ReviewsPeripheralsCorsair K65 Pro Mini Review: Great Performance Keyboard?

Corsair K65 Pro Mini Review: Great Performance Keyboard?

Comprehensive testing of the Corsair K65 Pro Mini, exploring features such as Design, Build Quality, Features, Performance, RGB Lighting, and iCUE Compatibility.

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Best TKL Gaming Keyboard?

Review Summary

The Corsair K65 Pro Mini is a compact powerhouse, delivering exceptional gaming performance with its OPX linear optical switches. Its 65% design optimizes desk space without compromising functionality, and the RGB brilliance adds a touch of style. While its build quality and versatility shine, the limited switch options, software complexity, and a relatively higher price point might be considerations. For gamers valuing compact dominance and customizable lighting, the K65 Pro Mini excels, but those seeking broader switch choices or on a tight budget might want to explore alternative options.

Hours Tested: 1.5 weeks
Tech4Gamers Recommended Award

Overall
8.6/10
8.6/10
  • Performance - 9/10
    9/10
  • Design - 8.5/10
    8.5/10
  • Software - 8/10
    8/10
  • Switches - 8.5/10
    8.5/10
  • Build Quality - 9/10
    9/10

Pros

  • Premium Build Quality
  • Linear Optical Switches
  • Swift Gaming Performance
  • Keycap Quality

Cons

  • Lack of Wireless Option
  • No Wrist Support
  • Potential Learning Curve for Customization
  • Higher Price Point

Have you recently had a look at the mechanical mini-gaming keyboard market? You would assume that’s an extremely limited market, yet big and small manufacturers compete for market share. To differentiate its newest mini keyboard, the K65 Pro Mini, from the competition, Corsair has done a wonderful job.

It is a small version of the company’s popular mechanical gaming keyboard, the K65. This keyboard’s form factor is 65% smaller than standard keyboards, and it incorporates many navigation cluster keys and dedicated arrow keys. It employs Corsair’s linear optical OPX switches and can poll at a maximum of 8000Hz, showing off Corsair’s commitment to making top-notch gaming gear.


Key Takeaways

  • The Corsair K65 Pro Mini packs big performance into a compact 65% design. Featuring Corsair’s OPX linear optical switches, it ensures swift and precise gaming. RGB lighting, a sturdy build, and an 8000Hz polling rate add to its allure. 
  • The K65 Pro Mini is a perfect fit for Gamers Seeking Compact Design, Enthusiasts Valuing Functionality, Corsair Fans and Brand Loyalty, Users Prioritizing Low Latency, Customization Enthusiasts, and People Enjoying Quiet Typing.
  • The K65 Mini keyboard would not be suitable for users if budget constraints are a primary concern, as the K65 Pro Mini has a $130 price tag, which is pretty hefty for a compact keyboard.

 

Let’s take a look at the specifications of the keyboard:

Product Family K65
Layout NA (North America)
Size 65%
Keyboard Report Rate Upto 8000Hz
Keyboard Warranty Up to 2 Years
Key Switches Corsair OPX
Onboard Memory 8MB
Onboard Profiles Upto 50 Profiles
Keyboard Weight 0.833Kg
Connectivity Wired (USB 3.0 or 3.1 Type-A)

Box Contents

The packaging box contains the following contents:

  1. Corsair K65 Pro Mini RGB 65% Optical-Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
  2. USB Type-C to Type-A cable
  3. Radiant Spacebar
  4. Safety leaflet
  5. Warranty card
PRO TIP: Depending on your typing or gaming preferences, consider exploring different switch options available for the K65 Pro Mini. Corsair provides various switch types, such as Cherry MX Red or Speed, allowing you to choose based on your preferred tactile feel and actuation force. 

Design

Having spent some time with the Corsair K65 Pro Mini, it’s clear that its compact 65% form factor and straightforward RGB-lit design make it a standout addition. Including dedicated arrow keys and navigation cluster keys like Page Down, Page Up, and Delete adds a practical touch.

Its build quality is remarkable, showcasing a high-profile design, a brushed aluminum faceplate, and convenient adjustable plastic feet. It is sturdy and offers a secure grip with rubber strips on the underside.

While it lacks specific macro keys, it compensates for the flexibility to assign macros through the keyboard and the iCUE application. The keyboard impresses with essential functionality, featuring optical switches and top-notch components.

Latency Test
Latency Test (Image By Tech4Gamers)

Regarding the remaining portion of the keyboard, Corsair has performed an excellent job hosting many functionality and multimedia options on the K65 Pro Mini, with many of these features clearly labeled on the front of the keys. Press the FN and the dedicated key to access media controls, volume controls, RGB lighting modes, mouse controls, profile selection, and other useful shortcuts like Home, End, Print Screen, and more.

The compact size is a smart design decision that doesn’t sacrifice much concerning keyboard capacity, making it superior to around 65 percent of other keyboards. The user guide is available in digital form on Corsair’s website here, and it contains a full list of hotkey combinations.

