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Keychron V Series Keyboard Review

Tested using Methodology v1.1
Reviewed Sep 06, 2022 at 12:19 pm
Latest change: Test bench update Apr 26, 2023 at 09:47 am
Keychron V Series Picture
8.3
Gaming
1.7
Mobile/Tablet
7.7
Office
7.8
Programming
3.1
Entertainment / HTPC

The Keychron V Series is a lineup of wired-only mechanical keyboards manufactured by Keychron. This series takes some elements from the premium Q Series, like the uniquely shaped PBT keycaps and hot-swappable PCB.

The Keychron V1 is a wired-only, compact (75%) mechanical keyboard that's the first release in Keychron's V-series. This series takes some elements from their premium Q lineup, like the unique PBT keycaps, south-facing LEDs, and high degree of customization, but wraps these features up in a more affordable package.

Our Verdict

8.3 Gaming

Although they aren't designed for this use, the Keychron V Series are excellent keyboards for gaming. They have a solid build quality and full RGB backlighting, and their hot-swappable PCBs mean you can easily change out the stock switches for any gaming switch you want. Plus, all keys are macro-programmable using the VIA companion software, which is available on all major operating systems. Unfortunately, the ergonomics are only alright as they're high-profile keyboards that lack a wrist rest. Also, their latency is best-suited for casual rather than competitive gaming.

Pros
  • Excellent build quality.
  • Full RGB backlighting.
  • Easily customizable; hot-swappable PCB.
Cons
  • No included wrist rest for better ergonomic support.
  • Latency isn't low enough for competitive gaming.
1.7 Mobile/Tablet

Since the Keychron V Series are wired-only keyboards, they aren't recommended for use with mobile devices. However, they connect with a USB-C to USB-C cable, so you can technically use them with any mobile device that has a USB-C port, but this will drain the device's battery fairly quickly.

7.7 Office

The Keychron V Series are very good keyboards for office use. They feel very well-built, and the sound-dampening foam inside the boards keeps the typing noises to a minimum, making them a good choice for open office environments. Thanks to the toggle on the top left, these keyboards and their software are fully compatible with all major operating systems. Unfortunately, the ergonomics are only alright as they're high-profile keyboards that don't include a wrist rest.

Pros
  • Excellent build quality.
  • Sound dampeners keep typing noises to a minimum.
Cons
  • No included wrist rest for better ergonomic support.
7.8 Programming

The Keychron V Series are great keyboards to use for programming. They feel well-built and excellent to type on. Plus, all the keys are macro-programmable using the companion software, which is available on all major operating systems, including Linux. These keyboards also have full RGB backlighting to illuminate the keys in the dark. Unfortunately, the ergonomics aren't the greatest, as the keyboards have a high profile and lack a wrist rest. Also, since they're wired-only, you can't connect them to multiple devices at once.

Pros
  • Excellent build quality.
  • Full RGB backlighting.
  • Easily customizable; hot-swappable PCB.
Cons
  • Wired-only.
  • No included wrist rest for better ergonomic support.
3.1 Entertainment / HTPC

The Keychron V Series are poor keyboards to use in an entertainment or home theatre setup. They're wired-only, meaning you'll have to run the connection cable from the keyboard to the device. They also lack a trackpad or any additional feature for on-screen navigation. However, as a plus, they have full RGB backlighting and a very good build quality.

Pros
  • Excellent build quality.
Cons
  • Wired-only.
  • No trackpad for on-screen navigation.
  • No included wrist rest for better ergonomic support.
  • 8.3 Gaming
  • 1.7 Mobile/Tablet
  • 7.7 Office
  • 7.8 Programming
  • 3.1 Entertainment / HTPC
  1. Updated Apr 26, 2023: We've converted this review to Test Bench 1.1. This update adds several new tests addressing Hardware Customization, Macro Keys And Programming, and Wireless Mobile Compatibility. We've also added new objective evaluations to the Typing Noise test, and we've simplified several tests and removed several others that were no longer relevant. For an in-depth look at all our changes, you can see our full changelog here.
  2. Updated Dec 15, 2022: Updated the article to reflect the entire series rather than the individual product.
  3. Updated Sep 06, 2022: Review published.
  4. Updated Aug 25, 2022: Early access published.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Keychron V Series keyboards come in a variety of sizes and configurations. There are two main colorways: Frosted Black, which is a translucent plastic, and Carbon Black, which is opaque plastic. There are also versions with a Knob available, and ISO layouts available. They all use Keychron K Pro switches with the standard switch options of linear Red, clicky Blue, and tactile Brown. We bought and tested the pre-assembled, compact (75%) V1 without a knob, with the tactile Keychron K Pro Brown switches installed, and you see our unit's label here.

