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Best mini keyboard 2018 – [Buyer’s Guide]Last Updated March 1, 2023
I’m Willow Arnold Simmons. My friends call me “stone” and it just kind of stuck. Here are the best mini keyboard for 2018 – based on my own expert opinion, feature sets, prices, and overall popularity.
In this article, I will be categorizing the items according to their functions and most typical features. So, you will find reviews on some models of mini keyboard that impressed me (and a good many other people), and you will find a few informational pages as well.
Best mini keyboard of 2018
If you’re reading this, it is very likely that you’re scouting for the best mini keyboard. Come with me.
I’ve based my selection methodology on customer feedback, the size, functionality, and budget to meet various demands. I browse the various mini keyboard available on the market and list three of the very best.
Test Results and Ratings
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Why did this mini keyboard win the first place?
The product is very strong. Its material is stable and doesn’t crack. I don’t know anything about other models from this brand, but I am fully satisfied with this product. I was completely satisfied with the price. Its counterparts in this price range are way worse. I really enjoy the design. It is compact, comfortable and reliable. And it looks amazing!
№2 – Mini Bluetooth Keyboard
Why did this mini keyboard come in second place?
Seems that the material is good. It has a very beautiful color but I don’t really like the texture. This is a pretty decent product that perfectly fitted the interior of our office. I like this product. For such a low price, I didn’t even hope it to be any better. It’s decently made. Managers explained me all the details about the product range, price, and delivery.
Why did this mini keyboard take third place?
This price is appropriate since the product is very well built. I hope that the good reputation of the manufacturer will guarantee a long-term work. I liked the design. We’ve been using it for 2 months and it still looks like brand new. It doesn’t squeaks nor bents. Looks great in my apartment.
mini keyboard Buyer’s Guide
Awkward cable position
Made by the Japanese Topre Corporation, the Realforce is, as its name suggests, a force of nature in the keyboard world. It’s all down to the Topre switches inside, which in contrast to Cherry’s MX switches, are super smooth to type on and are often compared to playing weighted piano keys. The RealForce comes in both 45- and 55-gram configurations, though which one you buy depends on the importance of key weight. Oh, and we should probably mention that neither come cheap.
So long as you don’t mind losing some of the “thock” sound associated with a regular Realforce keyboard, opting for a silenced model like the 10UBS lets you reap real benefits. Hitting the 10UBS’s keys produces sound on a par with membrane keyboards, so it’s perfect for busy offices or shared bedrooms. The “dampened” feel of Topre’s silenced switches can feel a little bit like typing on sandpaper compared to non-silenced Topre, but we found that it’s worth the trade-off if you want a much quieter keyboard.
No media functions
Filco’s keyboards tend to be built like tanks, and the Majestouch TKL is no different. This space-saving mechanical keyboard features a compact tenkeyless design that has less than 1cm of space between the edge of the keys and the keyboard. Its durability doesn’t simply allow it to stand up well to knocks and scrapes – it has a positive impact on its typing feel too. You can hammer away on it at speed, even bottoming out to your heart’s content, and the Majestouch will take every bit of punishment.
No arrow keys
Somewhat legendary in keyboard circles, the PFU Happy Hacking Professional (or HHKBas it’s usually referred to) is that rare beast – a 60% Topre keyboard. Aimed at coders but fantastic for document warriors too, it foregoes traditional arrow keys, instead making use of function keys and key combinations to provide such functionality. It only takes a short while to get used to, once you’ve got there the huge benefit is that the HHKBis small and light enough to take anywhere, giving you access to that sweet Topre “thock” sound and feel anywhere, anytime.
Big and bulky
Remember IBM’s legendary Model M keyboard? That’s what the Unicomp Classic 10sets out to imitate. Available in USB and PS/versions, it uses a buckling spring switch that takes more effort to depress than just about every other switch type. You’re rewarded with a tactile response that recalls the classic mechanical keyboards of old, along with a noise that would drive your co-workers insane.
No volume rocker
Some keyboards just ooze class, and the Das Keyboard Prime 1is one of them. Its features a solid aluminum top panel for added rigidity and a very minimalistic look. With Cherry’s MX Red or Brown switches under the keycaps, you’re given a choice between linear and non-linear offerings with a range of actuation points.
It’s a great option for media enthusiasts thanks to side lit media control and the inclusion of white backlighting is another bonus. It’s not the most affordable keyboard on our list, but if you’re looking for something a little bit more premium, Das is the way to go.
Rubber palm rest gets grungy quickly
Complete with a military-grade aluminum frame, RGB backlighting and Cherry’s new, linear MX Speed switches, the Corsair K9RGB Platinum certainly isn’t for everyone, but it does have its audience. If you want all the bells and whistles of a gaming keyboard without compromising on the comfort of linear keys, for instance, this board has all that and then some. Despite having but six macro keys in total, you can save their accompanying profiles to the keyboard itself thanks to Corsair’s thoughtfully included 8MB of onboard memory. As long as you can swallow the pill that is the towering price tag, you won’t regret buying the Corsair K9RGB Platinum.
It goes without saying that if you demand the look and feel only mechanical switches can provide, rather than those that are slim and stealthy, we suggest perusing our best gaming keyboards round-up instead.
Gamers prioritize the actuation that clicky feeling mechanical keyboards bring, whereas traditional home and office users are more about practicality. That said, the sheer magnitude of sound produced by a lot of mechanical keyboards is offputting to some. For those folks, we have some membrane keyboards to recommend as well.
