Table of Contents
- What is a 40% Keyboard?
- Advantage of Using a 40% Keyboard?
- The Picks: 3 Best 40% Keyboards
- What to Look for When Choosing a 40% Keyboard?
- Final Words
40% keyboards are among the least common models of keyboards. The main reason is relatively less demand since they usually don’t have number keys. They may not be very popular, but they serve many purposes for those who know about them.
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Whether you are a casual user or someone who uses a keyboard a lot for work or gaming, you will gain more from these keyboards. We’ll tell you how. Let’s dig deep into this article.
However, do a lot of data entry work. We’d not recommend buying these keyboards since they don’t have physical number keys. These keyboards mostly have double keys. You might have to use another key to use the number key.
What is a 40% Keyboard?
Everyone knows what keyboards are, but not all of them would have heard of 40% keyboards. These keyboards are tiny and compact. Its name describes its size compared to a full-size keyboard. They usually don’t have arrow keys or the entire row of number keys. A standard keyboard usually has 104 keys. These keyboards have 43 to 47 keys.
It may sound strange, but many people enjoy using it. You may come across some 40% keyboards that forgo the QWERTY layout to make more rows and fewer columns. You can exchange the QWERTY layout for 12343 keys. This feature proves useful to people who regularly use numbers. These keyboards are not standard, though. The demand is low because most people find them hard to type on. But pure enthusiasts would love them.
Advantage of Using a 40% Keyboard?
The following are some advantages of 40% keyboards:
It is the most apparent benefit of 40% keyboards. They are small, so they don’t take up much space on your desk. You can stuff them in your bag and go to work or lecture. You can also easily fit them on the train’s table and then pull out the table on the plane. Since they’re small, it also means that they are light. You can easily carry them around whether you’re traveling or hopping in your office from one place to another.
These keyboards are simple. And sometimes simple is better. If you want a keyboard to type articles, emails, or chat with friends, you don’t need those complicated and big keyboards. These would work just fine. Most 40% keyboards even allow you to use the numbers by double bounding them to keys. They can be toggled on and off with a function key.
To enhance the experience, even more, the majority of these keyboards have built-in colorful LED backlighting. Even if you are not gaming and just typing, you can enjoy the bright lights that light up while using the keyboard.
Fast to Type
Most people indeed find them a bit challenging to use. That might not necessarily be the case for you. It might take you a bit of time to get used to the new layout, but once you get the jest of it, you’ll have a blast. These keyboards are small because the number of keys is relatively less. There won’t be much space between the switches too.
As a result, your fingers won’t have to travel far. The buttons will be easily in your reach. Your typing speed would improve fast. People who have to take notes or lectures would appreciate these keyboards.
The Picks: 3 Best 40% Keyboards
Vortexgear is a Taiwan based company. It was founded in 2010. Its primary emphasis is on making mechanical keyboards. This keyboard mainly has letter keys, a few punctuation keys, and some modifier keys to activate the several layers. It’s small and cute.
If you mostly use the alpha keys, you’ll enjoy this keyboard. The core of the keyboard is built in a sturdy aluminum alloy case. It feels solid and has decent weight. The keyboard has LEDs. They will change color with each layer that you use. Some of the keys are programmable. So, if you don’t like the company layout, you can easily change it. It has 47 keys in total. The space bar is split in two.
On the back of the keyboard are four textured rubber pads that prevent it from sliding around. If you’re used to typing on your keyboard in an angled position, you could prop the backside up. The key caps on this board are raised and floating by design. You can easily remove or install them. They are also easy to clean. The PBT keys are thick, and the legends are dye sublimated. It means that the keycaps are very easy to type on, and the printed legends will not wear off quickly.
- Has 47 keys
- Built-in aluminum case
- Has PBT keys
- It has 4 switchable layers, and 3 are programmable
- The cable length is 1.8 meter
- Has detachable micro-USB cable
- Has cherry switches
- Weighs 0.9 pounds
The Vortexgear 40% Keyboard is portable, durable, and very easy to use. It is perfect for students, office workers, and casual use. It has customizable layers and programmable keys, which makes it approachable to more people. We’d recommend it to people who want a 40% keyboard but don’t want the fuss of building one themselves.
Qisan is a Chinese brand of a mechanical keyboard. It is a 40% keyboard with 49 keys. It comes with Gateron switches in different variants such as brown, clear and blue. Blue buttons are tactile with an audible click, brown is tactile, and clear are like brown switches, but a little stiffer and are tactile.
The keycaps are ABS and have an ice blue backlight that looks very nice in the dark. This budget keyboard is a basic 40% keyboard that lacks support for programmable layers. You can invoke the keys in the left by using a combination of ‘Fn’ with other keys. We liked a lot about this keyboard because it manages to have space for arrow keys despite the small form factor.
However, people who are used to full-sized keyboards may find the space button’s position a little off. It hinders typing ergonomics. The quality of this keyboard is commendable for its price. It is a built-in plastic case with a brushed metal plate. You can also adjust the backlight on it.
The USB cable that comes with it is detachable. It adds to the portability of the keyboard. It is an excellent little keyboard for small spaces but may not prove super functional for regular use.
