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

Nancy J. Delong

Although performing absolutely remote previous 12 months, I started using a Keychron K2 wireless mechanical keyboard and extensively savored the capacity to swap out switches and improve the typing knowledge. A couple of months back Keychron’s PR company, Good Propaganda asked if I would be intrigued in a testing out a personalized keyboard, the Keychron Q1 QMK Custom Mechanical Keyboard.

I was asked to send in a corporation brand, photograph, or graphic in get for Keychron to create a personalized keyboard. The Q1 Quantum Mechanical Keyboard arrived a couple of weeks back, together with more switches, a wooden palm relaxation, and a Gateron change opener. The keyboard turned out a great deal superior than I predicted, see my graphic gallery beneath, and the darkish blue, pink, white, and light-weight grey of ZDNet appears to be wonderful integrated into the keyboard structure.

Also: Keychron K3 wireless mechanical keyboard overview: Very easily transfer in between the workplace and residence

Custom structure options

Although you can get 1 of the default designs (black white keycaps) for your Keychron Q1 keyboard at the $169 value, you may perhaps want to investigate the customization options to have a keyboard built specially for you. You can customize your have badge for $thirty and this will surface as the upper ideal button of the keyboard. You can later decide to swap out the badge for an more key as perfectly with a doable long run solution to make that opening 1 for a dial. Present-day badges are built of black aluminum so take into account this prior to submitting your desired graphic.

Resin and wooden palm rests are obtainable for $thirty and $25, respectively. fourteen diverse keycap options are obtainable and for this overview, the main keyset was the Retro Mac established, priced at $forty, since it carefully matched the ZDNet web-site shade plan. Keychron also sent together Grey White Blue and Hacker shade keycaps to test out.

Customization options are also obtainable for the plate that is positioned about the PCB and foam. Plate options incorporate brass (powerful tapping opinions with thicker really feel), Computer system (polycarbonate is the most adaptable for those people who style for prolonged durations), and FR4 (this fiber plate provides a equilibrium in between the other two options). The brass plate is priced at $35 when the other two are $15 just about every.

Best ZDNET Assessments

The previous customization solution is for the switches. The Keychron Q1 QMK has eighty two keys so you will need this quite a few switches to transform out every change in the keyboard. Switch packs comprise 35 and 12 switches so you will need two full 35 packs and 1 12 pack to transform out all of them. On the other hand, you can also select to mix and match switches if you want specified keys behave in another way. Switch packs assortment from $8 to $35 for 35 switches. I analyzed Gateron Phantom Pink, Blue, and Brown switches with the Q1.

A absolutely assembled Keychron Q1 with 1 of the 3 Phantom change options is obtainable for $169 and includes the keyboard PCB, the situation, aluminum plate, Stomach muscles keycaps, and a quality coiled Sort-C cable. The ZDNet badge personalized keyboard I analyzed is priced at $234, barebones model ($149) with switches and keycaps added to the value.

Keyboard hardware

The Q1 QMK keyboard connects to your computer by its USB-C port and the Keychron customized coiled cable in black, blue, or gray. A USB-C to USB-A adapter is also integrated in situation you have an more mature dock or computer like I do with no obtainable USB-C port. An OS change is discovered on the back again left side, following to the USB-C port, for Home windows and Mac usability. I use Microsoft Area Professional 6 and Area E book 2 gadgets so only analyzed the keyboard with Home windows.

The initial point I noticed when I opened up the retail package deal was that this keyboard experienced some really serious heft to it, weighing in at three.five lbs .. It is crafted with 6063 aluminum and CNC machined with a polished, anodized, and sandblasted complete. Twenty-four producing procedures were used in the generation of the keyboard and it feels merely great. I really like the rock solid structure that provides an particularly secure system for typing devoid of any shifting or movement as you pound absent on the keyboard.

The following action for me was to change the two Mac OS Command keys with Alt keys and swap out the Option key. Be default, the keyboard is setup for Mac OS, but the replacement Home windows keys are discovered in the retail package deal.

South-struggling with (toward the typist) RGB LED lights are provided on the keyboard. When you have diverse switches mounted in the keyboard, then the lights variations a bit as it shines by the change openings on select switches. Function-W and Function-S will increase and decreases backlight brightness. Function-Q variations the lights effects when Function-Tab turns off the lights absolutely.

