Keychron K1 Keyboard Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Reviewed Sep 23, 2020 at 09:11 am
Keychron K1 Picture
7.2
Mixed usage
7.0
Gaming
8.3
Mobile/Tablet
7.2
Office
7.1
Programming
Connectivity Wireless
Size
TenKeyLess (80%)
Mechanical
Yes

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

7.2 Mixed usage

The Keychron K1 is a decent keyboard for mixed usage. It can be used wirelessly over Bluetooth and can be paired with up to three devices at once, making it a great keyboard to use with your smartphone or tablet. It's decent for office use because of the satisfactory ergonomics and responsive typing experience. It's also decent for gaming and programming, but it lacks companion software and macro-programmable keys.

Pros
  • Bluetooth support.
  • RGB backlighting.
  • Great build quality.
Cons
  • No macro-programmable keys.
  • Compact and tight key layout.
  • No companion software.
7.0 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.

Pros
  • RGB backlighting.
  • Responsive switches.
  • Great build quality.
Cons
  • No macro-programmable keys.
  • No companion software.
8.3 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.

Pros
  • Bluetooth support.
  • Multi-device pairing.
  • Great build quality.
Cons
  • No companion software.
  • Bulky.
7.2 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.

Pros
  • Decent ergonomics.
  • Responsive switches.
  • Great build quality.
Cons
  • Compact and tight key layout.
  • No companion software.
7.1 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.

Pros
  • RGB backlighting.
  • Responsive switches.
  • Great build quality.
Cons
  • No macro-programmable keys.
  • Compact and tight key layout.
  • No companion software.
  • 7.2 Mixed usage
  • 7.0 Gaming
  • 8.3 Mobile/Tablet
  • 7.2 Office
  • 7.1 Programming

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Dimensions
Height
0.9" (2.3 cm)
Width 14.0" (35.6 cm)
Depth 4.8" (12.1 cm)
Weight 1.4 lbs (0.6 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.

8.0
Design
Build Quality

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.

7.0
Design
Ergonomics
Board Design
Straight
Incline Settings
0
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.

10
Design
Backlighting
Backlighting Yes
Color RGB
Brightness Settings
Yes
Individually Backlit Keys
Yes

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.

Design
Cable
Detachable
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.

10
Design
Wireless Versatility
Bluetooth
Yes
Proprietary Receiver
No
Multi-Device Pairing
3
Battery Type
Rechargeable

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.

Design
Extra Features
Media Keys
Hot Keys
Macro Programmable Keys
No
Extra Controls
No
USB Passthrough
No
Numpad No
Windows Key Lock
No

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.

Design
In The Box

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

Typing Experience
Typing Experience
Keystrokes
Key Switches
Gateron Low Profile Red
Feel
Linear
Actuation Force
37.2 gf
Pre-Travel
1.54 mm
Total Travel
2.78 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.

7.0
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
Noise
Quiet

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.

Software and Operating System
0
Software and Operating System
Software
Software No Software
Account Required
No Software
Profiles
No Profile
Onboard Memory
No
Cloud Sync
No
Backlight Programming
No
Macro Programming
No
Software Windows Compatible
No
Software macOS Compatible
No

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.

7.9
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 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.

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 with scissor switches that we tested offers a better typing experience. Also, it uses the Logitech Options companion software and is fully compatible with macOS and Windows. That said, the K1 has full RGB backlighting.

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.

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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