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Keychron C2 Keyboard Review

Tested using Methodology v1.3.1
Reviewed Feb 24, 2021 at 10:19 am
Latest change: Test bench update Nov 29, 2023 at 09:32 am
Keychron C2 Picture
7.0
Gaming
6.7
Office
1.4
Mobile/Tablet
7.2
Programming
3.1
Entertainment / HTPC
6.4
Raw Performance

The Keychron C2 is a full-sized wired mechanical keyboard that's decent for a variety of uses. It has a sturdy-feeling build quality and the tactile Gateron Brown switches on our unit provide great typing quality. It's also available in Gateron Red and Blue switches, and there's a hot-swappable version if you'd rather change out the switches entirely. Our unit has white backlighting with individually-lit keys, but there's an RGB version as well. Unfortunately, the keyboard has a tall profile and doesn't come with a wrist rest, so you may experience fatigue when typing for long periods. It also doesn't come with companion software so you can't reprogram keys without third-party software.

Our Verdict

7.0 Gaming

The Keychron C2 is a satisfactory keyboard for gaming. However, it has high latency and mediocre ergonomics. Additionally, the Gateron Brown switches on our unit have a high pre-travel distance. It's fully compatible with Windows, but it lacks companion software, so you can only reprogram buttons using third-party software. That said, it has a great build quality, and the individually-lit key backlighting is excellent.

Pros
  • Great build quality.
  • Excellent white backlighting.
  • Compatible with Windows and macOS.
  • Keys only require light operation force.
Cons
  • No companion software and no programmable keys.
  • Lacks an included wrist rest.
  • High latency and long pre-travel keys.
6.7 Office

The Keychron C2 is a decent wired keyboard for office use. It has a great build quality, and its keys feel very stable. Unfortunately, it has mediocre ergonomics, and it doesn't have an included wrist rest. It's compatible with both Windows and macOS, and the Gateron Brown switches on our model provide great typing quality.

Pros
  • Great build quality.
  • Great typing quality.
  • Comes with USB-C to USB-C cable and a USB-A dongle.
Cons
  • No companion software and no programmable keys.
  • Lacks an included wrist rest.
1.4 Mobile/Tablet

The Keychron C2 is a wired-only, full-sized keyboard that isn't suitable for use with mobile devices.

Note: Our testing methodology automatically makes wired-only keyboards unsuitable for mobile and tablet use; however, this keyboard includes a USB-C to USB-C cable, so certain late-model iPads and Android devices are compatible with this device. That said, some function keys don't work and the keyboard may drain batteries at a substantial rate, especially with backlighting on.

7.2 Programming

The Keychron C2 is decent for programming. It has a very sturdy feeling build quality, and the Gateron Brown switches on our unit provide great typing quality. It has excellent backlighting and is compatible with Windows, macOS, and Linux. Unfortunately, it has mediocre ergonomics, and there's no companion software for setting custom macros.

Pros
  • Great build quality.
  • Great typing quality.
  • Excellent white backlighting.
  • Compatible with Windows, macOS, and Linux.
Cons
  • No companion software and no programmable keys.
  • Lacks an included wrist rest.
  • Wired-only.
3.1 Entertainment / HTPC

The Keychron C2 is a poor keyboard for entertainment/ HTPC use. It's wired-only, so you have to be within cable distance of your connected devices, and it's a full-sized board, so it has a sizeable footprint. It also doesn't have a keyboard wheel or trackpad, but it does have individual-key backlighting and basic media keys.