USB port on Razer’s BlackWidow Ultimate 201Edition
TENKEYLESS MODELS. A recent trend has been toward “tenkeyless” or TKL models in a vendor’s line. These are shorter versions of a keyboard without a numeric keypad, meant mainly for gamers. TKL keyboards save space on the desktop and allow for your hands to be held closer together during gameplay. They also save the keyboard maker money (fewer of the pricey mechanical switches are needed!), and they therefore tend to be a bit cheaper, all else being equal. A TKL board is a matter of personal preference, but make sure you don’t buy one in error if that’s not exactly what you want.
Cooler Master QuickFire Rapid-i, a “tenkeyless” board.
DEDICATED SHORTCUT KEYS. These, again, are found in keyboards meant primarily for gamers. They tend to be fewer in number than on non-mechanical gaming keyboards. Also note that not all mechanical gaming keyboards use mechanical switches under every key. Shortcut or media keys tend to be the ones that don’t, if there’s a mixture.
GAMING SOFTWARE (OR NOT). As you’d expect, you’ll tend to find a dedicated macro/profile utility in gaming-focused boards, but not all gaming keyboards come with one. Logitech, Corsair, and Razer, among others, tend to include their own “overlay” utilities that can govern shortcuts, macros, game-profile settings, and lighting schemes across your whole game collection. The functionality can get quite sophisticated.
You’ll want to look at our individual reviews for details on what’s programmable and what’s not in a given keyboard’s software. Gaming-keyboard models that are more basic may lack any such software and leave you to rely only on the key-shortcut settings within each game, but that is sufficient for many players. Other models may lack a software utility but implement basic macro-recording and -playback functionality purely in hardware.
Macro creation in the Logitech Gaming Software
Which kind is best for you is your call, depending on how serious your gaming is. The models with the dedicated software utilities tend to be the most sophisticated and pricey, all else being equal. The main utilities from the major makers are Logitech’s Gaming Software, Razer’s Synapse and Chroma (the latter governs key backlighting and LED bling), and Corsair’s Utility Engine, or CUE (which was recently given a rework with the rollout of the aforementioned K9RGB Platinum.
Unless money is extremely tight, the most important feature in a gaming keyboard is a set of mechanical switches. Most membrane models simply don’t measure up, due to shallow key travel and a lack of tactile feedback. RGB lighting is a common feature, but also one that can add dozens of dollars to a keyboard’s price tag. Look for it if you want your keyboard to match the rest of your gaming setup. Extra macro keys are useful for gamers who play a lot of MMOs or competitive shooters. Tom’s Guide also has a comprehensive primer on how to find the right keyboard for your setup.
On the other end of the spectrum, if budgeting is your primary concern, we’ve also rounded up the Best and Worst Cheap Keyboards you can buy. None of them can match a dedicated gaming keyboard, but some are better than others if you just need to play a few casual titles now and then.
IK Multimedia iRig Keys
IK’s iRig Keys range is a little confusing these days, but it can be explained quite succinctly.
The GX4(there’s also a 61-note model) is a straightforward controller that has the added benefit of some simple DAW control. Everything feels solid, and the pitchbend wheel has a nice/precise tension that makes it very accurate in use.
The keyboard has a nice amount of travel, and the well-balanced springy feel facilitates fast and accurate playing, both of synth lines and sounds that normally demand a weighted action (such as pianos).
As a simple, no-nonsense controller, the Impact GX does the job effortlessly and reliably, and has just enough features for speeding up everyday tasks.
The Keystation range has four models in it, three of which fall into our ‘affordable’ price band.
The smallest of these is the 32-note Keystation Mini 3(pictured above), a reasonably playable mini-key’d board that gives you a few more notes to jam on than some of its more compact rivals.
Then there are the Keystation 4II and Keystation 6II models, workhorse controllers that benefit from full-size keys, proper pitch and mod wheels and transport controls. The 61-note version’s keys are semi-weighted, too.
Acorn Instruments MasterKey
The MasterKeys – there are 25-, 49- and 61-note versions – look about as conventional as they possibly could do. They feature lightweight but playable keys, pitch/mod wheels, four securely-fitted knobs, a volume slider and a 3-digit LED display. Assignments and other adjustments are made via the Edit button and presses of the keys.
James Bond’s Q is known for his super-hi-tech gadgetry, but Alesis’s range of the same name (it contains 25-, 49- and 61-note models) dispenses with flashiness to provide a solid, back-to-basics experience.
The focus here is very much on playing as opposed to tweaking, though the pitch and mod wheels are assignable. The key action is reassuringly smooth, and users of external MIDI gear will be cheered by the inclusion of a 5-pin MIDI Output.
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Arturia MiniLab mkII Arturia recently refreshed its MiniLab portable MIDI controller, releasing a mkII version that’s designed for those who are short on space or who want something portable that they can use to make music on the move.
The MiniLab mkII ships with a copy of Ableton Live Lite, while the Analog Lab Lite software gives you hundreds of sounds from Arturia’s V Collection 5, which is definitely a draw. You also get UVI’s Grand Piano Model D, a sampled version of a classic Steinway.
Looking sleek and slim, the Xkey’s 2-octave keyboard is of the low-profile variety (a mere 16mm deep), yet still retains a decent amount of key travel, making it surprisingly playable. Perhaps the most notable feature, though, is polyphonic aftertouch, which means you can add an extra level of expression on a per-note basis (providing the instrument you’re playing supports it).
On the downside, it’s hard to use the pitchbend/modulation buttons with any degree of accuracy, but if you want a stylish, portable keyboard with full-size keys, this is a very attractive option.
This simple-looking, 32-note mini keyboard might look a little underwhelming at first glance. However, the KeyStep packs in a surprising amount of functionality and an impressive number of well-designed features.
