The Keychron Q1 is a work of art in keyboard form [Video]

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I’ve been using the super-popular Keychron K2 (review) as my major mechanical keyboard for the last few years, nevertheless I recently decided to supply the higher-end Keychron Q1 a try. After using the Hong Kong-based agency’s Q1 for a couple of weeks, it’s quickly develop into my keyboard of different for day-to-day typing.

Not solely is the assemble prime quality on this Keychron Q1 a quantity of orders of magnitude greater than the K2 model, nevertheless Keychron moreover made constructive that its higher-end keyboard was customizable from prime to bottom. The keycaps, switches, and even the aluminum plate sandwiched contained in the housing will probably be custom-made to your liking. Personalization doesn’t end on the {{hardware}} side, as a result of the QMK-based VIA utility lets clients modify specific individual keys, assemble macros, and deal with shortcuts for areas like media administration and RGB.

Watch my hands-on experience with the Keychron Q1, and you may need to subscribe to 9to5Mac on YouTube for additional.

Keychron Q1 specs

  • Available in fully-assembled and barebones variations
  • Fully customizable 75% construction
  • QMK/VIA help
  • Gasket mount design for stability
  • CNC 6063 aluminum physique
  • Screw-in stabilizers for giant keys
  • Hot-swappable key switches
  • South-facing RGB
  • Sound absorbing foam
  • Color-matched coiled aviator cable
  • Mac/Windows swap
  • USB-C connectivity
  • 3.5 kilos
  • 5.2° eternal angle
  • Price: $169.00

Video: Keychron Q1 hands-on

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Unboxing and design

Arriving inside of a acquainted black Keychron discipline, my Q1 evaluation unit bought right here completely assembled in navy blue. Along with the keyboard, you’ll uncover a coiled USB-C aviator cable, Windows-centric keycaps, swap and keycap remover devices, Allen wrench and Philips drivers, and a few additional screws, gaskets, and non-slip ft.

The very very very first thing that stood out in regards to the Keychron Q1 was its assemble prime quality. Featuring a 6063 aluminum CNC machined physique that’s polished, anodized and sandblasted, the Q1 has a lovely blue finish that seems desire it was impressed by a late 80’s supercar when thought-about from the side. 

Thanks to its all-aluminum physique, the Q1 is a denser and much heavier keyboard than the Keychron K2, which featured a sincere serving to of plastic components. The 3.5-pound weight of the Q1 ensures that this keyboard will maintain firmly planted on the desktop as you type. It moreover ensures that you simply simply gained’t be tempted to take it with you whereas touring.

Typing experience

With its 5.2-degree typing angle, Keychron’s high-end keyboard provides a largely good typing experience, and I didn’t uncover myself lamenting over the dearth of adjustable ft.

Featuring a gasket-mounted design, which isolates the aluminum plate and PCB, the Q1 enjoys added flexibility with a additional subdued sound and a softer actually really feel whereas typing. The keyboard comes equipped with foam put in correct above the underside case, and sound-absorbing foam sandwiched between the aluminum plate and PCB. 

My evaluation unit bought right here pre-configured with Gateron Red Phantom switches, which give a silky and clear feeling when pressed. Red switches are very like brown switches in journey distance nevertheless have the benefit of linear conduct devoid of the tactile click on on that brown and blue switches are recognized for.

Typing examine

In my comparatively transient tenure using mechanical keyboards, I usually go for brown switches, attributable to their subdued tactile response that’s not virtually as conspicuous as blue switches. I’m uncertain I’ll want to use crimson switches on a long-term basis, nevertheless I’ve been having enjoyable with the straight-line typing experience to this point.

The magnificence of this keyboard is that it choices hot-swappable sockets, which implies the swap willpower needn’t be immutable. The keyboard’s sockets help you to easily swap out switches with out soldering. Keychron sells a choice of key switches from Gateron and Cherry, so that you simply’re constructive to hunt out an selection that works biggest for the way in which in which you favor to type.

Alongside the hot-swappable switches, you’ll uncover screw-in stabilizers for larger keys like Spacebar, Return, and others. These Gateron stabilizers screw instantly into the PCB to verify safe key presses regardless of the place you happen to press on these larger keys. Partitioned from the rest of the Q1’s choices, screw-in stabilizers might not seem like a large deal, nonetheless it’s the combo of so many various finger-friendly choices like this that make the Keychron Q1 a pleasure to type on.

RGB lighting

The Q1 incorporates south-facing RGB backlights beneath each key, which positions them in path of the typer to make them less complicated to discern. In flip, the Gateron Phantom switches are designed with small cavities to allow the RGB lights to shine by approach of. 

The downloadable VIA configurator permits clients to customize key mixtures for adjusting RGB settings. Typists can merely customise the backlight pattern, brightness, hue, saturation, and velocity of backlight animations by holding the carry out key in combination with one different designated key.

Connectivity

The lack of Bluetooth connectivity of the Q1 will instantly make it a non-starter for some clients, and that’s understandable. Having to bodily be a part of the keyboard to your Mac is also inconvenient for some setups. 

On the alternative hand, one might also argue that Bluetooth connectivity continues to be finicky on the Mac, and outcomes in frustration when encountering regular connectivity factors and the inevitable lifeless battery. There’s moreover the all-metal case, which can presumably set off interference with Bluetooth indicators.

Even though the Keychron K2 featured Bluetooth, I found myself relying on the hardwired connection as a result of of the intermittent Bluetooth effectivity that continues to be a drawback with proper this second’s Macs. Although I might need favored for the Q1 to have a Bluetooth selection, the dearth of it isn’t a dealbreaker for my particular use case.

Instead of Bluetooth connectivity, the Keychron Q1 relies upon utterly on a wired USB-C connection. The USB-C connection port is conveniently located on the best left-hand nook of the case, allowing the cable to stay out of the way in which in which of your fingers.

Keychron incorporates a color-matched detachable coiled aviator cable and USB-C to USB-A adapter for legacy setups. Though the aviator cable, with its 5-pin metal locking connector, was fascinating to take a take a look at, I couldn’t help nevertheless actually really feel that it was a textbook case of mannequin over substance. The coiled portion of the cable was too tightly wound, making it an eyesore on my desktop. I’ll most likely be switching to a commonplace canvas USB-C cable in the long term.

Conclusion 

This is a keyboard that changed my view of mechanical keyboards. Yes, they’re workhorses, nevertheless in the case of the Q1, they are often designed like a work of art. The $169.00 Keychron Q1 is not merely a pretty keyboard, nonetheless it’s customizable to a extreme diploma and (sans the needlessly sophisticated USB-C cable) does a first charge job of prioritizing form over carry out.

Granted, my historic previous with mechanical keyboards isn’t sprawling, nevertheless after two weeks of steady utilization, I’ve decided that the Keychron Q1 is one of the most effective feeling mechanical keyboard that I’ve typed on to date. With hot-swappable key switches and customizable keycaps, the Q1 will probably be modified to work biggest in your particular typing mannequin and ambiance. The lack of Bluetooth connectivity will definitely scare some away, nevertheless if you happen to occur to’re trying to find a rock-solid typing experience and don’t ideas a cable, then give the Q1 a shot.

What do you think about it Q1? Sound off down beneath in the suggestions, and you may need to look at once more for our safety of Keychron’s Q2 – the company’s upcoming high-end, uber-compact 65% selection. 

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