Best Tenkeyless Mechanical Keyboards with Dedicated Media Keys


When it comes to picking out a mechanical keyboard, a compact size such as tenkeyless (80% or TKL) is almost always recommended for beginners who are new to using non-full-sized layouts. Unfortunately, it can be super difficult to find a TKL with media keys. To make your lives a whole lot easier, we did a ton of research and compiled a list of our favorite TKL keyboards with media keys.

The best tenkeyless mechanical keyboards with dedicated media keys are the Drevo Blademaster TE, Logitech G915 TKL, Apex 7 TKL or Apex Pro TKL, Corsair K63, Redragon K596/587.

We’ll dig into why we chose these specific mechanical keyboards and rank them according to price, features, and quality.

1. Drevo Blademaster TE

Photo by u/apricot_nyc

Overall Design and Features

The Drevo Blademaster TE has many switch options including Gateron and Cherry MX switches in red, brown, or blue. It is an affordable mechanical keyboard that you can check out for a good price on Amazon. The case is made out of plastic and the top-plate is aluminum. It features a floating-keycap design, so you can see all of the RGB and switches in all of its glory. On the back, there is wire routing to the middle, left, or right. There are also 4 DIP switches to change the modifier keys or layout of the keyboard.

There are flip-out feet to increase the inclination of the typing angle. The cable is non-detachable and a thin rubber. It is compatible with both Mac and Windows, the sub-legends on the modifiers are primarily Windows with the secondary legends for Mac.

The Blademaster features Cherry-style stabilizers with minimal rattle and ABS double-shot keycaps. It’s easy to change out the keycaps though because it is a completely standard layout with common bottom row sizes.

Programmable Media Knob

Unlike the dedicated media keys that you think of such as a volume wheel or buttons, this keyboard uses a Genius Knob on the left side of the keyboard. The Genius Knob is completely programmable in all of four actions: scroll up, scroll down, single click, and double click, which can be mapped to in-game controls, RGB speed/brightness, or media controls, depending on your preference.

Light Bar and RGB Lighting

In addition to the RGB per-key lighting, it also has light bars in the front, left, and right side. Each side can be customized independently of the other. Brightness levels and effect speeds can be adjusted with keyboard key combinations with FN.

Cloud Based Software

This keyboard uses the Drevo Power Console as its software used to remap keys, create macros, and create RGB effects and animations, edit gaming mode, and change report rate from 125Hz to 1000Hz.

Being a cloud-based software, you would need to create an account to set everything up. A cool thing about this is that once you save all of your effects, it’ll there in your account whether you reformat your computer, change PCs, or accidentally overwrite the keyboard’s onboard memory.

The Verdict on the Drevo Blademaster TE

The Drevo Blademaster TE is a clean TKL design with a dedicated knob on the left side for media controls. It is an amazing looking keyboard with all of its RGB light bars and per-key lighting effects. The software is easy to use and completely programmable. The switch options are compatible with most people and the overall build quality is sturdy. The downside is the keyboard cable is non-detachable without USB passthrough.

If you would like to get this keyboard but hate the non-detachable cable, Drevo also made a BladeMaster Pro edition, which features a Bluetooth connection, dongle wireless connection, and detachable USB-C cable. It has more switch options and a metal side knob. However, for all of these additional features, there is an increase in price.

You can check out the Drevo Blademaster on Amazon for a super affordable price.

2. Logitech G915 TKL

Super Thin and Low Profile

The Logitech G915TKL is much thinner than other keyboards. It uses special low-profile mechanical switches and keycaps to minimize the height of the board. For anyone worrying about the height of mechanical keyboards, this is the board to look at. The top plate is a gunmetal aluminum with a plastic bottom. The branding is subtle on the side. The low-profile Logitech GL switches are rebranded Kailh low profile switches. This means that finding aftermarket keycaps may be more difficult. The stock keycaps are thin and flimsy ABS.

Wireless Dongle

Unlike other wireless mechanical keyboards, this one uses a USB dongle to connect for improved connection. On the backside, there is a convenient place to store it when not in use. You don’t have to worry about losing it when moving it around. It also connects via Bluetooth for laptops, tables, and mobile phones. Logitech boasts around a 40 hour lifespan on one charge. However, your mileage may vary depending on the RGB brightness and how often it is on.

Dedicated Volume wheel and Media Buttons

The buttons are on the top right of the forehead with the dedicated volume wheel. The buttons are soft and large enough to press without missing. The buttons are previous track, pause/play, next track, and a convenient mute button for quick access. The volume wheel is quiet and on the edge of the keyboard, making it easy to scroll down/up without hitting the surfaces of the keys nearby.

