Keychron’s Q3 gives mechanical keyboard fans everything but the numpad – TechCrunch

In its early pre-pandemic days, Keychron made a reputation for itself with its sequence of inexpensive mechanical keyboards — together with a number of low-profile ones that stay a rarity to this present day. These boards did not essentially attraction to fanatics, however had been greater than ok for many mainstream customers who wished a special sort of keyboard. Final 12 months, Keychron upped the ante with the launch of the Q1, an enthusiast-level, absolutely customizable hotswap keyboard with a 75% structure that had quite a lot of similarities to the closely hyped GMMK Professional. Since then, Keychron has expanded this sequence with the 65% Q2, which acquired fairly rave evaluations on the time and now the Q3.

The QMK-compatible Q3 clearly follows within the footsteps of the Q1 and Q2. It makes use of the identical double-gasket design that ought to make for a comparatively bouncy typing expertise (although in my expertise, there’s much less bounce than I’d’ve anticipated), and the general design is just about the identical, with the exception that it is a tenkeyless (TKL), so that you get a full keyboard with standalone arrow keys and a full row of operate keys, however with out the numpad. The physique is made out of aluminum and the entire unit weighs in at a hefty 4.5 kilos. Partially, that is as a result of Keychron opted for a metal plate right here.

Picture Credit: TechCrunch

You may decide to get a bare-bones model the place you provide your personal switches and keycaps for $154 (or $164 if you wish to get the non-obligatory quantity knob), or a completely assembled model with keycaps and your selection of Gateron Professional Purple, Blue or Brown switches for $174 (or $184 with knob).

For the additional $20, I feel getting the assembled model is a no brainer, provided that the keycaps and switches will value you considerably extra and even if you wish to exchange them, you can at all times reuse them in one other mission (as a result of who solely has one keyboard, proper?). The double-shot PBT keycaps aren’t the best (and the OSA profile takes a little bit of getting used to), however they’re completely serviceable and whereas some reviewers have reported points with legends that weren’t printed very properly, that was not a problem on the unit I acquired. Twisting the knob feels fairly satisfying, too.

Keychron gives three colour selections for the Q3: black, silver grey and navy blue, which all include matching keycaps in case you go for the absolutely assembled model. I received the blue model and actually loved the look.

My overview unit got here with Gateron Brown tactile switches, which I don’t love. They’re OK switches, however simply not my model. I had a contemporary set of Akko CS Jelly Black linear switches, that are just about my go-to possibility for finances linears today (or Gateron Yellows, which Keychron sadly would not provide as an possibility for its Q sequence).

a close-up of Keychrone's Q3 mechanical keyboard without keycaps

Picture Credit: TechCrunch

The enjoyment of customized mechanical keyboards is that you would be able to modify them to your personal preferences. Today, with hotswap being the usual, you may simply strive completely different switches as an alternative of simply choosing the mediocre horror that’s the Cherry Brown. However on the identical time, the Keychrone Q2 received over a variety of customers as a result of it was just about nice out of the field. It was a simple board to suggest to first-timers. That wasn’t the case with the unique Q1 (Keychron has since launched a second model), and sadly it isn’t true for the Q3 both.

In some ways, the Q3 is paying homage to the Q1 in that it may be nice, however you must put a bit of labor into it. If you happen to’re an fanatic searching for this sort of design, the Q3 can be proper up your alley, however out of the field, it suffers from fairly a little bit of case ping (that’s, a quiet however positively audible high-pitched sound that resonates by way of the case whenever you hit a key and that may rapidly get annoying). It solely takes a couple of minutes to take the board aside, lower up a Band-Assist and carry out the “drive break mod” the place you strategically place these items of Band-Assist near the screws that maintain the board collectively, and also you’re in enterprise. When you have the board open, you may go for the tape mod and perhaps add some extra sound dampening to the underside of the case and with perhaps quarter-hour of labor, a Band-Assist, some masking tape and perhaps a little bit of polyfill ( there’s some sound dampening materials already included, however it’s not very efficient), you are carried out and the board will sound considerably higher. And let’s face it, in case you’re an fanatic, you had been going to do all of these issues anyway.

If all of that sounds prefer it’s method an excessive amount of work for a keyboard, then the Q3 positively is not for you. You may go for the Q2, which is a superb gateway drug into mechanical keyboards in the identical worth bracket, and in order for you one thing fancier, your choices are infinite.

Possibly it is the bigger dimension or perhaps the general design had already been dialed in earlier than the Q2 launched, however the Q3 looks like a slight step again for Keychron. Now, as I stated, in case you’re an fanatic and searching for a TKL, which is not a format that is extensively obtainable, I feel the Q3 is an efficient possibility. If you happen to’re not locked into the TKL structure, simply get a Q2 or perhaps the NovelKeys NK87 (which begins at $135 for the polycarbonate case and $225 for the extra comparable aluminum one).

Sharing Is Caring:

Leave a Comment