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Ducky One 2 Mini Mechanical Keyboard Review: Professional’s Choice

By Christopher Coke on May 23, 2019 | Hardware Reviews | Comments

Ducky One 2 Mini Mechanical Keyboard Review: Professional’s Choice

Last week, we reviewed the Ducky Shine 7, the new flagship for one of the most well-respected keyboard makers in the business, but there’s another keyboard in Ducky’s line that might be better known still: The Ducky One 2 Mini. It’s the chosen keyboard for eSports all-star Tfue and is quickly becoming one of the most popular compact keyboards you can buy. Is this 60% all it’s made out to be? Let’s find out.


Specifications

  • Current Pricing: $99.99
  • Model Name: DKON1861ST
  • Type: Mechanical Keyboard
  • Switch: Cherry MX mechanical switches
  • Interface: USB 2.0
  • Keycap material: ABS or PBT
  • Simultaneous key input: USB N-Key Rollover (NKRO)
  • Illumination: Full RGB
  • Legend printing: Double-Shot or Laser Engraved
  • Dimensions: 302 x 108 x 40 mm
  • Weight: 590g
  • Made In Taiwan

If you’ve never used a 60% keyboard before, you’re probably wondering what all the fuss is about. If we’re being completely honest, you may be wondering why anyone would even want a keyboard that does away with the function row, number pad, and arrow keys. Those are all good questions and ones virtually everyone has in the beginning. Trust me when I say, we’re not all crazy, we like those things too, and virtually everything you could miss is still present and accounted for - and then some.

Have a look at the picture above. Virtually every key has a secondary function that can be accessed using the Fn key, like how you would use Shift to access send a capital. See, the folks at Ducky are well aware that, at some point, you may actually want arrow keys or to use those editing buttons found on a TKL, but also that desk space is at a premium, especially for gamers. By pushing these less common keys onto the secondary layer, you can dramatically cut down the size of the keyboard, as well as its price, while still delivering tons of functionality.

In fact, it’s fair to say that this keyboard does substantially more than your average gaming keyboard, all while keeping software completely optional. All but a few important keys (like Fn) can be programmed to send macros or even shortcuts like opening your email, Windows Search, or changing your playlist. The One 2 Mini even offers mouse control and left, right, and middle click, as well as media keys for controlling volume. Using the DIP switches on the back, you can move the Fn key along the bottom row until it’s most comfortable for you or swap it with the Caps Lock like several popular coding keyboards.

The on-board customization doesn’t stop there, as you can also control all of your lighting, including programming custom lighting schemes. This is done using a built-in RGB mixer set as a second layer to Z, X, and C.  If you’d rather not bother, you can choose from nine different preset lighting effects, including your standard rainbow, but also some cool presets like raindrops and radar mode, as well as the classics like ripple and breathe.

In a fun twist, Ducky has even built games into the keyboard’s lighting. The first, Ducky Gamble, is a bit like Russian Roulette. The second is a version of Minesweeper. Both of these are necessarily simple but a fun way to kill downtime nonetheless, and a genuinely neat little easter egg to find.

There’s huge potential for customization here and users can save their settings across six different profiles that can be selected on the fly. This means you can have custom settings for each game, different apps, or just use these for different lighting modes you enjoy.

Ducky also has an intuitive software suite that will allow you to do all of this with a graphical interface and is indeed quite a bit quicker, especially for lighting. The software also includes an option to allow Razer’s Synapse 3 software to discover the One 2 Mini, opening up all of those lighting effects as well.

All of that said, getting used to this smaller layout does take a bit of time. There’s no way around that needing to hold the Fn key can be cumbersome at times and takes some practice to get used to and I would still rather have dedicated arrow keys. But losing functionality? Definitely not, and once you get used to the smaller layout and full-size keyboards feel downright too big.

So that’s the programmability, but what about the build of the keyboard itself? The One 2 Mini features a plastic body with a stylishly contrasting black top and white rear shell. There’s no big logo on the top but the rear edge does feature the branding with that delightfully angry duck. It’s honestly difficult to make a keyboard stand out but Ducky definitely achieves that here and gives the One 2 Mini a unique, eye-catching look.

When it comes to keys, you have your choice of a Cherry MX switches. The sample that I was sent featured brown key switches, which are light but feature a tactile bump.  The keycaps are also very nice, which should come as no surprise since Ducky is well-known for their replacement keycap sets also. Here we have doubleshot PBT with nice thick walls and some light texturing on their surface. They feel great to type on but, more importantly, with the denser PBT plastic, you won’t have to ever worry about them shining and looking worn out.

Every One 2 Mini also comes with a selection of randomly colored keycaps to add a little personality to your keyboard. My sample had two of the same direction arrow, so I wasn’t able to use those on WASD. The salmon-pink Esc and Enter key really do look good, so I’m disappointed that I couldn’t use the full set but I haven’t heard about this happening to anyone else. Also, every One 2 Mini comes with a specially engraved Year of the Dog space bar which definitely adds a unique flair to the board.

Finally, along the rear we have our USB Type-C connection and dual-stage tilt feet.

Final Thoughts

The Ducky One 2 Mini is a winner. The sheer amount that you can do with it in its small form factor is impressive and really helps highlight that a full-size keyboard may not be necessary for all of us. If you’re a gamer, the extra desk space, excellent key feel, superb software free programmability, and eye-catching look are definite high points. If you’re looking to downsize the footprint of your keyboard without sacrificing more than a numpad, this is absolutely a board to consider.

Pros

  • TONS of programmability
  • Keycaps are much better than standard gaming keyboards
  • Feels great to type on
  • Your choice of onboard programming or Windows software (Razer Synapse compatible)
  • USB Type-C
  • Unique look with excellent lighting

Cons

  • Some users will miss the numpad
  • Fn combination keys take some getting used to
  • No dedicated arrow keys

The product described in this article was provided by the manufacturer for evaluation purposes.

Christopher Coke / Chris cut his teeth on MMOs in the late 90s with text-based MUDs. He’s written about video games for many different sites but has made MMORPG his home since 2013. Today, he acts as Hardware and Technology Editor, lead tech reviewer, and continues to love and write about games every chance he gets. Follow him on Twitter: @GameByNight