There’s a USB connection, for hooking the controller up to a computer, MIDI In and Out ports and CV Pitch, Gate and Mod outputs. There are also mini-jack Sync In/Out ports, which will work with pulse clock devices, such as Korg’s Volca range, or can send and receive DIN Sync messages via a (separately purchased) adaptor.
Arturia’s MIDI Control Centre software allows for further configuration of the outputs, too, including setting the CV outputs to volts per octave or hertz per volt, and adjusting sync settings. A sustain pedal input and power input round off the connections.
WASD 6-Key Cherry MX Switch Tester
This 6-Key Switch Tester incorporates a steel mounting bracket made from the same material as the steel back plate in our keyboards. This provides a more accurate representation of feel and noise when testing the switches. of each type of our sound dampening O-rings are also included. Clear keycaps makes it easily to distinguish which switch and O-rings are being used.
Solid construction. The keys are properly affixed and don’t wobble. The metal bracket is good too- many mechanical keyboards have metal bases, so it’s good to know how the sound can reverberate.
Everything is included. Six keys, with clear keycaps so you can see which key is which, and they even included two sets of rubber o-rings that prevent keys from “bottoming out”, a popular way to make keys quieter and more gentle on your fingers.
Good key choice. The keys present- including the relatively rare MX Clear- highlight all the major styles of Cherry MX key.
Full keys. Nothing was lost, so each key has its contact points intact, meaning they can easily be placed into any keyboard or wired to another project. When you get your mechanical keyboard, you’ll have six replacement keys and spacers.
Make a neat toy, you can easily use this as a finger exerciser.
Hundred of thousands of typing everyday not only make a person exhausted, also the keyboard. One of the biggest benefits of mechanical keyboards is that they’re durable and meant to stand up against heavy use. The keys are rated for dozens of millions of keypresses, which is way above and beyond the standard duty expectation of a membrane keyboard. If you’re the type of person who wants a good keyboard to stick with you for the long haul, or you notice you’re hard on your membrane keyboards, a mechanical could change the way you work.
Long Service Life
Unlike today’s membrane keyboards, a mechanical keyboard offers a combination of durable keycaps along with switches that will last for up to 50-million key presses — and the keys for a mechanical keyboard are usually easier to activate and provide a satisfying crunch when activated.
You Can’t Trust Manufacturers
Logitech and HTC both claim to sell “mechanical” Bluetooth keyboards, but if you look closely, you’ll find that neither model actually possesses any mechanical switches. It’s a shame because both are, by most standards, high-quality devices.
It does not mean what you’d expect it to mean, namely that the keyboard actually employs spring resistance with metal actuation points. A tear-down of the HTC Nexus keyboard and the Logitech Keys-to-Go proves that neither offers the mechanical switches that one would expect.
The render doesn’t look anything like the production version. Even so, I can say that the Logitech Keys-to-Go keyboard is a fantastic keyboard (link to refurb model), although it still suffers from many of the issues with Bluetooth keyboards, such as an unreplaceable Li-ion battery.
I should also note that the Logitech’s Keys-to-Go uses Bluetooth 3.0 rather than the more modern Bluetooth 4.0, which is an example of our next issue.
What’s a Basic Input Output
Your computer’s BIOS (basic input/output system) is the low-level software that starts when you boot your computer. It performs a POST (power-on self test), initializes your computer’s hardware, and passes control over to the boot…
Read More (BIOS) environment? On a PC, and some Mac computers, users can enter a pre-OS boot environment and change basic variables, such as CPU frequency and other settings. Unfortunately, Bluetooth drivers are loaded by the operating system.
Without wired capabilities, it’s impossible for a keyboard to function in a BIOS environment. A handful of Bluetooth keyboards do possess the ability to work over a wired connection in a BIOS environment, but these are almost always expensive mechanical models.
Nowadays, only a few Bluetooth keyboards include both wireless Bluetooth and wired compatibility. Two worth mentioning are the aforementioned Plum Nano 7and the even better regarded Anne Pro 61-key Bluetooth keyboard. Not only does it work in wired mode for BIOS compatibility, it also avoids the pitfalls of other wireless keyboards. In particular, it has user-upgradeable firmware, a compact 61-key layout, and — of course — works in the BIOS. Unfortunately, it’s still around 1.inches thick. Even so, it’s the best combination of features available for a wireless, portable, mechanical keyboard.
It offers a lot more than just USB functionality. The lofree also includes LED backlighting, a portable and compact layout, compatibility with all major operating systems, and a slim profile (for a mechanical keyboard). Overall, it’s a winner if you need Bluetooth compatibility and occasionally need to use it in BIOS. On the downside, users report that the novel typewriter layout makes it difficult to type on. Considering that the typing experience comes first when buying a mechanical keyboard, you might want to skip this one.
How a Battery Works and Ways You Can Ruin It
The modern battery is featured in so many of our favourite technologies that you could almost be forgiven for not spending time learning about their workings.
Read More ), and the more discharge-charge cycles it goes through, the faster its battery chemistry loses coherency.
One exception is the Logitech K480
The K480 offers a solid combination of a slender form factor, multi-device compatibility, and replaceable AAA batteries. Unfortunately, it still suffers from the majority of issues plaguing Bluetooth keyboards — namely that it doesn’t have user-upgradeable firmware, it has mushy membrane key switches, and might not fit in your purse or satchel.
While it’s impossible to entirely simulate the experience of playing on an acoustic piano, there’s nothing wrong with starting a beginning student on a digital piano.
Acoustic vs. Digital or Electronic
There are certain advantages to having a digital piano or electronic keyboard over an acoustic piano, such as the ability to plug in headphones so that a child can practice without disturbing anyone. Many digital or electronic instruments can also be connected to a computer with a midi cable and used with all kinds of educational and music production software. They’re more portable, and, unlike acoustic pianos, digital pianos and electronic keyboards never need to be tuned. A beginning student can get a good start on learning the piano with one of these instruments.