Pros
  • Great build quality.
  • Excellent white backlighting.
  • Compatible with Windows and macOS.
Cons
  • No companion software and no programmable keys.
  • Wired-only.
  • Lack of trackpad.
  • Large size.
6.4 Raw Performance

Pros
  • Great build quality.
Cons
  • No companion software and no programmable keys.
  • 7.0 Gaming
  • 6.7 Office
  • 1.4 Mobile/Tablet
  • 7.2 Programming
  • 3.1 Entertainment / HTPC
  • 6.4 Raw Performance
  1. Updated Nov 29, 2023: We've concerted this review to Test Bench 1.3.1, which adds a new estimated PCB latency test to the Single-Key Latency section and a new Analog test to the Switches section of this review. You can see the full changelog here.
  2. Updated Oct 30, 2023: We've converted this review to Test Bench 1.3, which overhauls how key input is evaluated. We've added new tests for Single Key Latency, Multi Key Latency, Data Transmission, and Chord Split. We've also introduced a new Raw Performance usage and adjusted how the Gaming and Office usage scores are calculated. You can see the full changelog here.
  3. Updated Jun 21, 2023: We've converted this review to Test Bench 1.2. This update introduces new Backlight Features and Backlight Clarity test boxes. We've also added a new Switches test box, added additional test comparisons to our Hardware Customizability test box that we introduced with our last Test Bench. For an in-depth look at our changes, you can see our full changelog here.
  4. Updated May 31, 2023: We've converted this review to Test Bench 1.1. This update adds several new tests addressing Hardware Customization, Macro Keys And Programming, and Wireless Mobile Compatibility. We've also added new objective evaluations to the Typing Noise test, and we've simplified several tests and removed several others that were no longer relevant. For an in-depth look at all our changes, you can see our full changelog here.
  5. Updated Oct 28, 2021: Retested the typing noise.
  6. Updated Feb 24, 2021: Review published.
  7. Updated Feb 18, 2021: Early access published.
  8. Updated Feb 15, 2021: Our testers have started testing this product.
  9. Updated Feb 12, 2021: The product has arrived in our lab, and our testers will start evaluating it soon.
  10. Updated Jan 25, 2021: We've purchased the product and are waiting for it to arrive in our lab.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

We tested the Keychron C2 with white backlighting and Gateron brown switches. The white backlighting version also comes with Gateron Red or Gateron Blue switches. There's also an RGB backlighting version and a hot-swappable version —both of which also come with Gateron Red, Blue, or Brown switches. You can see the label for our unit here.

Compared To Other Keyboards

The Keychron C2 is a full-sized, wired-only keyboard that's suited for office use. It's a decent, entry-level keyboard, but it lacks companion software for customization. It comes with Gateron Red, Blue, or Brown switches, but it also has a hot-swappable version if you'd like to install your own set of switches. For more keyboard options, check out our recommendations for the best keyboards, the best mechanical keyboards, or the best keyboards for Mac.

Keychron K10

The Keychron K10 and the Keychron C2 are similar mechanical office keyboards. The main difference is that the K10 is wireless with Bluetooth support, but the C2 is wired-only. The unit of the K10 we tested has RGB backlighting, and the C2 we tested has white backlighting, but they're each available in white and RGB variants. They're both available in the same types of switches, and typing is equally great on both.

Keychron C1

Both the Keychron C1 and Keychron C2 are nearly identical wired mechanical keyboards. The only discernable difference between the two is that the C1 is a TenKeyLess (80%) layout, while the C2 is a full-sized keyboard.

Keychron K2 (Version 2)

The Keychron C2 and the Keychron K2 (Version 2) are very similar mechanical keyboards suitable for a variety of uses. The C2 is a wired-only, full-sized keyboard, while the K2 is a wireless, compact 75% keyboard. The two of them come with Gateron Red, Blue, or Brown switches, but both have hot-swappable versions if you'd prefer using other switch types. Both models also lack companion software, so you can't change keymaps without third-party software.

Keychron C1 Pro/C2 Pro

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.

Ducky One 2

The Keychron C2 and Ducky One 2 are two somewhat different, wired mechanical keyboards. The Keychron is a decent entry-level office keyboard that comes with Gateron Red, Blue, or Brown switches, as well as a hot-swappable version. On the other hand, the Ducky is a very good all-around keyboard designed for gaming use. It's available in multiple colors and backlighting options and comes in a wide range of MX Cherry switches. Unfortunately, both keyboards lack companion software, but the Ducky supports macro programming directly on the keyboard.

