Keychron K1 Keyboard Review

Tested using Methodology v1.0
Reviewed Sep 23, 2020 at 09:11 am
Keychron K1 Picture
Entertainment / HTPC
Connectivity Wireless
TenKeyLess (80%)

The Keychron K1 is a decent wireless mechanical keyboard for most uses. It's made largely of aluminum, giving it a sturdier feel and an overall comfortable experience. Our unit has Gateron Low-Profile Red switches that don't require a lot of force to actuate and have a low pre-travel distance, resulting in a responsive typing experience. Unfortunately, there's no companion software to customize the RGB lighting, and there aren't any macro-programmable keys. On the upside, you can use it wirelessly over Bluetooth and pair it with up to three devices at the same time.

Note that some variants of this keyboard can be difficult to find through retailers, but can be purchased directly from Keychron's website.

Our Verdict

8.0 Gaming

The Keychron K1 is a decent keyboard for gaming. The Gateron Low-Profile Red switches don't require a lot of force to actuate and have a low pre-travel distance. It has a great build quality, with most of the keyboard being made of aluminum with little to no flex. However, there's no companion software or macro-programmable buttons.

  • RGB backlighting.
  • Responsive switches.
  • Great build quality.
  • No macro-programmable keys.
  • No companion software.
7.6 Mobile/Tablet

The Keychron K1 is a great keyboard for using with your smartphone or tablet. You can pair it over Bluetooth with your mobile device and it can be paired with up to three devices at once. While it's a fairly light keyboard, it's also rather wide, making it less than ideal to travel with.

  • Bluetooth support.
  • Multi-device pairing.
  • Great build quality.
  • No companion software.
  • Bulky.
7.3 Office

The Keychron K1 is a satisfactory keyboard for office use. Ergonomics are only decent, as it lacks a wrist rest and there are no incline settings. While the switches help provide a responsive typing experience, the flat ABS keycaps are slippery and are bunched together, which can lead to an increase in typos.

  • Decent ergonomics.
  • Responsive switches.
  • Great build quality.
  • Compact and tight key layout.
  • No companion software.
7.4 Programming

The Keychron K1 is a satisfactory keyboard for programmers. While it offers a decent typing experience due to the responsive switches, the keycaps are made of ABS plastic that feels cheap and they're prone to feeling slippery. Also, it doesn't have macro-programmable buttons. That said, it has a solid aluminum frame and full RGB backlighting which can be modified via a button directly on the keyboard.

  • RGB backlighting.
  • Responsive switches.
  • Great build quality.
  • No macro-programmable keys.
  • Compact and tight key layout.
  • No companion software.
6.5 Entertainment / HTPC

  • Great build quality.
  • No companion software.
  • 8.0 Gaming
  • 7.6 Mobile/Tablet
  • 7.3 Office
  • 7.4 Programming
  • 6.5 Entertainment / HTPC
  1. Updated Feb 08, 2021: Converted to Test Bench 1.0.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
0.9" (2.3 cm)
Width 14.0" (35.6 cm)
4.8" (12.1 cm)
Depth With Wrist Rest
1.40 lbs (0.636 kg)

This is a TenKeyLess (80%) keyboard that lacks a Numpad but still includes a 'Print Screen', 'Insert', and two unique buttons for Cortana and Siri.

Build Quality
Keycap Material ABS

The Keychron K1 has a great build quality. While there's some plastic on the sides, it's largely made of aluminum, which prevents any noticeable flex. Unfortunately, the flat keycaps are made of ABS plastic and are noticeably slippery.

Board Design
Minimum Incline
2.5 °
Medium Incline
Maximum Incline
Wrist Rest No

This keyboard has decent ergonomics. Despite having no incline settings or wrist rest, its low profile is overall quite comfortable, with only minor fatigue being felt. However, if you want something with two incline settings, consider the Keychron K8, although it's only available with regular-sized switches.

Backlighting Yes
Individually Backlit Keys
Color Mixing

This keyboard has outstanding RGB backlighting. While there's no companion software, there's a handy customization button on the top right-hand side, where you can modify the pre-programmed effects and colors.

Cable & Connector
Yes (Wired Mode and Charge)
Length 5.0 ft (1.5 m)
Connector (Keyboard side)
USB type-C

The Keychron K1 comes with a detachable USB-C cable that feels cheap and wobbles in the keyboard port.

Wireless Versatility
Bluetooth Multi-Device Pairing
Proprietary Receiver
Battery Type

The Keychron K1 has wireless Bluetooth support. It has a built-in rechargeable battery. It can be paired with up to three different devices at once and switching between them is done by sliding a button on the top of the board.

Extra Features
Media Keys
Hot Keys
Macro Programmable Keys
Trackpad / Trackball No
Wheel No
USB Passthrough
Numpad No
Windows Key Lock
Lock Indicator No Indicator

The Keychron K1 doesn't have too many extra features. There are media hotkeys and buttons to summon Siri or Cortana, but we couldn't get them to pop up. Also, there are no macro-programmable keys.