Additional Features and Design

Logitech created a TKL low-profile wireless mechanical keyboard with dedicated media controls. On the back, it has 6 rubber feet to make sure that it won’t slide around when gaming intensely. The kickstands have two angles you can pick from to create a more natural inclination for typing and gaming.

The keyboard comes with Logitech GL Reds, Browns, or Blues. For RGB and macro programmability, the G915 uses Logitech G Hub. The default RGB profile is rainbow and needs to be adjusted through the software.

Our Verdict on the Logitech G915 TKL

The price of this mechanical keyboard is on the pricier side, but it is absolutely feature-packed with the wireless BT or dongle connection and the slick gunmetal build. It is one of the few keyboards out there that combine TKL size, wireless, low profile, and dedicated media controls. In fact, it may be the only one out there. For someone who is looking for all of these features in one keyboard, this is the one. If you don’t plan on using the wireless features, the G915 is probably not worth it to purchase it for this price.

You can find the Logitech G915 on Amazon for a super competitive price.

3. Apex 7 TKL/Pro TKL

OLED Display and Scroll Wheel

The Apex 7 TKL and Apex Pro TKL have very similar features other than the mechanical switch type. The Apex 7 TKL uses Steelseries Red linear switches whereas the Apex Pro TKl uses Steelseries Omnipoint switches that allow for modification of the actuation distance through their software. The price different between the keyboards is substantial. For the dedicated wheel keys, all of Steelseries keyboards have the OLED screen, volume wheel, and buttons. For us, the Apex 7 TKL takes the win because of its reasonable price as it balances price and features quite well.

In the top-right of the keyboard there is an OLED screen with a volume wheel to adjust your sound-levels, RGB, brightness, all on the fly. I found this to be very helpful for changing music while playing games or working on a full-screen application. After adjusting RGB the first time, however, I didn’t really touch the RGB adjustments after that.

Additional Wrist Rest

The Steelseries Apex 7 TKL and Pro TKL come with a sturdy matte black magnetic wrist rest that easily clicks onto the bottom of the keyboard. It has a subtle glossy Steelseries logo and stands at a slight angle. Unlike other wrist rests, this one supports your palms and keeps your carpal tunnels open rather than pressed against it. The wrist rest is the best free add-in I’ve ever received on a mechanical keyboard.

RGB Lighting and Software

This Apex 7/Pro uses the Steelseries software called Steelseries Engine. You can use the keyboard and edit the RGB lighting using the OLED display alone along with macro recording. With the software, you can reprogram keys, change the OLED screen default picture, and sync the lighting effects with other Steelseries peripherals if you have them. There are also additional applications that can use the RGB effects such as Discord notifications and the Audiovisualizer.

Should You Get the Apex 7 TKL?

In terms of build quality, this keyboard is a great buy. The downside is the keyboard requires 2 USB ports to work, but USB-passthrough is a nice addition if you’re looking for that. The RGB lights are amazing, the stabilizers have no rattle. Steelseries red switches are super smooth. The keycaps are ABS plastic but take longer than other keyboards to shine. The Apex 7 also comes with one of the most comfortable wrist rests I have ever used with a mechanical keyboard. I absolutely recommend this one if some of the features match what you’re looking for.

You can check out the Steelseries Apex 7 & Apex Pro on Amazon for a really good price.

4. Corsair K63

Next up on the list is a Corsair K63. It has the dedicated media buttons on the top right side. This keyboard comes in at an amazing price and sometimes can even be found on sale.

Overall Build Quality

The case quality is all plastic, but the keyboard is sturdy and has no flex. The backside has four rubber feet and two adjustable kickstands that flip out horizontally. The keycaps are ABS plastic with double shot injections. The keyboard has a nondetachable rubber cable. The switches are Cherry MX Red switches. These are linear switches and are great for gaming. Unfortunately, the stabilizers are loud and rattly out of the box.

Dedicated Media Keys

On the top left and top right of the forehead of the keyboard lies the media keys. The top right, you have volume up, volume down, and mute. On the top left, you have previous track, pause/play, and next track. 

Additional Features

Unfortunately, this keyboard only has red backlight. If this doesn’t work with your setup or overall aesthetic, this will not be the keyboard for you. With the red backlight, there are a ton of effects. The software is Corsair iCue. You can program macros and remap keys. Additionally, you can also change what the Windows Lock does.

Should you Get the Corsair K63

If your setup is black and red, this is an amazing keyboard for the price. If it’s not, then this won’t fit in. Even with the red backlight off, there is a red top plate that is visible underneath the switches and keycaps.

