Keychron is among the best-known names in mainstream mechanical keyboards. It has a dozen keyboards to its name (including the Q1), so it’s risk-free to state they understand a point or 2 about creating a quality set of keys. Nevertheless, the Q1 makes its debut as one of the very best surprises of the year. It’s a love letter to the customized keyboard area, loaded to the brim with features typically reserved on expensive custom-made crucial collections, and also coming in at just $169. If you want to place in the moment to apply some basic alterations, it comes to be the hands-down finest worth mechanical keyboard available for the cash. Conform GMMK Pro and IDOBAO Bestype, the Keychron Q1 has gotten here.
Existing Rate: $169 (Keychron).
Size: 145 mm.
Size 327.5 mm.
Front Elevation 21.6 mm (without keycaps).
Back Height 34.8 mm (without keycaps).
Feet Height 2.4 mm.
Angle 5.2 °.
Weight: 1600 g ± 10g (the fully assembled weight).
Body Product: Full CNC machined light weight aluminum.
KeycapsvDouble-shot ABDOMINAL keycaps, not shine-through (totally constructed version).
Switches: Gateron G Phantom (fully put together version).
Backlight: South-facing RGB LED.
Switch Assistance: Hot-swappable (5 pin & 3 pin).
Stabs: Gateron screw-in PCB stabs.
Connection: Type-C cord.
Wire: Costs curled Type-C cable television (incl. Type-A to Type-C adapter).
What is the Keychron Q1? .
I confess, I’m specifically the sort of customer inclined to fall in love with the Keychron Q1. As someone that spends hours every day typing at his computer, I value a wonderful keyboard. I have actually progressed from gaming keyboards to custom keyboards (or occasionally simply modding great keyboards by lubing the stabilizers). Yet as a college educator by trade, I don’t have the hundreds of dollars to toss at acquiring what YouTube claims is the ideal mechanical keyboard. Custom-made keyboards get on the surge, but it’s an expensive hobby to enter, particularly if you don’t you’ll even find it to be that far better than what you’re already utilizing.
That’s where the Keychron Q1 can be found in. The team at Keychron has actually clearly been viewing the surge of keyboard banners like TaehaTypes as well as the unbelievable rise MK content designers have actually experienced. Individuals are abuzz for personalized keyboards and all of the bespoke features that come with them. To keep it brief: the Keychron Q1 has almost every one of them.
Here are the highlights:.
Gasket place for a bouncy inputting really feel.
Complete aluminum situation.
Full programmability at the firmware level (no software program required to bring your keymaps/macros to various other makers) with QMK and VIA.
Hot-swappable, south-facing buttons for solder-free transforming as well as compatibility with high-end keycaps collections.
Pre-lubed screw-in stabilizers for much less rattle and a lot more stability.
An adjustable badge that can be swapped out for an additional switch or knob (rotary encoder) (coming soon).
An included knotted aviator cord that matches the instance shade.
Totally put together or barebones purchase choices.
Lots of devices all offered in one area with ensured compatibility (separate purchases, or training course).
Windows as well as Mac support, selectable with a button on the rear of the keyboard (that increases as a hardware layer swap switch).
A really economical cost.
Every one of these functions offer the Q1 function parity with keyboards that set you back twice the price as well as occasionally a lot more. Currently, simply having a function doesn’t always indicate it’s executed well, but typically, Keychron has. They could have charged $100 even more for this kit, and if they were a smaller firm, they definitely would require to.
What Keychron brings to the table (exterior of experience) is scale. While the majority of personalized keyboards count on group buys to fund manufacturing– customers pay upfront and after that await the production go to complete, incurring all the threat– Keychron allows sufficient to join for large orders upfront, keeping the expense down. It likewise has the benefit of having the ability to gain from the experience of firms like Wonderful whose GMMK Pro was slammed in a few essential areas in spite of being excellent overall. Keychron didn’t hit those very same pitfalls and is much better out of the box since of it.
So, in a nutshell, the Keychron Q1 is an all-aluminum, hot-swappable mechanical keyboard with a bouncy, very flexible inputting experience, that can also be configured to your heart’s material. It’s not excellent out of the box and doesn’t have native software for recording deep macros as conveniently as a specialized video gaming keyboard or advanced attributes timers or game-integrated lights. However, really feels fantastic to type on, still functions wonderful for gaming, and with a little time spent modding can appear downright remarkable at a fraction of the price of a group-bought customized.
