Hori TAC Mechanical Keypad for PS5 Review

If you’re a PlayStation console player that wants a little taste of a traditional keyboard and mouse setup for gaming, the Hori TAC Mechanical Keypad might be of interest to you. It’s a compact keypad that features 22 customizable backlit keys attached to an adjustable palm rest that lets you utilize keyboard controls in supported games. However, its form factor takes some time to get used to, and its premium price is hard to justify with the abundance of small form factor keyboards that work just as well, if not better, in most cases.

Hori TAC Mechanical Keypad – Design and Features

The Hori Tactical Assault Commander (TAC) Mechanical Keypad is an officially licensed PlayStation product, meaning it’s designed to work specifically with PS5/PS4 consoles, yet also works with Windows PCs. The device itself is essentially a small portion of a traditional keyboard attached to a palm rest that can be paired with a mouse to give you a PC-like experience on a console.

The Hori TAC has a total of 22 remappable keys, as well as an analog stick on the side that can be used for navigation or mapped as eight additional functions. Additionally, there’s a PlayStation button that can be used to return to your home screen on console, or function as the Windows button on PC.

The keyboard layout is effectively what you’d get if you cut off the leftmost side of a traditional keyboard. It includes the numerical 1-4 keys, QWER, ASDF, and ZXC, as well as Escape, Tab, Shift, CTRL, and a multipurpose Function key on the bottom row. To the right of the keys, you’ll find a PlayStation button, Enter button, and an LED that indicates the currently selected profile, of which you can store six per console. On the rightmost side of the palm rest is an octagonally gated analog stick, a button that functions like the Spacebar on a keyboard, and another button that can be used to adjust the depth of the palm rest.

Although the keypad has a traditional (if abbreviated) keyboard layout, each key also features the PlayStation-specific icons of Cross, Circle, Triangle, Square, L1, R1, Options, Share, and more, in the upper left corner. When combined with the Function button, you can enable these PlayStation buttons to easily navigate the main menu. The layout isn’t super intuitive, with the commonly used ‘Cross’ button placed in the upper right corner of the keypad, for example, but it works. The entire keypad is backlit, too, making it easy to see in dimly lit rooms.

Removing the individual keycaps reveals Kailh black linear switches underneath. These are thonky-sounding keys with smooth actuation and no feedback when pressed. The keycaps themselves are custom-molded for the ergonomics of the TAC Mechanical Keypad, so you aren’t able to easily replace them if anything were to happen to any of them.

The left side of the device features a 3.5mm auxiliary port to plug in headphones, and the front of the unit includes a USB-A port to easily connect a wired or wireless mouse. Officially, the TAC Mechanical Keypad only supports up to five mouse buttons, so if you’re looking to use an MMO mouse, or something that’s more customizable, you’re out of luck. The entire device connects to your PS5, PS4, or PC via a nearly 10-foot-long USB cable.

I do wish the palm rest was removable, or at the very least a soft material, as I found the hard molded plastic to be uncomfortable after an extended gaming session. It’s not something I’m used to having on a traditional keyboard, and to be honest, I felt it got in the way most of the time. The adjustable depth isn’t very generous, either, only shifting about half an inch to accommodate different hand sizes or preferences.

While the Hori TAC Mechanical Keypad features a relatively compact size and some handy PlayStation-specific support, its $130 price tag is a hard pill to swallow when compared to most gaming keyboards. The rise in popularity of smaller form factor (like 60% size) keyboards makes the overall size of the TAC Mechanical Keypad almost negligible. Plus, with a regular keyboard you’re not missing any keys, and can enjoy universal support across many more devices than just PlayStation consoles.

Hori TAC Mechanical Keypad – Software

While you can use the TAC Mechanical Keypad straight out of the box with PS5, PS4, and PC, there’s an optional app for iOS and Android devices that allows you to customize your profiles and remap keys over Bluetooth.