Keychron K8 Keyboard Review

Tested using Methodology v1.0
Reviewed Sep 28, 2020 at 08:14 am
Keychron K8 Picture
7.7
Gaming
6.6
Mobile/Tablet
7.5
Office
7.7
Programming
6.5
Entertainment / HTPC
Connectivity Wireless
Size
TenKeyLess (80%)
Mechanical
Yes

The Keychron K8 is a decent wireless mechanical keyboard and is essentially a TenKeyLess (80%) version of the Keychron K4. Our unit uses Gateron Brown switches, which offer tactile feedback without causing too much noise, making it a good fit for office use. That said, you can also purchase this keyboard with Gateron Red or Blue switches. Unfortunately, it doesn't have any macro-programmable keys or any companion software, which may be a disappointment to gamers and programmers. This keyboard may be difficult to find through online retailers, but you should be able to easily purchase one from the Keychron website.

Our Verdict

7.7 Gaming

The Keychron K8 is an okay keyboard for gaming. The Gateron Brown switches in our unit don't need much force to actuate, resulting in a light and responsive gaming experience. Also, build quality is excellent, with a solid frame and stable keycaps. Unfortunately, there's no companion software or macro-programmable keys.

Pros
  • Full RGB backlighting.
  • Great typing quality.
  • Sturdy build.
  • Very responsive.
Cons
  • No macro-programmable keys.
  • No companion software.
  • No wrist rest.
6.6 Mobile/Tablet

The Keychron K8 is a good keyboard for using with your smartphone or tablet. It can be used wirelessly over Bluetooth and paired with up to three devices. Unfortunately, it's rather large and heavy, making it inconvenient to travel with.

Pros
  • Multi-device pairing.
  • Bluetooth support.
Cons
  • Large and heavy.
7.5 Office

The Keychron K8 is a decent keyboard for office use. The unit we tested uses Gateron Brown switches, which offer great typing quality due to the quiet and tactile feedback. The keyboard itself is made of solid plastic and the keys feel stable. Unfortunately, the ergonomics are only okay, as the high profile can lead to some fatigue or pain with prolonged use and there's no wrist rest included.

Pros
  • Great typing quality.
  • Sturdy build.
Cons
  • No wrist rest.
7.7 Programming

The Keychron K8 is a decent keyboard for programmers. The unit we tested uses Gateron Brown switches, which offer great typing quality due to the quiet and tactile feedback. The build quality is excellent, as it's made of plastic that feels durable and the keys feel stable. Unfortunately, the ergonomics are only okay, as the high profile can lead to fatigue with prolonged use and there's no wrist rest.

Pros
  • Full RGB backlighting.
  • Great typing quality.
  • Multi-device pairing.
  • Bluetooth support.
  • Sturdy build.
Cons
  • No macro-programmable keys.
  • No companion software.
  • No wrist rest.
6.5 Entertainment / HTPC

The Keychron K8 is okay for use with a home theater PC. It has wireless connectivity so that you don't need to run a cable from the couch to the computer. However, it lacks a trackpad for navigation. It has backlighting for those who like to watch TV in the dark, and media controls are easily accessible through hotkeys.

Pros
  • Full RGB backlighting.
  • Great typing quality.
  • Bluetooth support.
Cons
  • No companion software.
  • No trackpad.
  • 7.7 Gaming
  • 6.6 Mobile/Tablet
  • 7.5 Office
  • 7.7 Programming
  • 6.5 Entertainment / HTPC
  1. Updated Feb 04, 2021: Converted to Test Bench 1.0.
  2. Updated Jan 04, 2021: Updated the Build Quality score.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Dimensions
Height
1.7" (4.3 cm)
Width 14.1" (35.8 cm)
Depth
5.1" (13.0 cm)
Depth With Wrist Rest
N/A
Weight
1.98 lbs (0.900 kg)

The Keychron K8 is a wireless, TenKeyLess (80%) keyboard that shouldn't take up too much space at your desk.

