Stylish, capable and versatile – a great first keyboard effort from NZXT.
Famed for its cases and coolers, NZXT has recently branched out into PC peripherals with the launch of the NZXT Function mechanical keyboard range and NZXT Lift gaming mouse. The Function keyboards are available in three main variants: full-size, tenkeyless (TKL), and the NZXT Function MiniTKL we’re reviewing here.
All versions sport the same core features, but the TKL models don’t have numberpads to make them more compact, while the MiniTKL compresses its layout even more, though retains the same number of buttons as the TKL. The full-size and TKL versions also come with a wrist rest.
Available in black, grey (only via NZXT’s BLD custom build service), or white color options, all have a distinct minimalist sleekness, with the MiniTKL adding further to the effect with its compact layout – it looks great. The matching black or grey (again, only via BLD) keycaps and default white backlighting – despite each key having full RGB backlighting capability – further adds to the attractively minimalist feel.
Build quality is solid for the price, with a plastic base topped by a sturdy aluminum plate. There isn’t the steel-reinforced solidity and heft of some custom keyboards, but it’s a clear step up from some of the flimsiest mechanical keyboards.
Meanwhile, the keycap legends look crisp and clear but their ABS plastic construction means they won’t last as long as PBT keycaps. The legends are also just screen printed on, rather than using longer-wearing doubleshot or dye-sublimation techniques. However, as they’re standard Cherry MX-style caps, it’s easy to upgrade them later, or you can upgrade to dye-sublimated PBT caps using the BLD service.
BLD also provides the option to swap the normal black cable for a colored one and add colored accent keycaps for the Esc, Enter and cursor keys, plus you can change the keyswitches. By default, retail versions only come with Gateron Red switches, which provide a linear key movement. However, via BLD you can also opt for Gateron Brown (tactile), Blue (clicky), Silent Red, and Black (stiffer linear action) switches.
Even if you only buy the retail version you can still easily customize the switches, as they’re hot-swappable. Using the provided switch puller you can just pull the switches straight out and pop in any other compatible switch. The default switches are quite loud – as is often the case with linear keys – thanks to the lack of any sound deadening, so you may prefer to use a Brown tactile switch for a different typing feel and lower noise.
You get a handful of useful extras. The 2m braided cable is removable, plugging into a USB Type-C socket on the back of the keyboard (a quarter of the way in from the left). Along the left edge there’s also a rubberised volume wheel and three small buttons on the outside edge. These provide control for mute, disabling the Windows key and adjusting the backlight brightness. The keyboard is also fully programmable and there are shortcut secondary functions on the F1-F4 keys for switching the profile on the fly.
NZXT Function MiniTKL pros and cons
- Smart design
- Hot-swappable keyswitches
- Useful extra features
- Reasonable price
- Custom build option
- Basic default keycaps
- Only linear red switches at retail
- Custom build option expensive
NZXT Function MiniTKL specs
The NZXT Function MiniTKL specs list is:
|339 x 123 x 40 (W x D x H)
|718g with cable
|Mini TKL – 89 keys
|USB Type-C socket with 2m cable
|Hot-swappable Gateron Linear Red
|50 million key presses
|Hot-swappable switches, volume wheel, keycap and keyswitch removal tools
NZXT Function MiniTKL price
The NZXT Function MiniTKL is very competitively priced for such a capable mechanical gaming keyboard.
Price: Expect to pay $100 / £100
NZXT Function MiniTKL review conclusion
NZXT has hit the ground running with its debut mechanical keyboard. Its design is sleek, it isn’t priced too high, its removable cable and extra buttons are useful and its hot-swappable buttons make for an easy upgrade path. The only downside is having Red linear switches as the only option at retail. Although you can swap out the switches or opt for others using the BLD service, both options add to the price. So good is the Function MiniTKL that it earns a spot on our best gaming keyboard guide.