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Keychron C1 Pro/C2 Pro Keyboard Review

Tested using Methodology v1.2
Reviewed Jun 15, 2023 at 10:10 am
Latest change: Writing modified Jun 15, 2023 at 10:10 am
Keychron C1 Pro/C2 Pro Picture
8.3
Gaming
2.1
Mobile/Tablet
7.3
Office
7.0
Programming
1.8
Entertainment / HTPC

The Keychron C1 Pro and the C2 Pro are mechanical keyboards in Keychron's C Pro Series. These entry-level custom keyboards resemble Keychron's basic Keychron C Series models but incorporate minor improvements, including higher-quality PBT keycaps and South-facing LEDs. The manufacturer also advertises these keyboards as compatible with QMK/VIA configuration software. However, at the time of testing, the software is not working. For more details, see the Configuration Software section.

We bought and tested the Keychron C1 Pro, which has a TenKeyLess form factor. At the time of writing, this lineup also includes a larger full-size model called the Keychron C2 Pro, and Keychron may release additional models in the future. For more information about the keyboards within this lineup, see our Differences Between Sizes and Variants section.

Our Verdict

8.3 Gaming

These keyboards are great for gaming. They have impressive build quality, individually-backlit keys, and low latency making them suitable for gaming in all genres. They're available in linear or tactile switch options, and there's a hot-swappable version if you'd rather use switches of your choosing. They have a fairly high-profile design and are most comfortable using a wrist rest. These keyboards don't come with a wrist rest, but Keychron does sell them separately.

Pros
  • Impressive build quality.
  • Low latency.
Cons
  • High profile design; can be can be fatiguing to use for long periods without a wrist rest.
2.1 Mobile/Tablet

These are wired-only keyboards that aren't designed for mobile and tablet use. That said, they connect with a USB-C to USB-C cable, so you can technically use them with mobile devices with USB-C ports.

7.3 Office

These keyboards are decent for office use. They feel very well built, provide great typing quality, and are quiet to type on and unlikely to bother those around you. You can purchase these keyboards with either tactile or linear Keychron K Pro stock switches, and there's a hot-swappable version available to allow you to easily change the stock switches if you prefer. These keyboards also have a fairly high-profile design, so they can be tiring to use for longer periods without a wrist rest. They don't include a wrist rest in the box, but Keychron does sell them separately.

Pros
  • Impressive build quality.
  • Great typing quality.
Cons
  • High profile design; can be can be fatiguing to use for long periods without a wrist rest.
  • Wired-only.
7.0 Programming

These keyboards are decent for programming. They have impressive build quality and offer great typing quality. They're also available with a hot-swappable PCB if you want to change the stock switches. They also have individually-backlit keys. However, you can't read the legends in a darker room because the stock keycaps don't have shine-through legends, and the PCB has South-facing LEDs. Unfortunately, you also can't program macros directly on the keyboard. While the manufacturer advertises these keyboards to be QMK/VIA compatible, which allows for software macro programmability, the software doesn't work at the time of testing.

Pros
  • Impressive build quality.
  • Great typing quality.
Cons
  • High profile design; can be can be fatiguing to use for long periods without a wrist rest.
  • No dedicated macro keys; can't program macros without customization software.
1.8 Entertainment / HTPC

These keyboards aren't designed for an entertainment or home theater setup. They're wired-only models, so you must sit within cable distance of your computer. Additionally, there aren't any dedicated media keys, the keycaps aren't shine-through, and the backlighting doesn't provide enough light to read legends in a dark room.

Pros
  • Impressive build quality.
Cons
  • Lacks dedicated media keys.
  • Poor backlight clarity; can't see legends in a dark room.
  • 8.3 Gaming
  • 2.1 Mobile/Tablet
  • 7.3 Office
  • 7.0 Programming
  • 1.8 Entertainment / HTPC
  1. Updated Jun 15, 2023: Review published.
  2. Updated Jun 08, 2023: Early access published.
  3. Updated Jun 06, 2023: Our testers have started testing this product.
  4. Updated May 31, 2023: The product has arrived in our lab, and our testers will start evaluating it soon.
  5. Updated May 25, 2023: We've purchased the product and are waiting for it to arrive in our lab.

