Ducky Mecha Mini Review
Ducky is perhaps the most well-known keyboard manufacturer that's not one of the big mainstream gaming brands. Their products see regular use in the pro scene of the games that we analyze, and some of their keyboards even reach our 'most used' lists. That's not all that strange, since Ducky keyboards are well known for their fantastic quality and user experience.
What we have here today is their latest effort: the Mecha Mini. It's a small 60% keyboard that, according to us, sets out to be the premium version of the widely lauded One 2 Mini. Is this keyboard worth your money, and if so, is it worth the premium over the aforementioned One 2 Mini? Find out in our full review.
"You can already tell the difference between this and the One 2 Mini just by holding both boxes."Our product reviewer
Ducky Mecha Mini - First Impressions
One of the first things that shot through my mind when I was unboxing this keyboard was 'damn, this is heavy.' That's to be expected since the Mecha Mini has a full aluminum casing (and a zinc alloy keyboard stand) but if you're used to plastic-cased keyboards then this is definitely a surprisingly weighty board for its size. That's not a bad thing, by the way. It's quite the opposite.
Thanks to said aluminum casing this feels like a very premium product, and the extremely compact design (the bezels on this Mecha Mini are almost non-existent and there's no space on the board itself that isn't covered by a key) along with that sleek black case make it one of the most visually appealing keyboards I've reviewed so far. That's also down to the fact that the entire case is now black; whereas the One 2 Mini had a partially white body, the Mecha Mini looks completely stealthy and that, to me, makes it look far more mature.
Another thing that's immediately noticeable about this board is the fact that it comes with a special dark blue enter key (which allows the RGB lighting to pass through) but for those who want a completely black plank there's obviously a regular replacement keycap to be found in the packaging.
This keyboard is built like a tank. No matter how much force I applied to the housing I couldn't get it to budge even one millimeter, so you can rest assured that this keyboard will sooner break you than vice versa.
The keycaps, as expected from Ducky, are great quality. The Mecha Mini has double-shot PBT keycaps and as such these not only feel and look great (the font Ducky uses is very neutral, and I am a big fan of that) but will also last a very, very long time without developing any shine effect. Full marks here.
The RGB lighting, then, looks really, really good. Some keys (mainly the keys with symbols on them) have the tiniest dark spot on them, but I'd rather have great quality keycaps with some very minor dark spots than flawless looking low quality caps.
That said: this is all barely noticeable if you're not actively looking for it, and when you really unleash the RGB power of this keyboard it looks utterly fantastic thanks to the white backplate, which really emphasizes the glorious lighting and makes the transition between colors look extremely smooth.
Ducky keyboards are known to come with a vast amount of fun little extras. The keyboard itself comes, as mentioned, with a dark blue enter keycap (though I do believe that the color you get is random) and then a set of extra keycaps in the same color. This, to me, is absolutely fantastic, as it allows for a ton of customization options straight out of the box without having to invest in an extra set of keycaps.
For those who don't like all of that stuff there's also a plain black enter key included in the box, so you can go completely dark if that's what you want. A cool change here is that these custom keycaps are now shine through.
But it doesn't end there. You also get a special Year of the Pig edition spacebar, and I found a Halloween-themed spacebar in my packaging as well, so there's a myriad of options here for those who like to customize their keyboard.
Aside from all the cool cosmetics and usual documentation you will also find a keycap puller. I always appreciate that since that is something that everyone will need down the line when it's time to clean their keyboard.
Size & Dimensions
Features and build
The Mecha Mini is, as the name perhaps gives away, a very small keyboard. Its 60% size means that it's even smaller than a tenkeyless board; you won't even find any arrow keys on this one. That's great for gaming (unless you're one of those people who uses the arrow keys to play) as the compact design frees up a lot of desk real estate for you to move your mouse around, but that does make it a bit more difficult to use for productivity. You can still get to the arrow keys (and the function keys and what not) by using a combination of inputs but it's quite obvious that this form factor isn't going to be a hit if you desire lots of extra knobs and dials.
But this obviously isn't made for those people: it's for those who want a premium keyboard that's as compact as possible, and it does a great job at that. The bezels have gotten even thinner with this new case, making it one of the most compact keyboards you can get without going into custom built territories.
