The Keychron K1 is a mechanical keyboard with a few differences that make it unique.
The Keychron K1 has mechanical key switches with a light touch. The key caps are shallow, and thin. Thin is a theme here, repeated in the base of the keyboard.
One of the great things about the Keychron K1 is the backlit key switches. Because the key caps are shallow, the light is able to shine on the row behind the typed key. There are a few lighting themes, but the one I prefer has the key light when pressed, and slowly fade off after the key is released.
The base of the keyboard is a shallow metal box with a hint of an angle. The back of the base has two switches: one, to change personality from iOS and Mac to Android and Windows, and the other to switch between Bluetooth, off, or wired connection via USB.
The USB connector is on the back edge of the keyboard, between F8 and F9. The connector isn?t centered. If it were, it would be behind F6 and F7.
The key arrangement here is what?s called ?Tenkeyless?, which means there?s dedicated home, insert, forward delete, and page up and down, a dedicated inverted T cursor set, but no number pad.
Why would you want this as an Apple user?
Apple users are notoriously picky, because the human-computer interaction matters, deeply. Absent a touch interface or voice, you spend much of your life touching keys.
If you spend much of your time at the keys, having keys that are easy to type on, responsive to a light touch, and reliable, is probably welcome.
What Keychron promises
- Mac layout keys, including media keys
- ultra-slim format
- less finger travel
- reduced fatigue
- Compatible with all devices
- 18 different backlighting animations for the RGB version
How does this differ from other Keychron products?
Keychron makes a range of keyboards. What they all share in common is the Mac layout and compatibility across all kinds of devices, whether iOS, android, Mac, or Windows.
Where K1 is different is the low profile base, low profile Gateron switch, and a reduced travel that makes it easy to type without effort.
Battery life-wise, you?re going to get about 36-38 hours of use out of the keyboard. It has an auto-sleep mode to conserve power. If you disable that, you?ll need to turn the switch off manually on the back edge of the keyboard.
Note that you don?t need to press some awkward key combination to see battery life. There?s an LED that will blink red when there?s 15% of battery remaining, show solid red when it?s charging, and green when charged.
The value proposition
Do you like mechanical keyboards? Do you like a thin, light touch to your keys? Would you like a full-featured keyboard with full-size cursor keys and a dedicated forward-delete?
This whole review was written on this keyboard. I make some mistakes with it, but the longer I type, the better I am with it. Mostly, this is my own doing: I spend a lot of time typing on laptop keyboards with tightly spaced keys.
There?s more space between the key caps on the Keychron K1, and I make more errors than I normally might. But I?m getting faster, and appreciate the light touch. On the whole, it?s been very good for me, and I can see myself continuing to use it. Having the keyboard on my lap and having the iPad or laptop on a stand higher up near eye level is its own ergonomic reward, and my wrists are thanking me for even trying this.
Besides just for typing, there?s also a gaming angle here. Gamers are likewise picky about their keyboards. Uniquely, they tend to position them at an angle on the desk so that WASD extend from the left hand elbow.
Tenkeyless keyboards are advantageous for that user, because you don?t need a number pad extending off the front edge of the desk when you don?t need one. The Keychron K1 costs $69 USD. Get the Keychron K1 at Keychron.com
- the light touch is great, but takes a little getting used to.
- the backlight fading away after the key is released is excellent.
- the keyboard itself is thin and light, and one of my favorites to type on.
- the switches are difficult to operate – it?s easy to overshoot ?off? in the middle, and end up at ?wired?.
- the usb-c port isn?t centered on the back.
- Color: Black
- Number of Keys: 87 and 104 keys
- Switches: Low profile switches
- Number of Multimedia Keys: 12
- Main Body Material: Aircraft-grade aluminum
- Keycap Material: ABS
- Layout: ANSI
CONNECTIVITY AND POWER
- Backlit Types: 18
- Backlit: Adjustable 4-level RGB backlit
- System: Windows/Android/Mac/iOS
- Battery: 2000mAh Rechargeable li-polymer battery
- BT Working Time (Backlit off on 87-key White Backlight version): Up to 190 hours (Lab test result may vary by actual use)
- BT Working Time (Backlit off on 87-key RGB Backlight version): Up to 110 hours (Lab test result may vary by actual use)
- BT Working Time (White backlit): Up to 36 hours (Lab test result may vary by actual use)
- BT Working Time(RGB): Up to 38 hours (Lab test result may vary by actual use)
- Connection: Bluetooth and Type-C cable
- Bluetooth version: 5.1
- Bluetooth Device Name: Keychron K1