Besides the standard keys, this keyboard offers 8 MB of onboard storage for saving custom profile settings and macros, PlayStation compatibility mode, and caps/scroll lock indications.

The K65 Pro Mini keyboard only comes in a wired model. Since it lacks wireless capabilities, you’ll need to use a USB-C cable to its USB-C port to connect it to your computer. Fortunately, the keyboard has a braided, detachable USB-A to USB-C cable. But it still has some kinks from being packed. Accidentally, If you somehow lose the included USB-C cable, don’t worry; any other USB-C cable will work just fine in its place.

In the future, I hope to see Corsair try a wireless variant of the same keyboard without sacrificing any of its functionality or the sleek RGB lighting. Furthermore, I wish the keyboard feet were double-staged for a somewhat taller profile and that a wristrest might have been included in the pricing.

The K65 Pro Mini features Corsair’s rapid OPX linear optical switches, providing swift and light key presses with a smooth linear motion. Optimized for gaming, these switches boast a substantially shorter overall travel distance, making them ideal for fast-paced gameplay. However, their sensitivity may lead to unintentional key activations during everyday use.

The HyperFast switches enhance performance in first-person shooter battles. While the 8,000Hz polling rate caters to superhuman reflexes, most users may find the default 1,000Hz rate sufficient to save system resources without a noticeable difference in performance.

The K65 Pro Mini stands out in custom keyboards with its exceptional keycaps, especially the high-quality double-shot PBT plastic ones. These keycaps have a textured surface, providing a grippy feel during gaming. The Corsair logo and alternative Radiant Spacebar, made from thinner ABS plastic, feel less durable. Users must choose between style and function for the Spacebar key.

Despite some bounce in the keys and a relatively loose layout for its small size, the PBT keycaps offer a sturdy and long-lasting feel. While adequately functional, the stabilizers produce minimal noise, especially with the standard PBT spacebar. Switching to the alternative ABS “Radiant Spacebar” alters the pitch but not the rattling, a common occurrence in gaming keyboards in this price range.

Corsair thoughtfully includes an additional SpaceBar with colorful perforations to add even more RGB to the keyboard. Having an additional, lighter Spacebar key makes the rattling stabilizers considerably more noticeable as it is lighter than the simple one and makes it more prominent.

PBT and ABS Keycaps
PBT and ABS Keycaps (Image By Tech4Gamers)

Customization Options 

After spending some time with the Corsair K65 Pro Mini, I can attest to its impressive customizable hardware. The plate-mounted stabilizers and standard-sized Cherry MX Style switch stems provide a solid foundation. While the hot-swappable PCB offers flexibility, it’s crucial to note its compatibility limitation with CORSAIR OPX switches, necessitating third-party keycaps for any customization endeavors.

A distinctive characteristic I noticed is that certain keys, such as Enter, Backspace, and Shift, exhibit a softer and quieter feel compared to the Spacebar. Interestingly, adjusting the switch orientation with the South side up enhances compatibility with alternative Cherry MX-Style keycaps.

The default shine-through keycaps offer a visually appealing experience with Northward-oriented switches. However, diving into customization requires learning shortcuts to avoid accidentally erasing FN sub-functions, a small but noteworthy consideration.

Despite the optical board’s limitations with regular switches, my experience revealed the possibility of manual tuning by pulling out switches and accessing stabilizers. It’s worth mentioning that Corsair doesn’t include a tool in the box, suggesting they might not have anticipated users delving into tinkering with the keyboard. The K65 Pro Mini provides a customizable experience, but users should know these nuances.

Performance

Performance-wise, I have no issues. The switches’ lightning-fast actuation proved useful in fast-paced first-person shooters like CS2 and Valorant. These switches are quite useful in MMO/MOBAs like League of Legends, in which activating powers or abilities rapidly might make a big impact.

The standard keycaps are sturdy and feature a gripping surface so you won’t slide off them even during marathon gaming sessions. In addition, they are double-shot PBTs so that they won’t absorb oil or fingerprints even after several uses. 

Sound

In terms of acoustics, the keyboard’s two separate layers of sound-dampening foam within the case perform a lot of the heavy-duty work to ensure that the keyboard sounds pleasing to the ears, and their impact is noticeable when compared to the sound of numerous other keyboards with additional foam layers.

YouTube video

Typing Experience

After two weeks with the Corsair K65 Pro Mini, I must highlight that its 8K Hz polling rate and compact build, while notable, aren’t what impressed me the most. Surprisingly, it’s the exceptional sound quality that stands out. Unlike many gaming keyboards with noisy stabilizers and rattling keys, the K65 Pro Mini excels in acoustics.

Despite lacking some high-end features, its linear optical switches, sound-dampening layers, and top aluminum plate create a pleasing and silent typing experience. Corsair’s OPX linear optical switches feel great and contribute to the overall sound dampening. The bubble-wrap-like sound they produce adds a unique touch that, surprisingly, pleases my brain’s dopamine-addicted region.

