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

Whilst performing completely remote previous 12 months, I began making use of a Keychron K2 wi-fi mechanical keyboard and totally appreciated the ability to swap out switches and optimize the typing encounter. A couple of months ago Keychron’s PR company, Appropriate Propaganda requested if I would be interested in a screening out a custom-made keyboard, the Keychron Q1 QMK Custom Mechanical Keyboard.

I was requested to ship in a enterprise emblem, photo, or graphic in purchase for Keychron to produce a custom-made keyboard. The Q1 Quantum Mechanical Keyboard arrived a couple of weeks ago, together with excess switches, a wood palm relaxation, and a Gateron switch opener. The keyboard turned out significantly improved than I expected, see my image gallery beneath, and the dark blue, crimson, white, and gentle grey of ZDNet appears to be like brilliant included into the keyboard style.

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Custom style choices

Whilst you can purchase just one of the default styles (black white keycaps) for your Keychron Q1 keyboard at the $169 value, you could want to investigate the customization choices to have a keyboard created especially for you. You can customise your possess badge for $thirty and this will surface as the higher correct button of the keyboard. You can afterwards come to a decision to swap out the badge for an excess key as perfectly with a doable foreseeable future choice to make that opening just one for a dial. Current badges are manufactured of black aluminum so think about this ahead of distributing your wanted image.

Resin and wood palm rests are obtainable for $thirty and $25, respectively. 14 distinctive keycap choices are obtainable and for this critique, the major keyset was the Retro Mac established, priced at $40, due to the fact it intently matched the ZDNet web page shade scheme. Keychron also sent together Grey White Blue and Hacker shade keycaps to examination out.

Customization choices are also obtainable for the plate that is positioned in excess of the PCB and foam. Plate choices consist of brass (solid tapping comments with thicker truly feel), Computer (polycarbonate is the most adaptable for these who type for prolonged durations), and FR4 (this fiber plate delivers a stability in between the other two choices). The brass plate is priced at $35 even though the other two are $15 every.

Prime ZDNET Assessments

The previous customization choice is for the switches. The Keychron Q1 QMK has 82 keys so you need this several switches to adjust out every single switch in the keyboard. Switch packs contain 35 and 12 switches so you need two full 35 packs and just one 12 pack to adjust out all of them. On the other hand, you can also decide on to mix and match switches if you favor specific keys behave in a different way. Switch packs range from $8 to $35 for 35 switches. I tested Gateron Phantom Crimson, Blue, and Brown switches with the Q1.

A completely assembled Keychron Q1 with just one of the a few Phantom switch choices is obtainable for $169 and features the keyboard PCB, the scenario, aluminum plate, Abs keycaps, and a high quality coiled Sort-C cable. The ZDNet badge custom-made keyboard I tested is priced at $234, barebones edition ($149) with switches and keycaps added to the value.

Keyboard components

The Q1 QMK keyboard connects to your laptop 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 included in scenario you have an more mature dock or laptop like I do with no obtainable USB-C port. An OS switch is discovered on the back still left facet, next to the USB-C port, for Windows and Mac usability. I use Microsoft Area Pro 6 and Area Book 2 units so only tested the keyboard with Windows.

The first factor I noticed when I opened up the retail package was that this keyboard experienced some serious heft to it, weighing in at three.5 lbs. It is crafted with 6063 aluminum and CNC machined with a polished, anodized, and sandblasted finish. 20-4 manufacturing procedures ended up utilised in the development of the keyboard and it feels only amazing. I like the rock stable style that presents an very stable system for typing with out any shifting or movement as you pound absent on the keyboard.

The next step for me was to swap the two Mac OS Command keys with Alt keys and swap out the Selection key. Be default, the keyboard is setup for Mac OS, but the alternative Windows keys are discovered in the retail package.

South-facing (towards the typist) RGB LED lights are furnished on the keyboard. When you have distinctive switches mounted in the keyboard, then the lights changes a bit as it shines via the switch openings on find switches. Operate-W and Operate-S improves and decreases backlight brightness. Operate-Q changes the lights results even though Operate-Tab turns off the lights wholly.

If you want to adjust numerous features of your typing encounter then Keychron would make that doable and affordable. You can use the included hex key to take the screws out of the bottom scenario and adjust the PCB, insert or take out foam, or adjust out the plate. The switches and keycaps can be swapped out from the major with out eradicating the bottom scenario.

