So that you wish to get into customized mechanical keyboards?
Within the latest years, we’ve seen an explosion in recognition not simply in mechanical keyboards, however customized mechanical keyboards. You may be questioning what’s the distinction between a ready-built one like these made by Razer, Logitech, Corsair, and so forth, versus a customized one.
Because the identify would suggest, a customized keyboard means you get to decide on the case your keyboard is available in, you get to decide on the switches, you get to decide on the keycaps, and if you wish to get even deeper, you get to decide on customized cables in a colorway of your alternative, or specialty one-off artisan keycaps which can be normally hand sculpted by extremely proficient folks locally.
The one downside is that because you’d be shopping for among the components separate from one another, placing collectively a complete keyboard may very well be a mission that might take months to finish. To not point out, sure keyboards can simply price you $400-500, and keycap units can even run as much as $120-$200 in some circumstances.
This may be extremely off placing to rookies, a few of whom aren’t positive they’re keen to speculate that sort of money and time, and that’s a spot that Keychron is hoping to fill with the Keychron Q1.
Meet the Keychron Q1
Proper off the bat, it’s clear that the Q1 is a very totally different beast from the remainder of Keychron’s keyboards. The corporate’s different keyboards usually had that “Keychron” look to them, sort of like how all Razer keyboards are likely to look a sure manner.
With the Q1, evidently Keychron has studied the customized keyboard scene and has even taken suggestions from the neighborhood in the course of the design course of earlier than it entered manufacturing.
The tip result’s a keyboard that appears to return with all of the “should have” options that fanatics are on the lookout for in a customized board, however at a worth that won’t burn a gap within the pockets for rookies within the interest, whereas additionally retaining some basic Keychron options.
Specs & Options
- VIA help from day one out of the field
- Gasket Mount Design
- ANSI/ISO PCB choices
- Sizzling-Swappable PCB for 5-pin mechanical switches
- Full CNC Aluminium Physique
- Screw-In Stabilizers
- South-Going through RGB
- Home windows/Mac change
Design & Construct High quality
The Keychron Q1 is a 75% keyboard. Which means that it does away with the numpad in addition to a number of different keys like Scroll Lock, Print Display, and Pause/Break. Nonetheless, not like a 60% or 65% (that are different in style type elements), it retains the F-key row, so in case you’re somebody who makes use of F-keys as macros for gaming, or in case you use it for work/productiveness, it’ll be there.
It additionally makes use of customary keycap sizes and structure, which implies that searching for a customized keycap set to suit the Q1 won’t pose an issue.
The mannequin that was despatched to us got here in a pleasant blue end, and talking of which, Keychron even provides clients the choice of ordering a personalized badge to make their keyboard really feel actually distinctive and private! That badge might be eliminated and changed with a change and keycap in case you want an additional key.
The load of the Q1 was additionally fairly good and hefty, which may be unusual to listen to as a whole lot of maintstream manufacturers are likely to market their keyboards as being light-weight, however a heavy board means that it’ll transfer round much less on a desk and might contribute to a greater sound signature.
Nonetheless, many different reviews have identified that the Q1 does sound fairly “pingy” which we agree. It may very well be the standard of the aluminum they selected, however do notice that Keychron is conscious of this.
The corporate really features a piece of froth within the backside of the keyboard to assist dampen the sound, however clearly it isn’t sufficient. It’s so skinny and flimsy that we expect not together with it could have made that a lot of a distinction. Keychron states on their web site that for the retail items, they may really be together with further items of froth that ought to hopefully tackle the sound problem.
Sound & Typing Expertise
Talking of sound, that is a facet of mechanical keyboards that those that aren’t into the interest would possibly discover obscure. It’s because along with seems and really feel, the sound of a keyboard might be an essential issue as effectively, with many fanatics attempting every kind of switches and mixtures to attain that excellent sound.
That is the place among the options of the Q1 come into play.
