Keychron K3 Keyboard Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Reviewed Jan 07, 2021 at 10:59 am
Keychron K3 Picture
7.4
Mixed usage
7.1
Gaming
9.2
Mobile/Tablet
7.5
Office
7.4
Programming
Connectivity Wireless
Size
Compact (75%)
Mechanical
Yes

The Keychron K3 is decent overall. It's a compact 75% keyboard with function and arrow keys, and it's light enough to carry around with you. It works properly with both macOS and Windows because it has an option to switch between modes according to which operating system you're using. It's similar to the Keychron K2, but with low profile switches. It's available with Gateron Low Profile or Keychron Low Profile Optical switches, and you can choose from a variety of switch types. It has full RGB backlighting, but sadly, it doesn't have dedicated software to remap any keys. Keychron suggests using third-party software, but we don't test for that. The typing quality with the Gateron Low Profile Brown switches we tested is good. Note that it may be difficult to find it at retailers, and it's best to purchase this keyboard directly from Keychron's website.

Our Verdict

7.4 Mixed usage

The Keychron K3 is a decent overall keyboard. It's outstanding for mobile devices because it has multi-device pairing, it's compatible with most operating systems, and it's easy to carry around. It's good for office use thanks to the good typing quality that the Gateron Low Profile Brown switches on our unit provide. It's decent for programming and gaming as it has full RGB backlighting, but it doesn't have software to set any macros.

Pros
  • Full RGB backlighting.
  • Lightweight and compact design.
  • Good typing quality.
Cons
  • No dedicated software to remap keys.
  • Doesn't come with a wrist rest.
  • Some function keys don't work on mobile devices.
7.1 Gaming

The Keychron K3 is decent for gaming. The Gateron Low Profile Brown switches we tested are light to press and have a low pre-travel distance. It has full RGB backlighting, but there's no dedicated software to reprogram any keys or set macros, so it's not ideal for gaming. It doesn't offer much in terms of ergonomics, but with its low profile, you shouldn't get tired using it for long gaming sessions.

Pros
  • Full RGB backlighting.
  • Low pre-travel distance.
Cons
  • No dedicated software to remap keys.
  • Doesn't come with a wrist rest.
9.2 Mobile/Tablet

The Keychron K3 is outstanding for use with mobile devices. It's very light to carry around and its compact size makes it easy to place in a bag. It has great build quality and you shouldn't worry about damaging it while on-the-go. It can connect with up to three devices at once and works with most common operating systems; only a few function keys don't work on mobile devices.

Pros
  • Lightweight and compact design.
  • Great build quality.
  • Multi-device pairing.
Cons
  • Some function keys don't work on mobile devices.
7.5 Office

The Keychron K3 is good for office use. It offers good typing quality and the Gateron Low Profile Brown switches on our unit are quiet, but your experience may vary depending on which switch you get. It's well-built and is fully compatible with both macOS and Windows. It has decent ergonomics, but it doesn't have any incline settings or a wrist rest.

Pros
  • Great build quality.
  • Good typing quality.
Cons
  • Doesn't come with a wrist rest.
7.4 Programming

The Keychron K3 is decent for programming. It has full RGB backlighting and the Gateron Low Profile Brown switches on our unit offer a good typing experience, but you can get it in a variety of switches. It has decent ergonomics, but it lacks a wrist rest. Sadly, it doesn't come with dedicated software to reprogram any keys, so you can't set any macros.

Pros
  • Full RGB backlighting.
  • Good typing quality.
Cons
  • No dedicated software to remap keys.
  • Doesn't come with a wrist rest.
  • 7.4 Mixed usage
  • 7.1 Gaming
  • 9.2 Mobile/Tablet
  • 7.5 Office
  • 7.4 Programming
  1. Update 1/12/2021: Fixed an error regarding hot-swappable switches and PBT keycaps.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Dimensions
Height
1.1" (2.7 cm)
Width 12.0" (30.5 cm)
Depth 4.6" (11.6 cm)
Weight 0.9 lbs (0.4 kg)

The Keychron K3 is a compact 75% keyboard that has function and arrow keys. It's much lighter than the Keychron K2 and shouldn't be too big to carry around.

8.0
Design
Build Quality

Update 01/12/2021: We previously said that you can buy extra PBT keycaps on Keychron's website. Even though you can buy an extra set, they're premium ABS and not PBT. The review has been updated.

The Keychron K3 has great build quality. Its frame is aluminum while there's plastic underneath. It flexes a bit when you press down hard on a key, but this shouldn't be much of a problem during normal use. The keys slightly wobble, but it's not too noticeable while typing. The ABS keycaps feel like they can easily develop shine from oil over time. There aren't any loose parts and the larger keys don't rattle. There are four rubber feet underneath and the keyboard doesn't slide around on the desk.

7.0
Design
Ergonomics
Board Design
Straight
Incline Settings
0
Wrist Rest No

The Keychron K3 is a simple, low profile keyboard with decent ergonomics. It doesn't have any incline settings. However, you can remove the top feet and use the stick-on replacement feet instead, which creates a lower incline, but you won't be able to switch between each set of feet easily. It doesn't come with a wrist rest, either, and since it has such a low profile, you may not need it. Still, if you prefer a wrist rest, Keychron sells a wooden one separately.

