Ask any PC gamer and they’ll tell you the best gear for playing first-person shooters are a keyboard and mouse. Though we’ve seen the terrifying speed at which some console gamers can 360-no-scope these days, it’s really tough to beat the precision of keys and clicks. And the best combos of all feature the 60% keyboard.
If you’re not entirely familiar with all the different types of keyboards, your typing equipment of choice comes in three rough categories: full-size, tenkeyless (TKL) and 60%. The tl;dr is that TKL keyboards remove the numpad while 60% keyboards go one step further and strip away the top row of function keys and the arrow key block, until you’re left with no extraneous keys that you’re not entirely sure of the use for.
This is perfect for FPS games for a couple of reasons. The first is its size. After shedding ~40% of its keymass, keyboards like the HyperX Alloy Origins 60 are understandably more compact than their full-sized counterparts. This is great news for gamers on the go, as a 60% keyboard is much easier to pack up in a backpack and take to your next LAN... whenever that may be.
However, its size is also perfect for FPS gamers with little desk space to make those big swooping arcs for a round-winning flickshot. Even if your desk is ample in size, the flexibility of positioning the 60% keyboard wherever your WASD fingers lie most comfortably is good news for those hoping to create a more ergonomic setup for gaming.
You may have seen CS:GO pros setting up on stage with their keyboards at a jaunty angle, and with a 60% keyboard, it’s easier to position your keyboard at the most natural angle for your wrist and elbow. Ergonomic setups like this don’t just make it easier to reach your specific keybinds, they can reduce pressure on your wrist and prevent the development of carpal tunnel and other repetitive strain injuries.
Speaking of keybinds, the one thing most people may miss when adjusting to a 60% keyboard is the row of function keys above the numbers. While this could mess with your innate keyboard shortcut reflexes when you’re trying to quickly refresh or alt+F4 a window away, it won’t be a dealbreaker for standard use. The functions of the row of F keys are still present on 60% keyboards, much like your laptop keyboard. But when it comes to gaming, you can rebind your most used keys for complicated building in Fortnite or quickly buying a Vandal in Valorant.
The keys that do remain on most 60% keyboards are, of course, mechanical keys. Mechanical keys are ideal for gaming thanks to N-key rollover functionality and speedy transmit times. Certain tactile switches also have that trademark clack that provide additional tactile feedback once you get used to it. For FPS games, most pros prefer linear switches (less clack, quicker keypresses) such as the HyperX Red switches on the Alloy Origins 60.
If a 60% keyboard sounds like something that would help with your FPS gaming, the Alloy Origins 60 releases on February 22, 2021.