The Q1 makes use of a gasket mounting system. This consists of items of froth strips that sandwich the case of the keyboard with the plate and PCB. As an alternative of extra conventional mounting kinds that may merely screw the plate and PCB into the case, a gasket mount is designed to assist present a softer and versatile typing expertise.
It’s because the froth helps make the board really feel much less inflexible, whereas on the similar time absorbing among the vibrations which impacts not simply sound, however typing really feel. The tip result’s a board that doesn’t really feel very harsh if you backside out and has a softer sound signature.
As for the typing expertise, Keychron geared up this board with Gateron Phantom Pink switches. Gateron is a producer of switches and this Phantom lineup was created completely for Keychron. It’s obtainable in Pink (linear), Blue (clicky), and Brown (tactile).
Surprisingly proper out of the field, there was little to no spring ping/crunch and the switches had been additionally fairly clean. It’s because these switches are literally manufacturing unit lubed, which for probably the most half might be hit and miss, however on this case we expect that for many rookies and newbies to the interest, it’s good to go.
We think about that tuning it additional or utilizing different switches may gain advantage the sound and typing expertise vastly, it’s not a foul place to start out.
The stabilizers (a part used to stabilize longer keys like Shift, area, Enter, and Backspace) had been additionally one other nice shock as they had been decently lubed out of the field. Whereas it may very well be additional improved upon, it sounds manner, manner higher than what you’d discover on different mainstream mechanical keyboards.
This brings us to our final level of the Keychron Q1 review, and probably a very powerful level as effectively – customizability.
This can be a key tenet of the mechanical keyboard interest and that’s taking a keyboard and outfitting it with switches, keycaps, and different modifications to really make your board sound, really feel, and look the way in which you need.
Quite a lot of mainstream keyboard manufacturers make it extremely tough (not not possible) to customise through the use of elements that aren’t customary, or bizarre keycap sizes that make it close to not possible to make use of with aftermarket keycap units. These points are virtually non-existent with the Q1.
The Q1 encompasses a hotswappable PCB which implies that you may simply swap out the switches with any of the aftermarket ones obtainable on the market with out the necessity to desolder the outdated ones and solder within the new ones.
It additionally makes use of customary keycaps and structure so discovering a set that fits your tastes gained’t be an issue. The stabilizers are additionally screw-in stabilizers, one thing the neighborhood largely prefers over clip-ins, and they’re additionally suitable with in style stabilizer varieties from Cherry, GMK, Zeal, Durock, and so forth.
Final however not least, the Q1 might be configured both utilizing QMK or VIA, the latter of which is mainly a point-and-click software program that permits you to rebind and reassign keys in seconds, an essential characteristic for many who wish to get probably the most out of their keyboard.
Keychron clearly has GMMK and the GMMK Professional of their sights after they created the Q1, and actually, whereas on the floor each keyboards would possibly look comparable, there are some delicate variations and key classes that Keychron took from the GMMK Professional’s launch that might give it a slight edge, like higher tolerances for different manufacturers of stabilizers, for instance.
Nonetheless, remember the fact that this interest is all about “desire” so this isn’t essentially to say that one is healthier over the opposite. For instance, the GMMK Professional’s inclusion of a rotary knob may be a deciding issue for some.
So who’s the Keychron Q1 for? In the event you’re new to the mechanical keyboard scene, you may be intimidated by the lengthy wait occasions for keyboards and keysets to achieve their clients, however as Keychron plans for the Q1 to be an in-stock merchandise, you may get began immediately.
It may also enchantment to veterans who’ve been within the interest for some time now. The power to completely customise it, due to the hotswap PCB, might make it an ideal spare keyboard to check out new switches with.
Additionally it is priced very fairly at $179 for a completely assembled model (which incorporates switches and keycaps), however if you wish to select your individual switches and keycaps, the barebones model will set you again $149.
All issues thought of, the Keychron Q1 for its worth and options feels prefer it really punches effectively above its weight and in case you’re new and don’t know easy methods to navigate this limitless stream of “preferences” on this interest, then the Q1 may very well be an ideal place to start out.
Filed in. Learn extra about Keyboards and Keychron.