The Stock Keychron Q1 .
The supply Keychron is a strong keyboard however has a couple of traits that might or might not trouble you. It includes your choice of Gateron Phantom Red, Phantom Brown, or Phantom Blue changes (or others if acquired individually). It’s additionally Carbon Black, Navy Blue, or Area Gray anodizations. Depending upon which shade instance you select, you’ll receive a matching set of doubleshot ABDOMINAL MUSCLE keycaps.
I was sent the Navy Blue with Phantom Red changes, along with a set of swap-out PBT keycaps as well as a walnut wrist rest to attempt. These are separate purchases ($ 40 and $25 respectively), but only 2 of several supporting devices available to buy. There are more than a dozen alternative PBT keycap readies to pick from (as well as one ABDOMINAL MUSCLE), three various plate materials (light weight aluminum, polycarbonate, and also brass), a substantial variety of buttons from Gateron, Kailh, Cherry, and also Keychron to select from, as well accessories for lubing buttons. Basically, you can grab nearly anything you’ll require to customize your keyboard right from Keychron, excepting harder-to-find buttons as well as probabilities and also ends like a paintbrush to apply your lube.
Beginning with the situation: it’s fantastic. The anodization corresponded and well-done. The Navy Blue is deep and abundant, matching the photos well. There are no tilt feet, which is typical for an aluminum instance, yet there is a 5-degree angle so you can kind pleasantly without a wrist remainder if you select. It collaborates in 2 halves that are safeguarded with 8 gold-colored socket-cap screws on the base. You’ll need a hex-bit to get rid of these yet I appreciate Keychron’s interest to sturdiness. These screws will certainly be tougher to strip than a regular phillips-head bolt and also the socket-cap has a lot more to material as a whole.
The ABDOMINAL keycaps are good, however I would certainly recommend upgrading to PBT if you can stretch your budget. They’re an improvement over Keychron’s normal keycaps many thanks to their doubleshot molding. The legends are made from a different piece of plastic, so they’ll never ever fade, and the keycap wall surfaces appear to be thicker than Keychron’s typical ‘caps also. The shade scheme on the Navy Blue version looks so wonderful, I was dissatisfied I could not purchase the same colorway in PBT. Still, ABS will certainly shine over time and it has a light-weight noise profile.
The PBT keycaps, on the other hand, are dye-sublimated (so, single-shot with dye-stained tales and also colored sides). They’re most definitely much better but aren’t one of the most excellent in general quality with some hemorrhage along the lower edge because of the passing away process. They’re also in the taller OEM profile rather than lower-profile Cherry account that’s popular on high-end sets. Still, it deserves a purchase for their boosted thickness, toughness, as well as a lot more dense audio.
Dismantling the case, you’ll locate that it consists of a slim layer of foam under the motherboard to lower hollowness and also reverberation via the metal situation. There’s also a thicker layer of foam between the plate and the PCB to soak up audio. One more small touch: the USB port is a separate daughter motherboard, which implies it must be exchangeable without needing to trash your entire keyboard if it damages.
The stabilizers additionally come pre-lubed and also were pretty great out of package! My backspace key had a little bit of rattle to it, but as a whole, the Q1 is a lot better than your average prebuilt mechanical keyboard. Furthermore, the sound of those larger tricks was much more regular with the remainder of the board and even more stable with because they were kept in location with an actual screw.
I was also happy to locate that the board was acknowledged quickly by VIA. VIA is a tiny application that allows you to configure the keyboard with having to go via the inconvenience of actually blinking firmware. It was all the power of QMK however its changes apply instantly. The graphical interface is additionally very basic and understandable, also if you’ve never utilized it in the past. The application doesn’t seem ended up, though, as there was no tab for mapping illumination commands. You can by hand include these with the Any keymap function, yet it brand-new customers will not intend to manage that, so with any luck an update comes quickly.
The Q1 has another high point to it: the gasket install. Gasket mount describes tactically positioned strips of poron foam around the sides of home plate, on tabs to keep it from relocating during usage. Instead than screw home plate into either side of the situation, both halves clamp down on these tabs which are supported by foam. The effect is twofold: inputting vibrations are moistened since they hit the foam before taking a trip right into the instance; and also, the keyset will physically bend backwards and forwards for less rigid keying experience.
