Ducky ProjectD Tinker 65 Keyboard Review: Simple, But Effective

I’ve always wondered what using a Ducky keyboard would feel like. A lot of esports professionals use Duckies – those that haven’t switched to controller, at least – and I was eager to find out whether my keyboard was keeping me from going pro in the Apex Legends Global Series. Yes, it’s definitely my peripherals and not my 1.5 K/D.


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I tested the pre-built version of the Ducky ProjectD Tinker 65, which contradicts both the ‘project’ and ‘Tinker’ parts of its name. It’s still a Ducky 65% keyboard, I guess, but I can’t help but feel like I was missing out on some of the fun of this budget mechanical keyboard.

Ducky ProjectD Tinker 65 mechanical keyboard with two hands typing

There is a positive spin on this, though: it works right out the gate. Simply plug the keyboard in via USB (a high-quality braided USB cable is included in the box), and you’re away. There’s no need for annoying bloatware, special drivers, or a lengthy setup – it just works.

This epitomises the Tinker 65. It’s a keyboard with no frills, but full effectiveness. It’s lighter than I expected, which did make me initially wonder about its build quality, but the plastic frame feels pretty sturdy. There seems to be one setting for the backlights – calmly pulsing rainbow – which is fine by me, but if you wanted full RGB customisation from an on-keyboard button, this isn’t for you.

The supplied keys are simple, too. Caps Lock is just the right Shift but upside down. The dinky size means there’s no room for a numpad or function buttons – the latter I missed more than the former. This feels like a strange comment to make about a keyboard, but the keys are perfectly spaced apart. Smaller keyboards often risk being all squashed together to the point where big hands like mine accidentally catch adjacent keys in the touch-typing crossfire, but the Ducky does well to keep everything feeling spacious on such a small frame.

Ducky ProjectD Tinker 65 mechanical keyboard next to its box

The keys themselves are fine, but the idea is to swap them out and tinker with your Tinker. As such, it comes with two rudimentary key swapping tools, but no spare keys, which would have been a nice touch.

The ProjectD Tinker 65 comes with three switch options: Cherry MX Red, Blue, or Brown. I opted for Red, the quietest option, and those that tend to be aimed more for gamers than typists. I consider myself both, but I’ve got a clicky keyboard that I use already, so I figured I’d go all-in on the esports aspirant slice of my brain.

The Cherry MX reds aren’t clicky, but they’re surprisingly loud. Typing seems to echo around the case, and it’s sometimes even audible on my microphone, which isn’t ideal when playing multiplayer games. However, they feel great to use, and while I can’t confirm they improved my Apex Legends K/D, I enjoyed gaming with them a lot. Again, my only gripe is not having an F1 button to thank my teammates for pinging me Heavy Ammo, and I’m not ready to undo years of muscle memory by rebinding the command.

conduit taking a seflie with a downed wattson on top of a building in apex legends

Despite the Cherry MX Reds being aimed more at playing games than writing about them, typing also feels great. That loud aural feedback on the keys becomes less of a problem here, and is in fact something I like when I write. With no microphone to worry about, I can type freely and comfortably, and the Ducky ProjectD Tinker 65 exceeds expectations in the arena of wordsmithing.

The Ducky ProjectD Tinker 65 feels like an entry level mechanical keyboard, but it does its job with aplomb. There are no superfluous additions, no dial to control your volume or buttons to switch up your RGB lights, but it doesn’t need them. This is a keyboard for those more focused on fine fingerfeel than anything else and in that sense, it delivers. Personally I’d like a slightly heavier frame and even quieter switches, but I’m looking forward to exploring just how the customisation works to get the full experience of a mechanical keyboard tinkering project.

Next: Is My Controller Borked Or Are Baldur’s Gate 3’s Radial Menus Trash?

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