On the bottom of the aluminum case there are four DIP switches that allow you to change the position of the bottom row keys as well as change between 6-key rollover and N-key rollover but I don't see many users actually utilizing these. More important are the feet. Gone are the 'two stage' feet of earlier Ducky keyboards (that I've reviewed) and in is a pair of zinc alloy feet to match the heavier and more premium feeling case that this Mecha Mini utilizes. These, like the case, have rubber elements on the bottom and provide a nice typing angle so no issues there.
You connect this board to your PC through a detachable USB-C cable, and that's an area where I think Ducky can still improve. The included cable is only 160 cm long and is made out of a rather stiff rubber. I am aware of the fact that a cable is by far the least important part of a keyboard, but with every aspect of this product looking and feeling so exceptional it would be nice to get a higher quality cable. That's a small nitpick, however.
Performance and every day use
Note: the board that I've been testing has Cherry MX Brown switches, but this board is also available with Black, Blue, Silver, Red, or Silent Red switches.
Ducky keyboards come with Cherry MX switches and we all know that those are quality, but if you mess up the implementation you still end up with a subpar experience. Ducky has a stellar reputation on this front and if you're asking me they've outdone themselves. The typing (and gaming, naturally) experience that this product provides is perhaps the best that I've seen in a Ducky board so far, and that also means that it's among the best I've experienced tout court.
There's very little wobble on any key, and every press feels as satisfying as the one before that. The Cherry stabilizers are great here, so this feeling extends to the wider keys as well. Overall this keyboard just feels and sounds absolutely fantastic. I've come to expect this from Ducky, and it's great to see that they keep on delivering.
This keyboard doesn't only feel fantastic though; its ingame performance is definitely up to par with the rest of it. I will say that most mechanical keyboards (if you get the switches that you like) are pretty much the same when it comes to actual gaming and that it takes a monumentally bad board to actually negatively affect your gameplay, but since this is a gaming website I do want to mention its performance on that front.
With full NKRO (which stands for N-key rollover) you can press as many switches at the same time as you physically can without the keyboard missing a beat, and the perfectly implemented switches and keys make swerving through the sky in Fortnite or bunnyhopping around in CS:GO an absolute dream thanks to the responsive and consistent feeling of the board.
What's also great about this Mecha Mini is the fact that the backplate has now been raised so that it almost sits level with the case. That's something that I noted in my reviews of earlier Ducky products so it's great to see that the switches don't sit inside the case as much anymore, as that makes the whole thing a lot easier to keep clean and I personally like the look of it better.
The keyboard itself is also very powerful; you can create macros, build lighting profiles, change the debounce time settings, and even play minesweeper all on the board itself without the need for software. That's impressive, but there is definitely a bit of a learning curve involved. Just changing between different preset lighting profiles is almost literally easy as one two three, but if you want to build a custom profile or create some macros you're going to want to keep your manual really close to your desk.
That's not a big deal: the manual does a good job explaining everything and it's nice that you can do all of this without the need for any kind of software, but I would definitely like to see some optional software here. Just having the ability to use software to record macros or create that one of a kind lighting profile that perfectly matches your setup would make things a whole lot easier for a lot of people. Last time I reviewed a Ducky keyboard I was told that they were working on software though, so we can hopefully expect that sometime next year. Until then you definitely shouldn't throw away your manual.
Conclusion & Recommendation
When I reviewed the One 2 Mini almost one year ago it was an easy pick for a Staff's Choice award but, as with any product, there were still some areas that could use improvement, such as the cable and the plastic housing. It's nice to see that Ducky has managed to implement some of those suggestions (though I'm not under any illusion that they made these changes because of me) because they really do elevate this product to the next level.
The Mecha Mini does pretty much everything right; it's got a compact design, supreme typing and gaming experience, gorgeous lighting, great keycaps, extremely solid build quality, and it comes with a bunch of nice extras in the box. As such it is, without a shadow of doubt, one of the best (gaming) keyboards that you can buy right now.
Is it perfect? Like most other things: no. The cable is subpar if you're asking me, and having some optional software to help with some of the more finicky operations would help a lot of people out massively, but aside from that there's really nothing bad to say about this keyboard and it is, along with the One 2 SF, my favorite keyboard of the year.
I absolutely cannot wait for the release of a Mecha SF version (and please do include a better and longer cable if you do, Ducky) since I need arrow keys on my main board, but I'll definitely be using this in my team's gaming room for the foreseeable future.