In The Box

  • Keychron K1
  • USB-A to USB-C cable
  • Keycap puller
  • Extra keycap replacements for Windows
  • User manuals

Typing Experience
Typing Experience
Key Switches
Gateron Low Profile Red
Operating Force
40 gf
Actuation Force
40 gf
1.4 mm
Total Travel
2.7 mm

Our Keychron K1 model uses Gateron Low Profile Red switches, which provide linear feedback. There's not a lot of pre-travel distance until the key is actuated, resulting in a responsive typing experience. If this isn't to your liking, you can get it with Gateron Low Profile Brown or Low Profile Blue switches, for tactile or clicky feedback, respectively. The Keychron K3 is also available with low profile switches, and if you prefer, you can get it with optical ones as well.

Typing Experience
Typing Quality

Typing on this keyboard is decent. The Gateron Low-Profile Red switches on our unit provide linear feedback. Since the ABS keycaps are slippery, typos are more prevalent. Also, the lack of any incline settings and the taller-than-normal profile for this design resulted in some minor fatigue. If you don't want Red switches, you can get it with loud and clicky Gateron Low-Profile Blue switches. The keys aren't as well-spaced as the Apple Magic Keyboard, but if you're a fan of mechanical switches, it's a decent choice.

Typing Experience
Typing Noise

This is a quiet keyboard and shouldn't bother anyone around you. The keyboard will likely be louder if you get the Gateron Low-Profile Blue switches.

Typing Experience
Latency Wired
13.6 ms
Latency Receiver
Latency Bluetooth
43.4 ms
Software and Operating System
Software and Operating System
Software & Programming
Software Name No Software
Account Required
No Software
No Profile
Onboard Memory
Cloud Sync
Macro Programming
Ease Of Use
No Software
Software Windows Compatible
Software macOS Compatible

Unfortunately, there's no customization software available for this keyboard. Keychron lists some third-party options in their user manual, but they're not officially supported, and we haven't tested them.

Software and Operating System
Keyboard Compatibility
Windows Partial
macOS Partial
Linux Partial
Android Partial
iOS Partial
iPadOS Partial

The Keychron K1 has very good compatibility options. There are a few issues on each operating system that prevent it from being fully compatible. Most of these issues have to do with function keys not working, such as the Cortana button not working on Windows, Siri not working on macOS, and F1 and F2 not working on both. There's a 'Print Screen' button, but that only works on Windows.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

Our Keychron K1 is a TenKeyLess (TKL) keyboard with Gateron Low-Profile Red switches, but it's also available with Gateron Low-Profile Blue and Brown switches. Also, it comes in black and gray variants and is available in a full-sized format with a NumPad. We expect these results to valid for the other variants, aside from typing experience. The label for our unit can be seen here.

Compared To Other Keyboards

The Keychron K1 is a TenKeyLess keyboard that's ideally suited for typing on your tablet or smartphone. Despite having no incline settings or wrist rest, it's a comfortable keyboard to type on when compared to the Keychron K4, which has a higher profile. It can be used wirelessly over Bluetooth, just like the Logitech MX Keys, but the K1 has full RGB backlighting while the Logitech only has a white backlight. It's also cheaper than the Logitech G915 LIGHTSPEED, another low-profile mechanical keyboard that uses similar switches. For other options, you can also check out our recommendations for the best RGB keyboards, the best wireless keyboards, and the best mechanical gaming keyboards.

Keychron K2

The Keychron K2 is better overall than the Keychron K1. The K2 feels better-built, the Gateron Brown switches we tested has a much better typing experience, and it's fully compatible with Windows, macOS, and Android. On the other hand, the K1 has a lower profile and since it's full-sized, it has a NumPad.

Keychron K3

The Keychron K3 is better overall than the Keychron K1, but they have very similar features. The K3 offers better typing quality with the Gateron Low Profile Brown switches on our unit than the Gateron Low Profile Red switches on the K1. The K3 is also available with optical switches, so you have a wider range of options to choose from.

Keychron K8

The Keychron K8 is a slightly better wireless keyboard than the Keychron K1. The K8 is equipped with two incline settings. That being said, the K1 uses low-profile switches, which some may prefer.

Logitech G915 LIGHTSPEED

The Logitech G915 LIGHTSPEED is a better keyboard than the Keychron K1. The Logitech has dedicated macro and hotkeys and can be used with the Logitech G HUB software. That said, the Keychron can be paired with up to three devices and doesn't require as much actuation force.

Keychron K4

The Keychron K4 is a slightly better keyboard than the Keychron K1. The K4 is fully compatible with both Windows and macOS and offers a better typing experience with the tactile LK Optical Brown switches we tested. That said, the K1 has RGB backlighting and is a bit more comfortable to type on due to the low-profile design.

Logitech MX Keys

The Logitech MX Keys is a better keyboard than the Keychron K1. The MX Keys has scissor switches that provide a better typing experience, but the keys do require a bit more force to actuate than the K1. Also, it uses the Logitech Options companion software and is fully compatible with macOS and Windows. That said, the K1 has full RGB backlighting.

Ducky One 2

The Keychron K1 is a slightly better keyboard than the Ducky One 2. The Keychron has a lower profile, wireless capabilities, and RGB backlighting. That said, the Ducky has macro-programmable keys and onboard memory.

Keychron K6

The Keychron K6 is a slightly better keyboard than the Keychron K1. The K6 has two incline settings for a more comfortable typing experience. That said, the K1 has a larger, TenKeyLess design, which may be preferable for some people.

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