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

The Keychron K3 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
Detachable
Yes (Wired Mode and Charge)
Length 4.0 ft (1.2 m)
Connector (Keyboard side) USB type-C

This keyboard comes with a braided USB-C cable that retains kinks from the packaging. You can easily replace it in case it damages. The keyboard connector noticeably wobbles in the port, which is something we noticed with the Keychron K1 as well.

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

The Keychron K3 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 34 hours with RGB on, but this isn't something we test for.

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 K3 doesn't have many extra features. There's no proprietary software to reprogram any buttons, and even though Keychron recommends third-party software, this isn't something we test for. There are switches on top to change between the Windows/Android or mac/iOS modes. Note that there's a variant with hot-swappable switches, so you can easily replace and change your switches without any soldering, but ours doesn't have this feature.

Design
In The Box

  • Keychron K3
  • USB-C cable
  • Keycap puller
  • 4x gray keys (2x Alt, Esc, Windows)
  • 1x orange 'Light Bulb' key
  • Replacement feet
  • Manual

Typing Experience
Typing Experience
Keystrokes
Key Switches
Gateron Low Profile Brown
Feel
Tactile
Actuation Force
47.9 gf
Pre-Travel
1.74 mm
Total Travel
2.78 mm

Our unit of the Keychron K3 uses Gateron Low Profile Brown switches, which provide a tactile feel. They have a low pre-travel distance and don't require much force to press. You can also get it with clicky Gateron Low Profile Blue or linear Red switches, such as the ones we tested with the Keychron K1. The keyboard is also available with Keychron Low Profile Optical switches, and that variant has hot-swappable switches, so you can easily change them without soldering.

7.5
Typing Experience
Typing Quality

Update 01/12/2021: We previously said that you can buy extra PBT keycaps on Keychron's website. Even though you can buy an extra set, they're premium ABS and not PBT. The review has been updated.

The Gateron Low Profile Brown switches on our unit of the Keychron K3 provide nice tactile feedback and good typing quality, but your typing experience may change depending on which switches you get. The keys wobble a bit, but it isn't very noticeable during normal use. The layout feels cramped and you may notice an increase in typos if you're not used to it. The right Shift is also smaller than the left Shift, so you may accidentally hit the arrow keys instead. Also, the ABS keycaps feel slippery. Overall, it shouldn't feel tiring typing on it for long periods, and it's an improvement over the Keychron K1.

Typing Experience
Typing Noise
Noise
Quiet

Our unit of the Keychron K3 with the Gateron Low Profile Brown switches is quiet, but your experience may vary depending on which switch you get.

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

The Keychron K3 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 K3 is fully compatible with both Windows and macOS, as long as you set the keyboard to the proper mode with the switch on the top 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 F3 and F4 hotkeys don't work. If you set the keyboard to the 'Windows' mode on Linux all of the function keys and the F3 and F4 hotkeys don't work.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

We tested the Keychron K3 Low Profile Mechanical keyboard with Gateron Brown switches and RGB backlighting. It's also available with white backlighting and you can also get it with Gateron Low Profile Blue and Red switches. There's another variant with Keychron Optical switches, which has hot-swappable switches, so you can easily replace your switches without any soldering. Your typing experience and typing noise may change depending on which switches you get.

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

Model Backlighting Switches Switch Type Hot Swappable
Low Profile Gateron Mechanical RGB Gateron Low Profile Red, Blue, Brown No
Low Profile Gateron Mechanical White Gateron Low Profile Red, Blue, Brown No
Low Profile Keychron Optical RGB Keychron Low Profile Optical Red, Brown, Blue, White, Black, Orange Yes
Low Profile Keychron Optical White Keychron Low Profile Optical Red, Brown, Blue, White, Black, Orange Yes

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 K3 is a good office keyboard and it's very similar to the Keychron K2, except it has low profile switches instead of regular-sized mechanical ones. Its multi-device pairing feature is a nice addition and it's compatible with most devices. However, gamers may be disappointed with the lack of macro-programmable keys and may want to look into other options, such as the Ducky One 2 SF or the Obinslab Anne Pro 2. Also see our recommendations for the best wireless keyboards, the best keyboards for Mac, and the best mechanical keyboards.

Keychron K1

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 K2

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 of its lower profile. It's also available in a wider range of switch types, including optical ones. However, the K2 offers better typing quality and it feels better-built.

Obinslab Anne Pro 2

The Obinslab Anne Pro 2 is better overall than the Keychron K3. The Obinslab has multi-device pairing with up to four devices, while the Keychron can connect with up to three. The Anne Pro 2 also has macro-programmable keys, has dedicated software, and offers a better typing experience. On the other hand, the Keychron is bigger as it has a function row.

Ducky One 2 SF

The Ducky One 2 SF is better overall than the Keychron K3. The Ducky feels better-built, you can set macros to any keys, and it offers a much better typing experience. However, the Keychron is wireless, has multi-device pairing, and it has a function row. Both are available in a variety of switches, so you can easily get the ones you prefer.

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