For someone who values a full, rich sound from a keyboard, the Corsair K65 Pro Mini earns my full praise. Importantly, there’s no need to worry about disturbing others while enjoying this keyboard.

Keystroke Latency

The Corsair K65 Pro Mini delivers unprecedentedly low latency. I used a polling rate of 8000 Hz and a Key Switch Debounce Time of 0 ms for the best possible results in this test. 

Latency Test
Latency Test (Image By Tech4Gamers)

RGB Lighting

The K65 Pro Mini’s keycaps and backlighting illustrate the keyboard’s creative layout. Each key is independently lighted, and it has complete RGB backlighting. There are both hotkey combinations and software options for configuring the keyboard’s lighting. In addition to the standard Spacebar, the box contains the ABS’ Radiant Spacebar, which features a dazzling design.

The pre-installed PBT plastic spacebar does not feature a shine-through design. The keycap legends on this keyboard are visible even in low light, thanks to the bright lighting. However, there are a few blurry spots, and overall, white-only lighting has a bluish tint. Since this is a wired keyboard, you can keep the lights on and use your fancy 8kHz polling rate without worrying about anything shorting out.

iCUE Software

All the standard features of Corsair’s iCue software are available on the K65 Pro Mini. Although it can be a bit complex initially, once you’ve set up how you want the interface to look and feel, there’s no turning back.

Key assignments, RGB lighting visuals, macros, key switch debounce time, and polling rates are just a few customizable initial options. If you’re unfamiliar with Corsair products, you should know that the iCUE software provides hardware-based settings in addition to software-based ones.

PRO TIP: Explore the full potential of the keyboard by utilizing the Corsair iCUE software. This allows you to customize key assignments and macros and fine-tune performance settings for a personalized and optimized gaming or typing experience.

Once you’re satisfied with your keyboard’s layout and RGB effects, you can save your settings permanently to the keyboard’s hardware and ditch the software. The iCUE app must be actively running in the background for software settings to work. Why Corsair doesn’t combine these two options and save the user’s settings locally on the keyboard by default is beyond me, and I am in no position to ask right now. 

YouTube video

Still, Corsair put in much effort here, as many essential features are available without running in the background. Macros can be set up and removed with a few keys. The keyboard’s local memory can store up to fifty user profiles; press the Fn key with Z to switch between them.

You can even choose from and tweak up to 20 different lighting effects onboard, all with the help of some specific hardware settings. The full potential of the keyboard cannot be unlocked until the Corsair iCUE software has been installed.

However, similar to other big manufacturers’ software, this option is criticized for being cumbersome and requiring frequent updates. You may find this annoying if you prefer minimal or no software.

Should You Buy It?

Lastly, I would like to answer many users’ questions about who should buy it.

Buy it if: 

✅ You wish for compact size: If you want a powerful gaming experience without sacrificing desk space, the K65 Pro Mini’s 65% design delivers compact excellence.

✅ You crave swift gaming performance: Gamers seeking lightning-fast and precise keystrokes will appreciate Corsair’s OPX linear optical switches, enhancing competitive gameplay.

✅ You have a knack for sturdy build quality: If you prioritize durability, the K65 Pro Mini’s sturdy brushed aluminum faceplate and sound-dampening features provide a satisfying typing experience.

Don’t Buy it if:

❌ You don’t want Limited Switch Options: If you have specific preferences for switches and Corsair’s proprietary OPX switches don’t align with them, you might want to explore keyboards with a broader switch selection.

❌ Your usage depends on Software: For users who prefer a minimalist setup and dislike frequent software updates, the Corsair iCUE software’s complexity and update frequency might be a drawback.

❌ You have a lower Price Point: If budget constraints are a primary concern, the K65 Pro Mini’s $130 price tag might be higher for a compact keyboard. Explore alternatives for more budget-friendly options.

WARNING: Note that the K65 Pro Mini does not come with an adjustable wrist rest. If you require additional ergonomic support during extended typing or gaming sessions, you might want to invest in a separate wrist rest that suits your comfort needs.

Bottom Line

The time I spent with the Corsair K65 Pro Mini was wonderful. The two layers of sound-dampening foams and the high quality of the Corsair OPX optical linear switches make for a significantly more comfortable typing experience than is typical with gaming keyboards. In addition, the solid construction, small size, and numerous personalization choices add a great deal of enjoyment to the keyboard.

However, I do not believe that the features listed above are sufficient to warrant the high asking price of $130 for such a tiny board. At $130, it’s relatively high considering everything that the K65 does properly. Though I would prefer a lower price tag, I recognize that this aligns with comparable keyboards on the market.

In short, the K65 Mini Pro is a good choice if you’re ready to spend a little more money and want a reliable, no-frills optical design. Since this is a brand-new style in stores, I recommend waiting for a discount. If not, then you are free to make the purchase.

Recent Updates


  • January 20, 2024: A few text changes to improve readability. Also added image galleries.

 
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