GLORIOUS GMMK

The Keychron C2 and the GLORIOUS GMMK are both full-sized, wired keyboards. The Keychron is a decent entry-level office keyboard that comes with Gateron Red, Blue, and Brown switches as well as a hot-swappable version. The GLORIOUS is available in multiple sizes and is fully hot-swappable. The Keychron has better latency, but it doesn't have customization software, which the GLORIOUS has.

Keychron K1

The Keychron C2 and the Keychron K1 are both mechanical keyboards with significant differences. The C2 is a wired, full-sized keyboard with Gateron Red, Blue, or Brown switches. It's also available in a hot-swappable version. The K1 is a wireless TKL keyboard with low-profile Gateron Red, Blue, or Brown switches and a shorter-pre travel distance that's better suited for gaming. It connects via a USB receiver or Bluetooth, and it can pair wirelessly with up to three devices.

Obinslab Anne Pro 2

The Keychron C2 and the Obinslab Anne Pro 2 are mechanical keyboards designed for different uses. The Keychron is a decent entry-level, wired-only office keyboard with full backlighting available with Gateron Red, Blue, and Brown switches, as well as a hot-swappable version. The Obinslab is a wireless, compact 60% keyboard that's well suited to several roles, but it's primarily designed for gaming. It comes in a range of Gateron, MX Cherry, or Kailh switches, and unlike the Keychron, it has companion software for customization.

Keychron K12

The Keychron C2 is a wired full-size board, while the Keychron K12 is a wireless 60% compact board. Both units we tested have tactile Gateron Brown switches, which provide feedback and don't require much force to actuate. If you need a dedicated Numpad and navigation keys, the C2 is a better choice. However, if you want something as compact as possible and want to pair with multiple devices, including mobile operating systems, the K12 is a better option.

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Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Dimensions
Size
Full-size (100%)
Height
1.5" (3.9 cm)
Width 17.1" (43.4 cm)
Depth
5.0" (12.8 cm)
Depth With Wrist Rest
N/A
Weight
1.76 lbs (0.800 kg)

This is a full-sized keyboard with a traditional 104-key layout.

8.0
Design
Build Quality
Keycap Material ABS

The Keychron C2 has a great build quality that feels solid and a plastic baseplate that only flexes slightly. The keys feel very stable, and there are no loose pieces or noticeable rattle. The keycaps are doubleshot ABS and feel good to type with, but they seem prone to showing oil shine from your fingers. Lastly, the feet feel stable, and they're unlikely to collapse during regular use.

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

The Keychron C2 has acceptable ergonomics, and it features two incline settings. Unfortunately, the board's profile is fairly high, and it doesn't come with a wrist rest, so you may experience wrist fatigue during long typing sessions.

6.0
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
Yes
6.5
Design
Backlight Features
Backlighting Yes
RGB
No
Per-Key Backlighting
Yes
Effects
Yes
Software Controllable
No

The Keychron C2 has full backlighting with individually-lit keys, and there's a button on the top right for cycling between lighting modes.

The model we tested has white backlighting, but there's also a full RGB version available.

8.0
Design
Backlight Clarity

Overall, this keyboard's backlighting provides great clarity and gets quite bright. However, some lighting obstructions are visible on some of the keys, such as the Tab, Caps Lock, and left Shift buttons.

Design
Cable & Connector
Connectivity Wired
Detachable
Yes (Wired Only Keyboard)
Length 5.9 ft (1.8 m)
Connector (Keyboard side)
USB type-C

The Keychron C2's cable is a detachable USB-C to USB-C cable, and there's an included USB-A dongle 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
0
Design
Macro Keys And Programming
Dedicated Macro Keys Count 0
Onboard Macro Programming
No
Macro Programming With Software
No
Design
Extra Features
Media Keys
Dedicated
Trackpad / Trackball No
Scroll Wheel
No
Control Knob
No
USB Passthrough
No
Numpad Yes
Windows Key Lock
No
Lock Indicator Caps & Num Lock

The Keychron C2 doesn't have companion software that allows for key programmability. Keychron recommends third-party programs for remapping key bindings, but this isn't something we test for. It does have a toggle switch to alternate between Windows/Android and macOS/iOS.

