Keychron K2 Keyboard Review

Tested using Methodology v1.0
Reviewed Jan 06, 2021 at 10:21 am
Keychron K2 Picture
7.7
Gaming
7.5
Mobile/Tablet
7.6
Office
7.8
Programming
6.7
Entertainment / HTPC
Connectivity Wireless
Size
Compact (75%)
Mechanical
Yes

The Keychron K2 is a decent entry-level mechanical keyboard. Its small and compact design makes it fairly easy to carry around, and you shouldn't have to worry about damaging it thanks to its excellent build quality. It's designed with macOS users in mind, but it comes with extra Windows keycaps as well. It works fully on both macOS and Windows, and only certain function keys don't work on mobile operating systems. It can connect with up to three devices at once via Bluetooth. Unfortunately, it doesn't have dedicated software, and you can't program any macros for gaming. Our unit has tactile Gateron Brown switches, and you can also get it with clicky Blue and linear Red switches. Unfortunately, the latency is a bit high, even when using a wired connection, which might disappoint serious gamers.

Our Verdict

7.7 Gaming

The Keychron K2 is good for gaming; however, the latency is a bit high, even over a wired connection. It should be fine for most casual gamers, but it might disappoint serious, competitive gamers. It has full RGB backlighting, but without dedicated software, you can't reprogram any keys.

Pros
  • Full RGB backlighting.
  • Light operating force.
Cons
  • No dedicated software or macro-programmable keys.
  • Lacks wrist rest.
  • Slightly high latency.
7.5 Mobile/Tablet

The Keychron K2 is good for mobile use. It can be paired with up to three devices at once, and except for some function keys, it works properly on most common mobile operating systems. It's small, light, and it has an excellent build quality, so you shouldn't have to worry about damaging it during travel.

Pros
  • Compatible with most popular operating systems.
  • Multi-device pairing with three devices.
  • Small and compact design.
  • Wireless connectivity.
Cons
  • Certain function keys don't work on mobile devices.
7.6 Office

The Keychron K2 is good for office use. The unit we tested has Gateron Brown switches, which provide a great typing experience, and you can get it with other switch types if you prefer. It's well-built and has okay ergonomics with two incline settings, but it doesn't come with a wrist rest. It's also fully compatible with both macOS and Windows.

Pros
  • Compatible with most popular operating systems.
  • Great typing quality.
  • Excellent build quality.
Cons
  • Lacks wrist rest.
7.8 Programming

The Keychron K2 is good for programming. The keys are stable and the Gateron Brown switches on our unit provide a great typing experience. It's well-built with a solid aluminum frame and has two incline settings, but it doesn't come with a wrist rest. Sadly, it doesn't come with dedicated software, and you can't reprogram any keys.

Pros
  • Full RGB backlighting.
  • Great typing quality.
  • Excellent build quality.
Cons
  • No dedicated software or macro-programmable keys.
  • Lacks wrist rest.
6.7 Entertainment / HTPC

The Keychron K2 is okay for use with a home theater PC. It has Bluetooth connectivity, so you can pair it to a wide variety of devices, and you can keep your setup wire-free. However, it doesn't have a trackpad for navigation.

Pros
  • Full RGB backlighting.
  • Wireless connectivity.
Cons
  • No trackpad.
  • 7.7 Gaming
  • 7.5 Mobile/Tablet
  • 7.6 Office
  • 7.8 Programming
  • 6.7 Entertainment / HTPC
  1. Updated Mar 05, 2021: Converted to Test Bench 1.0.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Dimensions
Height
1.7" (4.2 cm)
Width 12.4" (31.6 cm)
Depth
5.0" (12.7 cm)
Depth With Wrist Rest
N/A
Weight
1.74 lbs (0.787 kg)

The Keychron K2 is a small, 75% compact keyboard that has a function row, Page Up/Down, Home, End, and arrow keys. It's light and won't take up much space on your desk.

8.5
Design
Build Quality
Keycap Material ABS

The build quality is excellent. The aluminum frame feels very sturdy and doesn't flex at all. The keys wobble a bit, but they don't rattle. The doubleshot ABS keycaps are just okay and feel like the weakest part of the build. That said, you can buy extra PBT keycaps from Keychron's website. The feet feel sturdy and shouldn't collapse when you push the keyboard.

6.5
Design
Ergonomics
Board Design
Straight
Minimum Incline
6.5 °
Medium Incline
8.5 °
Maximum Incline
11 °
Wrist Rest No

The keyboard has okay ergonomics. It has a fairly high profile, so some people might need a wrist rest to avoid getting wrist fatigue. Unfortunately, it doesn't come with one, but you can buy a wooden one from Keychron's website.

