قالب وردپرس درنا توس
Home / Tips and Tricks / Programming Remains the Bane of Mini-Keyboards – Review Geek

Programming Remains the Bane of Mini-Keyboards – Review Geek



Rating:
5/10
?

  • 1 – Absolutely hot garbage
  • 2 – Sorta lukewarm garbage
  • 3 – Badly flawed design
  • 4- Some advantages, many disadvantages
  • 5 – Acceptably imperfect
  • 6 – Good enough to buy on sale
  • 7 – Great, but not top notch
  • 8 – Fantastic, with a few footnotes
  • 9 – Shut up and take my money
  • 10 – Absolute Design Nirvana

Price: $ 120

Hunstman Mini on the desk
Michael Crider

The Razer Huntsman Mini is the smallest keyboard from Razer that has ever reduced the functions of the popular Hunstman and BlackWidow lines to a semi-standardized 60% keyboard layout. It’s a solid little board with more features than I expected, with Razer’s fancy optical switches as the highlight of the list.

Here’s what we like

  • Tiny size and weight
  • Standard draft
  • Detachable USB-C cable

And what we don’t

  • Very limited programming
  • “Rattle” sound on each key
  • Expensive

That’s why it’s so unfortunate that Razer neglected the software side of the equation. The Huntsman Mini will compete with a number of “avid” keyboards such as the GK61 and Anne Pro. However, these keyboards allow their function commands to be fully programmed, an essential element of a smaller keyboard that needs to be customized to use.

Razer Huntsman Mini
Michael Crider

Razer allows some programming on the Huntsman Mini. However, approximately half of the keyboard cannot be reassigned at the functional level. They keep the default layout shown on the face of the keycaps. It is an unforgivable mistake on such a board.

The Hunstman Mini could have been a 60% board for the masses – a portable mechanical keyboard that you can buy from Best Buy and customize to your heart’s content. Instead, it gets relegated to a beautiful but deeply flawed entry in Razer’s lineup. I can only recommend a purchase if you are willing to adapt to the keyboard instead of having the keyboard customized for you.

hardware

If you look at the Huntsman Mini on your own, it’s hard to tell it’s from Razer. The 60% layout leaves no room for logos or other embellishments: the only clue is the glowing LEDs, which are by no means unique to Razer at this point. You might notice a couple of premium touches, namely the aluminum plate and braided USB-C cable.

Razer Huntsman Mini, back
Michael Crider

Turn the board over and you won’t be in any doubt about who’s doing it. “FOR GAMERS, BY GAMERS” is stamped into the plastic of the lower shell together with the wide label sticker and some very sturdy rubber feet. A nice touch: the fold-out feet are available in two levels and allow three different angles for more comfort.

Razer Huntsman Mini USB-C connector
Michael Crider

Even nicer, the sturdy, reversible, braided six-foot USB-C cable is also detachable so the keyboard works well. In fact, the whole thing works great as a portable board, although there is no Bluetooth option. While the keyboard deck is made of aluminum, its lightweight plastic housing means that it is not burdened in a laptop bag.

Typing and playing

I really wanted to try out Razer’s optical switches, and the Huntsman Mini comes with Razer’s second generation linear design. This means that when you press it, there is no bump at all and it is not as loud as a clicking or tactile switch.

It’s also visual – that is, it registers a button press by breaking a beam of light instead of closing an electrical circuit like a normal mechanical switch. Razer claims this makes its keyboard the fastest on the market. I’ll take your word for it because I don’t have the superhuman reaction time it takes to actually notice this difference.

Razer Huntsman Mini Key Switch
Michael Crider

Actually, it’s comfortable enough to use the keys. They are a bit stiffer than normal Cherry or Gateron switches, with an additional resistor at the bottom of a button press that feels similar to the inner foam of a premium switch with “mute”. Not that these linear switches are quiet: on the contrary. Since the unique stem design has an outer metal stabilizer, every single button press has a small “rattle” on the shutter release like a tiny space bar. It’s pretty loud and the mechanism is a bit wobbly than I’m used to. Razer also offers this board with clickable optical switches.

I used the Huntsman Mini as a work keyboard for several weeks and got used to the feel and sound of the keys. I would say it is perfect to maintain if you like linear switches. It’s especially nice that Razer includes PBT plastic for the keycaps, which isn’t a given even on the most expensive boards. This makes typing feel much better.

Razer Huntsman Mini WASD Cluster
Michael Crider

Playing with the Huntsman Mini required a lot more customization. I tend to squeeze the keys when I get in and that extra level of firmness at the end of the action was inconsistent with me. I am happy to return to my normal gaming switch, Kailh BOX Yellows, which is much smoother and smoother. It’s nothing unbearable, but it can take a lot of tweaking depending on what you’re used to.

software

That’s more than I can say for Razer’s software on the Hunstman Mini. It’s run by the same Synapse program as any other Razer peripheral, which allows you to choose your lighting and macro settings. The software itself is fine … the programming restrictions aren’t.

While you can rearrange the layout of any standard button, the standard functional level is locked for the first two rows and half of the second. The intent is clear: Razer wanted to make sure that the underlying function – the white print on the front of the keycaps – stayed true regardless of what the user did in the Synapse software.

Razer Synapse screenshot, Huntsman Mini

In practice, this makes the Huntsman Mini almost unusable for me. My preferred layout on a standard 60% map is to use Caps Lock as a function key and the right Alt, Windows, Menu, and Control keys as standard arrow keys (no Fn modifier required).

This is almost possible with the Huntsman Mini: the Caps Lock key can be reprogrammed at the top level, but the Fn key itself cannot. So I tried to create my backup layout: standard Fn key, with the arrow keys in the function level tied to WASD – also impossible. The function level of the W key cannot be changed from Louder, although the A, S and D keys can be changed.

Razer Synapse screenshot, Huntsman Mini

To make this keyboard more user-friendly, Razer has alienated pretty much anyone who is used to having a 60% board customizable to suit their style of use. It’s a shocking mistake for a product that is clearly inspired by and is designed to compete with avid mini-boards.

There are better choices out there

It is possible for Razer to update the Synapse software and firmware on the Huntsman Mini to resolve the programming issues. But as a gadget reviewer, all I can do is review what I’ve been given, and even after a few weeks of class, there’s no indication that Razer actually wants to change the way the keyboard behaves.

And that’s a shame because assuming you like Razer’s optical switches, this is a good little board that makes an excellent travel companion. But because of the lack of programming options and the relatively high price, I cannot recommend it to either newbies or veterans of the mechanical keyboard.

Razer Huntsman Mini from the side
Michael Crider

For half the price of the Huntsman Mini, you can get a GK61 with similar optical switches, full programmability, and admittedly a much cheaper case and keycaps. Or if you’re looking for something from a more well-known brand, there’s the Ducky One 2 Mini, which admittedly requires quite a tedious use of key commands and DIP switches. But if you’re looking to spend money on a tiny premium keyboard, I’d go for the Drop Alt, which has a better layout, body, and programming, and can use any switches you want.

In short, there are better options than the Huntsman Mini no matter your budget or functional needs. That could change as the software improves, but look elsewhere for a tiny gaming keyboard for now.

Here’s what we like

  • Tiny size and weight
  • Standard draft
  • Detachable USB-C cable

And what we don’t

  • Very limited programming
  • “Rattle” sound on each key
  • Expensive




Source link