Laptop Mag Verdict
The Corsair K65 RGB Mini is an impressive compact mechanical gaming keyboard for the gamer on the go, but it makes a few sacrifices that may not be worth it at this price
Neat, compact design
Mesmerising per-key RGB backlighting
Precise and fast key inputs
Onboard profile storage
Shortcuts take getting used to
Why you can trust Laptop Mag
Price: $109.99 (Exc. Tax)
Switches: Cherry MX RGB Red (Cherry MX Silent and Speed available)
I/O: USB 3.0 Type-A
Onboard memory: 8MB
Software: Corsair iCue
Keycaps: PBT double-shot
Size: 11.6 x 4.14 x 1.74 inches
Weight: 1.28 pounds
When it comes to keyboards, whether they’re mechanical gaming keyboards or wireless ones, Corsair brings the heat. But what if the company were to strip down the extra space on its keyboards and remove the unique functions to make due with only alphanumeric keys?
It turns out, the company would ace it. The Corsair K65 RGB Mini is the company’s first 60% form factor mechanical gaming keyboard, and for all intent and purposes, it’s an impressive peripheral any gamer would be proud to own That is especially true if they’re after a keyboard that neatly fits on a desk without taking up much space.
That being said, while it does offer standout features and is perfect for gamers who travel a lot. Its high price means it isn’t the best choice out there, especially considering those used to certain keys can opt for a cheaper Corsair keyboard with the same functions and more keys. Just check out the Corsair K60 RGB Pro keyboard, for example.
However, the K65 does have a few fancy tricks up its sleeve that more than makes up for those sacrifices. And if you’re a fan of compact designs, then this keyboard is right up your alley.
Corsair K65 RGB Mini: Price and versions
The K65 RGB Mini is the first mini-mechanical gaming keyboard from Corsair. It has a retail price of $109.99 (excluding tax) or £109.99. It comes in three versions, with the only differences being the keyswitches. There are Cherry MX Speed, Cherry MX Silent and Cherry MX RGB Red switches available — with the latter being what Corsair sent us.
The only other Corsair keyboard that comes close in size is the Corsair K63 Compact mechanical gaming keyboard, but even that has arrow keys and function keys. This is as compact as it gets.
Corsair K65 RGB Mini: Design
Corsair named this K65 “Mini” for good reason, as it’s the most compact tenkeyless keyboard on the market. But it had to cut a few edges to reach its compact size. In fact, if you take the Corsair K60 RGB Pro keyboard and tightly trimmed around its alphanumeric keys, you’d get the K65. It’s the first Corsair keyboard using a 60% form factor.
The K65 has a no-frills design, but attains its sleek, polished look thanks to a simple rectangle layout and matte-black finish. It’s the sort of keyboard to easily whip out of your bag, plug into your laptop or PC, and start playing, all without it taking up any space. You won’t find any extra top plate here — this is all keycaps. It (sort of) makes up for sacrificing the function and arrow keys by assigning shortcuts to different keycaps, which can easily be seen on the front sides of each cap.
The K65’s simple design makes way for the real star of the show: the dynamic per-key RGB backlighting effects. Corsair has always done a stellar job at illuminating its keyboards in various colours and patterns, and it’s mesmerizing to see rainbow waves flow between and across each key so brightly and distinctly.
Corsair went the extra step to emphasize the keyboard’s gaming influence by adding its new, swappable “radiant spacebar” key, which adds more RGB backlighting effects. It certainly adds a stylish factor to it, and if you don’t like it, there’s always the normal spacebar key to swap it out with. Additionally, there’s a swappable Corsair ship logo ESC keycap just for an added touch of personalisation.
Despite its lightweight, the 1.3-pound keyboard still feels quite sturdy. Couple that along with its size at 11.6 x 4.14 x 1.74 inches, and you’ve got yourself a neat, compact travel keyboard.
Corsair K65 RGB Mini: Connectivity and support
The K65 RGB Mini is the first Corsair keyboard that uses a detachable USB Type-C-to-USB Type-A cable to connect to devices via a USB 3.0 Type-A port. This is great for travelling, as it makes it easier to pack it in a laptop bag without the cable getting in the way. It also gives users the option to swap the cable for one that’s longer or shorter if needed.
Corsair K65 RGB Mini: Keys
If you’re a fan of the linear, smooth keys of mechanical keyboards, you’re going to love the Cherry MX RGB Red key switches. These are linear-style switches for quick tapping, which is ideal for gamers so they can keep hammering those WASD keys without any delay. Sure, they’re supposedly quieter than Cherry MX Blue or Brown, but they’re considerably louder than any keyboard found on a laptop.
For everyday use, the K65 is jarring to use at first. The keys use PBT double-shot keycaps, and have a 45-gram actuation force and 2-millimeter actuation distance, which means each key input is quite sensitive, especially when touch-typing. At first, while writing articles (like this review), there were many typos and accidental key presses. However, as with any new keyboard, the K65 RGB Mini takes some time to get used to. After a while, I came to enjoy each key's sringingess, and while the actuation distance of each key is low, I did eventually get used to the weight of each press.