9.1
Design
Backlighting
Backlighting Yes
Color
RGB
Individually Backlit Keys
Yes
Color Mixing
Poor
Effects
Yes
Programmable
No

The Keychron K2 has full RGB backlighting with individually-lit keys. You can cycle through brightness settings and lighting effects using the Fn and function keys. It doesn't get bright enough to make the colors stand out in a well-lit room.

Design
Cable & Connector
Detachable
Yes (Wired Mode and Charge)
Length 3.9 ft (1.2 m)
Connector (Keyboard side)
USB type-C

It comes with a detachable USB-C cable, and the keyboard connector has a 90-degree angle, so you don't bend the wire when it's plugged in. The cable is braided and retains kinks from the packaging.

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

The Keychron K2 can connect with up to three devices at once via Bluetooth, or you can use it wired while charging. The battery is advertised to last up to 240 hours with the backlight turned off, but this isn't something we test for.

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

The Keychron K2 doesn't have many extra features. There are media hotkeys, but you can't reprogram any buttons. Keychron recommends using third-party software to remap the keys, but this isn't something we test for. There are switches on the left side to use it in the Windows/Android or the mac/iOS modes and to use it wirelessly or wired.

Design
In The Box

  • Keychron K2 wireless mechanical keyboard
  • USB-C to USB-A cable
  • Keycap puller
  • 4x gray keys (2x Alt, Esc, Windows)
  • 1x Orange 'Light Bulb' key
  • Manual

Typing Experience
Typing Experience
Keystrokes
Key Switches
Gateron Brown
Feel
Tactile
Operating Force
44 gf
Actuation Force
36 gf
Pre-Travel
2.3 mm
Total Travel
4.0 mm

The unit we tested has tactile Gateron Brown switches, but it's also available with clicky Gateron Blue and linear Red switches. It's similar to the Gateron Brown switches on the Keychron K6 and Keychron K8. They don't require a lot of force to actuate, and they provide good tactile feedback. If you prefer something with low profile switches, then look into the Keychron K3.

8.0
Typing Experience
Typing Quality

The Gateron Brown switches on our unit provide a great typing experience. They offer good tactile feedback, and it's also available with Gateron Red and Blue switches, so you can get the ones you prefer. The keys are stable, but the spacebar wobbles just a bit. The compact 75% size may take some time to get used to, especially if you use non-alphanumeric keys, such as Page Up and Page Down, which are positioned differently than on standard full-sized keyboards. The right Shift key is smaller than the left Shift, so that may cause an increase in typos when you first use it. The function row is the same height as the number row instead of being slightly taller like on most keyboards, so it may feel different for some, but it shouldn't be too much of an issue. The ABS keycaps feel slippery, but you can get an extra set of PBT keycaps. The keys are light to press, and despite having a high profile, it shouldn't be too tiring typing on them for long periods. If you notice some fatigue, you can also get a wrist rest separately.

Typing Experience
Typing Noise
Noise
Quiet

Our unit with Gateron Brown switches is quiet and shouldn't bother those around you. However, we expect the Gateron Blue switches to be louder, similar to the Cherry MX Blue switches on the Ducky One 2 SF.

7.0
Typing Experience
Latency
Latency Wired
15.7 ms
Latency Receiver
N/A
Latency Bluetooth
25.3 ms

The Keychron K2 has decent latency. It's better to use the wired connection for gaming, but even then, it might still be too high for competitive gamers.

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

Keychron K2 doesn't come with dedicated software to customize the RGB lighting or reprogram keys. However, Keychron recommends using third-party software to remap keys. In the manual, they recommend Karabiner for macOS and SharpKeys for Windows, but we don't test for these programs.

9.2
Software and Operating System
Keyboard Compatibility
Windows Full
macOS Full
Linux Partial
Android Full
iOS Partial
iPadOS Partial

The Keychron K2 is fully compatible with both Windows and macOS, as long as you set the keyboard to the proper mode with the switch on the left side. The F3 and F4 keys don't work on iOS or iPadOS. You should set the OS slider to 'mac/iOS' if you're using it with Linux, but the display brightness up/down keys don't work. If you set the keyboard to the 'Windows' mode on Linux, all of the function keys, as well as the display brightness up/down, don't work.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

We tested the Keychron K2 with an aluminum frame, RGB backlighting, and Gateron Brown switches. It's available in few different variants, including a hot-swappable version that allows you to quickly change the switches without soldering. The differences between the versions are listed below, and the build quality, typing experience, and typing noise may change depending on which model and switch type you get.

