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Keychron V1 Keyboard Review

Tested using Methodology v1.0
Reviewed Sep 06, 2022 at 12:19 pm
Keychron V1 Picture
8.7
Gaming
3.7
Mobile/Tablet
7.8
Office
8.1
Programming
5.1
Entertainment / HTPC
Connectivity Wired
Size
Compact (75%)
Mechanical
Yes

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

8.7 Gaming

Although it isn't designed for this use, the Keychron V1 is an excellent keyboard for gaming. It has a solid build quality and full RGB backlighting, and its hot-swappable PCB means 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, its ergonomics are only alright as it's a high-profile keyboard that lacks a wrist rest. Also, its 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.
3.7 Mobile/Tablet

Since the Keychron V1 is a wired-only keyboard, it isn't recommended for use with mobile devices. However, it connects with a USB-C to USB-C cable, so you can technically use it with any mobile device that has a USB-C port, but this will drain the device's battery fairly quickly.

7.8 Office

The Keychron V1 is a very good keyboard for office use. It feels very well-built, and the sound-dampening foam inside the board keeps the typing noises to a minimum, making it a good choice for open office environments. Thanks to the toggle on the top left, the keyboard and its software are fully compatible with all major operating systems. Unfortunately, its ergonomics are only alright as it's a high-profile keyboard that doesn'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.
8.1 Programming

The Keychron V1 is a great keyboard to use for programming. It feels 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. This keyboard also has full RGB backlighting to illuminate the keys in the dark. Unfortunately, the ergonomics aren't the greatest, as it has a high profile and lacks a wrist rest. Also, since it's wired-only, you can't connect it 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.
5.1 Entertainment / HTPC

The Keychron V1 is a poor keyboard to use in an entertainment or home theatre setup. It's wired-only, meaning you'll have to run the connection cable from the keyboard to the device. It also lacks a trackpad or any additional feature for on-screen navigation. However, as a plus, it does 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.
  • 8.7 Gaming
  • 3.7 Mobile/Tablet
  • 7.8 Office
  • 8.1 Programming
  • 5.1 Entertainment / HTPC
  1. Updated Sep 06, 2022: Review published.
  2. Updated Aug 25, 2022: Early access published.

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Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Dimensions
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)

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 V1 has 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 V1 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 four rubber feet and a strip of rubber on each incline foot to help keep the board in place on your desk. Overall, it feels very well-built, though not as solid and heavy as the Q-series. The "frosted black" color scheme gives the whole board 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 V1 has alright ergonomics. It has two incline settings to help alleviate some of the wrist strain. However, it's still a high-profile keyboard that doesn'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.

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

The Keychron V1 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. Also, although the chassis is translucent, it doesn't let a lot of the light through, so you don't get an underglow effect.

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

The Keychron V1 comes with a USB-C to USB-C braided cable and a USB-C to USB-A adapter. The length of the cable in the review is with the adapter included (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 V1 is a wired-only keyboard.

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

The Keychron V1 has a few extra features. Like other Keychron models, it has 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's a variant of this keyboard that has a programmable knob as well. Also, it has a hot-swappable PCB, so you can easily change the stock switches.

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
Feel
Tactile
Operating Force
51 gf
Actuation Force
42 gf
Pre-Travel
2.5 mm
Total Travel
3.9 mm

The pre-assembled version of the Keychron V1 is available with your choice of Keychron K Pro tactile Brown, linear Red, or clicky Blue switches. As this keyboard also has a hot-swappable printed circuit board, so you can swap out the stock switches for most 3-pin or 5-pin switches. This unit uses 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 V1 offers 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 V1 isn't gasket-mounted, it feels a bit stiffer to type on, and the typing noise isn't as pleasant.

Typing Experience
Typing Noise
Noise
Quiet

The Keychron V1 is quiet to type on thanks to the tactile Keychron K Pro Brown switches and the layer of sound-dampening foam around the switches. If you opt for a clicky switch, 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 V1 has decent latency. It's low enough for casual gaming and productivity tasks but too high for competitive gaming.

Software and Operating System
9.6
Software and Operating System
Software & Programming
Software Name VIA
Account Required
No
Profiles
6+
Onboard Memory
Yes
Cloud Sync
No
Macro Programming
Software
Ease Of Use
Easy
Software Windows Compatible
Yes
Software macOS Compatible
Yes

The Keychron V1 uses 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.

8.2
Software and Operating System
Keyboard Compatibility
Windows Full
macOS Full
Linux Full
Android No
iOS No
iPadOS No

The Keychron V1 is fully compatible with Windows, macOS, and Linux, and the VIA software is available on all three operating systems. You'll just have to ensure the toggle on top is set to the correct system. Although this is a wired-only keyboard, it comes with a USB-C to USB-C cable, so you can connect it 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, it isn't considered compatible.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Keychron V1 comes in two colorways: Frosted Black, which is translucent plastic, and Carbon Black, which is opaque plastic. There's a variant with a programmable knob in the top right corner, too. You can also get this keyboard fully assembled with your choice of Keychron K Pro linear Red, tactile Brown, or clicky Blue switches, or you can get a barebones version with no switches or keycaps installed. We bought and tested the pre-assembled, knobless, Frosted Black unit with tactile Keychron K Pro Brown switches. You can see our unit's label here.

Compared To Other Keyboards

The Keychron V1 is the first keyboard to enter Keychron's V-series. This lineup is a more affordable version of the highly-customizable and popular Q-series lineup and eliminates the gasket-mounted design and solid aluminum case to reduce the price. Instead, it has a plastic case and a tray-mounted design. These changes have a fairly minimal impact on the typing experience overall, as typing just feels slightly stiffer, and the sounds are a little more resonant. As a difference, the V1 includes incline settings, a feature lacking on the Q keyboards. The pre-assembled V1 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 Q1 and the Keychron V1 are two very customizable, compact (75%) keyboards. The major difference is in the overall build quality and materials used, as the Q1 has a solid aluminum case and a gasket-mounted design that provides a softer typing feel and a quieter typing noise. On the other hand, the V1 has a plastic case and a tray-mounted design, so it feels a bit stiffer, and the typing noises are a bit more resonant. Both keyboards are an excellent gateway into the keyboard modification hobby, so it boils down to personal preference of the case material and mounting style.

GLORIOUS GMMK PRO

The GLORIOUS GMMK PRO and the Keychron V1 are customizable, compact (75%) keyboards. Both keyboards 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 the Keychron also offers a pre-assembled version that already has 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 Keychron's.

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