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

While doing the job entirely distant final yr, I begun working with a Keychron K2 wi-fi mechanical keyboard and carefully loved the capacity to swap out switches and optimize the typing working experience. A few of months ago Keychron’s PR company, Right Propaganda asked if I would be fascinated in a screening out a custom made keyboard, the Keychron Q1 QMK Custom made Mechanical Keyboard.

I was asked to deliver in a firm symbol, photo, or graphic in purchase for Keychron to generate a custom made keyboard. The Q1 Quantum Mechanical Keyboard arrived a few of months ago, alongside with excess switches, a picket palm relaxation, and a Gateron switch opener. The keyboard turned out significantly better than I envisioned, see my image gallery underneath, and the dark blue, crimson, white, and light gray of ZDNet appears great included into the keyboard design and style.

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Custom made design and style choices

While you can purchase one particular of the default designs (black white keycaps) for your Keychron Q1 keyboard at the $169 price tag, you might want to investigate the customization choices to have a keyboard built specially for you. You can personalize your have badge for $30 and this will seem as the higher ideal button of the keyboard. You can later on come to a decision to swap out the badge for an excess vital as properly with a possible foreseeable future selection to make that opening one particular for a dial. Recent badges are made of black aluminum so think about this prior to submitting your desired image.

Resin and picket palm rests are out there for $30 and $25, respectively. 14 different keycap choices are out there and for this evaluation, the key keyset was the Retro Mac set, priced at $40, given that it carefully matched the ZDNet web site coloration scheme. Keychron also despatched alongside Gray White Blue and Hacker coloration keycaps to exam out.

Customization choices are also out there for the plate that is positioned in excess of the PCB and foam. Plate choices contain brass (solid tapping feedback with thicker come to feel), Computer system (polycarbonate is the most adaptable for people who kind for prolonged intervals), and FR4 (this fiber plate presents a equilibrium involving the other two choices). The brass plate is priced at $35 whilst the other two are $fifteen every single.

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The final customization selection is for the switches. The Keychron Q1 QMK has eighty two keys so you need this many switches to change out just about every switch in the keyboard. Swap packs consist of 35 and 12 switches so you need two complete 35 packs and one particular 12 pack to change out all of them. Having said that, you can also opt for to combine and match switches if you want sure keys behave in a different way. Swap packs assortment from $eight to $35 for 35 switches. I analyzed Gateron Phantom Pink, Blue, and Brown switches with the Q1.

A entirely assembled Keychron Q1 with one particular of the a few Phantom switch choices is out there for $169 and consists of the keyboard PCB, the situation, aluminum plate, Abs keycaps, and a premium coiled Variety-C cable. The ZDNet badge custom made keyboard I analyzed is priced at $234, barebones version ($149) with switches and keycaps extra to the price tag.

Keyboard components

The Q1 QMK keyboard connects to your pc by its USB-C port and the Keychron personalized coiled cable in black, blue, or grey. A USB-C to USB-A adapter is also incorporated in situation you have an older dock or pc like I do with no out there USB-C port. An OS switch is located on the back again left facet, upcoming to the USB-C port, for Windows and Mac usability. I use Microsoft Floor Professional 6 and Floor Ebook two products so only analyzed the keyboard with Windows.

The 1st factor I discovered when I opened up the retail deal was that this keyboard had some serious heft to it, weighing in at three.five kilos. It is crafted with 6063 aluminum and CNC machined with a polished, anodized, and sandblasted complete. 20-4 production procedures were being utilised in the creation of the keyboard and it feels just wonderful. I like the rock reliable design and style that offers an very secure system for typing without any shifting or motion as you pound absent on the keyboard.

The upcoming phase for me was to exchange the two Mac OS Command keys with Alt keys and swap out the Possibility vital. Be default, the keyboard is setup for Mac OS, but the replacement Windows keys are located in the retail deal.

South-experiencing (in direction of the typist) RGB LED lights are presented on the keyboard. When you have different switches mounted in the keyboard, then the lights variations a little bit as it shines by the switch openings on pick switches. Operate-W and Operate-S boosts and decreases backlight brightness. Operate-Q variations the lights outcomes whilst Operate-Tab turns off the lights absolutely.

