Keychron’s Q1 Pro Is The Brand’s First Full Aluminum Wireless Keyboard
I’m a big fan of Keychron keyboards. The company makes an extensive range of mechanical keyboards suitable for Windows, Mac and Linux computers. You don’t know what you are missing if you’ve never typed with a mechanical keyboard. Unlike the spongey membrane keyboards shipped with many computers, a mechanical keyboard has a much more tactile feel, making typing far more enjoyable and accurate.
The new Keychron Q1 Pro is the company’s first mass-produced aluminum frame wireless keyboard. It’s a high-end keyboard that goes toe-to-toe with the premium bespoke models from brands like Mode.
The Keychron Q series was the company’s first-ever line of custom programmable mechanical keyboards and the new Q1 Pro can be fully customized using the QMK/VIA software and is available to buy as a barebones DIY kit or Keychron will build a Q1 for you for a little extra.
The Q1 Pro is a great keyboard to type on. It’s a compact 75% layout with 81 keys, including a whole row of function keys that can double as a set of macOS multimedia keys. Each key has RGB backlighting and can be connected to a host computer via Bluetooth or a conventional USB-C cable.
Bluetooth lets the keyboard connect and switch between up to three Bluetooth devices, including computers, tablets or smartphones. Even better, the Q1 Pro has hot-swappable switches that can be easily changed for different types to give a different feel.
The Q1 Pro can work with macOS and Windows computers straight out of the box and it comes with sets of keycaps for the different operating systems. However, the Q1 Pro can also be customized using QMK/VIA software that enables the user to remap any key on the keyboard and create macro commands, shortcuts or key combinations. Users can connect the keyboard to any device using a cable and import a JSON file to customize the keymap.
Another exciting feature of the Q1 Pro is its programmable knob. This rotary knob is made from aluminum and can easily be customized to give quick access to specific key or macro commands. The knob can work as a zooming control, a screen brightness adjuster, or altering volume levels. The knob can even be set up to change to colors and brightness of the keyboard’s LED backlights.
For those who buy the Q1 Pro as a kit, it’s easy to assemble and every component is designed to be customizable and adjustable to produce a customized typing experience. The keyboard also features a double-gasket design for increased flexibility and a better typing sound.
PCB stabilizers help to create a smoother typing experience, especially when using larger keys. The keyboard has a slight flex, unlike the Mode Sonnet keyboard I reviewed last year. However, the flex doesn’t interfere with the typing experience and the Q1 Pro feels as heavy and as well made as the more expensive Mode Sonnet.
The Q1 Pro uses a powerful and efficient Arm chip (MCU) with 128K Flash memory, providing developers a bit of extra flexibility. The polling rate is 1000Hz out of the box on USB-C wired mode, making it ideal for gaming where low or zero latency matters. In practice, the Q1 Pro is an incredibly accurate keyboard to type on. The review model I tested was fitted with Red switches, but you can specify other types if you want more or less of a click when typing.
Verdict: The Keychron Q1 Pro is a superbly well-made keyboard with a weighty and robust feel. The keys are set apart by quite a pitch, which takes a slight adjustment to get used to. The ability to connect with up to three devices wirelessly is excellent, and I particularly like the row of multimedia keys for controlling macOS. The height of the keyboard and the keycaps mean that the Q1 Pro is best used with a wrist rest if you are to avoid RSI. Alternatively, you can fit shallower keycaps to reduce the overall typing height. If you want a premium mechanical keyboard and don’t need a numeric keypad, then the Keychron Q1 Pro is ideal. This programable wireless keyboard with hot-swappable switches and backlit keys is highly recommended.
Pricing & Availability: The Keychron Q1 Pro is available now and costs $179 as a barebones kit or $199 fully assembled.
More info: www.keychron.com
- Number of keys: 81 (75%)
- Multimedia keys: 12.
- Layout: ANSI.
- Hot swappable: Yes (3-pin and 5-pin MX switches from Gateron, Cherry etc).
- Keycaps: KSA double-shot PBT.
- Switch face: South-facing RGB.
- OS compatibility: Mac/Windows/Linux.
- Connectivity: Bluetooth/ USB-C.
- Frame: Aluminum.
- Polling rate: 1000Hz (wired) 90Hz (wireless).
- Battery: 4000mAh (lithium-polymer).
- Working time: 90 hours (backlight) 300 hours (no backlight).
- Charging time: 5 hours.
- Dimensions: 327.5 x 145mm.
- Weight: 1.825kg.