Keychron Q1 QMK custom mechanical keyboard review: A premium, affordable experience built for you Review

Maria J. Danford

While working absolutely distant very last 12 months, I commenced applying a Keychron K2 wireless mechanical keyboard and thoroughly savored the capability to swap out switches and enhance the typing experience. A few of months in the past Keychron’s PR agency, Correct Propaganda questioned if I would be fascinated in a testing out a customized keyboard, the Keychron Q1 QMK Custom made Mechanical Keyboard.

I was questioned to send in a company symbol, image, or graphic in get for Keychron to build a customized keyboard. The Q1 Quantum Mechanical Keyboard arrived a few of months in the past, along with additional switches, a wooden palm rest, and a Gateron switch opener. The keyboard turned out considerably greater than I expected, see my picture gallery below, and the dark blue, red, white, and mild grey of ZDNet appears amazing incorporated into the keyboard design and style.

Also: Keychron K3 wireless mechanical keyboard critique: Simply move involving the business and property

Custom made design and style choices

While you can get a person of the default patterns (black white keycaps) for your Keychron Q1 keyboard at the $169 rate, you may possibly want to explore the customization choices to have a keyboard developed exclusively for you. You can customize your individual badge for $30 and this will look as the higher proper button of the keyboard. You can afterwards make a decision to swap out the badge for an additional key as nicely with a achievable potential possibility to make that opening a person for a dial. Present badges are made of black aluminum so consider this prior to distributing your desired picture.

Resin and wooden palm rests are readily available for $30 and $twenty five, respectively. 14 different keycap choices are readily available and for this critique, the key keyset was the Retro Mac established, priced at $forty, due to the fact it carefully matched the ZDNet website colour scheme. Keychron also despatched along Grey White Blue and Hacker colour keycaps to take a look at out.

Customization choices are also readily available for the plate that is positioned around the PCB and foam. Plate choices include things like brass (robust tapping comments with thicker feel), Computer (polycarbonate is the most adaptable for those people who type for extended periods), and FR4 (this fiber plate presents a harmony involving the other two choices). The brass plate is priced at $35 while the other two are $fifteen every.

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The very last customization possibility is for the switches. The Keychron Q1 QMK has 82 keys so you need to have this lots of switches to modify out each and every switch in the keyboard. Swap packs have 35 and 12 switches so you need to have two entire 35 packs and a person 12 pack to modify out all of them. Nonetheless, you can also pick to mix and match switches if you prefer selected keys behave in another way. Swap packs selection from $8 to $35 for 35 switches. I tested Gateron Phantom Red, Blue, and Brown switches with the Q1.

A absolutely assembled Keychron Q1 with a person of the 3 Phantom switch choices is readily available for $169 and involves the keyboard PCB, the situation, aluminum plate, Abs keycaps, and a quality coiled Kind-C cable. The ZDNet badge customized keyboard I tested is priced at $234, barebones version ($149) with switches and keycaps included to the rate.

Keyboard components

The Q1 QMK keyboard connects to your computer system via its USB-C port and the Keychron custom coiled cable in black, blue, or grey. A USB-C to USB-A adapter is also integrated in situation you have an more mature dock or computer system like I do with no readily available USB-C port. An OS switch is identified on the again left facet, following to the USB-C port, for Home windows and Mac usability. I use Microsoft Floor Professional six and Floor Guide 2 equipment so only tested the keyboard with Home windows.

The first point I seen when I opened up the retail offer was that this keyboard had some major heft to it, weighing in at 3.5 pounds. It is crafted with 6063 aluminum and CNC machined with a polished, anodized, and sandblasted complete. 20-four producing procedures were being utilised in the generation of the keyboard and it feels only fantastic. I like the rock reliable design and style that gives an incredibly stable system for typing with no any shifting or movement as you pound away on the keyboard.

The following step for me was to replace the two Mac OS Command keys with Alt keys and swap out the Possibility key. Be default, the keyboard is set up for Mac OS, but the replacement Home windows keys are identified in the retail offer.

South-struggling with (in the direction of the typist) RGB LED lights are supplied on the keyboard. When you have different switches mounted in the keyboard, then the lights changes a little bit as it shines via the switch openings on find switches. Function-W and Function-S boosts and decreases backlight brightness. Function-Q changes the lights results while Function-Tab turns off the lights totally.

