As I mentioned in the review of the Corsair Harpoon RGB Pro gaming mouse I had a few other mice to review as well.
Here is the latest and possibly greatest. The Keychron M1 gaming mouse.
Keychron, much more well known for being the pioneer in wireless mechanical low profile keyboards (or at least for making them affordable whilst retaining quality), recently announced their move into the gaming mouse market with the M1.
They promised a mouse that was affordable that still ticked all the boxes required for gaming.
Well they hit the biggest requirement out of the park. They built the M1 around the Pixart PMW3389 which is the best image sensor on the market right now with DPI steps from 100 to 16000 customizable in Keychron’s software (more on that later).
Around the PMW3389 is what I would call part homage to the Razer Deathadder toward the front and Zowie FK1 towards the sides and back (which can come in black or white). Certainly not the same but definitely. It’s just low profile enough that it feels good in my hands though perhaps on the long side. For most people that would not be an issue as I have very short fingers.
The left and right mouse buttons are sculpted like the Razer Deathadder and feel very good during use. They feel really good to click as well. Keychron opted for an optical clicky switch here which is a new thing to me. I expect that the optical switch allows for quicker response times but that would do nothing for me as I am a terrible gamer.
As this mouse is fully ambidextrous, there are forward and back buttons on both sides of the mouse which is something you rarely ever see even on mice that claim to be ambidextrous.
The scroll wheel is smoother than the Logitech G203 but still has decent detents and when pressing down on it for the third mouse button it has a confident though ever so slight mushy feel.
The mouse also has holes in the case around the top, bottom and sides though they are kept clear of the critical parts of the mouse. Critical parts for me are the sides where my thumb sits and the parts of the left and right mouse buttons where my other fingers sit. Keychron did a good job here. Some companies are so aggressive on this that they put holes where my thumb rests and it bugs the heck out of me. Keychron left just enough room that I think most people’s thumbs will be comfortable using this mouse. At 68g the M1 is absolutely competitive on the weight front though my current favourite mouse (Glorious Model O- that has been reviewed previously) is lighter at 58g. Regardless of the weight and holes the case remains very strong.
On the bottom you have two small buttons on either side of the Pixart sensor for DPI and RGB settings. Yes this mouse can be used out of the box without software. That’s always nice to see. Some may not like where the buttons are located but I prefer that to having the DPI button on top. It’s just another button to get in the way and I am not someone who is anywhere good enough at playing a game that I need to switch DPI settings.
There is no branding to be found anywhere on this mouse. In fact, even on the bottom of the mouse where most manufacturers put the model, part number and (at least) serial number there is absolutely nothing on the M1. Anywhere. If someone else picked this mouse up there would be nothing to indicate to them at all what they had in their hand. While I do appreciate the minimalism here it may be a good idea for Keychron to have at least something mention that it is indeed a Keychron M1.
A really smart feature Keychron did was make the very flexible mouse cable removeable with a USB-C connection. This is great for those that may want to use a different cable (though the included cable is fantastic) or likes to switch out mouse for different games or testing. On the other end of the cable you have a USB-C connector as well but Keychron shipped the M1 with a USB-C to USB-A adapter so you don’t have to use up the precious one or two C ports on your computer.
Let’s talk about RGB. It has several on board settings to choose from that can be customized in Keychron’s software or using the RGB button on the bottom of the M1. The interesting thing is that the scroll wheel has separate RGB illumination that cannot be changed from going through the colour spectrum. That bugs me a bit though I can tolerate it. That said there are people out there that would absolutely hate that. The other RGB zones which are stripes along both sides of the mouse have multiple zones of RGB but they are not individually addressable. That’s fine with me again as I prefer a static colour to rainbow vomit. The lighting is pretty uniform and pretty bright.
Keychron’s software sadly lets this mouse down a lot. The interface is completely unusable until you realize that you can click on the settings and choose English as the language. Then magically all the text in the rest of the application shows up. Words used throughout are your typical “English-as-a-second-language” fare that you often see in software nowadays. Mining down into the software you do finally figure out where to go to change button assignments, DPI and RGB settings but it’s not obvious. I am really tired of companies making it so hard to understand if you’ve saved settings and whether they’ve saved to the mouse or not. Is it really that hard to make buttons that clearly define this? Hire a UI designer PLEASE.
The good news is profiles do actually download to the M1 and you can uninstall that terrible software forever and instead use the buttons on the bottom of the mouse.
Overall this mouse is really fantastic ignoring the software and at $39.00 USD (currently $50 CAD) it’s frankly a steal. That’s a ton of value considering my Glorious Model O- is $79.99 CAD and relies on the Pixart PMW3360 and not the PMW3389 included with the M1.
I highly recommend the Keychron M1.