Layout & Features
When you sit down at your PC, where do your hands go? They go right to the keyboard, and they will likely stay there until you get up to walk away. With so much time spent dealing directly with the letters and keys, why would you ever settle for the generic keyboard that came bundled with your desktop PC? A good keyboard can spell the difference between frustration and efficiency, between gaming defeat or victory, and has a serious impact upon your joint health. For these reasons, and more, it pays to know what makes a keyboard a good fit.
One aspect of keyboard design that you’ll see mentioned in reviews—but that most people don’t give a second thought—is the type of switches used for individual keys. You may not care about the specific mechanisms that reside beneath the keys, but you will certainly feel the difference. The three primary types of switches are silicone dome, scissor switches, and mechanical switches.
Logitech Washable Keyboard K3uses this style for its waterproof qualities.
Some newer keyboards mimic the low-profile chiclet-style keyboards found on laptops and ultrabooks. While a few of these keyboards use plain silicone dome switches, many use a scissor switch, which adds a mechanical stabilizer to each key for a uniform feel, and an attached plunger under each keycap allows for shorter key travel. As a result, scissor switch keyboards have a shallow typing feel, but are generally more durable than rubber dome switches alone.
Ask any keyboard enthusiast, however, and you won’t hear praise for domes or scissors—instead, they’ll be singing the praises of mechanical switches, like those seen on the Rosewill Helios RK-9200. These keyboards are a bit more intricate, with a spring loaded sliding keypost under every key. There are several variations available, each tweaked to provide a slightly different feel or sound, but generally, mechanical switches provide better tactile feedback and have more of the “clickety-clack” sound that many associate with typing. The sturdy switch mechanisms and long-lasting springs are significantly longer lasting, and more easily reparable. These switches also register each keystroke with a much shorter amount of travel, making them ideal for touch typists.
If you’re wondering which Mac to buy, you’ve come to the right place. Here in our Mac buying guide for 2018, you’ll find everything you need to know about Apple’s range of Macs, including the MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Mac mini, iMac, iMac Pro and Mac Pro, with expert buying advice to help you choose the Mac that’s right for you.
Apple makes seven different types of Mac, and within each of those categories there are sub categories and variations in the specs and features, so things can get pretty complicated. That’s where this complete guide comes in, helping you make the right decision. If you’re simply looking for a great offer, visit our Mac deals page.
Mac mini specifications
There are three Mac minis available. The cheapest Mac mini has a 1.4GHz dual-core processor and Intel HD Graphics 5000.
The other two Mac minis offer Intel dual-core i2.6GHz and 2.8GHz processors with Intel Iris Graphics. These might sound like fast processors, in comparison to the processors in Apple’s newer MacBook models, but inside these laptop Macs if faster flash storage and newer generation processors, which will give these models a boost.
The Mac mini offers only Intel idual-core processor options as standard, there are iprocessors available at point of sale, but these are still only dual-core.
The Mac mini weighs 1.22kg and the dimensions are 19.7cm by 19.7cm. It’s just 3.6cm tall, so it really is mini as the name suggests.
The top of the range Mac mini has various build to order options, topping out at a 2TB Fusion Drive for an extra £90 when you buy the £94model, you can also add 16GB RAM for an extra £180. Only the top of the range model has this option.
We would recommend the Fusion Drive option as the SSD part of the storage will speed things up considerably, while the extra capacity of the hard drive is likely to come in handy.
Mac Pro specifications
There are two models of Mac Pro available. The first as a 3.5GHz 6-core Intel Xeon Eprocessor, the second has a 3.0GHz 8-core Xeon Eprocessor.
Both Mac Pro models features 16GB RAM (the discontinued quad-core model offered just 12GB RAM).
The £3,89model offers a faster graphics card, the Dual AMD FirePro D700 with 6GB GDDRVRAM each, rather than the Dual AMD FirePro D500 with 3GB. Note that those are dual graphics cards, one of the selling points of the Mac Pro.
Both standard units also feature 256GB flash storage, with build-to-order options for 512GB (£180 extra) or 1TB of flash storage (£540 extra).
Other build-to-order options include 32GB RAM for £360, or 64GB RAM for £1,080. There is a 12-core model available for an extra £1,800.
Most people buying the Mac Pro will be choosing from the various build-to-order options, of which there are many. If you were to build the ultimate Mac Pro it would cost you £6,05- which is a lot, but before Apple dropped prices in 201all the build-to-order options added up to £7,299, so Apple’s price drop saves you £1,240, enough to buy a MacBook too.
You’ll need to invest in a separate screen, unlike the iMac which comes with its built-in 5K display. We have some 4K monitors that you could use with the Mac Pro here.
An all-in-one is basically a large monitor with the actual computer built into the back or base. They typically use the same components you’d find in a laptop and, as such, don’t have the performance capabilities and/or the expansion opportunities of a tower.
Because they’re all one piece, setup usually requires little more than plugging it in and connecting a keyboard and mouse. The minimal setup keeps your desk clutter-free and makes them much easier to move from room to room compared to a tower. However, should something go wrong with the display, you lose your entire computer.
Mini and stick PCs
Like all-in-ones, mini PCs use mobile components to keep them small. So small actually that you can hide one behind a monitor or tuck one into an entertainment center to use as a media server connected to a TV. Stick PCs take this a step further, shrinking an entire computer into something that’s just larger than old-school thumb drive. There’s an HDMI video output at one end letting you plug it directly into a monitor or TV.
