The 60 vs 65 keyboard argument is one that often occurs among gamers, custom keyboard lovers, and mechanical keyboard enthusiasts. While the 60 percent keyboard features a design that’s 60 percent of a normal keyboard, the 65 percent keyboard comes with a design that features 65 percent of a normal keyboard.
If you’re trying to determine the right one to choose for your gaming setup, you’ve come to the right spot. Read on as our experts help you understand the differences between both keyboard types and how to choose the ideal one for your gaming rig.
- What Is the Difference Between 60% and 65% Keyboard?
- What Is a 60% Keyboard?
- What Is a 65% Keyboard?
Here is a quick table of comparison between these two keyboard types:
|Features||60% Keyboard||65% Keyboard|
|Size||Features 60 percent of a normal keyboard||Comes in a design that features 65 percent of a normal keyboard|
|Number of Keys||Comes with 61 keys||It’s designed with 68 keys|
|Function Keys (F1 to F12)||Unavailable but can be used via the FN key||Unavailable but can be used via the FN key|
|Usage||Perfect for most typists, especially if you don’t use the function keys. Gamers who neither use the function keys nor need programmable buttons will find it to be a good choice.||Excellent for gamers, especially if you play professionally or play e-sports.|
What Is the Difference Between 60% and 65% Keyboard?
The main difference between 60 percent and 65 percent keyboards is that a 60 percent keyboard comes with no programmable buttons while a 65 percent keyboard features programmable buttons. Also, the 65 percent keyboard comes in a bigger form factor than its 60 percent variant.
What Is a 60% Keyboard?
A 60 percent keyboard comes in a design that denotes 60 percent of a typical full-sized keyboard — it’s a mechanical keyboard without arrow keys. This keyboard type features all the keys you’d normally find on a keyboard except for the function keys (F1 to F12), arrow keys, page navigation keys, the Numpad, delete, insert, prt sc and scroll lock keys.
While the listed dedicated keys may be missing, you can still gain access to their functions. However, you’ll be using a different key or key combination to achieve the same effect. Most 60 percent keyboards come with up to 61 keys, unlike a typical keyboard that features 105 keys.
The 60 percent keyboard layout is a minimalist keyboard that’s excellent for gamers with little room on their desk. They are lightweight and easy to carry around, making them an excellent accessory for competitive gaming.
– Advantages of Using the 60% Keyboard
There are many different reasons why the 60 percent keyboard is loved by the community.
These reasons include:
The Form Factor
Many users of the 60 percent keyboard consider its size to be one of its main attractions. With a keyboard this small, you’ll have more than enough room on your desk, game, or work area. The elimination of the navigation cluster and the Numpad provides you with about six inches or 15 centimeters of horizontal space.
This means that you don’t have to overextend your arm to reach your mouse while keeping your keyboard close to you. It’s an ergonomic advantage that allows you to enjoy more comfort while keeping your hands close together. Little wonder why many esports players love using them.
Professional Gaming and Typing Advantage
If you plan to play esports professionally, you may have to get used to the narrow desks used in LAN setups. Since these desks don’t hold too much room for a normal keyboard and a mouse, you’ll have to angle yourself in a particular type of way to use your keyboard effectively, gain some room for your mouse, and remain comfortable.
With a 60 percent keyboard, you don’t have to angle yourself any type of way. Since the small form factor already creates room for your mouse, you can sit in a comfortable position and utilize both components effectively during your gameplay.
Additionally, thanks to the small size, you can always pick up your keyboard, insert it into your backpack and be ready to go anywhere. If you type a lot on your computer, a 60 percent keyboard will go a long way. It has a smoother typing experience than what you get on a chiclet keyboard and it won’t take up much space in your backpack too.
Options and Customization
The 60 percent keyboard is one that’s great for customization. Thanks to the fact that they are often made with standard layouts, you can utilize them with almost all custom keysets available. To make things better, manufacturers now make 60 percent-only keysets. This factor allows you to spend less when you get new keysets since the keys are made for the 60 percent keyboards only.
There are also multiple custom cases available for this keyboard type. Since they come in standard layouts, the screws are also placed like they would in a standard layout. This layout allows you to style your keyboard in a way that suits your unique style. Many of them tend to be cheaper than full-sized keyboards and they are many options available for you to choose from.
Seeing as the 60 percent keyboard has to compromise on so many buttons just to maintain its minimalist appearance, there just has to be a way for users to utilize the eliminated keys. The manufacturers came up with a solution in the form of a programmable layer.
The programmable layer is a key known as the “PN-key” or “FN key” and when you hold it and press a combined key, you get a different function with each combined key.
Almost all 60 percent keyboards come with the PN key and with a few key presses, you can set up the layer to achieve whatever task you want. You can also set it up to record simple macros without downloading or installing any special software. The programmable layer provides an excellent advantage as it allows you to fine-tune your layout to your preference.
