Keychron Q3 Mechanical Keyboard review: A premium and customizable TKL

Keychron Q3 Mechanical Keyboard evaluate: A premium and customizable TKL

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Supply: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore

When the world was just about shut down, I needed to discover a pastime to maintain myself occupied since Disneyland was out of the image. In 2020, I began dabbling on the earth of mechanical keyboards, beginning with the Keychron K2, and I’ve amassed a pleasant assortment ever since.

Whereas the K2 is a unbelievable newbie’s mechanical keyboard, I’ve saved wanting increasingly more. So when Keychron started releasing new keyboards in its high-end and premium Q-series lineup, I needed to get my palms on them.

The Keychron Q3 is the newest within the Q-series, and it is an 80% tenkeyless (TKL) structure. This implies it just about has every thing besides the quantity pad, and you will get it in a model with or with out the knob. If you’re the kind of one who does not want probably the most compact keyboard however does not do loads of quantity entry, then the Keychron Q3 is a good mechanical keyboard to contemplate.

Keychron Q3 Qmkvia Mechanical Keyboard Fully Assembled Blue Red 1800x

Keychron Q3

Backside line: Keychron Q3 is a premium TKL mechanical keyboard for Mac and PC with an optionally available rotary knob in a whole aluminum physique. It is available in barebones or absolutely assembled variations, is hot-swappable, has OSA PBT keycaps, and is absolutely customizable with QMK/VIA software program.

The Good

  • TKL structure
  • Barebones or absolutely assembled variations, each hot-swappable
  • Premium 100% aluminum physique
  • Customizable by QMK/VIA software program
  • Comfy PBT keycaps, a number of physique colours

The Unhealthy

  • Dear
  • No wi-fi
  • No quantity pad

Keychron Q3: Worth and availability

Keychron Q3 Navy Blue Full

Supply: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore

The Keychron Q3 is presently solely accessible direct from Keychron’s web site. It is available in six totally different variations, relying on what you want: Barebone ISO, Barebone ISO Knob, Barebone, Barebone Knob, Totally Assembled, or Totally Assembled Knob. The barebone variations will want your individual separate switches and keycaps, however the absolutely assembled variations embrace your selection of Gateron G Professional Purple, Brown, or Blue switches and include OSA PBT keycaps. There are additionally three physique colours accessible: carbon black, silver gray, and navy blue. Should you go for the absolutely assembled variations, you will get keycaps that match the physique coloration you decide.

Beginning value for the Keychron Q3 is $154 for Barebone variations sans knob, and it goes as much as $184 for Totally Assembled Knob.

Keychron Q3: A stable TKL with full customization

Keychron Q3 Navy Blue Gateron G Pro Brown Switches

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Just like the Q1 and Q2 that got here earlier than it, the Q3 is made with 6063 aluminum, which works by a whole machined, polished, anodized, and sandblasted. The result’s a relatively hefty physique that weighs over 4 kilos. Since that is an 80% TKL structure, it is greater than my each day driver, the Keychron Q1, and it undoubtedly weighs extra. The floor of the aluminum is anodized, giving it a extra matte look — this may not be attracting fingerprints like loopy.

The Keychron Q3 has a double-gasket design with silicone padding between the highest and backside casing. Mixed with the default Gateron G Professional Brown switches I’ve and OSA PBT keycaps, I get a pleasant thocky sound as I kind. There is not a lot metallic resonance or ping, and the bounce that it offers feels fairly good. Because the keycaps that include the absolutely assembled model are PBT, they’re larger high quality than ABS keycaps — they will not put on out as a lot, and they do not get shiny from your whole finger oils. The OSA keycaps from Keychron are a mix of OEM profiles with SA-like spherical shapes. Whereas I usually choose the uniform DSA profile, I discover Keychron’s OSA caps pretty comfy to kind on.

The Keychron Q3 is an extremely lovely and premium-feeling TKL mechanical keyboard.

Keychron offers customers three choices of switches when going the absolutely assembled route: Gateron G Professional Reds, Browns, or Blues. My unit got here with Browns by default, which is my desire since I like tactile switches. Reds are quieter, and blues are loud and clicky. However once more, the Keychron Q3 is hot-swappable, so you’ll be able to substitute these Gateron switches with one thing else later down the street if you happen to choose. However having the absolutely assembled choices is nice if you happen to simply wish to get a keyboard and use it instantly.

A standard characteristic with the Q-series boards are south-facing RGB lights, and the Q3 has them, identical to its predecessors. South-facing RGB lights imply that the LEDs are in direction of the typist relatively than the highest of every key. This illuminates it higher when utilizing non-shine by caps, which is what a lot of the mechanical keyboard group makes use of. Nevertheless, if you happen to’re a fan of shine-through keycaps, then the south-facing LEDs will not be your best option. However for almost all of suitable keycap units on the market, particularly in group buys, they normally usually are not shine by.

