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What are 40 keyboards? Top 3 picks

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  • 4 min read

Your keyboard is by far the most important input method for your computer. Mice only work when the computer fully boots in the operating system, that too when the OS supports a graphical user interface (GUI) if you’re working with a CLI-based OS, or your computer doesn’t have one, or you’re fiddling around in the BIOS, a keyboard is your best friend.

Several different keyboards are available in the market, and they come in different shapes, sizes and types. In this article, we’re looking at 40 keyboards and suggesting the top three picks you can buy.

Also read: Keyboard typing backwards: 5 Fixes

What are 40 keyboards?

As the name suggests, 40 keyboards are smaller, compact keyboards with only 40% of the keys of a full-size keyboard. Similarly to 65 or 80 keyboards, these keyboards do away with the keys that aren’t exactly required for you to type and only come with the alphabet keys plus some other necessary ones for a total of around 47 to 48 keys, depending on the keyboard layout. 

Most 40 keyboards usually do away with the number row, arrow cluster, and often punctuation keys. These keyboards are a bit hard to get used to, considering their extremely compact size and the smaller space between keys, but once you do, you can type extremely fast on them as you don’t really have to move your hands a lot. 

That said, the lack of fewer keys is often made by offering multiple layers of programmable keys on the board itself. For example, the QWERTY row works normally as it should; you can program it to become the number key when you press a particular button.

Also read: ANSI vs ISO keyboard layout: 5 key differences

Top 3 40 keyboards

Here are the top three 40 keyboards you can buy. 

ZSA Planck EZ

Brand: ZSA | Price: Starts at $245

What are 40 keyboards? Top 3 picks

The Planck EZ is a highly customisable 40 keyboard with 47 keys and three layers of customisation to compensate for the fewer keys on the actual keyboard. It might look too small and weird at first glance, but the keyboard is remarkably intuitive, and you can get used to it rather easily.

You can get the ZSA Planck EZ here

Vortex Core 40 keyboard

Brand: Vortex Core | Price: Starts at $89.00

What are 40 keyboards? Top 3 picks

Vortex Core’s 4o keyboards are one of the most popular ones in the market in the 40 keyboard format. You get your choice of mechanical switches from the Cherry MX lineup, including Black, Blue, Brown, Silver, Red and Silent Red and an RGB option. 

You can get the Vortex Core 40 keyboard here

Qisan MagicForce 40%

Brand: Qisan | Price: $54

What are 40 keyboards? Top 3 picks

If you’re looking for a cheap and reliable 40 keyboard to test the waters, this one will give you an absolute bang for your buck. Not only do you get ABS keycaps with Gateron Brown switches, but the keyboard itself is laid out in a format that’s extremely easy to get used to for newcomers. 

You can get the Qisan MagicForce 40% here

Also read: QLED vs Crystal UHD: Key Differences

Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah is a Computer Science graduate who writes/edits/shoots/codes all things cybersecurity, gaming, and tech hardware. When he's not, he streams himself racing virtual cars. He's been writing and reporting on tech and cybersecurity with websites like Candid.Technology and MakeUseOf since 2018. You can contact him here: