As gaming laptops become an increasingly popular choice, portability of accessories has become more important as well. Similar to the way a trackpad will never be suitable for gaming, a laptop's built-in keyboard is unlikely to satisfy the needs of a discerning gamer. That's where an option like the Fnatic miniSTREAK comes into play. Featuring a tenkeyless factor, detachable cable and removable palm rest, the miniSTREAK is designed to fit into tight spaces, making it ideal for packing on a trip or when you need to use a premium keyboard in an improvised space.
- Format: 10-keyless
- Dimensions: 360x142x36mm (360x194.5x36mm with palm rest)
- Weight: 704g
- Cable: 2.2 m Detachable
- Lighting: RGB 16.8m Colors
- Cherry MX Switches: Red, Silent Red, Blue, Brown
- MCU & Memory: NXP / 8 MB
- Polling Rate: 1000Hz
- Warranty: 2 years
The main appeal of the Fnatic miniSTREAK is its compact, minimalist design. The rounded edges shave off precious space, and make it easier to transport. There's very little wasted space, with keys extending out to the very edges of the keyboard, making full use of the small space allotment. The palm rest is detachable (even if it is a bit of pain to remove), letting you cut down on space even more when needed. The cable is also detachable, and there's a convenient little notch on the back to assist with cable management. (It's also worth mentioning that this is just a standard USB-C cable so it's easily replaced if you damage it in your travels.) None of these ideas are revolutionary, but they all come together to form a clear, cohesive goal of portability for the miniSTREAK and the number of things implemented to help accomplish that shows the great pain gone into supporting that ideal. It also avoids the garish design of some gamer peripherals, staying totally sleek from top to bottom. If you turn off the RGB lighting there's no really no flair to the design, which may be an issue for some people, but for a product designed to be portable and usable in many environments that feels like the right move.
Thankfully, it manages to accomplish all of this without sacrificing functionality. The palm rest is of impressive construction, using a pleasant-to-the-touch leather, lending it a premium feel and providing sturdy support. There are four rubberized strips on the bottom that hold the keyboard in place and, despite my habit of frantically bashing the keyboard in hurried moments, I've never felt it get pushed around on me. The kickstand on the back lets you elevate the keyboard slightly, though there isn't much to it and there's no option to adjust the heigh to your specific needs; only elevated or not elevated.
This is one of the only areas the miniSTREAK falls short on its customization options, however. The palm rest is adjustable to three different lengths; there's a handy function lock key tucked away and not elevated like the other keys so it's unlikely to be hit by accident; there's Fnatic's Competition Mode button that disables the Windows key and any other pesky keys that might interrupt your game while also disabling the flashy RGB, leaving just a dim backlight; and of course, the standard customization software. While some will always balk at the idea of additional software to run their hardware, Fnatic's OP software more than justifies itself. Providing a variety of lighting patterns for the 16.8 million RGB colours, this is where you can add some real visual distinction to your keyboard. As a nice bonus, the OP software is also available for Mac, which, in my experience, is pretty rare for these customization softwares. It also allows you to bind macros.
Regular RGB lighting vs. Competition Mode backlight
As for performance itself, the miniSTREAK holds its own there as well. The keycaps have a nice rounded feel to them, which helps space them out a little and feel distinct from each other. Still, with the tightness of the keyboard, I did find the keys cramped at times and it was easy to hit extra keys by accident. Luckily, this could be mitigated a little with different keyswitches. The miniSTREAK is available with three different Cherry MX switches: Red (or Silent Red), Blue, and Brown. The unit I received has the Cherry MX Brown switches, intended to be a middle ground between the Red (which are aimed at gamers) and the Blue (which are aimed at typists, like writers or programmers). The Blue requires more pressure to register a keystroke, so perhaps it would mitigate this issue. As it is, with the Browns, I still find myself mashing extra keys semi-regularly when typing quickly, even after a few weeks to familiarize myself with the layout.
The Fnatic miniSTREAK is a great option for someone who wants a premium quality keyboard on the go. None of its features are terribly unique or revolutionary, but the singular focus on providing a high-end experience in a small package makes it stand out. Every decision and feature feeds into that goal, and every decision pays off fantastically.
Fnatic DASH Mousepad
- Surface: Hybrid Textured Cloth
- Size: 487 x 372mm (Large), 950 X 500mm (XL)
- Thickness: 3mm
- EDGE: Stitched
- BASE: Natural Rubber
In addition to the miniSTREAK, we were also provided a sample of Fnatic’s DASH mousepad. Contrary to the design philosophy of the miniStreak, the DASH is a gluttonous beast, swallowing up huge portions of my desk. It still retains the portability of the miniSTREAK thanks to the stylish carrying tube it comes packaged in, however.
It’s clear this was designed for gamers who prefer to play with a low mouse sensitivity and make wide, sweeping gestures. Perhaps the extra lack of resistance is more noticeable for players like that, but in my time with it, I found the effects to be fairly mild. It's smooth and the mouse runs along it quickly, and it provides enough texture to make sure the mouse can stop easily on a moment's notice, but the benefits couldn't outweigh the ludicrous enormity of the thing. If you've got the space to fit it and you need to absolutely use every inch of that space, the DASH will accommodate you, but that might be a relatively niche target to hit.
I can compliment the DASH on the quality of its materials, though. Made of hybrid textured cloth, it certainly carries a premium feel. It’s thick and pleasant to touch, which lets it double nicely as a wrist rest. It also feels incredibly durable, while still maintaining its softness. If you’re looking for a premium mousepad to spruce up your work space, this one certainly has the look and feel of one. Just make sure you've got room for it.
|What We Liked . . . Compact form factor makes for great portability Plenty of customization options between the software and switches Customization software available for Mac||What We Didn't Like . . . Keys are a little cramped|
out of 10
The Fnatic miniStreak is a fantastic tenkeyless keyboard that fits plenty of functionality into a sleek, easily portable package.