Corsair K65 RGB Mini Gaming Keyboard Review

This bright sleek keyboard hides a speedy secret

Photo taken by the author.

the current gaming keyboard zeitgeist, tiny sixty- percent form factor designs are all the rage. HyperX found a surprising level of success last year with their Ducky collaboration that sold out in half a day, and decided to produce a regular version of their slim board for their standard lineup. Razer launched the Huntsman Mini, a small but powerful gaming device containing some of their best optical switches and optional extra dampening on the linear model to elevate the typing experience.

And Corsair now has the K65 RGB Mini. At first glance, it’s nothing special — and many other reviews treated it as such. It has a design that looks a whole lot like numerous cheaper models you can find online. However, this Corsair keyboard has plenty of “Corsair-like” touches. It features simple integration with their iCUE software, the latest iteration of Cherry MX switches thanks to their long partnership with that iconic brand, and a bespoke processor inside called AXON that makes this one of the fastest gaming keyboards you can buy right now.

Note: I bought this keyboard myself at retail. I was not asked to write this review by Corsair, and I don’t receive a kick back if you decide to buy any products. None of the links in my stories are affiliate links as I don’t believe in the practice. For more information about my reviews policy, click here.

Photo taken by the author.

The Corsair K65 RGB Mini sells for a standard price of $109.99 (official site here), putting it in a very competitive spot against the more expensive Razer Huntsman Mini, and at around the same level as the sixty- percent keyboards from other large companies.

In the box, you get the keyboard itself, an extra key cap for the escape key featuring the Corsair logo, an extra PBT space bar, and a nice braided USB-C cable. The factory- installed space bar is made out of ABS plastic, but it has holes across its whole length so you can see the three LED’s included in that region.

The design of the frame is pretty basic. It’s a plastic box that looks like dozens of other keyboards on the market right now. However, it’s sturdy and weighted well enough that it doesn’t have any sliding issues on my desk. I hope that you like the default angle, because it doesn’t include any adjustable feet. I haven’t personally used any keyboards in a non-flat setup in several years, and I think the default angle of the keys is very comfy for typing and gaming.

Right away, I noticed that the lighting on this keyboard is excellent. The LED’s are among the brighter ones I’ve seen on a gaming product, and Corsair put a white backplate behind the keys to better reflect the lighting. It works really well, providing a smooth even glow across the whole keyboard. The downside is that the lighting is so brilliant it can be hard to read the side-printed function text on each of the key caps. Since this is a sixty- percent keyboard, several functions require using a secondary modifier key. Corsair has handily printed these functions on the front side of each cap, but the white printing isn’t super bright and in my normally-lit office the text was sometimes lost underneath the ample RGB goodness.

Photo taken by the author.

Typing and gaming are both excellent on this keyboard. The Cherry MX speed switches in my model have a fast actuation time and a quick bottom out, and are light and responsive with a smooth travel all the way through. The stabilizers sound good, and key rattle is minimal. The only auditory problem is a noticeable ping at the bottom of the case on certain keystrokes, due to the lack of any sort of foam inside the keyboard. This doesn’t bother me at all as the feel of the typing experience is great (right up there with the super quiet linear Huntsman Mini), but if you’re a sound-obsessive then the pinging might bother you.

Even with that caveat, this is one of the best sound and feeling gaming keyboards I’ve ever used. And it’s made even better by the hi-tech guts inside. This is one of just two keyboards on the market right now to use Corsair’s new AXON processor. With this chip, they can essentially overclock the response times of the keyboard, and push updates to the computer at 8000hz compared to the standard 1000hz. This does use some extra CPU power on the PC side too, so you’ll be warned when turning this mode on.

Screenshot captured by the author.

Is it easy to tell the difference between 1000hz and 8000hz in actual gameplay? No. You’d need a very fast monitor and some specialized measuring equipment to really see it. However, a whole bunch of the big peripheral companies are locked in a weird latency war right now, and this fast processing tech puts Corsair firmly near the top of the race even though they’re using “outdated” Cherry MX switches in this particular model.

I actually really like these switches and I’m mystified that so many have turned against the company. Some of Cherry’s patents expired a few years ago, and a bunch of new models of mechanical switch rose to competitive prominence. Furthermore, optical and magnetic technologies became the new excitements, leaving mechanical tech behind as a secondary option. The rise of other companies and the falling-out-of-favor of older tech has seen a lot of the enthusiast community thumb their nose at Cherry — and I have no idea why. The Speed switches here work excellently, and the performance of this AXON powered board is impossible to distinguish from the also-excellent Huntsman Mini and Apex Pro TKL I have on hand.

The inclusion of three lights under the space bar is a great touch. I just wish the side function legends were lighter, as they are on the Huntsman Mini. Photo taken by the author.

It’s also clear from the precise feel of the keyboard (occasional case ping aside) that Corsair has had a long partnership with Cherry and really knows how to integrate their switches. The K65 RGB Mini feels much more like a carefully- tuned product that some of the gaming keyboards I’ve used, which seem like they’re chasing features lists and flash at the expense of the core feel. Keyboards are very tactile things, and as such I think their feel should take top design priority.

The K65 Mini doesn’t quite dethrone the Razer Hunstman Mini as my current favorite tiny keyboard, but it comes really close. The Razer model offers a quieter typing experience, takes up a bit less real estate with its floating design, and ties into more games directly with fun lighting effects thanks to Chroma integration. But the brilliant lighting, fast processor, slightly cheaper price, and excellent overall feel to the keys and stabilizers still make the K65 Mini worth a look — though you’ll have to lean in close to see the side legends if you have the lighting turned up all the way.

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