If you want to change different facets of your typing working experience then Keychron can make that possible and economical. You can use the incorporated hex vital to take the screws out of the base situation and change the PCB, insert or get rid of foam, or change out the plate. The switches and keycaps can be swapped out from the best without taking away the base situation.

Also: Keychron K2 wi-fi mechanical keyboard evaluation: Remote work enjoyable on a Computer system, Mac, Android, or iOS device

The Keychron Q1 is a quantum mechanical keyboard that can be programmed and remapped working with the By way of program software. The By way of program lets you entirely configure the keyboard, which includes adding in macros, media controls, and significantly additional. I have only touched the surface area of the By way of program and am amazed by the choices of working with this open-source program to generate an very productive and efficient keyboard working experience to enable you get work finished.

Four layers of vital settings are presented with layer assigned to Mac OS and layer two assigned to Windows. Layers one and three are out there for customization for Mac and Windows working with the By way of program.

The Keychron Q1 QMK mechanical keyboard weighs in at 1600 grams (three.five kilos) and steps 327.five x 145 mm. It has a five.two-diploma angle with the entrance height of 21.6mm. I have been working with the wooden palm relaxation and find it critical for working with this keyboard with this entrance height.

Swap choices

The Keychron Q1 QMK Custom made Mechanical Keyboard arrived with the Phantom Brown switches mounted. Keychron labored with Gateron to generate these Phantom switches that are pre-lubed from the manufacturing unit and have carried out flawlessly given that I begun my screening. The Phantom switches let the RGB backlight to exhibit the switch coloration when the light shines by. Keychron states that crimson switches will give a crimson lava hearth impact, blue a blizzard-like impact, and brown a light coffee coloration impact.

The Phantom Brown switch has tactile habits with mid-stage working force and mild seem stage. They are not silent keys, but are quite quiet. Keychron advertises this switch product for halfway gaming and office environment utilization. It usually takes some time to pull off the keycaps and then the switches by themselves, but the great factor is that you can also combine up vital habits if you need.

I briefly attempted the Phantom Pink switches, but they are much too quiet and a little bit comfortable for me. For the past 7 days, I have been working with the Phantom Blue switches that give clicky habits and loud seem. These are the switches for typists and I would argue for mechanical keyboard supporters who invest some time doing the job at home wherever you can enjoy 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, standard, Cap, and Ink V2) switches, the Cherry MX switch set, Kailh switches, and Keychron mechanical switches.

Keychron also incorporates Gateron screw-in PCB stabilizers so that the greater keys have secure and clean overall performance. The place bar will get utilised a whole lot and I have loved the reaction on the Q1 keyboard.

The retail deal consists of the keyboard, keycap puller, switch puller, Windows keys, and a couple excess keys. There are eighty two keys on the Keychron Q1 QMK keyboard and it is sized as a seventy five% keyboard.

Day by day utilization encounters and summary

Keychron has been opening my eyes up to the entire world of keyboards and I can no for a longer period just use a default keyboard that is presented with my pc or thrown at me by the IT department. I seemed all-around a little bit and QMK keyboards are frequently priced a whole lot better than what Keychron is presenting listed here for $169. I have been very happy by the overall performance and working experience with the Q1 QMK so if you have any interest in customizing your keyboard or getting one particular that you can easily upkeep every single section by you, then you need to severely think about the Keychron Q1.

The other two Keychron keyboards I analyzed in excess of the past yr equally had Bluetooth connectivity as an selection, which made it handy for connection with a pill or smartphone. The Keychron Q1 connects only through USB-C. For my Windows computing wants this is best as I by no means have to fear about charging up the keyboard and can use it endlessly without worry. Having said that, it also boundaries my connectivity to other cellular products and it sounds like Keychron is doing the job on a version with Bluetooth for a foreseeable future launch.

It is been a pleasure to kind for the past couple months on the Keychron Q1 QMK personalized mechanical keyboard and I believe that it is a great keyboard for people who are not essentially keyboard fanatics. Keychron can make it uncomplicated for keyboard newcomers like me to dive ideal in and swap things out to generate a entirely personalized and optimized typing system. Goods like the Keychron Q1 might stimulate individuals to additional investigate the entire world of mechanical keyboards and even if you decide up the default inventory Q1 I am sure you will have an pleasurable typing working experience. It is also great to know that you can easily swap out the components and pieces if they fall short or are damaged as the years go.