The Best Low Profile Gaming Keyboard DOESN’T Exist!
Well hello good people. It seems like low profile gaming keyboards are rising in popularity, but why? What is it about having a shorter keyboard body and lower key cabs that improves the overall user experience? First of all, low profile is not a specification. It doesn’t have a standardized meaning across the various keyboard brands. You might have a chunky frame, but low profile key caps. You might have low profile switches, but a large keyboard body. Or you might even have a keyboard that is designed from the ground up to be as low profile as possible, but is also quite massive.
Let’s take a look at these five low profile keyboards that I’ve collected over time and see exactly why a perfect low profile keyboard does not exist. The collection for today varies in price from $79 to $249 USD and it includes the Tesoro Gram MX One, the Roccat Vulcan 120 AIMO, the Corsair K70 RGB MK.2 LP, the wireless Logitech G915 Lightspeed, and the Cooler Master SK630. I guess there’s an expectation that low profile keyboards are going to be more expensive as they most definitely sell in smaller volumes, so that low profile premium is real. The common denominator among all these keyboards is of course some low profile characteristic.
Corsair K70 RGB MK.2 LP
The K70 and the SK630 use Cherry MX Low Profile switches that are much smaller in comparison to standard MX switches, which means the keyboard frame on the K70 is thinner compared to the normal K70, plus the slim style key cap reduces the overall height of the keyboard to 29 millimeters compared to 40 millimeters with standard MX switches. This also means low profile switches have less travel distance and feel completely different. For one, the MX Low Profile Speed is incredibly quiet. It’s almost like there’s some dampening happening when you bottom out, with a bit more resistance than your standard size MX Speed switch. The low profile Red switch for example registers at 1.2 millimeters instead of two millimeters on full size MX, so that is definitely one advantage of low profile switches if you prefer faster actuation and less travel.
Cooler Master SK630
Cooler Master uses a similar idea with low profile switches and shorter key caps, but the flat groove-less keys are a disadvantage. It makes the keyboard look and feel bulky despite having the same key cap height as the K70. This is largely because the entire frame is raised, if only the front was slimmer to lower the entire profile. It’s actually the flat key caps that ruin an otherwise promising form factor.
Tesoro Gram MX One
The Tesoro Gram MX One takes a different approach to low profile by reducing the size of the frame itself. The key caps are standard, the MX switches too, but the flatter design of the frame helps to minimize the footprint and appear low profile. The angular front section of that metal plate, small forehead, and tiny side sections. Even though it is the tallest keyboard in this group, I would still consider it to be low profile.
Roccat Vulcan 120 AIMO
The Roccat Vulcan 120 AIMO is another unique low profile example, with a thin frame and the coolest key cap design that I’ve ever seen. It has a floating style plus thin and narrow key cabs, which helps minimize the visual bulkiness of the keyboard. Also the front row of the keys is curved, which improves the ergonomics of the entire layout. It is kind of brilliant. However, the switches are not low profile, but it’s interesting how all of these other elements give the keyboard that low profile character. Now some users in our community post have experienced issues with the switches, and I’m reading about similar switch problems from user reviews on Amazon. That is just not acceptable for $150.
Logitech G915 Lightspeed
I wanted to save the best for last as the G915 from Logitech was designed with low profile in its DNA. It’s the thinnest mechanical keyboard that I’ve used at only 22 millimeters, and on this model the frame, the switches, and the key caps are all part of that low profile design. By the way, this thing is wireless too, but it’s also crazy expensive at the $249 and I really don’t know who would buy it. I have also accidentally broken a few key cap legs when removing them from the switch. Nevertheless, the structure is impressive. The frame is almost nonexistent, the 70 key caps are almost half the height of the case, and the switches have the least travel distance at 2.7 millimeters, with the actuation point happening at 1.5 millimeters. It honestly feels very impressive to have that much travel distance on something that is this thin, especially because the body is not angled. When it is on your desk it feels like it’s part of the desk instead of being on top of it.
Low Profile = Comfort
I feel like one of the major benefits of having such flat low profile keyboards is a wrist placement, you don’t require a wrist rest to even out the wrist angle. It is much more comfortable for me when the key caps are closer to the surface, because the higher the keyboard the more strain you will experience. Typing on a K70 LP or the G915 is incredibly comfortable and you can see the difference a slim profile makes on my wrist.
It made me realize that a low profile keyboard isn’t supposed to be a tiny keyboard, and it’s not supposed to minimize the footprint of the keyboard itself on the desk. Instead the focus is on comfort and minimizing that visual bulk of either the key caps or the frame itself. Unfortunately, we’re not at the point of having good variety when it comes to low profile designs yet. They are all still full-sized layouts with either chunky cables, insane price points, and very few switch options too. As for my perfect low profile keyboard, I would have the Logitech G915 Lightspeed but in a TKL form factor, with MX Speed Low Profile switches, and the key caps from the Vulcan. Last, but not least, I’m interested to hear if you care about low profile keyboards at all, and if any of you have any suggestions for a low profile keyboard that you think is worth it.