8.5
Design
Build Quality
Keycap Material ABS

Update 01/04/2021: We upgraded the build quality score because we discovered there are two versions of this keyboard: one with a plastic frame and the other with an aluminum frame. Our unit has the aluminum frame.

The Keychron K8 has excellent build quality. It has an aluminum frame that feels very solid and doesn't flex at all. The keycaps are made of ABS plastic; they feel decent but are fairly slick and prone to attracting oil from your fingers, making them even slippier. The keys wobble just a bit, but it isn't that bad.

6.5
Design
Ergonomics
Board Design
Straight
Minimum Incline
4 °
Medium Incline
8 °
Maximum Incline
12 °
Wrist Rest No

The Keychron K8's ergonomics are only okay. It has two incline settings, which can help make typing more comfortable, depending on your preference. Unfortunately, it doesn't include a wrist rest, and its high profile may cause some pain or fatigue with prolonged use.

9.3
Design
Backlighting
Backlighting Yes
Color
RGB
Individually Backlit Keys
Yes
Color Mixing
Ok
Effects
Yes
Programmable
No

The Keychron K8 has outstanding RGB backlighting. You can cycle through various presets by pressing the 'Light Bulb' button on the top right of the board. Unfortunately, even in a brightly lit room, the backlight isn't that bright, as most of the RGB lighting shines through the space around the keycaps rather than through the keycaps themselves. There are versions with white backlighting and an aluminum frame, one with RGB backlighting, but we haven't tested them.

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

This keyboard comes with a short detachable, braided USB-C cable that retains some of the packaging kinks.

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

This keyboard has wireless capabilities. It connects through Bluetooth and pairs with up to three devices at the same time. It's powered by a rechargeable battery, and you can use the board as you charge it.

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

This keyboard doesn't have too many extra features. It lacks any macro-programmable or dedicated media keys and instead uses media hotkeys. The user manual mentions that you can remap the keys through recommended third-party software, but since it's not first-party software, we don't test this. If you want a keyboard with macro-programmable keys and the software to set them, consider the Durgod Taurus K320.

Design
In The Box

  • Keychron K8
  • USB-C cable
  • Keycap remover
  • Extra keycaps for Windows
  • User manual

Typing Experience
Typing Experience
Keystrokes
Key Switches
Gateron Brown
Feel
Tactile
Operating Force
45 gf
Actuation Force
34 gf
Pre-Travel
2.2 mm
Total Travel
4.1 mm

Our unit has Gateron Brown switches. If you don't like the feeling of the Brown switches, you can also choose between Red or Blue switches, which are linear and quiet, or clicky and tactile, respectively. The Brown switches require minimal amount of force to actuate, which makes the typing experience feel very light. The pre-travel is short, making the keyboard feel responsive.

8.0
Typing Experience
Typing Quality

The Gateron Brown switches in our model provide a great typing experience. The switches' pre-travel distance is high enough to not cause accidental typos but low enough to still feel responsive. Also, it doesn't feel tiring to type on, and the keycaps are solid and well-spaced out. That said, the keycaps can be rather slippery due to the ABS plastic and will attract oil from your fingertips.

Typing Experience
Typing Noise
Noise
Quiet

This keyboard is quiet and shouldn't bother those around you.

7.4
Typing Experience
Latency
Latency Wired
11.0 ms
Latency Receiver
N/A
Latency Bluetooth
22.9 ms

The latency is decent. The Bluetooth latency is fine for general desktop use, but if you're planning to game with it, it's better to use it wired.

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

Unfortunately, the Keychron K8 doesn't have software support. The user manual mentions that you can remap the keys through third-party software, but as it's not officially supported, we haven't tested this. If you want a keyboard that has software for customization, check out the Razer Huntsman Tournament Edition.