Name Size Assembly Options  Frame Colorway Options Knob Version Available  ISO Layout Available Switches Switch Options
V1 Compact (75%) Barebones, Fully Assembled Frosted Black, Carbon Black Yes Yes Keychron K Pro Red, Blue, Brown
V2 Compact (65%) Barebones, Fully Assembled Frosted Black, Carbon Black Yes No Keychron K Pro  Red, Blue, Brown
V3 TenKeyLess (80%) Barebones, Fully Assembled Frosted Black, Carbon Black Yes No Keychron K Pro  Red, Blue, Brown
V4 Compact (60%)  Barebones, Fully Assembled  Frosted Black, Carbon Black Yes No Keychron K Pro Red, Blue, Brown
V5 Full-Size (96%) Barebones, Fully Assembled  Frosted Black, Carbon Black  Yes No Keychron K Pro Red, Blue, Brown
V6 Full-Size (100%) Barebones, Fully Assembled  Frosted Black, Carbon Black Yes No Keychron K Pro Red, Blue, Brown
V7 Compact (70%) Barebones, Fully Assembled Frosted Black, Carbon Black Yes No Keychron K Pro Red, Blue, Brown

Compared To Other Keyboards

The Keychron V Series is a lineup of keyboards designed to be a more affordable version of the highly-customizable Keychron Q Series. To save on costs, the V Series uses a tray-mounted design rather than a gasket mount, and they have a plastic case rather than an aluminum case. These changes have a fairly minimal impact on the typing experience overall, as typing feels slightly stiffer, and the sounds are a little more resonant. As a difference, the V Series includes incline settings, a feature lacking on the Q Series keyboards. This lineup uses Keychron-branded switches, which feel very similar to the Gateron switches found in other Keychron keyboards. As far as hot-swappable options go, this keyboard enters the market dominated by other Keychron offerings and comes in as a solid choice for new hobbyists looking to get into the customization scene without spending a ton of money.

If you're interested in more options, check out the best mechanical keyboards and the best keyboards for typing. Or, if you're interested in other Keychron models, check out the best Keychron keyboards.

Keychron Q1

The Keychron Q Series, which includes the Keychron Q1, is the upgraded version of the Keychron V Series. The Q Series features a better build quality on account of their gasket-mounted design and solid aluminum case. The V Series has a tray mount design and a plastic case. However, the V Series boards have incline feet to adjust the angle during use whereas the Q Series boards have a fixed incline. Otherwise, the two lineups perform similarly and have a similar range of customization.

Keychron K2 (Version 2)

The Keychron V Series are better keyboards than the Keychron K Series, which includes the Keychron 2 (Version 2). The V Series keyboards have a better build quality and a larger range of customization as they have a hot-swappable PCB and come with an included toolkit. The V Series boards are also compatible with the VIA companion software so you can make changes to the keyboard's lighting and key mapping whereas the K Series boards lack companion software. On the other hand, the K Series boards are wireless and use Bluetooth to connect with up to three devices at once whereas the V Series boards are wired-only.

Keychron K Pro Series [K2 Pro, K3 Pro, K4 Pro, etc.]

The Keychron V Series and the Keychron K Pro Series are similar, customizable mechanical keyboards manufactured by Keychron. They're very similar in terms of performance and features, but the K Pro Series has the option for an aluminum frame whereas the V Series only has plastic frames. Otherwise, the major difference between the two is that the K Pro Series are wireless and use Bluetooth to connect while the V Series boards are wired-only.

GLORIOUS GMMK PRO

The GLORIOUS GMMK PRO and the Keychron V Series are customizable, mechanical keyboards. These are intended for a hobbyist crowd looking to fully customize their typing experience, so you can purchase each keyboard as a barebones version without keycaps and switches installed. However, you'll have to buy all components of the GLORIOUS separately and put everything together yourself, while Keychron offers pre-assembled versions that already have the switches and keycaps installed. If you're looking to game, the GLORIOUS is a better option as its latency is much lower than the Keychrons'.