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RGB Backlight - 100% C2 Pro
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RGB Backlight - 80% C1 Pro
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Differences Between Sizes And Variants

Keychron's C Pro series keyboards have two models available at the time of writing. We bought and tested the Keychron C1 Pro with Keychron K Pro Red switches and RGB backlighting in a non-hot-swappable configuration. We expect our test results to broadly apply to all models listed below. You can see the label of the unit we bought and tested here.

Name Size Switch Options Backlighting Hot-swappable
Keychron C1 Pro TenKeyLess (80%) Keychron K Pro Red, Keychron K Pro Brown White Backlight, RGB Backlight Yes / No
Keychron C2 Pro Full-size (100%) Keychron K Pro Red, Keychron K Pro Brown White Backlight, RGB Backlight Yes /No

Keychron may release additional variants in this series in the future. If you have a keyboard in this series that isn't included in our table, feel free to reach out to us in the discussions, and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Keyboards

The Keychron C1 Pro and the C2 Pro are wired mechanical keyboards in Keychron's C Pro series. These keyboards are similar to Keychron's basic C Series keyboards but feature several improvements: The C Pro series keyboards have higher quality PBT keycaps, and the PCB design has south-facing LEDs, providing better compatibility for a wider range of keycap sets. The manufacturer advertises the C Pro series to be compatible with QMK/VIA customization software. However, at the time of testing, the software is not working. For details, see the Configuration Software section below. While the C Pro Series keyboards don't offer the same hardware customizability as Keychron's V Series keyboards or the same premium-feeling typing experience as high-end custom mechanical models like the IQUNIX F97 or Keychron's premium Keychron Q Series boards, they offer a very compelling mechanical option that's well-suited for work, everyday use, or casual gaming at a much more approachable price point.

For more options, see our recommendations for the best keyboards, the best mechanical keyboards, and the best keyboards for typing.

Keychron K8 Pro [K2 Pro, K3 Pro, K4 Pro, etc.]

The Keychron C1 Pro/C2 Pro and the Keychron K8 Pro [K2 Pro, K3 Pro, K4 Pro, etc.] are mechanical keyboard lineups. The C Pro series keyboards are wired-only models. C1 Pro is a TenKeyLess (80%) model, and the C1 Pro is a full-size model. The K Pro Series are wireless models in various sizes, including TenKeyLess and full-size models. The biggest difference between these series is that the K Pro Series offers more hardware customizability overall.

Keychron K8

The Keychron K8 and the Keychron C1 Pro are mechanical keyboards with TenKeyLess form factors. The K8 is a wireless model with ABS plastic keycaps. On the other hand, the C1 Pro is a wired-only model with higher-quality PBT keycaps. The manufacturer also advertises the C1 Pro as compatible with QMK/VIA, while the K8 is not.

Keychron C2

The Keychron C1 Pro/C2 Pro are newer, upgraded versions of the Keychron C2. While the C1 Pro is a TenKeyLess (80%) board, the C2 and C2 Pro are both full-size models. The main differences between the pro and non-pro boards are that the Pro keyboards have higher-quality PBT keycaps, south-facing LEDs, and compatibility with QMK/VIA customization software.

Logitech MX Mechanical

The Keychron C1 Pro/C2 Pro and the Logitech MX Mechanical are all mechanical keyboards. The Keychrons are wired-only models with high-profile designs available with RGB or white-only backlighting. On the other hand, the Logitech is a wireless, low-profile keyboard only available with white-only backlighting. The Logitech is only available in a full-size format, while the Keychron C1 Pro and C2 Pro are TKL and full-size models, respectively. The Keychrons are also available in a hot-swappable variant, while the Logitech is not.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Dimensions
Size
TenKeyLess (80%)
Height
1.5" (3.9 cm)
Width 14.0" (35.6 cm)
Depth
5.2" (13.1 cm)
Depth With Wrist Rest
N/A
Weight
1.64 lbs (0.742 kg)

The Keychron C1 Pro we bought and tested has a TenKeyLess (80%) layout, which means it has arrow keys and a Navigation cluster but lacks a Numpad. It doesn't take up much space on your desk. You can also purchase a larger full-size variant called the Keychron C2 Pro, and Keychron may continue to release other size variants within this lineup.

