Keychron C2 Keyboard Review

Tested using Methodology v1.0
Reviewed Feb 24, 2021 at 10:19 am
Keychron C2 Picture
7.1
Gaming
3.4
Mobile/Tablet
7.4
Office
7.2
Programming
4.4
Entertainment / HTPC
Connectivity Wired
Size
Full-size (100%)
Mechanical
Yes

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

7.1 Gaming

The Keychron C2 is a satisfactory keyboard for gaming. However, it has high latency, only okay ergonomics, and 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, although this isn't something we test. 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.
3.4 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.

7.4 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, its ergonomics are only okay, 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. However, they're a little loud, so this switch type may not be ideal for quiet offices.

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.
  • Loud keys.
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, its ergonomics are only okay, 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.
  • Loud keys.
4.4 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.
  • 7.1 Gaming
  • 3.4 Mobile/Tablet
  • 7.4 Office
  • 7.2 Programming
  • 4.4 Entertainment / HTPC

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Dimensions
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.

6.5
Design
Ergonomics
Board Design
Straight
Minimum Incline
4 °
Medium Incline
6 °
Maximum Incline
8 °
Wrist Rest No

The Keychron C2 has adequate 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.

8.9
Design
Backlighting
Backlighting Yes
Color
White
Individually Backlit Keys
Yes
Color Mixing
White Only
Effects
Yes
Programmable
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.

Design
Cable & Connector
Detachable
Yes
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
Design
Extra Features
Media Keys
Hot Keys
Macro Programmable Keys
No
Trackpad / Trackball No
Wheel 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
Typing Experience
Keystrokes
Key Switches
Gateron Brown
Feel
Tactile
Operating Force
48 gf
Actuation Force
40 gf
Pre-Travel
2.9 mm
Total Travel
4.1 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.

8.0
Typing Experience
Typing Quality

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.

Typing Experience
Typing Noise
Noise
Loud

This keyboard is louder than most other keyboards using Gateron Brown switches, and the noise may bother those around you. We expect the linear Gateron Reds to be quieter and the clicky Gateron Blue switches to be louder, but this isn't something we test.

7.3
Typing Experience
Latency
Latency Wired
11.3 ms
Latency Receiver
N/A
Latency Bluetooth
N/A

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.

Software and Operating System
0
Software and Operating System
Software & Programming
Software Name No Software
Account Required
No Software
Profiles
No Profile
Onboard Memory
No
Cloud Sync
No
Macro Programming
No
Ease Of Use
No Software
Software Windows Compatible
No
Software macOS Compatible
No

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.

7.8
Software and Operating System
Keyboard Compatibility
Windows Full
macOS Full
Linux Partial
Android No
iOS No
iPadOS No

The Keychron C2 is fully compatible with both Windows and macOS. It's also compatible with Linux, but the screen brightness up/down keys don't work.

Note: 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.

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 K2

The Keychron C2 and the Keychron K2 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.

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.

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. Unfortunately, it doesn't have companion software. The Glorious is an excellent gaming keyboard available in multiple sizes and is fully hot-swappable. It has companion software offering RGB backlighting and macro customization.

Ducky One 2

The Keychron C2 and Ducky One 2 are both 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. 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 range of MX Cherry switches. Unfortunately, both keyboards lack companion software, but the Ducky supports macro programming directly on the keyboard.

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