When I put my typing to the teste using 10fastfingers.com, I first got 50 words per minute because I kept making typos. Eventually, after spending a few more days with the keyboard, I got to my standard 71 wpm. Still, I found I was making a few more errors in my writing.
While the K65 has a great layout, there’s no way I would use it in an office space for work. Its compact size eliminates the delete key and arrow keys, something many would have ingrained into their normal workday typing habits. Instead, each key is available through shortcuts via the function key. For example, the UHJK keys act as the arrow keys, and there are macro keys for locking the Windows key when gaming, changing the keyboard backlighting brightness, or adjusting the volume. While handy, it’s hard getting used to pressing the function key on the left-hand side of the keyboard whenever I want to use the delete key or arrow keys.
The K65 is the first Corsair keyboard to utilize an 8,000Hz hyper-polling rate, which is a measurement of how often devices report to connected computers, or how frequently the computer checks a USB for data. A polling rate of 1,000Hz, which is equal to a 1ms response time, is already more than enough for pro gamers, so you’re not really going to notice any difference between the K65’s 8,000Hz and a mechanical keyboard at 1,000Hz. However, it does mean the RGB Mini delivers a lightning-fast reaction time.
Corsair K65 RGB Mini: Gaming
The K65 RGB Mini was made for gaming, more so than it is for typing in an office space. It comes equipped with full N-Key rollover (NKRO), which means no matter how many keys are pressed, it will register each one, along with 100% anti-ghosting so the keyboard doesn’t wrongly register another key. That’s vital for highly competitive games such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive or Valorant, so I put it to the test (I very much suck a CS:GO, so Valorant it is).
Each responsive keypress felt satisfying, likely thanks to the AXON hyper-processing tech. Playing as Cypher, I could swiftly switch to his spycam to pinpoint an enemy and switch back to surprise them around a corner. The keyboard also made peeking around corners easy, without going too far before being sniped (which still happened from time to time). Every input felt precise, and the distance between keys felt right. While playing, I didn’t accidentally double-press keys.
I put the keys to a more precise test by playing BPM: Bullets Per Minute. It’s a rhythmic-action FPS that requires key inputs to be pressed on the beat in order to dash, shoot and reload. It was awesome to blast through foes and reload precisely on time while rock blared in the background, and the clicky sounds of the MX Red switches made it all the better.
Corsair K65 RGB Mini: Software
Corsair keyboards are synonymous with the hardware company’s very own iCue program, which is compatible software where you can control the keyboard’s dynamic RGB lighting (spiral rainbow, static colours, per-key type lighting, etc), remap keys and program different macros. The software is supported on Windows 10 and macOS.
Thanks to the K65’s 8MB of onboard storage, you can store up to 50 onboard profiles with custom macros and specific backlighting effects with up to 20 lighting layers, all with a simple press of the macro function shortcut. The keyboard has two modes: hardware and software. This means when I connected the keyboard to a device that didn’t have iCue, the lighting presets I created and the customized profile I made were stored onboard the keyboard, so it looked fancy no matter which device it connected to.
Having that level of customisation in a compact keyboard is awesome, and for those who couldn’t care less, it has various shortcut keys that will cycle through different effects and speeds.
The Corsair K65 RGB Mini is yet another great mechanical gaming keyboard from Corsair, showcasing that it’s still one of the best brands around no matter what size keyboard you need.
While some will adore its size — fitting most desks without taking up extra space — along with its portability, there are a few sacrifices Corsair made with the K65 in the name of portability. It’s not ideal for everyday office use, especially for those like me who aren’t used to typing with Cherry MX RGB Red while working. However, it’s an impressive, stylish and neatly compact beast for the gamer on the move.
Then again, unless you’re specifically looking for a mini-gaming keyboard, you’d get much better value out of the Corsair K60 RGB Pro keyboard. Not only does it feature a full keyboard layout and identical features (though no onboard system storage), but it’s actually cheaper at $89.99, with the upgraded K60 RGB Pro LP (low-profile) at a similar price at $109.99.
Darragh Murphy is fascinated by all things bizarre, which usually leads to assorted coverage varying from washing machines designed for AirPods to the mischievous world of cyberattacks. Whether it's connecting Scar from The Lion King to two-factor authentication or turning his love for gadgets into a fabricated rap battle from 8 Mile, he believes there’s always a quirky spin to be made. With a Master’s degree in Magazine Journalism from The University of Sheffield, along with short stints at Kerrang! and Exposed Magazine, Darragh started his career writing about the tech industry at Time Out Dubai and ShortList Dubai, covering everything from the latest iPhone models and Huawei laptops to massive Esports events in the Middle East. Now, he can be found proudly diving into gaming, gadgets, and letting readers know the joys of docking stations for Laptop Mag.