Keychron S Series

The Keycrhon S Series and Keychron V Series are lineups of wired, mechanical keyboards. The S Series keyboards have low-profile designs and an aluminum body; on the other hand, the V Series keyboards have a standard high-profile design and a plastic frame. Both keyboards are available with hot-swappable configurations, but the S Series is only compatible with other Gateron Low Profile switches, while the V Series is compatible with a significantly wider range of switch types.

Epomaker TH80 Pro

The Epomaker TH80 Pro and the Keychron V1, from the Keychron V Series, are mechanical keyboards with a compact (75%) form factor. Both keyboards have an all-plastic construction. The V1 is a wired-only option that feels a bit sturdier overall and quieter thanks to several layers of sound-dampening foam inside the case. On the other hand, the Epomaker is a wireless model that has somewhat lower latency.

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Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Dimensions
Size
Compact (75%)
Height
1.4" (3.7 cm)
Width 12.9" (32.8 cm)
Depth
5.9" (14.9 cm)
Depth With Wrist Rest
N/A
Weight
2.33 lbs (1.057 kg)

This variant, the Keychron V1, is a compact (75%) keyboard that doesn't take up a lot of space on your desk.

8.5
Design
Build Quality
Keycap Material PBT

The Keychron V Series keyboards have excellent build quality. The frame is translucent plastic that feels very solid and doesn't exhibit flex. The baseplate is very sturdy steel. Like the Keychron Q-series keyboards, the V Series also uses double-shot PBT keycaps with a specialized OSA profile. The stabilizers and the box stem on the switches do a good job of reducing key wobble. On the bottom of the board, there are rubber feet and a strip of rubber on each incline foot to help keep the board in place on your desk. Overall, they feel very well-built, though not as solid and heavy as the Q-series. The "frosted black" color scheme offers an early 2000s aesthetic.

6.5
Design
Ergonomics
Board Design
Straight
Minimum Incline
3.5°
Medium Incline
Maximum Incline
9.5°
Wrist Rest No

The Keychron V Series has alright ergonomics. The keyboards have two incline settings to help alleviate some wrist strain. However, they're still high-profile keyboards that don't come with a wrist rest, which would improve overall comfort, especially during long typing sessions. You can purchase a wrist rest separately from Keychron's website if you want one. While most of the V Series lineup features straight boards, there are some more ergonomic layouts, like the Alice-style V8.

9.7
Design
Backlighting
Backlighting Yes
Color
RGB
Individually Backlit Keys
Yes
Color Mixing
Ok
Effects
Yes
Programmable
Yes

The Keychron V Series has individually-lit RGB backlighting with south-facing LEDs, so they're compatible with most Cherry keycaps if you want to replace the stock ones. The legends aren't shine-through, but you get enough illumination to read the legends while seated. You can customize the lighting and effects directly on the board using hotkeys or using the companion software. Although the chassis is translucent on the Frosted Black colorway, the lighting doesn't shine through the case, so you don't get an underglow effect.

Design
Cable & Connector
Connectivity Wired
Detachable
Yes (Wired Only Keyboard)
Length 5.9 ft (1.8 m)
Connector (Keyboard side)
USB type-C

The Keychron V Series keyboards come with a USB-C to USB-C braided cable and a USB-C to USB-A adapter. The length of the cable listed here includes the adapter (2.1cm). The cable feels high quality, but it does retain some kinks from the packaging.

0
Design
Wireless Versatility
Bluetooth
No
Bluetooth Multi-Device Pairing
No
Proprietary Receiver
No
Battery Type
No Batteries

The Keychron V Series keyboards are wired-only.

9.8
Design
Hardware Customizability
Replaceable Cherry Stabilizers
Yes
Stabilizer Fixation
Screw-in
Spacebar Stabilizer Size
6.25u
Size Of Right Mod Keys
1u
Hot-Swappable Switches
Yes
Switch Stem Shape
Cherry MX Style
Switch PCB Socket
5-pin
North-Facing Cherry MX Interference
No
4.0
Design
Macro Keys And Programming
Dedicated Macro Keys Count 0
Onboard Macro Programming
No
Macro Programming With Software
Yes
Design
Extra Features
Media Keys
Non-Dedicated
Trackpad / Trackball No
Scroll Wheel
No
Control Knob
No
USB Passthrough
No
Numpad No
Windows Key Lock
No
Lock Indicator Caps Lock

The Keychron V Series keyboards have a few extra features. Like other Keychron models, they have a compatibility toggle on the top left side to switch between Windows and macOS modes. You can control the media and backlighting using hotkeys directly on board. The media keys are labeled, while the lighting hotkeys are outlined in the user documentation. There are variants of this keyboard with programmable knobs. Also, all of them have a hot-swappable PCB, so you can easily change the stock switches. However, depending on the size of the keyboard you opt for, the placement of the hotkeys may be different, so you should consult the user documentation.

