HyperX is announcing a partnership with DuckyChannel International Co. Ltd, makers of the well-respected Ducky keyboards. The result of this collaboration? The limited edition, 60% form-factor, HyperX x Ducky One 2 Mini mechanical gaming keyboard.
“The HyperX x Ducky One 2 Mini features an ultra-compact 60 percent form factor with a space-saving layout to maximize desktop real estate for ultimate mouse movement. The keyboard uses HyperX red linear mechanical switches designed with a shorter actuation point and shorter travel time for more responsive switch action.
The HyperX x Ducky One 2 Mini utilizes exposed LED designs of HyperX switches with Ducky PBT double-shot seamless keycaps with secondary functions printed on the sides of keycaps for quick recognition. Ducky Macro 2.0 support allows users to personalize lighting with onboard keyboard controls and customize macros offering up to six custom hardware enabled profiles.”
We received one of these new keyboards to test out before the May 12th release date, and can offer a close look and some usage impressions in this quick review.
“The HyperX x Ducky One 2 Mini mechanical gaming keyboard features HyperX red linear mechanical switches built for performance, longevity and an 80 million lifetime click rating per switch. The keyboard includes RGB exposed backlit keys for brighter illumination with radiant lighting effects and utilizes the Ducky One 2 Mini keyboard design and Ducky PBT double-shot seamless keycaps.”
This HyperX x Ducky model uses the Ducky One 2 Mini design, and it features an ultra-compact, 60% form-factor. Essentially, that means we are looking at a keyboard layout that is 60% of a standard keyboard, while using full-size keys. Casualties of a 60-percent layout include dedicated arrow keys, and for some people this will be a deal-breaker.
Earlier this year we looked at a slightly larger 65-percent design with the Drop ALT, an enthusiast keyboard with a $230 price tag (before Chris swapped out the key caps). 65% keyboards have slightly more real estate for things like arrow keys, but for this review we’ll focus on the 60% form-factor.
This is my first experience with a Ducky keyboard design, and this HyperX collaboration features a black/red color scheme. Personal tastes vary, and I don’t love the look of the glossy red plastic myself, but that’s just my own preference.
An all-plastic construction, the keyboard still feels very solid. I have heard nothing but positive things about Ducky keyboard construction quality, and this feels like a well-made little keyboard.
A USB-C port provides the connection to your PC via the included USB Type-C to Type-A cable. This is not a braided cable like we generally see from HyperX, but seems to be in keeping with other Ducky offerings.
The base of the keyboard offers rubber feet to keep it from slipping around on your desk, and the dual flip-out feet are always welcome, providing different levels of tilt for a more customizable gaming/typing position.
Key caps are a critical aspect of a keyboard’s feel, of course, and while we will cover the key switches in a moment I have to draw attention to these PBT double-shot key caps.
Alternates are included for various buttons, including a Year of the Rat spacebar, and a key cap puller is also included. This quickly starts to feel at least as premium as its price tag, particularly when seeing the current retails on other Ducky One 2 Mini keyboards on sites like Newegg.
One thing I need to point out about the keycaps (with our sample, anyhow) was a rough, notched bottom edge, apparently from the manufacturing process. The last image in the gallery above shows an example.
This is barely visible when looking at the keyboard, but removing the key caps (or looking at the extra key caps included) revealed it.
I won’t go too heavily into my own preferences here, and these impressions are from vantage point of a daily mechanical keyboard user who does not necessarily identify as a keyboard enthusiast. I also won’t comment on the 60% form-factor. This design serves a particular market segment, and it isn’t for everyone.
This disclaimer out of the way, I am free to provide my usage notes. These are mainly focused on both the feel of the key caps and switches, as well as the keyboard’s onboard adjustments.
I first used the HyperX Red switches with the Alloy Origins keyboard, and there I felt that the standard ABS key caps detracted from what could have been a more premium experience. This keyboard is that more premium experience.
The key caps are Ducky’s PBT double-shot seamless design, and in addition to the usual characters there are a number of secondary functions printed on the sides of keycaps. And I am really getting to like the slightly more shallow (1.8 mm actuation, 3.8 mm total travel) feel of these HyperX Reds.
Moving on to customization, I’ll begin by mentioning that I don’t exactly love being required to run software to adjust lighting and other settings on gaming peripherals. I try to keep my Windows installs as clean as possible, and while some software is better than others I would rather not run it for things like my keyboard.
That being said, not having software controls as an option demonstrates just how dependent I have become on the easy point-and-click functionality of such software. This may also prove that I am not a true keyboard enthusiast – but I could have told you that.
Getting used to button combinations will take more time than the short evaluation period leading up to this review, but from the reviews of other Ducky models I’ve read and watched it clearly isn’t a big friction point.
When we get into the world of 60% keyboards, we are looking at much more of a niche product than the typical 104-key (or s0) design. To be sure, this is far more of an enthusiast keyboard than any HyperX model I’ve tested to date, and the Ducky experience is a lot different if you are used to software to control lighting a macros (as I am).
In its collaboration with HyperX, Ducky is bringing their brand to perhaps a more mainstream audience. While this limited-edition model is being sold directly from the HyperX website, this is more than a co-branding/distribution effort, as this design implements proprietary HyperX switches.
Ducky is a brand I’ve had my eye on previously, and I was very interested in trying one out for myself (particularly after watching this incredibly-well produced Hardware Canucks video and reading this Rtings review).
At $109.99 this is not an insignificant purchase, but that price is comparable to the lowest-cost Ducky One 2 Mini designs, which can actually sell for quite a bit more depending on the edition, color scheme, and of course where you live/shop. 60% keyboards are not for everyone, and if you’re shopping for this form-factor you probably already used to enthusiast-level price tags.
And finally, while I was a little thrown by the lack of software control with the HyperX x Ducky One 2 Mini, this could just as easily be a selling point to users who prefer on-keyboard control.
I found the overall quality and feel of the HyperX x Ducky One 2 Mini to be well above average, manufacturing issues with the bottom edges of the alternate key caps notwithstanding. In the end I found the feel – and sound – of this keyboard to be, well, addictive. I want to use this keyboard even though my usage patterns are better suited to a larger layout with arrow keys (not to mention a numpad). It’s that good.
Editor-in-Chief at PC Perspective. Writer of computer stuff, vintage PC nerd, and full-time dad. Still in search of the perfect smartphone.
In his nonexistent spare time Sebastian’s hobbies include hi-fi audio, guitars, and road bikes. Currently investigating time travel.
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