I've always been curious as to why one-handed gaming keyboards exist. After all, it's another thing to have on your desk if you do a lot of PC gaming and it's not as if you can dispense with your regular keyboard and its full suite of keys.
But I'd also never tried one for myself, so I grabbed this SADES one-handed keyboard to take one for a spin. Plenty attracted me to this particular model, not least the incredibly low price, but also it's not overstyled and, crucially, packs blue mechanical switches.
After spending a little time using it, maybe there's something to this tiny gaming keyboard thing after all...
Bottom line: Not a bad one-handed keyboard for such a low price, though there are some annoyances.
- Decent build quality
- Blue mechanical switches
- Included wrist rest
- Nice and compact
- Tasteful design
- Cable could be longer
- Slides around under pressure
- No reprogrammable buttons
- Wrist rest not removable
What you'll like about the SADES one-handed keyboard
One of the main reasons you may be considering a one-handed keyboard at all is the size. Whether it's for gaming on the road or you're tight on space and want to give your mouse more room, this is a winner in the size department. It's essentially half the size of a tenkeyless keyboard, which makes it incredibly compact.
A laptop is another great use case for something like this, and the size is such that you'll be able to stash it in your laptop bag without much trouble, something you can't say about even the smallest of regular gaming keyboards.
It's also well built, something that comes into play if you're travelling about with it, stashing it in bags with the rest of your mobile gaming arsenal. The majority of the body is a fairly solid feeling plastic, with the top plate appearing to be metal.
But what about the business end of this one-handed keyboard? What's it like to game on? Actually, very good. You get a mechanical blue switch of undetermined origin beneath each keycap, and they feel pretty good. Enthusiasts will be able to tell the difference to something like a Cherry MX, not least because of the slightly metallic sound, but when it comes to using the keyboard the keys feel excellent.
There's a satisfying click and a nice bump, actuation distance feels low and it's pretty quick. It's not as quick as my own daily driver, the Razer Huntsman, but I've been able to game on it without feeling it's holding me back at all. The keys are fairly loud, and some might think they're too loud, but they're actually a little quieter than my Huntsman, albeit with a deeper sounding click as well. So I'm perfectly happy.
Each key is also illuminated, and each row has a different color, and there doesn't appear to be any way to change that. That's fine, personally, it looks tasteful enough and the LEDs aren't overly bright. There's also an included wrist rest which, while only plastic with no cushioning, does a good enough job of providing support. Some soft trim would have been nice, but it's not uncomfortable to use at least, though it really should also be detachable for those who simply don't want it to be there.
The design is very tasteful as a whole, too. There are plenty of aggressive looking competitors out there with ridiculous fonts and unnecessary angles. This is just a fairly unassuming rectangle, with a splash of color and some chamfered edges to add a bit of class.
What you'll dislike about the SADES one-handed keyboard
While there's much to enjoy, there's also a few things that could easily put you off buying this keyboard. The first is that under pressure, it can slide. It's hardly skating across the desk every time you lay your hand on it, but it's still something that I encountered too many times during my time testing it.
Whether the keyboard is too light at just under 1lb or whether the rubber grips on the bottom just aren't up to scratch, it's something to bear in mind before you click the buy button if you're a heavy-handed gamer like I am.
The cable is also, in my opinion, too short. I use this with my left hand and my PC is over on the right hand side of my, not overly large desk, and the cable barely reaches. Gaming peripherals should have long cables.
Perhaps more of an issue for some is that since there's no companion app, you can't reprogram any of the keys to either change their function or add macros. They are just single purpose. In my case, it meant changing some of the keybindings in Destiny 2 to match keys actually on the SADES, but as I don't use macros that's as far as I had to go. But if you're looking for something more advanced, then this isn't the keyboard for you.
Should you buy the SADES one-handed keyboard?
If you're looking for something to use with a laptop in particular, or you're just interested in trying out a one-handed keyboard to see if it's something you'll enjoy, you can't really go wrong with this.
Sure, you'll need to make sure you don't force it to slide across the desk and you'll quite possibly need a USB extension cable to plug it in, but for the price it's hard to truly complain.
If you're a more advanced user who's looking for reprogrammable keys and macro support, then it's not for you, but it is a very good beginner product. I've never used one before and there's certainly an appeal, particularly to use gaming on a laptop.
And this is so well priced it's an easy, affordable way to give a one-handed keyboard a go.
A good place to start with a one-handed keyboard
Nothing flash, just the gaming half of a keyboard with mechanical switches, tasteful RGB and a decent wrist rest.
Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.
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