Keychron is targeting both enthusiasts and prospective keyboard builders with the Keychron Q1 V2. You can either purchase it as a pre-configured keyboard with keycaps and switches, or buy it in a barebones form, sourcing the switches and keycaps yourself. The latter option provides immense versatility, with our sample coming with a set of Cherry MX Clears and Keychron’s own Mac-Inspired keycaps, which make it look like an old Apple Extended Keyboard from the late eighties.
The high-quality dye-sublimate PBT keycaps feel superb and will last much longer before wearing to a shine or losing their legends (key markings) than typical silk-screened ABS keycaps. The switches are also hot-swappable, although we recommend picking up a few spare ones just in case you end up accidentally bending some pins if you put one of them in wrong.
The MX Clears’ 65g force makes them ideal for typists, with arguably more tactility than you’ll find in MX Browns. They act as a reminder of keyboards from yesteryear when the MX Clears were much easier to find. The only problem is that the MX Clears feature a black housing, so the RGB LED lighting isn’t particularly visible compared to clear-housed switches, such as any of Cherry’s MX RGB options.
There’s some additional software here too, in the form of VIA, which is a powerful suite. It enables you to remap keys and program macros on several function layers, as well as control the aforementioned lighting and test all the switches to make sure they all work.
In terms of layout, the Q1 V2’s 75 percent layout offers a total of 82 keys. It’s akin to a tenkeyless keyboard that ditches the number pad and only offers the standard alphanumeric keys and the navigational key cluster.
In this case, that right-hand cluster is squidged into one column, as opposed to two shorter rows, a bit like the Ducky One SF 3. It offers a good balance of gaining desk space without sacrificing too many features compared to a 60 percent design.
Its total mass of 1.6kg makes it one of the heavier compact keyboards available, and the CNC-machined 6063 aluminum outer casing means there’s no flex – the build quality is exemplary here. There are also a few creature comforts, including a detachable, braided, and coiled USB Type-C cable and a selector switch between Windows and Mac modes.
Keychron Q1 V2 pros and cons
- Amazing build quality
- Marvelous typing experience
- High-quality dye-sub PBT keycaps
- 75 percent layout offers good balance
- Expensive with the best configurations
- Weight means it’s not particularly portable
- RGB doesn’t work well with all switches
Keychron Q1 V2 specs
The Keychron Q1 V2 spec list is:
|Dimensions (mm)||328 x 145 x 35 (W x D x H)|
|Format||75 percent layout (82 keys)|
|Connection||USB Type-C to Type-A cable|
|Switch life||100 million keystrokes (with MX Clears – switch dependent)|
|Backlighting||RGB (although will only show with the right switches)|
|Extras||Keycap puller, keyswitch puller, detachable USB Type-C cable, Mac keys|
Keychron Q1 V2 price
The Keychron Q1 V2 price is $210 (£200) making it a premium mechanical keyboard, but this is reflected in high build quality.
Price: Expect to pay $210 (£200)
Keychron Q1 V2 review conclusion
The Keychron Q1 V2 is an excellent keyboard. The build quality of its aluminum case feels military grade, and it offers an intuitive and easy-to-use layout. Meanwhile, the ability to hot-swap keyswitches makes for an incredibly versatile range of options, whatever your preference.
The MX Clears used in our sample feel responsive, with great tactility, and are ideal for typing, although they don’t work brilliantly with RGB lighting. However, gamers also have the option to equip this well-made keyboard with their own choice of switches and keycaps. There is RGB if you want it, and the bundled VIA software is both simple and effective.
The only downside is the price, which is an immense $159 just for the chassis, and you then have to add the switches and keycaps. You can get a fully pre-made unit for as low as $210 but more exotic configurations cost more. Nonetheless, while the price is high, this is reflected in the build quality, making this a board that comes very close to making our best gaming keyboard list.
Keychron Q1 V2 rating
Sleek looks, great versatility and unparalleled durability makes the Q1 V2 a superb keyboard, but you’ll have to pay for it.