– Disadvantages of Using the 60% Keyboard
The 60 percent keyboard’s disadvantage is one of the main reasons why many people are attracted to it — its size. As we noted earlier, the small form factor means that you won’t get the function keys, the Numpad, and the navigation cluster. While you can still gain access to those functions via the FN keys, it won’t be as convenient as having it on a full-sized keyboard.
For instance, to utilize the number keys, you’ll have to press and hold the PN or FN keys down and press the symbol/number row at the top of the keyboard. Other dedicated keys like the function keys and arrow keys have their own key combinations. If you’re not used to using all of your fingers on a keyboard, using a 60 percent keyboard will take some getting used to.
– Who Should Buy a 60% Keyboard?
If you are someone who can live without the arrow keys, Numpad, function keys, and other dedicated keys, then the 60 percent keyboard is a great fit for you. Many gamers don’t like the 60 percent keyboard because it has no arrow keys.
Also, if you type a lot and the omission of the aforementioned keys won’t affect your typing experience, then you should definitely get a 60 percent keyboard. These keyboards tend to feel smoother than chiclet keyboards when used for typing.
What Is a 65% Keyboard?
The 65 percent keyboard is simply a 60 percent keyboard with more buttons. While the 60 percent keyboard features 61 keys, the 65 percent keyboard often comes with 68 keys. These extra keys can be the arrow keys, Numpad, or some dedicated keys for macros.
As long as it’s a 60 percent keyboard that’s designed with arrow keys or any extra keys, it’s automatically considered to be a 65 percent keyboard.
– Advantages of the 65% Keyboard
Many of the advantages of the 60 percent keyboard apply to the 65 percent variant as well.
Here’s a quick rundown of why you may enjoy using the 65 percent keyboard layout:
The physical size of the 65 percent keyboard is quite close to what you get on the 60 percent version. For this reason, you get to enjoy the same factors, such as ergonomics, comfort and enough space for your mouse. The additional benefit here is that the 65 percent keyboard comes with a navigation cluster, which makes it a better fit for your laptop compared to the 60 percent variant.
The Additional Keys
Many people choose the 65 percent keyboard over the 60 because it comes with dedicated arrow keys. You don’t need to make key combinations to navigate through your game. While the fact that the arrow keys are close to the alphanumeric clusters might take some time to get used to, you can always rest easy knowing that your arrow keys are there to help you out in-game.
– Disadvantages of Using the 65% Keyboard
Fixing dedicated nav clusters and arrow keys on the 65 percent keyboard deprives it of customization options. The reason is that the nav cluster keys tend to be on an incorrect row and the right side modifiers are often squished to accommodate these keys.
Therefore, when you try to add in custom keysets, you’ll find out that they either don’t fit the modifiers or don’t look aesthetically pleasing. Some 65 percent keyboard manufacturers try to avoid this problem by creating a gap between the nav cluster and arrow keys.
Also, getting a custom case for your 65 percent keyboard will take some time. While some manufacturers provide optional aluminum or brass cases with their keyboards, many of them don’t and users are often left with the plastic case their keyboards are shipped with.
– Who Should Buy a 65% Keyboard?
If you don’t want the 60 percent keyboard because it has no arrow keys but would still like to have a keyboard with a small form factor, then the 65% keyboard dimensions are ideal for you. Keep in mind that it’ll be difficult for you to make customizations to the keyboard and you may not even find an alternative case for your keyboard.
With that being said, the 60 and 65 percent keyboards are great options for gamers, especially if you play FPS and MOBA games. These games don’t have too many key combinations and there are a few of them that use the F-row.
However, if the arrow keys and nav cluster are essential to your daily or gaming activities and you still want to save some desk space, then the 65 percent keyboard is the one for you.
– How Many Switches Should I Use for My 65% Keyboard?
The number of switches in a 65 keyboard depends on you. Each mechanical switch has its unique sound and feel when pressed. While you can include as many switches as you want in your keyboard, we recommend using about two to three switch types for your 65 percent keyboard.
While both keyboards are smaller than a normal keyboard, they differ in size as the 60 percent keyboard is smaller than the 65 percent version. Since the 60 percent variant doesn’t come with any arrow, function or dedicated keys, gamers who are used to those keys may have to face a learning curve before being able to utilize the 60 percent keyboard.
Both keyboard types are great performers. However, since the 65 percent keyboard comes with more dedicated keys or arrow keys, you’ll be able to get more out of it than what you’d get from the 60 percent keyboard.
Both the 60 and 65 percent keyboards are excellent space savers. You’ll have enough room for your mouse without worrying about comfort or having to sit a particular way just to play your games and work.
If you are a fan of arrow keys and nav buttons, the 65 percent keyboard should be your go-to compact keyboard. For those who can live without the arrow keys and would like to customize their keyboards, the 60 percent option is the right choice.