8.0
Design
Build Quality
Keycap Material PBT

These keyboards have impressive build quality. The chassis feels very solid and only flexes slightly. Overall, the keys are stable, with minimal wobble that isn't very noticeable while typing. However, some of the larger keys with stabilizers wobble marginally moreโ€”particularly the spacebar. The four incline feet on the back of the keyboard also do a decent job of keeping them in place on desks. The keycaps are made of PBT plastic, and although they aren't the highest-quality PBT keycaps we've seen, they're an improvement over the ABS plastic keycaps used on the basic Keychron C Series models.

6.0
Design
Ergonomics
Curved/Angled
No
Split Keyboard
No
Key Alignment
Staggered
Minimum Incline
5ยฐ
Medium Incline
8.5ยฐ
Maximum Incline
10ยฐ
Home Row Height
29.8 mm (1.2")

These keyboards have acceptable ergonomics and feature two incline settings. They have a fairly high profile and don't come with a wrist rest, so you may experience wrist fatigue during long typing sessions.

6.7
Design
Hardware Customizability
Replaceable Cherry Stabilizers
Yes
Stabilizer Fixation
Plate-Mounted
Spacebar Stabilizer Size
6.25u
Size Of Right Mod Keys
1.25u
Hot-Swappable Switches
No
Switch Stem Shape
Cherry MX Style
Switch PCB Socket
Soldered
North-Facing Cherry MX Interference
No

We bought and tested the non-hot-swappable version of the Keychron C1 Pro, but there's also a hot-swappable version available. For more details, see the Differences Between Sizes and Variants section.

8.5
Design
Backlight Features
Backlighting Yes
RGB
Yes
Per-Key Backlighting
Yes
Effects
Yes
Software Controllable
No

The Keychron C1 Pro we bought and tested has full RGB backlighting with individually-lit keys, but you can also purchase these keyboards with white-only backlighting. You can use hotkeys to customize the lighting directly on the keyboard.

The backlighting isn't software controllable since the software doesn't currently work for these keyboards. For more details, see the Configuration Software section.

4.0
Design
Backlight Clarity

These keyboards have poor backlight clarity. They have south-facing LEDs, and the keycap legends aren't shine-through. For reference, we've also taken a photo with several stock keycaps replaced with shine-through keycaps that you can see here.

Design
Cable & Connector
Connectivity Wired
Detachable
Yes (Wired Only Keyboard)
Length 6.1 ft (1.9 m)
Connector (Keyboard side)
USB type-C

These keyboards come with a detachable USB-C to USB-C cable. There's also an included USB-A adapter that you can use if your computer doesn't have a USB-C port.

0
Design
Wireless Versatility
Bluetooth
No
Bluetooth Multi-Device Pairing
No
Proprietary Receiver
No
Battery Type
No Batteries

These keyboards are wired-only models.

0
Design
Macro Keys And Programming
Dedicated Macro Keys Count 0
Onboard Macro Programming
No
Macro Programming With Software
No

These keyboards don't have dedicated macro keys, and you can't program macros directly on the boards themselves. Additionally, macros can't be programmed in software as there isn't currently any customization software available.

Design
Extra Features
Media Keys
Non-Dedicated
Trackpad / Trackball No
Scroll Wheel
No
Control Knob
No
USB Passthrough
No
Numpad No
Windows Key Lock
No
Lock Indicator Caps Lock

These keyboards have a switch on the top left side to switch between Windows and macOS compatibility modes. There's also an LED caps lock indicator light and an LED lock indicator light. Secondary hotkey commands, including media hotkeys, that are clearly labeled on the keycaps, and there's a list of hotkey combinations in the user documentation.