While you can find some small powerful desktops, mini PCs are typically mainstream systems made for day-to-day tasks, web surfing and media consumption. You’ll find plenty of ports to connect peripherals to, but internal expansion is minimal if available at all. Stick PCs are even less powerful, but still fine for email, social media and movies.
One advantage they both share is portability. You could, for example, pack a stick PC to take with you on vacation without a second thought. Or you could have an office setup built around a mini PC that you could simply disconnect and move to your living room for a home theater experience.
The Asus Chromebit is a stick PC running on Google’s Chrome OS.
Mechanical keyboards are best for people who spend most of the day with a keyboard, and want one that’s more comfortable and durable.
There are three main varieties of mechanical switch: linear, tactile, and clicky. Linear switches feel smooth when you press them down, from top to bottom. Tactile switches have a noticeable bump partway through the keypress, which lets you know that you’ve activated the key. Clicky switches feel similar to tactile ones, but have an added click sound to match the tactile bump. From these three main switch types come many variations, defined primarily by their actuation force (how much effort it takes to activate each key) and to a lesser extent by their actuation point (how far down you have to press to activate each key).
M-Audio Keystation Mini 3travels very easily.
Keyboard Feel: Acoustic pianos have set the standard for what a keyboard should feel like. Keys that feel as heavy to the touch as real piano keys are known as fully-weighted. The next grades down from that are semi-weighted, and unweighted (also called synth-action). We might catch flak for saying this, but for a MIDI keyboard for your studio, having fully-weighted piano-like keys is not crucial… unless of course you’ll be playing a lot of piano. Semi-weighted keys feel very nice, and will provide great response as you play your notes. Most MIDI keyboard controllers available today have semi-weighted or synth-action keys. You’ll also read about keys being velocity-sensitive, which just means they respond to how soft or hard you play a note. If you barely touch a key, it will register that you played a note very softly, whereas if you smash a key, it’ll register the note with max strength. Velocity sensitivity is pretty crucial, since it will capture your playing dynamics and could make for more interesting recordings.
Flux Pavilion. Some of these pros may be using the Oxygen’s previous version (now discontinued), which accounts for the minor layout differences. As always, we recommend the latest versions, since M-Audio does a good job of improving on every aspect.
One thing that makes this keyboard very easy to use is that it is equipped with a non-slip design. This is perfect for gaming because you certainly would not want to stop mid-way because the unit slipped off from your grip. As a result, you can enjoy the best gaming comfort and performance with this model.
Ultra-thin Sensitive Reaction
Because of its ultra-thin design, combined with sensitive reaction, you no longer have to keep pressing a key just to give the command that you want. Along with your press, the keys react instantly, allowing you to enjoy your game without any distraction caused by momentary stopping and re-pressing of the keys.
Laser Carving Characters
The use of laser carving characters in this keyboard serves different purposes. For one, it makes performance swifter, and more comfortable to the touch. At the same time, it adds to the aesthetic beauty of the keyboard.
Exposed Metal Frame
This is by far, the most visible change done on this model. The upper part of the keyboard is made of a single metal piece, wrapping around its top edge, through the key area, and going down to its tapered bottom lip. Since it does not use a stylized, bulky plastic shell, it feels smaller horizontally and vertically, more comfortable to your grip.
Cable Routing Option
Even though having a detachable cable is more preferred on most semi-custom and premium mechanical keyboards, the use of cable routing option with the BlackWidowX is an enhancement because it has turned this keyboard into a huge mobile and portable model.
Razer Synapse Software
This keyboard is also operated using the Razer Synapse software. With the use of this tool, you can store and program up to macro profiles using the macro editor, storing it on the PC. This only means that if you are planning to use this keyboard to tournaments, the software can easily create a customizable installation of the driver using all the saved settings. Some lighting patters are also available.
Chroma Backlighting Brightness
The backlighting of this keyboard has been dialed a notch back so that it does not project a rainbow on the ceiling anymore. However, it may still be configured accordingly to show a gorgeous display of millions of different colors, 16.million to be exact. Since the upper mounted LEDs only lights the top portion up, the company has designed the bottom half as opaque.
Another noticeable thing about this model is the use of exposed keys. This means that they are quite easy to remove, thus making it easier to clean, or to add customized key caps. One thing to note, though, is that the lowest key row are not a standard size, so you may have to find the right match for the sizes.
In order to make it easier for users to read the keys, the characters of the keyboard are laser-etched, and with bright backlighting features. As such, you can still continue with gaming even when playing in dimly lit or dark rooms. You can also automatically adjust the level of brightness for various lighting conditions.
PerfectStroke Key System
This key system even distributes force evenly through the surface of the keys, making each keystroke performed comfortable, quiet and fluid. The soft rounded concave keys properly position your fingers, helping them to glide from one key to another.
With this keyboard, there is no need for you to deal with disposable batteries. You can charge anytime, allowing you to do quick charging, through the use of a micro-USB cable. The best part is that you can do so even when you are still typing. A single charge can give you about days battery life.
Logitech Unifying Receiver
A small unifying receiver can be attached to the computer. All you need to do is to plug it in, forget all about it, and add a mouse or number pad that is compatible to it, without having to deal with several USB receivers. The wireless connection is strong and advanced at 2.GHZ.
The trackpad for this keyboard serves as the mouse of the unit. This is one thing that makes this design a standout, because you no longer need to use a mouse with this keyboard. In fact, there are dedicated left and right mouse buttons for assisting the clicks, as well as in doing a double tap to complete a right mouse movement.
Programmable Function Keys
This gaming keyboard can also be customized, as the function keys can be programmed. Every gamer or user has his or her own preferences regarding the use of keys. With this feature, you can experience convenience in any activity you need to use this keyboard for.