Keychron sells extra accessories for the K2 mechanical keyboard. You can get a wrist rest and a set of PBT keycaps directly from their website, so your experience may vary with these extra parts.

Model Keycap Color Backlighting Frame Material Gateron Switches
Keychron K2 Light/Dark Gray RGB Aluminum Red, Brown, Blue
Keychron K2 Light/Dark Gray White Plastic Red, Brown, Blue
Keychron K2 Light/Dark Gray RGB Plastic Red, Brown, Blue
Keychron K2 Hot-Swappable White/Black RGB Aluminum Red, Brown, Blue
Keychron K2 Hot-Swappable White/Black White Plastic Red, Brown, Blue

If someone notices that their unit doesn't correspond to our review, please let us know in the discussions and we'll update the review. You can see the label for our unit here.

Compared To Other Keyboards

The Keychron K2 is a decent, entry-level mechanical keyboard, and it's a better choice for mobile devices than the Keychron K4 or Keychron K8 because it's smaller and lighter to carry around. You can get it with a few different switch types, but sadly, you can't reprogram any of its keys, which is disappointing if you're a gamer. Also see our recommendations for the best keyboards for writers, the best mechanical keyboards, and the best keyboards for Mac.

Keychron K6

The Keychron K2 is essentially a bigger version of the Keychron K6. The K2 is a 75% keyboard with a row of dedicated function keys, while the K6 is 65%. They're nearly identical in features, but the K6 has lower latency, making it a better choice for gaming.

Keychron K8

The Keychron K2 and the Keychron K8 are essentially the same keyboard in two different sizes. The K2 is 75% while the K8 is 80%. The K2 is available with various Gateron switches, but the K8 has both Gateron and Keychron Optical switch options. That said, both keyboards have a hot-swappable variant that lets you change the switches without soldering. Latency is better on the K8, but the difference shouldn't be noticeable to most people.

Keychron K3

The Keychron K3 and the Keychron K2 are two very similar keyboards, except the K3 has low profile switches while the K2 has normal-sized ones. The K3 has better ergonomics because its lower profile makes it comfortable to type on even without a wrist rest. It's also available in a wider range of switch types, including optical ones. However, the K2 offers better typing quality and feels better-built. 

Keychron K4

The Keychron K2 is a 75% version of the Keychron K4. The K2 that we tested has full RGB backlighting, while the K4 has white backlighting, although you can get it with RGB backlighting as well. The K2 is smaller and lighter, so it's a better choice for use with mobile devices. However, the K4 has more switch options because it's available with LK Optical or Gateron switches, whereas the K2 is only available with Gateron switches. The K2 has slightly higher latency, but it shouldn't be noticeable to most people.

Keychron K1

The Keychron K2 and the Keychron K1 are both compact wireless keyboards, but the K1 uses low-profile switches whereas the K2 uses standard switches. Also, the K1 is slightly longer since it has a TKL layout instead of a compact 75% like the K2. The tactile Gateron Brown switches on our K2 unit offer a better typing experience than the linear Gateron Low Profile Red switches on our K1 unit. While K2's wired latency is marginally worst than the K1, its Bluetooth latency is significantly better. Neither come with customization software.

Vortex Race 3

The Vortex Race 3 and the Keychron K2 are both 75% keyboards with a similar layout, but the Vortex is wired-only while the Keychron is wireless with Bluetooth connectivity. The Keychron is more versatile because you can use it with mobile devices and pair it to multiple devices at once. If you're planning on using it for gaming, though, the Vortex is better because it has lower latency and macro-programmable keys. Also, it has onboard memory to save custom profiles. Both keyboards are available in various switch options, and the Vortex has a variant with backlighting.

Keychron C1

The Keychron K2 and Keychron C1 are mechanical keyboards with similar looks but different sizes and connectivity options. The K2 is a compact (75%) keyboard that connects wirelessly via Bluetooth and can connect with up to three devices, while the C1 is a TenKeyLess wired keyboard. Unfortunately, both keyboards are fairly tall and don't include a wrist rest. That said, we tested each of these Keyboards with Gateron Brown switches that don't require much force to actuate and provide great typing quality with good tactile feedback. They're also both available with linear Gateron red and clicky Gateron Blues, and both have hot-swappable versions available as well.

Obinslab Anne Pro 2

The Obinslab Anne Pro 2 is better than the Keychron K2 for most uses. The Obinslab has macro-programmable keys, customization software, and its latency is significantly lower, making it a much better choice for gaming. However, the Keychron has media controls and offers incline settings, which the Obinslab lacks. Both keyboards are available in a wide variety of mechanical switches.

Keychron C2

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.

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