75% Keyboard for Gaming

75% Keyboard for Gaming

Many gamers like to customize their hardware setups, but the humble keyboard is often overlooked. Modern keyboards come in a wide range of designs, which makes it difficult to choose the perfect one. A 75 percent keyboard can be an excellent choice for gaming, so let's take a closer look at what makes them unique.

What is a 75% Keyboard?

A 75% keyboard is a compact keyboard design, roughly 75% of the size of a standard keyboard. It has all the essential letter, number, and modifier keys used for word processing but does not include the number pad section used for data entry. 


These keyboards also lack the Print Screen, Scroll Lock, Pause/Break, and Insert keys found on full-sized keyboards. The reduced key layout means that a 75% keyboard takes up less space on your desk while preserving more key function than a 60% keyboard. 

What Are the Key Features of a 75% Keyboard?

Key Layout

A 75% keyboard uses the standard 6-row layout found in larger keyboards. In addition to the standard alphanumeric keys, they include a row of function keys (F1, F2, etc.), an arrow key group, and a page navigation column. 

This layout style places key groups much closer together than a standard keyboard, providing maximum utility in a minimum of space. 

Key Count

Most 75% keyboards use an 84-key layout that includes all the essential functions of a keyboard. Some manufacturers make 81-key models in a 75% form factor, and some include additional input options such as a control knob. 

Aesthetics and Customization

Mechanical 75% keyboards offer a variety of aesthetics, from pure minimalism to full RGB backlighting. Custom keycap designs are also available in various styles.

Some 75% keyboards include hot-swappable switches that do not need soldering. This lets you customize your keyboard with different switch types or replace damaged switches. This is becoming more common, but it is not a standard feature on all mechanical keyboards.

Connectivity Options

Modern 75% keyboards are available with USB wired connections or wireless connections through Bluetooth or a 2.4 GHz wireless dongle. Some keyboards support both wired and wireless connectivity options. 

Wired connections provide perfect reliability, with no missed keystrokes and almost zero latency. However, they can limit your keyboard placement, and some users don't like the visual clutter created by wires. 

Wireless connections may have rare connectivity issues and more input latency, but they make up for this by being usable in any position. They also help to create a cleaner, wire-free desk area. 

What Are the Physical Dimensions of a 75% Layout Keyboard?

Standard Dimensions

The exact dimensions of a 75% keyboard vary between different manufacturers. They are typically between 310 to 325mm wide and 120 to 135mm deep. They are usually around 40mm high, but custom lifts, switches, and keycaps can also affect the total height. 

The popular Keychron K2 75% keyboard is 313mm x 123mm for the plastic version and 317mm x 129mm for the aluminum version. Both models are 30mm high at the front and 40mm high at the back. 

At the larger end of the spectrum, the Asus ROG Azoth 75% keyboard is 326 x 136 x 40 mm.

Portability

Due to their reduced size, 75% keyboards are lighter than a standard keyboard. The specific weight reduction depends on the model and the materials used, but they are still easier to carry than a full-sized keyboard. 

Keycaps, switches, RGB lighting systems, and batteries can also affect the weight of a 75% keyboard. 

The plastic Keychron K2 weighs just 663 grams, while the aluminum version weighs 794 grams. In comparison, the ROG Azoth weighs 1186 grams, almost twice as much as the plastic Keychron K2.  

75% Keyboard Layouts Featuring a Control Knob

Some 75% keyboard layouts include an alternative input system known as a control knob or dial. These rotary inputs are often placed in the upper right corner of a mechanical keyboard, but other layouts are possible. The control knob can be mapped to adjust volume, control media, or any other custom key binding. 

Some popular 75% keyboards featuring control knobs include the Keychron Q1 Pro, the Corsair K65 Plus, and the Glorious GMMK Pro.

Pros of 75% Keyboards

Compact Size Without Sacrificing Functionality

A 75% keyboard provides the best balance between size and functionality. You still get the comfortable typing experience of a standard keyboard without the added weight and size required for a full layout. 

Portability

The compact design of a 75% keyboard makes it far more portable than a full-sized keyboard. They are small enough to fit into a standard laptop bag or backpack, so you can take your perfect typing experience with you anywhere. 

Ergonomic Benefits

A 75% keyboard can provide a more ergonomic typing experience. Removing the number pad section allows you to place your keyboard more centrally on your desktop, creating a more natural hand position. This can provide relief from wrist and finger strain during long typing projects. 

Aesthetically Pleasing

The compact design minimizes unused space, creating cleaner lines and a smaller footprint. This helps keep your desk area looking neat and tidy, especially when combined with a wireless connection. 

Customization Options

Mechanical 75% keyboards provide more customization options than a standard keyboard. Hot-swappable switches allow you to customize the tactile quality of your typing experience without any soldering. Custom keycap sets are available to give your keyboard a new look, and you can even mix and match keycaps for a unique style. 

