You all know that I have been a pretty big fan of Keychron for their value. They started with the K1 low-profile mechanical keyboard on Kickstarter and have expanded to many many more models since.
When they announced the second version of the Q series motherboards, the Q2, I decided to order one.
The Q2 is the first real premium mechanical keyboard I have ever purchased. The price, while steep, is still competitive in the premium keyboard realm.
In many ways the Q2 is the opposite of what Keychron has offered in the past (of course not counting the Q2’s bigger brother the Q1). This keyboard has no wireless connection at all unlike most of the other K series keyboards sold by Keychron.
The Q2 came in a box about double the thickness of any other Keychron I have ever purchased. Opening the box there is a foam cover over the keyboard which is also wrapped around by some very thick foam.
I almost sprained my wrist trying to lift the keyboard out of the box. It is incredibly heavy. Weight does not necessarily make a good anything let alone a keyboard. Also inside the box you get a decent USB C cable, good quality keycap puller, a budget metal key switch puller, an screwdriver and a hex key. I really appreciate the extra tools though I’d like to see a better quality key switch puller in the box.
I do know that there is a lot stuff going on inside the case of this board. I haven’t opened mine up but according to Keychron’s website there’s a plate of some type (that can be upgraded with different plates from Keychron), under that some gaskets that sit on a sound absorbing foam that then sit on the PCB that is separated from the bottom of the metal case by some foam. Oh and there are more silicone gaskets in between the middle of the bottom case and the case foam.
All of this adds to a firm but no completely rigid platform for typing. I am a relatively light typer though and I really don’t notice the flex given by setup here.
There’s not much to the rest of the exterior of the Q2. All sides are plain except the front with the USB C port and Win/Mac selector. There are four rubber feet on the bottom and no risers.
I do however notice the beautiful sound created by this keyboard. To preface this I need to tell you that I ordered a pre-built keyboard with Gateron G Pro brown switches. I don’t know the difference between these and regular Gateron browns other than when typing they feel a bit more solid and smoother compared to the regular Gateron brown switches.
With that in mind the sound has less of an echo and a slightly more flat sound that you would get with a standard Keychron K series keyboard. The sound is quieter as well. It’s like typing on silent red switches almost.
The included OSA (described accurately by Keychron as being OEM height and SA shape) profile keycaps are absolute wonderful. It did take a minute to get used to typing on them but they have some extra real-estate on top that can make them more forgiving in some ways and less in others. It is really important that if you are touch typist like myself that you know where your fingers are or you may end up getting too close to the keys you are not meaning to type. This is not a complaint. I really like these keycaps. The colourway is nice too and being double-shot PBT they will never lose the legends.
Of course the biggest deal with the Q2 is you can get it with a knob. This has been made popular by the Glorious GMMK and has been popping up on a lot of new keyboard kits. I don’t really need a knob, but I want a knob. So I bought a Q2 with the knob. Announced with this also was that the Q1 would now be available with the knob as well and that’s good as it is now direct competition with the GMMK. The knob can be assigned to whatever you want it to do. It has small detents as you turn it making it pretty fine tuneable but not easy to accidently tap and change things. By default the knob is set to right/left volume up/down and pressing down on the knob mutes. As I say you can set it to whatever you want just like you can with any key on the Q2 via QMK and VIA.
As usual, using VIA to configure QMK is a trial. I don’t understand what language keyboard fans use but understanding how these applications work is incredibly difficult. For instance, I wanted to swap my “home” and “del” keys. I followed the instructions on Keychron’s website on how to use VIA to do this yet it doesn’t even save to my keyboard no matter how much I save my modified layout. I just don’t get it. And VIA’s website is no help. You’d think VIA’s own website would have a more proper tutorial on how to use their own software. Nope. Just a bunch of useless code that I have no interest in learning. It shouldn’t be this hard guys.
Lighting is pretty stnadard affair for Keychron though the LEDs here seem to be brighter than their K series brethren. The effects are all here. There is a lighting section on the VIA software but I have no idea how to use it and every time I click on it it just shows a blue background and sits there. Perhaps you can’t customize the lighting on the Q2 in software. I have no idea. I would love to be able to do per-key lighting on the Q2 like my HyperX Alloy Origins 60.
So I am missing out on the customizeability on the Q2 but I as it comes I am still really happy with it. It does take up slightly more room than my HyperX Alloy Origins 60 but it is just so much nicer to type on. And that is saying a lot as I really really like that HyperX keyboard.
I highly recommend the Keychron Q2.