Corsair is one of the pioneering and biggest manufacturers of mechanical keyboards. They have entered the market slowly with a single keyboard, but expanded when a sister company decided to focus on the distribution of gaming-related accessories. The success of the company is attributed primarily to their exclusive deals with the company Cherry, considered as the most reputable mechanical key switches manufacturer.
Let’s take a look at one particular product under this brand, the Corsair Gaming K70 RGB RAPIDFIRE Mechanical Keyboard. This mechanical gaming keyboard makes great use of space, allowing the keys to have some room for breathing, while offering the user a huge, textured, and detachable wrist rest. It is also equipped with several features that make it a good option as a gaming keyboard.
This gaming keyboard is not called as the best silent gaming keyboard for nothing. When we tested it right after unboxing, we immediately noticed that it is designed to highlight the Cherry MX Speed keys. The keys come in an attractive silver color, featuring a shorter actuation compared to standard Cherry keys.
As such, they are neither noisy nor extremely silent, but they offer a good level of silence that will be appreciated if you love gaming. The speed keys of this keyboard only need the lightest tap in order to activate, making the most for twitch-based gamers. This may come as a drawback for daily typing, as there can be imprecision compared to a regular membrane keyboard. However, as a gaming keyboard, this is a great option to consider.
Cherry MX Speed Keys
These keys are designed in order to have the fastest switches. If you are familiar with the well reputed Cherry performance, you certainly recognize its capability when used for playing the best games available. This keyboard is effective for both casual and competitive gaming.
This feature will allow you to compete even at the highest level, as it offers lightning quick responsiveness. Combined with 100% anti-ghosting technology, you are allowed to strike the keys with an interesting combination of precision and speed.
Even though the keyboard in itself is not backlit, the unit still comes with a lighting effect which offers enough light while gaming. What makes it interesting is that if you play in a dark room, it seems that there is an angry monster staring at you from your table.
This mouse is especially designed for gaming. It comes with weights, and a braided cord. This mouse is light up using LEDs, with variety in brightness depending on your actual DPI settings. Since it comes with two side buttons, you can change it to which ever function you want it to be.
The use of anti-ghosting keys in this keyboard means that you can expect flawless, simultaneous operation of its 1non-conflicting keys. The WASD keys are also interchangeable, with WIN keys which can be disabled easily for gaming.
The buttons of the keyboard come with two anti-skid mats. These additional features prevent the keyboard from sliding while you are playing. You certainly would not want to be disturbed while playing just because the keyboard will not stay in place like you would want it to.
Splash Resistant Design
If you are a gamer who likes having drinks by your side, one problem that you would want to avoid is damaging your keyboard due to liquid exposure and spills. This keyboard, however, is equipped with a splash resistant design, thus protecting the keyboard against liquid accidents. It even has drainage holes at the back to allow water to easily pass through, just in case.
If you take a closer look at this model, you would likely notice that it comes with an oversized spacebar. This makes the use of this keyboard more comfortable and convenient at the same time.
Custom Membrane Keys
This keyboard uses custom membrane keys which offer satisfactory key presses, effective for longer gaming sessions. As such, you no longer have to worry about the keyboard getting damaged earlier due to continuous gaming use.
Full LED Backlit
Both pieces in the combo feature a blue backlight. This means that you can experience and improved visibility when gaming, even in low-light areas. This is particularly valuable for gamers who would like to turn their lights off in order to experience an intense gaming experience.
Razer is considered as the leader in creating high performance gaming software, hardware and systems. In fact, the company motto says “For Gamers. By Gamers.” Through the years, the company has evolved into the brand of gaming lifestyle, connecting with all types of gamers.
Razer has introduced a line which uses Chroma for its backlighting features. One specific product under this category is the Razer BlackWidow Chroma Clicky Mechanical Gaming Keyboard. It is also designed for gaming, featuring the Razer’s Green Switches, which is by far, faster compared to the actuation force of the Cherry MX Blues.
Purchasing a product under the Razer brand is already a good catch. Added to it is the fact that this gaming keyboard comes at a very affordable price, making it the best gaming keyboard under 100. While it may be quite challenging to use as a keyboard for daily typing, it is ideal for gaming.
When we tested this keyboard, the first thing that got us attracted to it is the backlighting that uses Chroma features. It is something that helps users to customize the way their keyboard looks. The backlighting is simply gorgeous, regardless of the color that you select. The keys are lit evenly, without a lot of light leakage on the key edges.
The first, and one of the most important things that can be noted about the keys of this model is that it stayed away from the standard in the industry – the use of Cherry MX switches. It uses exclusive switches under the Razer brand, equipped with high actuations, as well as very satisfying clicky noises.
Razer Synapse 2.0 Software
This program enables you to reassign keys, program macros as well as activate a gaming mode easily. When this happens, you can also disable some keys which may minimize the game. On top of that, you can also have control over the extensive backlights of the keyboard.
Another main selling point of this model is the macro recording. Starting a recording needs you to tap a combination of buttons. While the process has stayed the same since its earlier models, it is still a huge magnet to most gamers.
Another thing that is fascinating about this model is its design. It uses a single lens that is embedded within an opaque black plastic material. With the incorporation of more than 16.million color options, this is ideal for gamers who want to take their gaming level a notch higher.
Customizable Backlighting Options
The backlit keys can help you to locate the keys even in lights out, or low-light condition in playing. There are also hundreds of color options available, enabling you to customize it just the way you like it.
This keyboard comes equipped with 2programmable keys, which means that you can have full control over your game. You can also easily setup customizable button profiles for every one of the titles, even creating macros without pausing your game.