For the price, there is not much to complain about. The K63 is all plastic, but it is a sturdy keyboard and not flimsy at all. The spacebar is rattly, but it has Cherry MX Red switches for a nice linear feel. For the mechanical keyboard enthusiast, many might say no to Cherry MX Red, but in terms of longevity and quality, Cherry is the standard for mechanical switches.  It’s also worth noting the keyboard has a nonstandard layout, so switching out the keycaps to aftermarket keycap sets could be difficult.

If you’re interested in learning more, check out the Corsair K63 on Amazon.

5. Redragon K596, K587, and K588

Differences Between these Keyboards

The Redragon K596, K588, and K587 are very similar mechanical keyboards. All three are tenkeyless, have dedicated media keys, come with a wrist rest, and RGB lighting. The K596 features a wireless connection using a 2.4G dongle and a 2400mAh battery. The K588 lets you detach the cable with a USB-C cable. The K587 comes with a nondetachable cable.

Additional Features and Design

These Redragon mechanical keyboards come with Oetemu switches. They have the option of red or brown. These are Cherry MX clones which feature a similar feel. The blue switches have a distinct click that you think of when thinking about “gaming keyboards.” The red switches are less loud and have a linear keypress, allowing uniformity throughout the press. These switches feature a box design and protect your keyboard from dust and minimal liquid spills.

They all have N-key rollover and anti-ghosting, so you can press multiple buttons without worrying about responsiveness. The RGB lighting can be customized through the software or through built-in effects on the keyboards themselves.

The wrist rest is magnetic and is detachable from the keyboard itself. This can enhance your comfort while typing or playing games. And if you don’t like the wrist rest, just put it away somewhere because it’s so easy to take apart.

Additionally, each one also has a row of 5 macro keys on the left side of the keyboard. You can record macros for your gaming needs. The volume and media controls are at the top of the keyboard. There is a volume wheel on the right-hand side. The buttons are previous track, pause/play, next track, and mute.

The keycaps are ABS and have gamer-legends. The doubleshot injections allow the lights to shine through nicely. Brightness can be changed through FN+up/down keys. The effects can be changed with FN + a key from the navigational cluster. 

Which One to Get?

If you’re looking for a TKL mechanical keyboard with dedicated media keys and wireless capabilities, the best option is the Redragon K596. You can check it out here on Amazon for a super affordable price. If you’re picky about detachable cables like I am, then the K588 is your best option. You can check it out here on Amazon. If you’re not looking for wireless or a detachable cable, then the K587 is the one to go with. You can check it out here on Amazon.

Alternative Option: Falcon-8 Media Pad

If you already have a tenkeyless keyboard and don’t want to worry about ordering a brand-new keyboard just to get access to media keys, a really good option would be getting a separate media pad. A separate media pad is awesome because it will let you position the media keys in any location that works for you and allow you to use whatever your favorite keyboard is, regardless of if the keyboard has media keys.

The best media pad we could find is the Falcon-8. There are other ones available, but you would need to build and assemble it yourself. For that reason, we recommend the Falcon-8. You can find the media pad on Amazon for a good price through this link.

Why Get a Keyboard with Dedicated Media Keys?

For those of you that aren’t familiar with media keys, you may be wondering, why the heck would I even need a keyboard with dedicated media keys? I personally have found that media keys make changing the music volume, skipping songs, and rewinding, are all super easy to change without having to open up Spotify or YouTube applications. Simply pressing the buttons makes the whole process a breeze. The media keys are especially useful when playing a full-screen game because you change the song without having to close the game temporarily. The media keys are perfect for changing to a song that fits the moment, all on the fly.

Conclusion

We looked at a ton of different tenkeyless mechanical keyboards with media keys. There are a lot of good options down there, but somehow we were able to condense them into this list. Our favorite pick for a mechanical keyboard with a volume wheel is the Drevo Blademaster, due to the quality of the keyboard, the price, and all of the features bundled in. If the Blademaster doesn’t fit your style, we also highly recommend the Logitech G915, Apex 7/Pro, Corsair K63, and the Redragon K596/587/K588.

If you’re willing to configure your setup to something a little out of the ordinary, you could opt for a separate media pad, so you can have access to media keys without being restricted to the keyboards on this list. The media pad also allows you to place it anywhere on your desk, ideal for maximizing space.

We hope our list of tenkeyless mechanical keyboards with dedicated media keys helped you in your pursuit of the perfect keyboard. We wish you the best in your keyboard journey. Happy typing!

Jake Harrington

Jake has been an avid mechanical keyboard user for the past six years. He has a background in Mechanical Engineering and wants to apply his expertise to break down how mechanical keyboards work and show the world all of the cool aspects of the mechanical keyboard hobby.

Recent Content