7.9
Software and Operating System
Keyboard Compatibility
Windows Partial
macOS Partial
Linux Partial
Android Partial
iOS Partial
iPadOS Partial

The Keychron K8 has very good compatibility. Note that the key for the question mark and slash symbols didn't work for us on any platform, which brought the overall score down. This may be a manufacturing issue, but we have no way of knowing for sure. It's fully compatible with Windows, with only the brightness buttons not working on macOS and the function keys not working as intended on Linux. Also, the F3 and F4 buttons don't work on iOS and iPadOS.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

We tested the Keychron K8 Wireless with an aluminum frame, RGB backlighting, and Gateron Brown switches. There's a variant with a plastic frame, which you can get with white or RGB backlighting. You can also get the keyboard with Gateron Blue or Red switches, or hot-swappable Gateron or Keychron Optical switches, making it easier to change switches if you want to. You can see the label of our unit here.

Compared To Other Keyboards

The Keychron K8 is a TenKeyLess (80%) keyboard that performs almost identically to the Keychron K4, a compact (65%) keyboard that doesn't have a Numpad or arrow keys. It's also similar to the compact 96% Keychron K6, except that one has a full Numpad. The K8 is available in a wide variety of switches and comes in hot-swappable versions that allow you to easily change switches without soldering. Unlike many TKL gaming keyboards, the K8 features a wireless design that helps keep desk clutter to a minimum. For other options, you can also check out our recommendations for the best gaming keyboards, the best wireless keyboards, and the best mechanical gaming keyboards.

Keychron K2

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 K1

The Keychron K1 and the Keychron K8 are both wireless TenKeyLess keyboards with similar features. The main difference is that the K1 uses low-profile switches, whereas the K8 uses standard switches. The K8 has slightly lower latency, but not by much. Neither have customization software to change the backlighting or to set macros.

Keychron K6

The Keychron K8 is a larger version of the Keychron K6. The K8 is a TenKeyLess (80%) keyboard, while the K6 is 65%. Both keyboards are available with Gateron or Keychron Optical switches. If you plan on using it for gaming, the K6 has lower latency, although you have to it wired.

Keychron C1

The Keychron C1 and the Keychron K8 are very similar TenKeyLess mechanical keyboards with a few notable differences. The C1 is a wired keyboard with a full plastic frame and better latency. The K8 connects wirelessly with a USB receiver or via Bluetooth, and the unit we tested has an aluminum plate, adding to the already solid-feeling build quality. They both have full RGB lighting and are hot-swappable, so you can use switches other than the default Gateron Red, Blue, or Brown switches available to both. The K8 also has an additional hot-swappable version with optical switches.

Keychron K4

The Keychron K4 is essentially a full-size version of the Keychron K8. There are some small differences, though, The K8 feels better built, and it offers two incline settings, whereas the K4 only has one. The K8 uses Gateron switches, but you can also get it with Keychron Optical switches, and it has a hot-swappable version that lets you change the switches without soldering. The K4 is available with various LK Optical or Gateron switches.

Obinslab Anne Pro 2

The Obinslab Anne Pro 2 is better than the Keychron K8 for most uses. Gaming-wise, the Obinslab has much lower latency, macro-programmable keys, and software for customization. On the other hand, the Keychron has better ergonomics because it provides two incline settings, and it has media hotkeys, which the Obinslab lacks. While both keyboards are available with various switch options, the Keychron has a hot-swappable variant that lets you change the switches without soldering.

Durgod Taurus K320

The Keychron K8 and the Durgod Taurus K320 are both good keyboards that are designed for different uses. The Keychron is a wireless keyboard designed for office use, and it's available with a variety of Gateron switches. It has full RGB lighting, which our unit of the Durgod doesn't have, but you can get a variant with it. The Durgod is a wired keyboard designed for gaming that's available with a variety of Cherry MX switches, and every key is macro-programmable. The Durgod has dedicated software, but the Keychron doesn't.

Logitech K360

The Keychron K8 is a better keyboard than the Logitech K360. The Keychron has a much better design and build, full RGB backlighting, and is Bluetooth-compatible. That said, the Logitech has a lower profile and has dedicated media keys.

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