A lot of people think that the backlit color of a keyboard is installed there for mere design purposes alone. While this may be true at a point, there are valid reasons why they are there. For one, if you are in a dark room where you cannot see the keys clearly, having a backlit keyboard will help you see well as you type. The choice of backlit color on your LED gaming keyboard, on the other hand, completely depends on your personal choice and preference. Different models come with one or more backlit color options. It is up to you which one to choose. As a reminder, though, you can choose the color that suits your vision well, otherwise, you may not be comfortable while using your Backlit gaming keyboard.
Number of Backlit
Some models do not just have a single backlit color. In fact, some come in three or more, allowing you to switch among them. While playing in a dark area using your gaming keyboard, your eyes may start to get irritated with the single backlit color guiding your fingers while giving commands to your game. By switching to another color midway, your eyes can get readjusted, allowing you to feel more comfort while playing, or while doing other typing activities. At the same time, you can give your keyboard a different look everytime you change the backlight.
The decision on the dimensions of your gaming keyboard is entirely up to you. We have met some gamers who prefer longer keyboards, as they give them better control of the game. There are also some who prefer smaller ones, such as those who want a portable option for their mobile devices. You may also want to take into consideration the type of game that you will be playing. Some games do not need a big keyboard for playing, while others can be played conveniently with bigger ones.
Color is all about preference. Therefore, you can select a color that will not just meet your needs, but also one that suits your taste. Some gamers prefer colorful keyboards, while some prefer the basic ones, such as having a white gaming keyboard. To some, this helps them to concentrate better on the game. Regardless of your choice, you will be delighted to know that there is a wide array of options out there.
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In this guide, we’ll take you through all that you should consider when buying a mechanical gaming keyboard. You’ll come away equipped to make the best choice to level up your gaming rig and buy the best gaming keyboard possible.
Synthesizers are keyboards that for the most part just produce sounds. Most synthesizers today use sample-based synthesis—that is, they use pre-recorded sounds as opposed to analog synths that manipulate electrical signals to create their sounds. In the past few years, analog synths have experienced a bit of a renaissance, owing to their unique sound, and (typically) knob-per-function control. AThe technology of analog synthesizers has improved greatly over the years, and they have distinct sounds that many players demand, although many digital synths emulate them with great accuracy. Sample-based synths generally provide a larger sound set, including piano, organ, horns, strings, and even digital re-creations of classic analog synths. Some synths offer basic sequencing and step-sequence functions as well.
Novation’s MiniNova performance synth gives you 25amazing sounds to tweak and twist while adding in your voice in real time.
The Novation Mini Nova synth can generate old-school sounds but also offers digital dexterity no analog synth can match.
The first thing you should do before shopping for a synthesizer is define your needs. What style of music do you play? How many keys will be sufficient for you? What sounds are most important to your style? A keyboard player in a metal band will obviously have different answers than someone in a country-western band. Sound clips for many of the synthesizers are available for online preview to help you get an idea of their soundsets. It’s also important to decide what your budget will be for your synth. Thanks to technological advances, even less-expensive synths come with quality soundsets and keyboard action. So there are plenty of synths to choose from if you don’t have tons of money to spend.
With its robust mixing section, monophonic or duo-paraphonic performance options and a fully analog sound source, the Moog Subsequent 3synthesizer will please old-school electronic musicians while delivering modern programming capability.
Synthesizers include a number of sounds built into the ROM. If you are the kind of player who just wants to plug in and start playing, then you’ll want a synth with a lot of presets. If you’d rather create your own unique sounds, be sure to select a synth with plenty of user patch locations (memory slots that allow you to save your sonic creations). Being able to expand the ROM is valuable as well, as it will allow you to update your synth with new or different sound sets.
The Sub Phatty 25-Key Analog Synth delivers genuine, vintage Moog sound while its 3knobs and 1switch controls offer a vast palette for audio creativity.
Check the ROM capacity; more is better in terms of saving and expanding sounds. As noted above, things like weighted keys, and high-polyphony counts make the synth more playable, powerful and versatile.
Envelope controls let you tailor the attack, sustain, decay, and release time of a sound. A low-frequency oscillator, or LFO, allows you to alter various parameters of a tone. For example, applying the LFO to a tone’s pitch creates a vibrato effect. A synthesizer’s filter section can be used to remove certain frequencies from a sound and change its timbre. Many synthesizers also have built-in effects like reverb, delay, chorus, and more. If you enjoy pushing the sonic boundaries with what you play, then these are features you’ll want to look for in your purchase.
The new Montage Series synths from Yamaha represent the state of the art when it comes to creating powerful and enveloping textures that are beyond the reach of ordinary synths. The cornerstone of its operation is the Motion Control Synthesis Engine—an environment in which you control two fully independent sound engines that can be zoned or layered to create huge tapestries. Using Motion Sequences technology opens up new worlds of synth control and performance possibilities.
Composers and musicians will love the enormous range of control and workflow options presented by Yamaha’s Montage 76-Key Flagship Synthesizer.
Anyone who has dragged a classic Hammond Borgan and its hefty Leslie speakers to a gig knows what a hernia-inducing experience that can be. The good news for today’s organ players is that modern electronic organs can capture the retro sound of old Hammonds and Wurlitzers without breaking your back (or wallet). The best modern organs replicate subtle nuances of old-school organs right down to the sound of their key-thunk! Most organs today use digital modeling, but incorporate drawbars like a traditional organ to change the sound. Digital organs also have features like effects, pitch bend and modulation wheels, and MIDI compatibility.
The Hammond SkOrgan conjures up the sounds and feel of the classic Bwhile also offering capabilities and voices undreamed of by old-school organists. At 1lb., it has great potential as a stage organ that won’t break your back.