And oh what flex. When pushed, the keyset visibly travels. Do not worry, the effect is subtle sufficient when keying that you will not be sidetracked by your keys significantly bouncing, yet it produces the softer typing experience that made gasket mounts ended up being so popular. Frankly, it places the GMMK Pro to pity as its gaskets did practically absolutely nothing out of the box. This is gasket place as it needs to be at a portion of what you would typically be spending for its application in a full light weight aluminum keyboard.
Despite having all those positives, there are some problems that need resolving– and at the very least one, they claim they are. The biggest is the amount of ping the case makes when typing. It resonates with every keystroke and is sidetracking. Keychron has stated that they’re consisting of additional foam in package for retail devices to address this issue, however in my testing, I had to include a thick layer of squishy neoprene to boring the impact with foam as a material. I can’t examine their service, but this ought to be improved retail systems.
Second, the Phantom Red changes almost negated the RGB backlighting. Like Gateron Ink switches over, the real estates are color-matched to the sort of button. That means the RGB LEDs are essentially hitting a red filter prior to beaming out. Note in the photo over that the LED is beaming blue however a lot of what’s visible is still red. The only way to repair this is to transform switches or disable RGB.
Conveniently Modding the Keychron Q1 to Awesomeness .
Sound apart, the Q1 appears alright out of package, but it can be made to seem great. With a complete set of easy to use mods, I locate myself preferring the Q1 over any various other my other custom keyboards, consisting of the RAMA KARA and also KOYU, my GMMK Pro, Drop ALT and also CTRL (high profile versions), KBDFans KBD75V2 and also my cherished KBDFans D60 WKL, regardless of it being the least expensive of the bunch. I’m not alone. A brief inputting test I recorded has actually been met enjoyment by every commenter on YouTube and every person on Keychron’s Dissonance and also past I’ve shared it with. It’s damn great for the cash.
Have a pay attention to the totally modded outcome first:.
Keychron Q1 Typing Seems .
Allow’s take a look at how the keyboard sounds with these mods used! This was videotaped before the brand-new keycaps can be found in, so what you’re listening to is with Keychron’s PBT keycaps.
Keychron Q1 – Modding Overview .
1 . Lubed the stabilizers, included stabilizers pads ( Stabilizers) .
Tip one was to lube take out the stabilizers and relube them for myself. I coated the stems and also housings in Krytox 205g0 and the wires with Permatex dielectric grease. I additionally made use of a set of KBDFans’ foam stabilizer sticker labels on the PCB to cushion the stems when bad the supported tricks. This removed all stabilizer rattle as well as, I need to state, I enjoyed the noise of these Gateron stabilzers! I would purchase another set if I can discover them anywhere.
2 . Included 2mm neoprene foam to the instance– after that went back as well as exchanged out for 50mil Kilmat auto noise deadening product ( Eliminate Instance Sound) .
I attempted a number of choices to get rid of the ping and echo throughout the situation. Initially, I eliminated the supply thin foam and also replaced it with a sheet of 2mm sponge neoprene cut to size. I utilized this, however various other kinds of neoprene would certainly likewise work (the neoprene sheets utilized for kids’s crafts are also excellent). It removed all audible ping in a regular keying position but did decrease the overall amount of flex, which is one of the important things that makes the Q1 special. I likewise saw that on my keying test, my microphone was able to pick a small quantity of ping that remained if you held your ear an inch above the space bar.
To fix both, I got a pack of Kilmat 50 mil (1mm) audio deadening sheets. These are generally made use of to line the inside of your automobile doors to reduce echo and rattle for automobile stereo. I sufficed to size, put it foil side down, and also it worked even far better than the neoprene. There is no extra ping whatsoever. This is unquestionably a pricey remedy, yet there’s enough there to cover more than a dozen keyboards, otherwise two times as much.
3 . PE Foam Mod ( Improved Acoustics, Layer 1) .