If you want to transform different factors of your typing knowledge then Keychron would make that doable and economical. You can use the integrated hex key to choose the screws out of the base situation and transform the PCB, include or clear away foam, or transform out the plate. The switches and keycaps can be swapped out from the leading devoid of eliminating the base situation.

Also: Keychron K2 wireless mechanical keyboard overview: Remote get the job done enjoyable on a Computer system, Mac, Android, or iOS machine

The Keychron Q1 is a quantum mechanical keyboard that can be programmed and remapped using the Through software package application. The Through software package lets you absolutely configure the keyboard, which include introducing in macros, media controls, and a great deal more. I have only touched the surface area of the Through software package and am impressed by the opportunities of using this open-supply software package to create an particularly productive and successful keyboard knowledge to support you get get the job done done.

Four layers of key options are provided with layer assigned to Mac OS and layer 2 assigned to Home windows. Layers 1 and three are obtainable for customization for Mac and Home windows using the Through software package.

The Keychron Q1 QMK mechanical keyboard weighs in at 1600 grams (three.five lbs .) and steps 327.five x one hundred forty five mm. It has a five.2-degree angle with the entrance height of 21.6mm. I have been using the wooden palm relaxation and find it necessary for using this keyboard with this entrance height.

Switch options

The Keychron Q1 QMK Custom Mechanical Keyboard arrived with the Phantom Brown switches put in. Keychron labored with Gateron to create these Phantom switches that are pre-lubed from the factory and have carried out flawlessly since I started my testing. The Phantom switches allow the RGB backlight to exhibit the change shade when the light-weight shines by. Keychron states that pink switches will provide a pink lava fireplace influence, blue a blizzard-like influence, and brown a light-weight coffee shade influence.

The Phantom Brown change has tactile conduct with mid-stage functioning pressure and gentle seem stage. They are not silent keys, but are really silent. Keychron advertises this change design for halfway gaming and workplace utilization. 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 drive.

I briefly tried using the Phantom Pink switches, but they are far too silent and a bit delicate for me. For the past week, I have been using the Phantom Blue switches that provide clicky conduct and loud seem. These are the switches for typists and I would argue for mechanical keyboard fans who commit some time performing at residence where by you can appreciate the seem of keyboard keys clacking absent.

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

Keychron also incorporates Gateron screw-in PCB stabilizers so that the much larger keys have secure and smooth general performance. The space bar will get used a large amount and I have savored the response on the Q1 keyboard.

The retail package deal includes the keyboard, keycap puller, change puller, Home windows keys, and a few more keys. There are eighty two keys on the Keychron Q1 QMK keyboard and it is sized as a seventy five% keyboard.

Daily utilization encounters and summary

Keychron has been opening my eyes up to the planet of keyboards and I can no longer merely use a default keyboard that is provided with my computer or thrown at me by the IT section. I looked all over a bit and QMK keyboards are typically priced a large amount bigger than what Keychron is giving right here for $169. I have been particularly delighted by the general performance and knowledge with the Q1 QMK so if you have any interest in customizing your keyboard or acquiring 1 that you can simply upkeep just about every section by oneself, then you should significantly take into account the Keychron Q1.

The other two Keychron keyboards I analyzed about the past 12 months both equally experienced Bluetooth connectivity as an solution, which built it valuable for connection with a tablet or smartphone. The Keychron Q1 connects only by way of USB-C. For my Home windows computing demands this is excellent as I never ever have to fear about charging up the keyboard and can use it endlessly devoid of worry. On the other hand, it also restrictions my connectivity to other mobile gadgets and it sounds like Keychron is performing on a model with Bluetooth for a long run release.

It truly is been a joy to style for the past few weeks on the Keychron Q1 QMK customized mechanical keyboard and I believe that it is a fantastic keyboard for those people who are not essentially keyboard enthusiasts. Keychron would make it uncomplicated for keyboard rookies like me to dive ideal in and swap things out to create a absolutely customized and optimized typing system. Products and solutions like the Keychron Q1 may perhaps really encourage folks to further more investigate the planet of mechanical keyboards and even if you choose up the default stock Q1 I am confident you will have an fulfilling typing knowledge. It truly is also fantastic to know that you can simply swap out the sections and items if they are unsuccessful or are damaged as the several years pass.

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