Design
In The Box

  • Keychron C2 wired mechanical keyboard
  • USB-C to USB-C cable
  • USB-C to USB-A dongle
  • 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
  • Quick start guide

Typing Experience
8.0
Typing Experience
Typing Quality
Key Spacing
19.0 mm (0.748")

The Gateron Brown switches on our unit provide a great typing experience. The keys feel stable and have good tactile feedback. The spacing between the keys feels standard, and the pre-travel is fairly long, so you're unlikely to register keystrokes accidentally. Unfortunately, it has a high profile and does not include a wrist rest, so if you're typing for long periods, you may experience wrist fatigue.

If you're not a fan of the tactile Gateron Brown switches, this board is also available with linear Gateron Red or clicky Blue switches. There's also a hot-swappable version if you'd like to replace the default Gaterons for a different set of switches altogether.

7.0
Typing Experience
Typing Noise
Average Loudness
54.6 dBA
High Pitch Clicks
No

Update 10/28/2021: We retested the typing noise because it was originally considered 'Loud', while the Keychron C1 is 'Quiet', even though they use the same Gateron Brown switches. We typed on both keyboards side-by-side, and we noticed that the C2 produces a different and louder noise, but it's not a significant difference. They were both in the same noise level range when we measured them, too, so we changed this to 'Quiet'.

The Gateron Brown switches on our unit are slightly louder than other tactile switches, but they're still quiet and shouldn't bother people around you. The linear Gateron Reds are quieter, and the clicky Gateron Blue switches are louder.

Typing Experience
Switches
Switch Name
Gateron Brown
Switch Type
Mechanical
Feel
Tactile
Analog
No
Typing Experience
Keystrokes
Operating Force
47 gf
Actuation Force
40 gf
Pre-Travel
2.9 mm
Total Travel
3.9 mm

The tactile Gateron Brown Switches on our unit provide good feedback and don't require much force to operate, although they have a high pre-travel distance. This keyboard is also available in linear Gateron Red or clicky Gateron Blue switches, and it has a hot-swappable version if you'd prefer something else.

Performance
6.5
Performance
Single-Key Latency
Best Connection
18.0 ms
Best Connection Std Dev ±6.6 ms
Wired
18.0 ms
Receiver
N/A
Bluetooth
N/A
PCB (Estimated)
15.4 ms

The Keychron C2 has only decent latency, so it probably isn't ideal for competitive gaming. If you're using it for office or programming tasks, you likely won't notice any significant delays.

7.2
Performance
Multi-Key Latency
Connection Evaluated Wired
Key Press
17.8 ms
Key Release
19.4 ms
7.2
Performance
Data Transmission
Connection Evaluated Wired
USB Polling Rate
1,000 Hz
Effective Update Rate
200 Hz
N-Key Rollover (NKRO)
Yes
Multiple Keys Per USB Report
Yes
4.5
Performance
Chord Split
4 Chord Split Delay
18.4 ms
8 Chord Split Delay
42.6 ms
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 Keychron C2 doesn't have companion software. The included quick start guide includes suggestions for third-party keyboard remapping software, but this isn't something we test for. There are lighting modes saved in onboard memory, and you can cycle them with a button on the top-right of the keyboard.

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

The Keychron C2 is fully compatible with Windows, macOS, and Linux. However, on Linux, the screen brightness up/down keys don't work.

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

Our current methodology automatically counts wired keyboards as incompatible with mobile devices. However, this model includes a USB-C to USB-C cable, so we tested it with a USB-C compatible iPadOS, and only F3 and F4 keys don't work. We also tested it with a USB-C compatible Android device, and only the F4, F5, and F6 keys don't work.