Improved Mouse Movement

The reduced footprint of a 75% keyboard keeps more of your desk space available for mouse movement. This is a special benefit for gamers and other users who rely on precision mouse placement and variable sensitivity levels for different scenarios. 

Efficient Layout

The compact layout of a 75% keyboard is more efficient for most typing tasks. A tightly spaced layout requires less hand, wrist, and finger movement to reach any individual key, reducing typing strain while improving overall speed.

Versatile Use Cases

75% keyboards are ideal for the needs of various users, from gamers to programmers to writers. Casual home and office users will also enjoy the balance of convenient size and essential functions.

Cons of 75% Keyboards

Learning Curve

The reduced key layout is quite different from a standard keyboard. This can result in a lengthy adjustment period while your muscle memory adapts to the new layout. 

Not Ideal for Certain Tasks

If you do a lot of data entry or other number-focused tasks, then a 75% keyboard may not be the best option for your situation due to the lack of a number pad section. 75% keyboards include a number row along the top of the alphabet keys, but this is less efficient for extended numerical input. 

Reduced Macro Functionality

Most 75% keyboards have an 81 or 84-key layout, which minimizes the number of keys available for custom macro programming. This is only an issue for some gamers and power users, but it's worth considering if you like to create your own key mappings. 

Higher Cost 

Smaller products often have lower production costs, but mechanical keyboards are complex, customizable devices. Many high-end 75% mechanical keyboards are far more expensive than a standard 104-key keyboard designed for general computer usage. 

What is the Difference Between the 75% Keyboard vs 65% Keyboard Layout?

Size and Layout

75% keyboards use a 6-row layout that includes a function row and dedicated arrow keys. 65% keyboards use a smaller 5-row layout that removes the entire function row. Some manufacturers may include dedicated arrow keys, while others use programming layers to provide arrow keys.

Functionality

75% keyboards include 81 to 84 keys, while 65% keyboards include 68 to 75 keys, depending on the specific design. Additional keys offer more functionality, especially for users who create their own custom key mappings. 

Compactness

65% keyboards are more compact than 75% keyboards, which makes them ideal for users who love minimalist designs, those with limited desk space, or anyone who needs a more portable solution. 

Can You Use a 75% Keyboard for Gaming?

Yes, you can use a 75% keyboard for gaming! They provide an excellent balance between size and functionality, giving you extra room for mouse movement without limiting your key configuration. 

How to Choose the Right 75% Keyboard

Choosing the right 75% keyboard can be difficult, so consider these factors when making your decision.

Switch Type 

Mechanical keyboards can use many different switch types, but the three most popular options are clicky, tactile, and linear. This will have a big impact on your typing experience, so choose carefully, especially if you're sharing space with others. 

Clicky switches contain a special component that adds a loud click noise to indicate a successful key press. Tactile switches also make a noise after each complete keypress but without enhancing the 'click' sound. Linear switches are nearly silent. 

Keycap Types

Most keycaps are made out of ABS or PBT plastic. ABS keycaps are available with more color options, but they are cheaper and wear more quickly. PBT keycaps last longer without developing a shiny wear pattern but are also more expensive. 

Wired Vs. Wireless

Wired connections are more reliable with lower latency, but wires limit keyboard placement and create visual clutter. Wireless connections keep your desk area clear, but they have higher latency and may fail to register a keypress properly. Ideally, the right 75% keyboard will let you choose between wired and wireless connectivity. 

Customization Options 

The best 75% keyboards offer full customization. Choose a model with QMK/VIA support for custom key mapping, hot-swappable switches, and customizable RGB lighting options. 

Budget

Be realistic about balancing your available budget against your desired features. 75% keyboards can vary widely in price, from $50 to over $300 USD. 

Conclusion

75% keyboards are an excellent typing solution for gamers, writers, programmers, and even casual home/office users. They provide all the core functionality of a keyboard in a more compact size, which helps to keep your desk area neat and tidy while giving you plenty of room for your mouse. They can be more expensive than standard keyboards, but they also offer an unmatched level of customization and advanced features. 

75% Keyboard I FAQs

Can You Program Your Own Function Layer Shortcuts on a 75% Keyboard?

Yes, you can program your own function layer shortcuts on many 75% keyboards, but not all of them. Some keyboards support open-source key mapping tools like QMK or VIA, or the manufacturer may provide their own custom software. 

What Is the Difference Between a 75% Keyboard and a TKL Keyboard?

The main difference between a 75% keyboard design and a TKL or tenkeyless keyboard design is the layout spacing. Neither design includes a number pad, but a 75% keyboard packs the remaining key groups more tightly together, resulting in a smaller footprint. 

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Mechanical Gaming Keyboard: The Ultimate Guide

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