Tue. May 21st, 2024


Key Takeaways

  • NZXT Function 2 MiniTKL features hot-swappable optical linear switches & per-key RGB backlighting.
  • Restriction to only NZXT switches limits customization options.
  • There’s great build quality and sound dampening, but odd secondary key placement on the left side.


NZXT entered the keyboard market back in March 2022 with its Function line. Recently, the company released updates which have several nice features, but also changes some of what made the original Function such a compelling buy. With hot-swappable switches, a refreshed design, and more, the NZXT Function 2 MiniTKL is almost my perfect gaming keyboard.

NZXT Function 2 MiniTKL Keyboard

NZXT Function 2 MiniTKL Keyboard

$110 $130 Save $20

The NZXT Function 2 MiniTKL gaming keyboard packs every key of a tenkeyless keyboard—including the function row and arrow keys—into the smallest form factor possible.

Brand
NZXT

Wireless
No

Backlight
Yes, per-key RGB

Media Controls
Some

Num Pad
No

Switch Type
Optical Linear

Replaceable Keys
Yes

Keycaps
Double-Shot PBT

Internal Sound Dampening
Dual-layer of sound-dampening foam and tape-enhanced PCB

Polling rate
8,000Hz

Layout
MiniTKL / 65%

Pros

  • Solid build quality
  • Great key feel
  • Pre-lubed switches
  • Great sound dampening
Cons

  • Odd secondary key placement on left side
  • Only officially supports NZXT switches

Hot-Swappable Switches…Kinda

The Function 2 MiniTKL with keycaps removed
Jerome Thomas / How-To Geek


The original NZXT Function keyboard featured 5-pin MX-compatible hot-swappable switches, meaning you could put a vast majority of the mechanical keyboard switches on the market into the keyboard to change the feel however you wanted. This was a huge selling point, especially at the price the Function came in at. With the NZXT Function 2, the hot-swapping functionality is still there, but it’s been hampered quite a bit. Instead of industry-standard 5-pin MX switches, NZXT is now using essentially proprietary optical switches.

NZXT said that they’re using the bottom portion that’s used by Gateron switches, but can’t guarantee that Gateron switches will work if inserted. Officially, the NZXT Function 2 keyboard only supports the brand’s own switches that are included in the box, which is a bit of a letdown. While the optical linear switches are good, I would have liked to, at some point, swap them out for something a little more clicky, mechanical, and tactile, like a Kailh Copper or MX Brown.

The Switches Do Feel Good, Which Is Nice Since You Can’t Really Change Them

The Function 2 MiniTKL plugged in
Jerome Thomas / How-To Geek


Given that you can’t really change the switches for something else you might like better, the stock options from NZXT actually do feel pretty good. They’re optical and linear, which is what I expect from something like this. You’ll find 40g switches which are pre-lubed and feature plate-mounted stabilizers to keep things nice, tight, and responsive. In the box, you’ll find four 35g and four 45g switches that can be swapped in for just about any key that you want to change things for. This makes it easy to, say, customize WASD to be lighter, so that way, those keys have a better response than the rest of the keyboard. And, if you want to ensure that you’re not accidentally swapping weapons in the middle of a match, you could make the E key heavier by putting a 45g switch there.


In addition to having the ability to swap out four switches with either lighter or heavier actuation, you can also choose at which point the keyboard registers your press. Because these are optical switches, through the NZXT CAM software, you’re able to choose either 1mm or 1.5mm for the actuation distance of the switches. This means you either have to press them more or less before it registers the click, further letting you customize what the keyboard feels and acts like.

In practice, the actuation force is not something that I personally use a lot, but it’s nice to have. Depending on the games you play, it’s nice to be able to make certain keys easier to press and others slightly more difficult without having to physically change out the switches.