By now you should have a pretty good idea of the important things to look for when considering a keyboard or digital piano. Armed with that information, you’re now better equipped to find the right gear to match your needs and budget.
We want you to be pleased with your keyboard purchase, and offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee and generous return policy so you can order with confidence.
The following are some common terms you will encounter when shopping for your keyboard, piano, or synthesizer. Use this glossary as a reference while you browse Musician’s Friend’s huge selection of synths, workstations, MIDI controllers, portable keyboards, arrangers, and digital pianos.
A/D and D/A conversion » The process of converting an analog signal to a digital one (A/D) or a digital signal to an analog one (D/A).
Aftertouch » A control activated by pushing a key past the point where the note sounds.
Arpeggiator » A keyboard function that generates an arpeggio when a single note is played.
Assignable » The ability to have a keyboard control affect specified parameters selected by the user.
Auto-accompaniment » A keyboard feature that plays backing performances, often made up of a number of instruments.
Bit depth » The number of bits captured in one sample, or slice, of an audio signal as it is converted from analog to digital by an A/D converter. Measured in bits and represented as 16-bit, 24-bit, 32-bit, 48-bit, etc. Higher bit depths usually produce higher quality sound.
CompactFlash » A memory storage system developed by SanDisk that uses small cards to transfer data to and from compatible devices.
Damper pedal » A pedal that, when pressed, maintains a note’s sustain until released.
DSP » Digital signal processing. The means by which most keyboards produce effects, equalization, filters, etc. that can be applied to an audio signal.
Effects » Processes that modify a tone or tones, such as reverb, delay, vibrato, etc.
Envelope » An electronic circuit that changes a selected setting by a desired amount at certain intervals. Commonly used to alter basic waveform pitch settings.
Filter » An electronic circuit that alters a tone by removing specific frequencies.
FireWire » A high-speed connection protocol developed by Apple that is similar to USB but much faster.
Hammer action » A keybed that uses small hammers to trigger notes in an effort to re-create the feel of an acoustic piano.
Keybed » The keys of a keyboard and their underlying mechanisms.
Low-frequency oscillator (LFO) » An inaudible oscillator that alters basic settings of a waveform to create unique effects like vibrato or tremolo.
Layer » A keyboard function that lets you create a sound by layering several different tones.
MIDI » Acronym for Musical Instrument Digital Interface. A protocol that allows musical instruments and digital devices to communicate. GM is short for General MIDI, a music industry standard since 199that ensures consistent performance on all GM-compatible instruments and standardized sounds and locations. GMis an extension of GM that requires 32-voice polyphony (instead of 2for GM) and includes more programs. mLAN » A network protocol designed by Yamaha for transmitting digital audio and MIDI data among a number of devices using a FireWire cable.
Modulation wheel (mod wheel) » A keyboard controller that can alter various elements of a tone.
Multitimbrality » The ability of a keyboard to play different sounds at once, i.e. flute, drums, strings, piano, etc. Multitimbrality should not be confused with polyphony.
Oscillator » The sound-producing device in an analog synth.
Pitch bend wheel » A keyboard controller that alters the pitch of the note being played up or down.
Polyphony » The number of tones a keyboard can produce at once.
Rhythms » Beats that are built into a keyboard in various musical styles.
Sample rate » The number of times an audio signal is measured (sampled) per second as it is converted from analog to digital by an A/D converter. Measured in kHz and represented as 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88kHz, 96kHz, etc. The higher the sample the greater the musical fidelity.
Sampler » A device that records digital audio and allows it to be altered and played back in various ways.
Sequencer » A hardware or software device that records MIDI performance data and plays it back in a user-programmed sequence.
SmartMedia » A memory storage system developed by Toshiba that uses small cards to transfer data to and from compatible devices. Similar to CompactFlash, but SmartMedia cards are smaller.
Sostenuto pedal » A keyboard pedal that mimics the pedal of the same name found on grand pianos. It sustains only the notes that are being held down when the pedal is pressed.
Split » A keyboard function that allows the user to divide the keybed into different sections and assign various tones to each one.
Style » A musical passage, complete with many instruments, built into a keyboard.
Tones (waveforms) » The sounds that a synthesizer or other keyboard produces. Waveforms have different shapes that give them unique tonal properties. The most common shapes are sawtooth, square, and sine.
Touch sensitivity » The ability of a keybed to respond to various player actions, such as the velocity with which keys are pressed and the amount of pressure placed on the key. These elements are designed to replicate the feel of acoustic piano keys.
USB » Universal serial bus. A common connection protocol for computers. Many keyboards provide a USB connection to transfer data to and from a computer.
Ergonomics and circumstances
Is your piano student taller or shorter than average? How easy is to adjust the height of the instrument, seat or stand? Musicians should play sitting at a height where the forearm is parallel to the ground.
We offer a complete selection of keyboard stands and racks to match any student and budget.
The Pro Platinum Keyboard Stand from On Stage Stands is sturdy, with adjustable height and width to help you play comfortably.
You’ll find a complete selection of keyboard instrument cases, gig bags, and covers here.
Does the instrument need to travel with your student, and if so, how portable is it? What about the power source? Will you need to play in areas where it may not be easy to plug in? Read specs to find out if the keyboard can be powered with batteries, an AC adapter, or both. Not all keyboards include an adapter—read descriptions carefully so you order the appropropriate extras.
Graded hammer-action keys with velocity sensitivity give the Casio CD-13Digital Piano real acoustic-piano feel.
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First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.
Most important, have fun and choose your mini keyboard wisely! Good luck!
So, TOP3 of mini keyboard
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- №2 — Mini Bluetooth Keyboard
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