Design
In The Box

  • Keychron C1 Pro mechanical keyboard
  • USB-C to USB-C cable
  • USB-C to USB-A adapter
  • Keycap puller
  • 5x alternate black keys (2x Alt key, 2x Windows key, 1x Esc key)
  • 2x alternate orange keys (1x brightness key, 1x Keychron 'k logo' key
  • Keyboard layout pamphlet
  • User documentation

Typing Experience
Typing Experience
Switches
Switch Name
Keychron K Pro Red
Switch Type
Mechanical
Feel
Linear

These keyboards are available with Keychron K Pro switches pre-lubed from the factory. Keychron currently offers these keyboards with a choice between linear Red or tactile Brown varieties.

You can also purchase these keyboards with a hot-swappable PCB to change the stock switches for other switch options without soldering.

Typing Experience
Keystrokes
Operating Force
41 gf
Actuation Force
40 gf
Pre-Travel
1.8 mm
Total Travel
3.9 mm

The Keychron K Pro Red switches on the unit we bought and tested are lightweight, smooth, and have short-pre travel. These keyboards are also available with Keychron K Pro Brown switches which we expect to feel a bit heavier and to have a somewhat longer pre-travel with a tactile bump to overcome before actuation.

8.0
Typing Experience
Typing Quality

These keyboards offer a great typing experience that sounds and feels satisfying. Overall, the key stability is good and feels more stable than the keys on the Keychron C1. That said, larger keys with stabilizers like the spacebar, shift, and Enter keys wobble slightly more than the alphanumeric keys. The keycaps are also made of doubleshot PBT plastic and feel better than the cheaper ABS keycaps on the Keychron C1.

8.1
Typing Experience
Typing Noise
Average Loudness
49.4 dBA
High Pitch Clicks
No

We tested the Keychron C1 Pro with Keychron K Pro Red switches which are quiet and unlikely to bother anyone around you. These keyboards are also available with Keychron K Pro Brown switches which we expect to be a bit louder but still reasonably quiet.

8.1
Typing Experience
Latency
Latency Wired
7.8 ms
Latency Receiver
N/A
Latency Bluetooth
N/A

These keyboards have excellent latency and provide a responsive-feeling experience for all gaming genres.

Software and Operating System
Software and Operating System
Configuration Software
Software Name No Software
Software Windows Compatible
No
Software macOS Compatible
No
Onboard Memory
No
Profiles
No Profile

The manufacturer advertises these keyboards to work with VIA customization software. However, Keychron notes that the VIA code is still awaiting approval from GitHub, so it isn't automatically recognized. At the time of testing, Keychron has a set of workaround instructions with a downloadable JSON file on their website. We downloaded this JSON and followed these instructions but found neither the client nor the web-based VIA application worked at this time.

We plan to revisit these keyboards and retest with VIA once it's clear that it works for most people. If you have a keyboard in this series and can use VIA, we'd love to hear from you in the Discussions below.

10
Software and Operating System
Computer Compatibility
Windows
Fully Compatible
macOS
Fully Compatible
Linux (Ubuntu 22)
Fully Compatible
Media Key Compatibility
Windows, MacOS & Linux

These keyboards are fully compatible with Windows, macOS, and Linux. Like with other Keychron keyboards, these keyboards have a toggle on the back that switches between Windows and macOS modes. The macOS mode is also intended for Linux. The brightness hotkey combinations (FN+F1, FN+F2) do nothing on Linux. There are also Windows-specific replacement keycaps included in the box to replace the default Mac-specific keycaps if you wish.

0
Software and Operating System
Wireless Mobile Compatibility
Android
Not Compatible
iOS
Not Compatible
iPadOS
Not Compatible
Media Key Compatibility
Not Compatible

These keyboards are wired-only models that you can't connect wirelessly to mobile devices. These keyboards come with a USB-C to USB-C cable, so you can technically connect them to mobile devices with a USB-C port.