This is a new mod and one of the most significant and also best things you can do to make the Q1 audio amazing. The PE foam mod is based on the Jelly Epoch personalized keyboard that launched previously this year as well as presently costs $900-1000 in the aftermarket. Essentially, you take the thin polyethylene (PE) foam the board was available in as well as remove a sheet that matches the dimension of the PCB. You after that cut out squares for your stabilizer and also leave that located listed below home plate as you install your switches. I additionally utilized the supply PCB foam.
This small layer of slim foam essentially acts as a high pass filter, removing a few of the lower frequency button noise. The result is a poppy or luscious audio that is really similar to Jelly Date and so nice. This is one of my favored mods. Reward factors because it does not impact RGB significantly in any way.
4 . Tempest Tape Mod ( Boosted Acoustics, Layer 2) .
This mod struck me as odd at very first but it in fact does have a favorable influence on noise. The tape mod, as its name implies, includes papering the rear of the PCB with painter’s tape. I used two layers right here. The result, I believe, is comparable to the PE foam mod in that you’re filtering what makes its way with the case as well as tweaking the way regularities will review the inner chamber of the keyboard. If you use this mod, simply make sure to reduce spaces for the USB child board and also the plate screws.
While the situation was open and tape was out, I also put little bits of tape near the screw holes to create the break Keybored talks regarding in his excellent Q1 mod video clip. (As an apart, his video made me smile. We basically did the very same points for most of our mods).
5 . Typical switch and keycap swaps .
The various other modifications I made were purposeful however standard price for keyboard personalization. The initial change was to switch out to NovelKeys Silk Black changes. They’re a larger linear button produced by JWK as well as are lubed with Krytox 205g0 from the factory. They’re wonderful out of the box, so no lubing is called for (on the V2 variation being offered currently; V1 did require additional lubing for the best experience) but still benefit if you would love to cleanse them and use yourself. They have a really light, clacky audio that works incredibly with the PE foam as well as tape mods.
For keycaps, I opted for EPBT x GOK Black on White. They’re thick, intense white keycaps with extra caps for various formats must I wish to transform in the future. They’re also gently appearance, which always really feels good under the fingers. The much shorter elevation additionally lends itself to a clackier (higher-pitched) keying experience.
Keychron Q1 vs GMMK Pro .
The greatest comparison prospective customers are likely to make is versus the Remarkable GMMK Pro. Both are entry-level, all-metal custom gasket mount keyboards. Both keyboards are a great value for the cash. Both can be tailored out the wazoo.
However in a neck and neck battle, there’s no doubt: the Keychron Q1 is the far better buy, as well as here’s why. In spite of the truth that these keyboards look really comparable, the Q1 is a lot more successful on the principles of what it’s attempting to do. Where the gasket install on the GMMK Pro existed to examine a marketing box, the Q1s actually works as well as is fantastically flexy. Where the GMMK Pro declared its personalizeds stabs as Greatest Of Perpetuity (GOAT), they were anything but and also were actually sticky on my design. Here, they not just function but they sound fantastic!
There are things the GMMK does far better. Glorious packed so much foam in that keyboard that ping just wasn’t an issue. The RGB is likewise far better and also consists of those trendy side RGB strips. In addition to that, if you’re a player, the Marvelous Core software application will certainly permit you to videotape typical macros with the ease of a record button. The Q1, on the other hand, puts macros inside VIA/QMK which isn’t virtually so easy to use for macro recording. After that there’s the knob– it’s awesome and really great for controlling quantity. The Q1 will eventually have one offered for purchase, yet it appears like it will certainly require a separate motherboard, so can be difficult to set up.
Finally, we have that matching $169 rate. Despite the fact that it looks like both keyboards are valued identically, bear in mind that the GMMK Pro does not included switches or keycaps. Purchasing those from Marvelous will certainly establish you back another $70, making the Q1 a substantially far better worth.
Final Ideas .
The Keychron Q1 is just one of the biggest surprises of the year. The out-of-box experience is great and also will be much better with the included foam on the retail devices. What really establishes it apart is how great it can come to be with a handful of easy mods. When fully outfitted, this is the most effective appearing as well as feeling aluminum keyboard you can purchase under $200. If you’ve been considering a customized keyboard, and even simply a Keychron, you owe it to on your own to give it a shot. By itself, this keyboard is an 8 yet with the mods explained right here conveniently comes to be a 9+. Don’t sleep on the Q1.
The product explained in this article was supplied by the manufacturer for evaluation purposes. .