The Corsair K65 Pro Mini is a fantastic small-form-factor gaming keyboard. It offers an especially sturdy chassis, complete with thoughtful design as well as some excellent optical switches – smooth and snappy for games and word processing alike. Its software suite is clean and the RGB lighting it provides is vibrant. But, all that keyboard goodness does come at a high price.
- Sturdy and sleek construction
- Smooth optical switches
- Vibrant RGB lighting
- Corsair OPX optical switchesThe K65 Pro Mini features optical switches to offer smooth and snappy keypresses.
- 8000Hz polling rateA powerful 8000Hz polling rate can help to give competitive gamers the edge.
- Corsair iCUE softwareIt also comes with a powerful software suite for customisation.
Optical gaming keyboards really have been the talk of the town for the last couple of years, offering unparalleled speed for mechanical key switches. The latest contender has emerged – the Corsair K65 Pro Mini.
The Corsair K65 Pro Mini brings the appeal and power of an optical keyboard to a smaller form factor. It all comes in an attractive, competitively-priced package too.
- Premium build quality
- Well-made frame
- Space-saving layout
Compared to the other smaller form factor gaming keyboards mentioned above, the Corsair K65 Pro Mini offers a slightly bigger, but more helpful layout. Competition from Razer and SteelSeries sticks with a 60% layout that provides you with the standard alphanumeric keys and little else.
The 65% layout present here adds a column of function keys, as well as some arrow keys – it’s a small addition, but a helpful one. With this in mind, Corsair’s dinky optical board is still rather small, making it an immediately handy choice for space-saving gamers, or those without much in the way of desk space.
The K65 Pro Mini is especially well-built too, offering a sturdy construction and a chassis with minimal deck flex. That’s helped along by the blend of the metal top plate and hefty plastic casing elsewhere that helps Corsair’s candidate justify its price tag a little more.
Corsair has been thoughtful enough to extend that excellent build quality into the keycaps that the K65 Pro Mini utilises. It features textured PBT keycaps which are slowly but surely becoming a mainstay of more premium mainstream keyboards, which is especially pleasant to see. This is because PBT is a much more durable plastic than the more standard-issue ABS, and a generally higher quality material.
Continuing that thoughtful design, inside the K65 Pro Mini, Corsair has bundled a pair of sound-dampening layers to allow the keyboard to offer more pleasing acoustics. This isn’t something you see all too often in mainstream gaming products, but it demonstrates Corsair is recognising the needs and wants of an audience slowly becoming more aware of enthusiast tendencies, which is always nice to see.
Round the back, connectivity is handled by a singular USB-C port with a detachable cable, which is always nice to see. The cable provided is also braided, with Corsair seemingly seeking to further justify the K65 Pro Mini’s price tag at every opportunity. On the keyboard’s underside come two sturdy plastic feet that raise the K65 Pro Mini up to a more comfortable typing angle.
- Smooth and snappy switches
- Insanely high polling rate
- Reliable wired connection
The big thing about the K65 Pro Mini though, apart from its small stature, is the use of Corsair’s own optical OPX switches. These have previously been found in the full-size Corsair K100 as an option, so it’s nice to see them make their way into smaller-footprint keyboards.
In my experience, optical switches tend to feel a little hollow by comparison to more standard mechanical counterparts, but that isn’t the case with the OPX switches. These offer a bodied, snappy and especially smooth keypress that makes them an excellent choice for gaming. They provide a 45g force, similar to other linear switches on the market, but work via light gates as opposed to traditional mechanisms and provide a shorter overall travel distance of 3.2mm, meaning they offer a quicker keypress compared to more standard switches.
Even for typing too, the OPX switches in the K65 Pro Mini felt excellent. Sure, they are designed more for intense gaming than banging out documents, but they’re a comfortable switch to use. It’s here where my personal preference for tactile switches kicked in though, and I soon swapped out the K65 Pro Mini for a board with different switches.
As with some of Corsair’s more recent ‘Pro’ labelled keyboard offerings, the K65 Pro Mini also features an 8000Hz polling rate. This is an awful lot higher than the standard 1000Hz polling rate I’ve encountered on most other keyboards. In short, a higher polling rate translates to less latency, which in turn results in a more responsive and perceivably less laggy experience – and 8000Hz is more than I’ve ever encountered on any other high-end keyboard.
It may not be a feature that mere mortals such as you or I will find makes much of a perceivable difference, but for the pros, where every millisecond can make a difference, having the combo of an 8000Hz polling rate and some fantastic optical switches makes the K65 Pro Mini a formidable choice.
The K65 Pro Mini also utilises a standard-issue USB-C to USB-A wired connection, which again ensures a zero-latency experience, only strengthening the power of optical switches and such a ludicrously high polling rate. It’s also handy that the cable is detachable if you want to take Corsair’s dinky keeb on your travels with you, too.
Software and Lighting
- Vibrant and crisp RGB lighting
- Multiple presets inside iCUE
- Convenient macro programming
It looks as if it’s going to be a bit of a home run for the K65 Pro Mini, especially when considering how good its RGB lighting is, too. RGB can be a difficult thing to get right sometimes, with too much of it severely cheapening the looks of even some of the most expensive peripherals. Get it right though, and it can bring a peripheral to a whole new level.
Corsair’s lighting has traditionally been impressive, and that carries through with the K65 Pro Mini. Its default cycling through different presets quickly became a tad annoying, but the lighting that was present was vibrant and crisp. Delve into Corsair’s iCUE software, and it becomes easy to choose from a variety of presets across the entire keyboard, or for you to light up certain important sectors, such as the WASD keys for instance.
It’s also in iCUE where you can program macros and assign key functions, which is easy. What’s more, you can also disable a selection of keys and respective shortcuts as well as the Windows keys, preventing any accidental inputs. iCUE sometimes can be a bit of a pain to use, but that isn’t the case when paired with the K65 Pro Mini, providing a clean and functional software suite.
Should you buy it?
You want snappy optical switches
If it’s the power and speed of optical switches you’re after, the ones on the K65 Pro Mini are brilliant.
You want a bigger layout
The K65 Pro Mini is a generally excellent keyboard, its 65% layout may not be right for those who are searching for a bigger keyboard.
Corsair’s K65 Pro Mini may well just be the best small form factor gaming keyboard out there today from a mainstream manufacturer. Its 65% layout is functional, and its design is thoughtful, with everything from PBT keycaps to sound-dampening foam included to offer a generally premium package. In addition, this is also a sturdy keyboard, with no deck flex in the chassis whatsoever.
The switches on offer are smooth and pleasing to use for everything from typing to gaming and don’t suffer from the typical hollow feeling that other optical switches can do. It’s here where the K65 Pro Mini claims a major win against the likes of the Razer Huntsman Mini, it must be said. The addition of an 8000Hz polling rate is handy for the pros looking for the speediest inputs possible, while the integration of the K65 Pro Mini with Corsair’s iCUE is excellent.
The price tag is the only thing that’s really nagging at me here, with competitors from the likes of Razer sitting at almost half the price at the time of writing. If you can afford it though, the K65 Pro Mini is fantastic, and a surefire hit for space-saving gamers.
How we test
We use every keyboard we test for at least a week. During that time, we’ll check it for ease of use and put it through its paces by playing a variety of different genres, including FPS, strategy and MOBAs.
We also check each keyboard’s software to see how easy it is to customise and set up.
Tested for at least a week.
Tested the performance on a variety of games
Compared the build quality with similar priced keyboards.