Design
In The Box

  • Keychron V1
  • USB-C to USB-C cable
  • USB-C to USB-A adapter
  • 3x Windows keycaps
  • Keycap puller
  • Switch puller
  • Screwdriver
  • Hex key
  • 6x extra screws
  • User documentation

Typing Experience
Typing Experience
Keystrokes
Key Switches
Keychron K Pro Brown
Mechanical
Yes
Feel
Tactile
Operating Force
51 gf
Actuation Force
42 gf
Pre-Travel
2.5 mm
Total Travel
3.9 mm

The pre-assembled versions of the Keychron V Series keyboards are available with your choice of Keychron K Pro tactile Brown, linear Red, or clicky Blue switches. As they have a hot-swappable printed circuit board, you can swap out the stock switches for most 3-pin or 5-pin switches. These units use Keychron-branded switches. They feel very similar to the Gateron switches found in other Keychron models, but these proprietary switches have a box stem to reduce key wobble. They feel fairly light and smooth to press, but there's a bit of scratchiness.

8.5
Typing Experience
Typing Quality

The Keychron V Series keyboards offer an excellent typing experience. The PBT keycaps have a specialized "OSA" profile, meaning they taper to a rounded top rather than a square top. The tactile Keychron K Pro Brown switches are smooth to press, with a nice gradual tactile bump. These switches also have a box stem to reduce keycap wobble, so there's very little wobble on any of the keys, and the stabilizers do a great job of keeping the larger modifier keys from wobbling. Overall, it feels very similar to the more premium Keychron Q Series, but since the V Series boards aren't gasket-mounted, they feel a bit stiffer to type on, and the typing noise isn't as pleasant.

7.8
Typing Experience
Typing Noise
Average Loudness
50.8 dBA
High Pitch Clicks
No

These keyboards are quiet to type with tactile Keychron K Pro Brown switches. They also have a layer of sound-dampening foam around the switches to reduce typing noise. If you opt for clicky switches, the typing noise will be much louder.

7.4
Typing Experience
Latency
Latency Wired
10.9 ms
Latency Receiver
N/A
Latency Bluetooth
N/A

The Keychron V Series keyboards have decent latency. They're low enough for casual gaming and productivity tasks but too high for competitive gaming.

Software and Operating System
Software and Operating System
Configuration Software
Software Name VIA
Software Windows Compatible
Yes
Software macOS Compatible
Yes
Onboard Memory
Yes
Profiles
6+

The Keychron V Series is compatible with the VIA software, which is available on Windows, macOS, and Linux. The software and all corresponding files are available on Keychron's website. You can use the software to remap keys, set macros, and customize the RGB backlighting. There are four layers of key customization that correspond to different operating systems. Layers 0 and 1 are for macOS, while layers 2 and 3 are for Windows. To access the layers, you'll need to make sure the toggle is set to the correct operating system.

10
Software and Operating System
Computer Compatibility
Windows
Fully Compatible
macOS
Fully Compatible
Linux (Ubuntu 22)
Fully Compatible
Media Key Compatibility
Windows, MacOS & Linux

The Keychron V Series keyboards are fully compatible with Windows, macOS, and Linux, and the VIA software is available on all three operating systems. You'll have to ensure the toggle on top is set to the correct system.

0
Software and Operating System
Wireless Mobile Compatibility
Android
Not Compatible
iOS
Not Compatible
iPadOS
Not Compatible
Media Key Compatibility
Not Compatible

Although these are wired-only keyboards, they come with a USB-C to USB-C cable, so you can connect them with mobile devices that have a USB-C port. On Android and higher-end iPads, all keys work as intended. However, since not all mobile devices have a USB-C port, the keyboards aren't considered compatible.