Keychron is launching a wireless version of one of its best keyboards. The new Keychron Q1 Pro has a very similar design to the company’s existing Q1 keyboard — which we think is one of the best off-the-shelf keyboards you can buy — with a gasket-mount design and aluminum case. But the difference with the $194 Q1 Pro is that it can connect via USB cable or Bluetooth, where it offers a battery life of up to 300 hours. It can remember wireless connections to up to three devices.
The Q1 Pro is launching on Kickstarter today. As well as the standard fully assembled model, there’s also a bare-bones option that comes without keycaps or switches for $174. Unfortunately, you’ll need to get this bare-bones version if you’re in Europe, as the fully assembled model is only available in a US layout. Both are available in a choice of black, gray, or white color schemes. The Kickstarter is scheduled to run for a month, with shipping expected in April. When the keyboard goes on open sale, its MSRP will be $199 for the fully assembled model and $179 for the bare-bones version.
Running the keyboard wirelessly comes with some downsides. For starters, it cuts the polling rate to 90Hz, down from 1000Hz when connected via USB, meaning you might want to plug in a cable if you’re using it to play a fast-paced game. You naturally also have to worry about battery life when unplugged. This drops from 300 to “up to 90 hours” if you turn on the keyboard’s RGB lighting when using it wirelessly, and that’s if it’s set to its lowest brightness.
Although there are tradeoffs with using the Q1 Pro over Bluetooth, Keychron is no stranger to producing wireless keyboards. Its K-series lineup is available in a dizzying array of different configurations, all of them wireless, albeit with a lower-quality construction than its Q-series boards.
Other differences from the Keychron Q1 include a plate (the part of the keyboard that the switches and PCB are attached to) that’s made out of polycarbonate rather than steel or aluminum, which Keychron says “improves the overall typing sound.” The keyboard also comes with “Keychron K Pro”-branded switches rather than Gateron models this time around. There’s a choice of three switches: linear reds, tactile browns, or tactile “banana” yellows. The latter switches are advertised as being similar to Panda switches like the Holy Pandas, which should mean they have a tactile bump that feels larger than standard brown switches.
The Q1 Pro uses a 75 percent layout similar to most laptop keyboard layouts, but given the pace at which Keychron releases new keyboards, it’ll almost certainly be joined by more layouts in the near future. This layout is customizable using the excellent VIA configuration software, which can also be used to adjust what the keyboard’s built-in volume dial can do.
It’s also hot-swappable, meaning you can use an included key puller to replace its switches without needing to desolder them, and both three- and five-pin switches are supported. Switches are oriented in a so-called “south-facing” direction, which is used for better compatibility with aftermarket keycaps.
The fully assembled model of the keyboard comes with both switches and double-shot PBT keycaps, which should be durable and not prone to shine over time. There are extra keycaps included in the box that can be swapped out depending on whether you’re using the keyboard with a macOS or Windows machine. A hardware toggle on the keyboard swaps between OS layouts.
Keychron already produces two of our top picks for the best wireless keyboards available today, although it lost out to rivals Epomaker and Ajazz, which are our picks for the best wireless models. That could all change after we’ve tried out the Q1 Pro, so stay tuned for our forthcoming review.