- Has 49 keys
- Has Gateron switches (blue, clear, and brown)
- Has ice-blue backlight
- Has USB 2.0 interface
- Has ABS keycaps
- Has plastic case
- Weighs 1.2 pounds
For a 40% keyboard, the Qisan Magicforce 40% Keyboard is reasonably priced. It has a strong build and is comfortable to type on. It is good for basic typing purposes, but you can’t program keys if you are not fond of this keyboard layout. However, it is portable and suitable for cramped spaces.
This tiny keyboard with only 47 keys is customizable. It has everything that enthusiasts will love: minimalist design, 1 unit keys, and full programmability. These keyboards are handmade in an office in Taiwan. It doesn’t have number and function keys. But despite its small size, you’re not losing any functionality at all.
Everything that you expect in a keyboard is present there. This includes numbers, macro keys, and function rows. They are just kept in different layers to keep the physical size small. It’s so tiny; you can drop it in your bag and carry it with you to the office, college, or trips. It is a joy to use.
This keyboard is Ortholinear. There is no stagger between the rows of the keys. It may take you a while to learn typing on it, but it is beneficial for your hands in the long run. All the keys are within two rows of the home row. It means that your fingers won’t have to travel far, and your typing will be efficient.
When you order this keyboard, you have to choose the color and everything else that you want on your keyboard. The quality of the keyboard you receive is very high. The keys are thick-walled and dense. Typing on it will be very satisfactory. The keys are also slightly textured, so the oil from your fingertips won’t show on them.
The switches are swappable; you can make it brand new anytime you feel bored. The bottom has textured rubber feet so it won’t slide around. The cord is a bit short.
- Has 47 keys
- Keycaps are double shot
- Made from 304 stainless steel
- It comes with a USB-C connector
- Weighs 1.1 pounds
The DROP Planck 40% Mechanical Keyboard is customizable and has several layers. It is not for everyone. If you want a keyboard that has every feature you dreamt about, you should consider it. But as the number of components increases, so does the price.
What to Look for When Choosing a 40% Keyboard?
40% keyboards are not common, but you should know what to look for if you choose to buy one. It would be best if you keep the following factors into consideration.
Switches and Keycaps
Portability is the big selling point of 40% of keyboards. But the keycap quality and their placement are also important. If the sticky switches are too tightly placed together, you’ll be disappointed. Make sure that the keyboard that you get has double-shot ABS or PBT keycaps. They last for a longer time. The same goes for the switches. They are very important to a mechanical keyboard. So, make sure that you purchase from a well-known brand with good reviews.
As we already said, portability is the big selling point of these keyboards. These keyboards should be light, compact, and easy to carry from one place to another. If they come cordless, that would be even better. Suppose you are a regular typist and look forward to reducing the clutter on your computer or work desk. In that case, 40% of keyboards are something you should give thought to.
It will be a plus if the keyboard you buy is resistant to water and dust accumulation. We all have that habit of eating or drinking while we are at our computer desk. If you spend relatively more time there, it would be unfortunate if you spill a drink on your keyboard, and it stops working. Maybe that is why many computer desks these days come with cup-holders. It is to prevent our clumsiness from affecting our computer gear.
Some keyboards have floating buttons. They are easy to clean. These are little things that don’t seem to be very important, but they make your life easier and use the gadget more fun in the long run.
It is not uncommon for keyboards to have multi-color RGB LEDs flashing in them. It makes them look attractive and also increases their visibility. In 40% keyboards, they also serve a few purposes. Such as some 40% keyboards have different layers. If you activate one layer, red LEDs will turn on, and if your toggle to the next layer, other color LEDs would light up. It is to keep track of the layer you are using so that you don’t get confused.
It would also be great to find a keyboard in your price range with programmable buttons or layers. You may buy these keyboards for their compactness, but you might still feel the need to use a number or the other controls that the keyboard physically lacks. Some keyboards allow you to exchange the button you don’t usually need with those you commonly use.
Also, since there is no universally recognized layout for 40% keyboards, the companies make up their own. You might not be comfortable with using that layout. It would be to your advantage if the keyboard allows you to change that layout to the one that is easy for you to use.
When you go shopping for 40%, keyboards make sure that they come with long cords. It adds to their portability. It would be good to go for a brand that lets you do customization. Some manufacturers even allow you to choose your favorite colors. While you are at it, make sure that the keyboard you buy is made of high-quality material. Since you’ll be moving around with it more often, they should be able to sustain a fall or two.
We are positive that you would know what kind of 40% keyboard to go for by now. But if you still want to know our opinion, we’ll gladly share it with you. However, it would be best if you first kept in mind that because 40% keyboards are strange to type on, they are not very easy to find. There is not a very high demand for them. They are only available with a bunch of manufacturers.
We searched a lot and came up with this list of top 3. They are all great options, but we have to say that DROP Planck is our favorite. It is highly customizable, sturdy, and programmable. It also has LEDs to light up your workspace. It is a bit expensive, however. But it is handmade with the utmost care, so we think that it is worth the price.
Hopefully, this article of 3 top 40% keyboards has helped you in deciding what the best option for you is. Suppose you are not swayed with our list that’s ok. You can read our detailed buyer’s guide and make a decision yourself. In the end, it is up to you to make the final decision, but make sure to do some thorough research as there are a lot of choices in the market, and knowing in advance about which products to avoid and which to consider can make a huge difference. We wish you all the best!