Also: Keychron K2 wi-fi mechanical keyboard critique: Remote perform pleasurable on a Computer, Mac, Android, or iOS product

The Keychron Q1 is a quantum mechanical keyboard that can be programmed and remapped making use of the By using application application. The By using application allows you completely configure the keyboard, which includes adding in macros, media controls, and significantly much more. I’ve only touched the floor of the By using application and am impressed by the choices of making use of this open-resource application to produce an very effective and productive keyboard encounter to assistance you get perform finished.

Four layers of key configurations are furnished with layer assigned to Mac OS and layer 2 assigned to Windows. Layers one and three are obtainable for customization for Mac and Windows making use of the By using application.

The Keychron Q1 QMK mechanical keyboard weighs in at 1600 grams (three.5 lbs) and actions 327.5 x a hundred forty five mm. It has a 5.2-diploma angle with the entrance top of 21.6mm. I’ve been making use of the wood palm relaxation and locate it necessary for making use of this keyboard with this entrance top.

Switch choices

The Keychron Q1 QMK Custom Mechanical Keyboard arrived with the Phantom Brown switches put in. Keychron worked with Gateron to produce these Phantom switches that are pre-lubed from the factory and have done flawlessly due to the fact I began my screening. The Phantom switches permit the RGB backlight to clearly show the switch shade when the gentle shines via. Keychron states that crimson switches will provide a crimson lava fire impact, blue a blizzard-like impact, and brown a gentle espresso shade impact.

The Phantom Brown switch has tactile actions with mid-stage running drive and gentle seem stage. They are not silent keys, but are rather tranquil. Keychron advertises this switch model for midway gaming and office usage. It usually takes some time to pull off the keycaps and then the switches on their own, but the good factor is that you can also mix up key actions if you need.

I briefly tried using the Phantom Crimson switches, but they are too tranquil and a bit comfortable for me. For the previous 7 days, I have been making use of the Phantom Blue switches that provide clicky actions and loud seem. These are the switches for typists and I would argue for mechanical keyboard enthusiasts who spend some time performing at property exactly where you can take pleasure in the seem of keyboard keys clacking absent.

As you can see on the Q1 accessory web page, other mechanical switches are supported by the Q1. You can use other Gateron (Phantom, regular, 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 effectiveness. The house bar will get utilised a good deal and I’ve appreciated the reaction on the Q1 keyboard.

The retail package features the keyboard, keycap puller, switch puller, Windows keys, and a couple excess keys. There are 82 keys on the Keychron Q1 QMK keyboard and it is sized as a 75% keyboard.

Everyday usage ordeals and summary

Keychron has been opening my eyes up to the planet of keyboards and I can no extended only use a default keyboard that is furnished with my laptop or thrown at me by the IT office. I looked all-around a bit and QMK keyboards are frequently priced a good deal bigger than what Keychron is giving below for $169. I’ve been very happy by the effectiveness and encounter with the Q1 QMK so if you have any fascination in customizing your keyboard or having just one that you can very easily servicing every portion by your self, then you need to seriously think about the Keychron Q1.

The other two Keychron keyboards I tested in excess of the previous 12 months both equally experienced Bluetooth connectivity as an choice, which manufactured it beneficial for relationship with a tablet or smartphone. The Keychron Q1 connects only by way of USB-C. For my Windows computing desires this is perfect as I never have to be concerned about charging up the keyboard and can use it endlessly with out worry. On the other hand, it also boundaries my connectivity to other cell units and it sounds like Keychron is performing on a edition with Bluetooth for a foreseeable future release.

It’s been a pleasure to type for the previous couple weeks on the Keychron Q1 QMK custom mechanical keyboard and I think it is a good keyboard for these who are not automatically keyboard fanatics. Keychron would make it easy for keyboard rookies like me to dive correct in and swap things out to produce a completely custom and optimized typing system. Solutions like the Keychron Q1 could motivate folks to even further investigate the planet of mechanical keyboards and even if you decide up the default inventory Q1 I am certain you will have an satisfying typing encounter. It’s also good to know that you can very easily swap out the parts and items if they fail or are damaged as the several years move.