Breaking News

Keiran strums the strings on one of our favorite mechanical keyboards

Keiran strums the strings on one of our favorite mechanical keyboards

Keychron is launching a wireless version of one of its best keyboards. The design of the new Keychron Q1 Pro is similar to the company's existing Q1 keyboard — which we think is one of the best off-the-shelf keyboards you can buy — with a gasket-mount design and aluminum case. But the difference with the $194 Q1 Pro is that it can connect via USB cable or Bluetooth, where it offers up to 300 hours of battery life. It can remember wireless connections of up to three devices.

The Q1 Pro is launching on Kickstarter today. There's a standard fully assembled model as well as a bare-bones option that comes without keycaps or switches for $174. Unfortunately, if you're in Europe, you'll need to get this bare-bones version, as the fully assembled model is only available in the US layout. Both are available in a choice of Black, Gray or White color schemes. The Kickstarter is set to last a month, with shipping expected in April. When the keyboard goes on open sale, its MSRP will be $199 for the fully assembled model and $179 for the bare-bones version.

Operating the keyboard wirelessly comes with a few downsides. For starters, it drops the polling rate from 1000Hz to 90Hz when connected via USB, which means you'll want to plug in a cable if you want to use it to play a fast-paced game. Want to are using it. You also naturally have to worry about battery life when unplugged. That drops from 300 "down to 90 hours" if you turn on the keyboard's RGB lighting while using it wirelessly, and if it's set to its lowest brightness.

Although there are tradeoffs with using the Q1 Pro over Bluetooth, Keychron is no stranger to making wireless keyboards. Its K-series lineup is available in a dizzying array of different configurations, all of which are wireless, albeit of lesser quality than its Q-series boards.

Other differences from the Keychron Q1 include a plate (the part of the keyboard that connects to the switches and PCB) that is made of polycarbonate instead of steel or aluminum, which Keychron says "improves the overall typing sound". The keyboard comes this time with "Keycron Pro"-branded switches instead of the Gateron model. There is a choice of three switches: linear red, tactile brown, or tactile "banana" yellow. The latter switches are designed to resemble panda switches like the Sacred Panda. , which should mean they have a tactile bump that feels larger than standard brown switches.

The Q1 Pro uses the same 75 percent layout as most laptop keyboard layouts, but given the pace at which Keycron releases new keyboards, it will almost certainly be joined by more layouts in the near future. The layout is customizable using the excellent VIA configuration software, which can also be used to adjust the keyboard's built-in volume dial.

It's also hot-swappable, meaning you can use an included key puller without needing to remove its switches, and both three- and five-pin switches are supported. The switches are oriented in a so-called "south-facing" direction, which is used for better compatibility with aftermarket keycaps.

The fully assembled model of the keyboard comes with both the switches and the double-shot PBT keycaps, which should be durable and not prone to gluing over time. Additional keycaps are included in the box that can be swapped out depending on whether you're using the keyboard with a macOS or Windows machine. A hardware toggle on the keyboard swaps between OS layouts.

The Keycron already produces two of our top picks for the best wireless keyboards available today, though it lost out to rivals Appomaker and Ejaz, which are our picks for the best wireless models. That may all change once we try out the Q1 Pro, so stay tuned for our upcoming review.

No comments