnout and erasure of the engraving. Available 71 keys – they are quite large, but have a separation between them, which makes it convenient to dial quickly. There are brown switches that are quieter and nicer to the touch than the standard blue ones. The body has magnetic feet for easy typing, but the maximum height of 50mm still requires a handstand. There are Pause, Insert, Home, Pg UP and Pg DN buttons. The function keys are on top and, like the brightness control, are activated by combinations. There are three configurable macro keys – Z, X, C.
The backlight is in one colour, blue, but with different display modes like wave, pulsation, static light. Adjustable by pressing FN+END. On the sides of the body there are small holes on a red background, through which you can also see the glow.
The Velocifire TKL71WS can operate both wirelessly and via the USB-C interface. The 2.4 Hz transmitter is magnetic and does not get lost during transportation. The cable length is 1.5m, operation while charging is supported. No drivers are needed to start on Windows and Linux platforms, correct operation is not guaranteed on other operating systems. The charger must have 5V/1A specifications but is not included. The battery capacity is 1000 mAh. This is enough for 4 days of active use with active backlighting. Charging takes up to 5 hours.
The main advantages of the keyboard are its low price and wireless support, but the manufacturer has saved money on the material.
Dimensions of the model: 330 x 101 x 380 mm.
- Three customizable Z, X, C macro keys;
- Additional buttons;
- Use of ABS plastic;
- No support for Apple devices, mobile OS;
- Small battery capacity;
- High profile even without the use of feet.
Expensive keyboard from the famous brand. Its main purpose is typing. The keys made of PBT plastic with a quiet and smooth stroke are responsible for the comfort. Only 45 grams of typing force. Small size and 66 keys are compensated by FN-layer. Topre switches are responsible for smooth operation – the resistance is felt only at the beginning of pressing. The keys are only 1.3mm thick, and due to the dye-sublimation technology the characters on the layout don’t rub off during use.
The case is also made of plastic, the back panel has DIP-switches that allow you to change the button functions (Ctrl, Caps Lock, Windows, Alt, Fn). On the bottom there are feet that regulate the keyboard tilt and height.
The main drawback of Leopold FC660C is its high price and the fact that it only supports Windows. At the same time, the lack of wireless connection and backlighting is compensated by excellent build quality, typing quietness and convenience.
The size of the model: 328 x 111 x (25-40). The length of the power cord – 2m. The connection port type is miniUSB.
- Key Rollover feature allows you to press 6+1 keys simultaneously;
- Sound-absorbing pad;
- Increased functionality due to the FN-layer;
- Customizable key functions;
- Characters on the keys are not erasable.
- High price;
- Only wired connection;
- Works only with Windows;
- No backlighting.
Royal Kludge RK68 (RK G68)
It comes in two variations – wired and combined. It differs by its attractive appearance and the presence of RGB illumination with 18 types of illumination. Among the obvious advantages is the low price. At the same time, 68 keys can provide sufficient functionality for any task, thanks to the additional and function keys. The stroke of the keys differs depending on the type of switch:
Red: requires the same amount of pressure at the beginning and end, feels smoother and smoother;
Brown: much quieter and suitable for the office or a family with small children;
Blue: suitable for those who have a 65% mechanical keyboard for the first time. There is a slight resistance and click, which will help you get used to the RK68 faster and is good for gamers.
All of the switches are hot-swappable. The only problem with the caps is the material – ABS plastic.
The keyboard connects to the charger or PC, via a USB-C cable in the center. Works with Windows and Mac OS. The build quality is good, the plastic is thick and does not break under pressure. For convenience, the case has a tilt, but there are no feet to adjust the position.
This model connects remotely via Bluetooth interface to five devices simultaneously (the latest revisions to three). Charge enough for a couple of days of active use and this should be considered for long journeys. The dimensions allow you to carry it in a backpack: 310 x 102 x 39 mm.
- Stylish design, quality build;
- Bluetooth interface (5 devices simultaneously);
- Works with Windows and Mac OS;
- RGB illumination with 18 modes;
- Low cost;
- Interchangeable switches for different purposes.
- ABS plastic key material;
- Battery needs to be charged every day when using the backlight;
- High profile, no feet to adjust height and angle.
Advantages of 65 percent keyboards
Mechanical 65 percent keyboards are easy to transport and fit easily into a backpack. The use of reassignable and layers of function keys allows a significant reduction in size while maintaining almost full functionality with the exception of the Numpad unit. They are ideal for typing on the go and gamers. Their compact size allows you to place them on a desk with limited space, picking a comfortable angle and saving space for a mouse.
Disadvantages of 65% keyboards
Among the disadvantages are a small number of models to choose from and unusual key placement. It can take time to get used to and speed typing, and the process is different for everyone.
65% keyboard for gamers or for work?
If you get used to it, it’s equally good for gaming, surfing and word processing.
Important parameters for gamers
High polling rate, multiple key presses support, re-assignable buttons, connection stability, size, backlighting. Material is PBT-plastic.
Important parameters for work
Quiet key sound, wireless connection interface, additional buttons and layers, high capacity battery (4000 mAh), the weight (500-800 grams) and size of the device, backlight.
Are there any noticeable inconveniences when switching from a full-size keyboard?
Yes. When you type two-handed, your hands are cramped at first. Button placement can be quite different from what you’re used to.
What are the compact replacement options?
If you need a compact – 60%, more functional – 75%.
Adapter 2.4 or Bluetoth?
For gamers it is better to pay attention to models with radio channel. They have lower latency rates and a more stable connection. For work, you can consider Bluetooth, as this interface allows you to connect to all modern devices without additional modules. Usually high-quality input devices with Bluetooth are more expensive than analogs with radio channel, this should be taken into account if the budget for the purchase is limited.
Keyboard 65% will be a great buy for gamers, programmers and writers, who do not need the Numpad and a bulky device on the table. Suitable for small workplaces and frequent travellers.