The Build Quality Is Great, Offering Solid Acoustics

Bottom of the Function 2 MiniTKL showing the rubber feet
Jerome Thomas / How-To Geek


NZXT went the extra mile when it comes to acoustics with the Function 2 MiniTKL. The top frame plate is made from 3mm aluminum, and you’ll find dual-layer sound-dampening foam and tape on the PCB to ensure that there’s no unwanted pinging noise. In practice, this works great. The keyboard sounded fantastic when typing, and there was no pinging or hollowness to the keystrokes at all. Plus, the aluminum gives it a nice heft without adding tons of weight and making it super heavy.

The volume wheel, mute, windows lock and backlight buttons on the Function 2 MiniTKL
Jerome Thomas / How-To Geek

NZXT wanted to pack all it could into the 65% layout. It did a great job at that, with all but three keys. There’s a weird, and not all-that-useful custom NZXT key above the arrows, which, by default, doesn’t do anything when pressed, making it feel a little out of place to me. Meanwhile, keys that you would actually want to have quick access to, like volume and Windows lock, have been moved off to the left side of the keyboard—not to a key, but to a button on the side.


At first, I thought this was going to be a cool place to put them, but it ended up being more annoying than anything else. I’m weird in that I frequently move the position of my keyboard depending on how I’m sitting at my desk at any given moment. Normally, I just grab my keyboard by the side and slide it left or right. That becomes a problem when the Windows lock and mute keys are on the left side, so any time I try to push the keyboard right, I end up hitting them.

Along that same left side you’ll also find a volume wheel, which works great and isn’t out of place at all on the side. Meanwhile, the other media keys, like play and pause, seek, and reverse, are located on the print screen, scroll lock, and pause keys at the top right of the keyboard and require a function press to activate. Ideally, I would have liked to have seen mute be activated by pressing the volume scroll wheel and have had media keys on the left side, with the Windows lock and brightness buttons under function keys somewhere else on the keyboard.


NZXT CAM Gives You All the Customization One Could Want

The Function 2 MiniTKL without the backlight
Jerome Thomas / How-To Geek

NZXT CAM is your hub for all things NZXT when it comes to customization. It works great. You can use CAM to change the per-key lighting of the Function 2 MiniTKL, as well as reprogram what keys do what, and change the actuation of the keyboard. CAM is where you’ll really dial in the settings to your heart’s content.

In addition to the standard stuff, like RGB and key remapping, you’ll also find macro programming within CAM. This will allow you to complete complex functions with a single keystroke, which can save you lots of time when doing repetitive tasks. Plus, CAM allows you to program up to four different profiles on the keyboard, each of which can be accessed on-device by holding the function key and clicking F1-F4.


Should You Buy the NZXT Function 2 MiniTKL Keyboard?

NZXT Function 2 MINITKL keyboard in front of box
Jerome Thomas / How-To Geek

The NZXT Function 2 MiniTKL keyboard is a solid offering in the PC gaming peripheral space for sure. If you’re a fan of optical switches, and don’t mind being locked into what NZXT has to offer, then I say this is probably one of the better keyboards on the market right now. It sounds great, feels good, and won’t break the bank with a retail price of $129.99—which is pretty competitive with everything it offers. Plus, you can change eight of the keys out of the box to be harder/easier to press, which is pretty nice.

However, if you’re someone that likes to change a keyboard’s feel every so often with new switches, or think that the left-mounted mute and Windows lock keys aren’t quite right, then this might not be the best fit for you. For the Function 2 MiniTKL, I fall into this camp.


While I absolutely want to love the keyboard, and do in many respects, the side-mounted keys here seal the deal for me. There were several times when I couldn’t use my Windows key only to realize I had inadvertently locked it out by accidentally clicking the button. That got old, real quick. At the end of the day, if NZXT put the secondary keys somewhere else, this would easily be my new favorite gaming keyboard, as I can get over not being able to change the switches. But the side button placement gets me every time.

NZXT Function 2 MiniTKL Keyboard

NZXT Function 2 MiniTKL Keyboard

$110 $130 Save $20

The NZXT Function 2 MiniTKL gaming keyboard packs every key of a tenkeyless keyboard—including the function row and arrow keys—into the smallest form factor possible.



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By John P.

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