If you want to modify different facets of your typing experience then Keychron can make that achievable and very affordable. You can use the integrated hex key to get the screws out of the bottom situation and modify the PCB, incorporate or take away foam, or modify out the plate. The switches and keycaps can be swapped out from the top rated with no taking away the bottom situation.

Also: Keychron K2 wireless mechanical keyboard critique: Distant work entertaining on a Computer, Mac, Android, or iOS machine

The Keychron Q1 is a quantum mechanical keyboard that can be programmed and remapped applying the Through computer software application. The Through computer software lets you absolutely configure the keyboard, like including in macros, media controls, and considerably a lot more. I have only touched the floor of the Through computer software and am impressed by the choices of applying this open up-source computer software to build an incredibly effective and effective keyboard experience to aid you get work completed.

Four layers of key configurations are supplied with layer assigned to Mac OS and layer 2 assigned to Home windows. Levels 1 and 3 are readily available for customization for Mac and Home windows applying the Through computer software.

The Keychron Q1 QMK mechanical keyboard weighs in at 1600 grams (3.5 pounds) and steps 327.5 x 145 mm. It has a 5.2-degree angle with the entrance height of 21.6mm. I have been applying the wooden palm rest and locate it essential for applying this keyboard with this entrance height.

Swap choices

The Keychron Q1 QMK Custom made Mechanical Keyboard arrived with the Phantom Brown switches put in. Keychron labored with Gateron to build these Phantom switches that are pre-lubed from the manufacturing facility and have performed flawlessly due to the fact I commenced my testing. The Phantom switches allow for the RGB backlight to display the switch colour when the mild shines via. Keychron states that red switches will deliver a red lava hearth influence, blue a blizzard-like influence, and brown a mild coffee colour influence.

The Phantom Brown switch has tactile conduct with mid-stage operating power and light seem stage. They are not silent keys, but are really quiet. Keychron advertises this switch model for midway gaming and business use. It takes some time to pull off the keycaps and then the switches on their own, but the fantastic point is that you can also mix up key conduct if you wish.

I briefly tried out the Phantom Red switches, but they are too quiet and a little bit comfortable for me. For the previous 7 days, I have been applying the Phantom Blue switches that deliver clicky conduct and loud seem. These are the switches for typists and I would argue for mechanical keyboard enthusiasts who spend some time working at property where you can love the seem of keyboard keys clacking away.

As you can see on the Q1 accent site, other mechanical switches are supported by the Q1. You can use other Gateron (Phantom, typical, Cap, and Ink V2) switches, the Cherry MX switch established, Kailh switches, and Keychron mechanical switches.

Keychron also incorporates Gateron screw-in PCB stabilizers so that the much larger keys have stable and sleek performance. The space bar receives utilised a whole lot and I have savored the response on the Q1 keyboard.

The retail offer involves the keyboard, keycap puller, switch puller, Home windows keys, and a few additional keys. There are 82 keys on the Keychron Q1 QMK keyboard and it is sized as a 75% keyboard.

Day by day use encounters and conclusion

Keychron has been opening my eyes up to the world of keyboards and I can no for a longer time only use a default keyboard that is supplied with my computer system or thrown at me by the IT office. I seemed all around a little bit and QMK keyboards are frequently priced a whole lot bigger than what Keychron is featuring listed here for $169. I have been incredibly pleased by the performance and experience with the Q1 QMK so if you have any interest in customizing your keyboard or possessing a person that you can conveniently servicing every aspect by oneself, then you ought to critically consider the Keychron Q1.

The other two Keychron keyboards I tested around the previous 12 months each had Bluetooth connectivity as an possibility, which made it practical for connection with a tablet or smartphone. The Keychron Q1 connects only by using USB-C. For my Home windows computing requires this is best as I by no means have to fret about charging up the keyboard and can use it endlessly with no problem. Nonetheless, it also limitations my connectivity to other cellular equipment and it appears like Keychron is working on a version with Bluetooth for a potential release.

It is been a joy to type for the previous few months on the Keychron Q1 QMK custom mechanical keyboard and I feel it is a fantastic keyboard for those people who are not necessarily keyboard fanatics. Keychron can make it effortless for keyboard newcomers like me to dive proper in and swap points out to build a absolutely custom and optimized typing system. Goods like the Keychron Q1 may possibly really encourage individuals to further more explore the world of mechanical keyboards and even if you pick up the default stock Q1 I am confident you will have an pleasant typing experience. It is also fantastic to know that you can conveniently swap out the elements and parts if they fail or are damaged as the a long time move.

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