Top 5 keyboards in 2020 (60% form factor)

The 60% form factor has become a popular choice among gamers and keyboard enthusiasts alike. Whether you like the compact look, extra mouse space or customisability, these tiny boards are becoming increasingly widespread. They are also much more accessible and affordable nowadays, with viable options in the $40-$60 price range. Now there are a lot of good ones and a lot of not so good ones, so in this article I am going to give my Top 5 mainstream offerings. I have no particular budget in mind, but the board should be affordable to the average consumer. Although I may be pushing it here, let’s work with a maximum price of $130. We’re not talking about $3500 custom builds here.

My rankings are based on the following factors:

Typing experienceHow it feels to type on the keyboard, which is a combination of the case, switches, stabilisers and keycaps. Linears should feel smooth, tactile switches shouldn’t feel too mushy, etc.
SoundSound is an important part of the overall experience. Rattle and metal ping are big no-nos.
CustomisationHot swap, standard layout for custom keycaps, detachable cable.
BuildWe’re looking for a sturdy case that doesn’t bend easily. The keyboard should be able to withstand some punishment.
AestheticsThe keyboard has to look good! Here we’re looking at the case design, keycaps and RGB.
BluetoothAlways a nice feature to have, especially for laptop and tablet users.
AffordabilityThe lower the better.
SoftwareKey remapping, macro recording, RGB control, Fn layer editing, etc.

#1 Kemove Shadow/SnowFox

One to rule them all…

An absolute gem of a keyboard that is criminally underrated. At a very affordable $90, the Kemove SnowFox ticks every box and then some. At its very core, it offers a crisp typing experience with quality stabilisers and an ASMR sound. The case has a beautiful two-piece design and comes with pre-installed foam. The SnowFox is fitted with Gateron switches, and the PCB is hot swap which means customisation is a breeze. The sockets are compatible with a wide variety of switches, unlike the Gateron Optical hot swap boards where you’re limited to only optical switches. The RGB is bright with silky light diffusal, although the list of modes is rather scant with only 11 different schemes. Bluetooth? Check. Windows and Mac modes? Check. The only thing it really lacks is convenient dedicated arrow key functionality. The Fn Layer arrow keys can become dedicated by temporarily making the whole Fn layer dedicated, but you can still get arrow keys via remapping, so this is hardly something to be unhappy about. This board comfortably holds the 60% throne right now, and things are only getting better with an aluminium version on the way.

#2 Anne Pro 2

At $110, the Anne Pro 2 is slightly more expensive than the SnowFox, but it’s worth every penny. Take all the good things I said about the SnowFox, and just minus the hot swap feature. While the Anne Pro 2 does lack that desirable switch customisation option, it has mind-blowing arrow key functionality. The tap layer allows the bottom right keys to double up as arrows and modifiers, not to mention the super useful Magic Fn option for Caps Lock. On top of that, the Anne Pro 2 has the most intuitive and useful software I’ve ever used. The standout feature is the option to edit the Fn layer, which is very rare with 60% boards. Plenty of options as far as switches are concerned: Cherry MX, Gateron and Kailh Box switches. Got to love those CMYK modifier keycaps included in the packaging.

#3 Ducky One 2 Mini

It was an absolute toss-up between the Ducky One 2 Mini and Anne Pro 2 for second position, but the Anne Pro 2’s superior arrow key functionality and software gives it a slight edge. The Ducky One 2 Mini also lacks bluetooth. But these keyboards are very evenly matched in all other areas. For me it is slightly more satisfying to type on the Ducky, and it also looks more attractive, with the case design and the gorgeous Chinese New Year Space Bar. The Ducky One 2 Mini v2 is available with several switch options, including Cherry MX, Gateron and Kailh Box switches. The hype surrounding the Ducky One 2 Mini is fully justified, and it is well worth forking out some extra cash for this beaut.

#4 Dierya DK61E

Our number four and five spot is where we get into the budget beasts. Although these boards don’t quite match the Top 3 – understandably so, they’re half the price! – they aren’t a bad compromise if your budget is around the $50 mark. The DK61E is a very solid budget 60% offering, featuring hot swap Gateron Optical switches. Do yourself a favour and try the Optical Reds; the smoothness is comparable with far more expensive enthusiast switches. The stabilisers have been greatly improved with an updated unit, so the typing experience is excellent. The DK61E also has PBT keycaps, which is a rarity at the $50 price point. Featuring good looks and a robust case, this is a great pick-up that won’t burn a hole in your pocket. Audiophiles be warned, this board is loud! Nothing that can’t be fixed with some foam and O-rings though.

#5 GK61

It was very hard separating #4 and #5, but the improved stabilisers and PBT keycaps gave the DK61E an edge. The GK61 also comes with hot swap Gateron Opticals. The stabilisers don’t quite match the updated DK61E, however they can be greatly improved with some modding. Another significant difference is that you get ABS keycaps with the GK61, whereas the DK61E has those juicy PBTs. The GK61 does have a more satisfying typing sound for me, and it is also available in white whereas the DK61E only comes in black as of right now.

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