Keychron Q3 Navy Blue Rotary Knob

Supply: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore

You may get the Q3 with a rotary knob, and every thing is customizable, together with remapping by VIA/QMK.

The very best half concerning the Q3, apart from the truth that it’s an 80% TKL board, is you can get an optionally available rotary knob, and your entire board is customizable by VIA/QMK software program. In the meanwhile, you will should obtain a keymap JSON file from the product web page and cargo it in VIA every time you wish to remap keys, but it surely’s higher than nothing. The VIA software program is free on each PC and Mac, and is straightforward to make use of. You can remap particular person keys, change layers (Mac and Home windows each are its personal layer), and even customise the RGB lighting results. And if you happen to go along with the knob model, you’ll be able to change the rotary perform, in addition to the press.

And like the opposite Keychron keyboards, every thing you want is included within the field. You will get keycap and swap pullers, further keycaps for Home windows customers, a screwdriver, a hex key, a Sort-C to Sort-C USB cable, and a Sort-A to Sort-C adapter. The cable itself will match the colour of Q3 you buy.

Keychron Q3: The TKL structure is not for everybody

Keychron Q3 Navy Blue Tkl

Supply: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore

It is a matter of non-public desire, however the TKL structure of the Q3 will not be for everybody. Those that want a quantity pad shall be lacking an important characteristic. Those that choose extra compact sizes (like 65% or 75%) could not just like the Q3 measurement. Nevertheless, for individuals who take pleasure in TKL boards, the Q3 is a superb premium choice from Keychron.

One other unfavorable is the truth that there isn’t a wi-fi connectivity on the Q3. Because the Q3 has an all-metal physique, it could be arduous to have an excellent wi-fi sign. Fortunately, Keychron has an important various within the K8 Professional if wi-fi connectivity is a requirement.

The TKL structure could not work for everybody, and there’s no wi-fi connectivity.

Lastly, whereas Keychron is a mechanical keyboard model that I usually advocate for newbies due to the reasonably priced value, the Q3 (and the opposite Q-series boards) usually are not as cheap. Most of Keychron’s choices are beneath $100, so the beginning value of the Q3 at $154 generally is a downside for some. However for individuals who actually wish to get into the mechanical keyboard pastime, the Q-series from Keychron is a good “premium” mechanical keyboard at an affordable value, making it a pleasant starter board. In any case, when you get deep into the pastime, you will discover different boards which can be far more costly — I am speaking a number of hundred to 1000’s of {dollars} (sure, actually!)

Keychron Q3: Competitors

Keychron Q1 Hacker Premium Coiled Cable

Supply: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore

In relation to the greatest mechanical keyboards, Keychron is likely one of the higher manufacturers that we advocate, particularly for Mac customers. Keychron can be its personal largest competitor as a result of it gives all kinds of various board collection, so it cannibalizes into its personal gross sales.

For instance, I discussed that the Q3 is a TKL, but it surely lacks wi-fi connectivity. Should you want that, you will wish to examine the Keychron K8 Professional. This one can be a TKL structure, but it surely has wi-fi connectivity with as much as three units and can be personalized by QMK/VIA software program, although it must be plugged in to take action. Nevertheless, the physique is plastic with the choice of an aluminum body, and it lacks the choice of a rotary knob.

If you’re within the Q-series from Keychron, however do not just like the TKL structure, then there are Q1 or Q2 boards, that are 75% and 65%, respectively. These each have your entire metallic physique, double mounted gasket design, are hot-swappable, are available both barebones DIY or absolutely assembled variations, have optionally available knobs, and are customizable by QMK/VIA. It actually simply comes right down to your desire of structure and measurement. Plus, Keychron gives a number of coloration choices for these boards, so decide the one which goes along with your setup the most effective.

Keychron Q3: Must you purchase it?

Keychron Q3 Navy Blue Side View

Supply: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore

You can purchase this if …

  • You’re searching for a TKL structure mechanical keyboard
  • You do not want wi-fi connectivity
  • You need a customizable and premium mechanical keyboard

You should not purchase this if…

  • You are high quality with the Apple Magic Keyboard and related options
  • You want a quantity pad or need a smaller structure
  • You need a wi-fi mechanical keyboard

Those that are out there for an important TKL mechanical keyboard that’s premium, hefty, and customizable in each facet ought to give the Keychron Q3 a attempt. The complete metallic physique is a stable selection and undoubtedly offers it a high-end feel and appear. And you’ve got loads of choices on the way you need it: barebones DIY (with an choice for ISO for these exterior of the States) or absolutely assembled with matching keycaps and your selection of Gateron G Professional switches.

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Those that need a rotary knob may select it. It is available in three eye-catching colours (with keycaps that match the physique), so you’ll be able to decide the one that appears greatest on your desk and setup. And with the double-gasket design, typing feels unbelievable and produces a superb “thock” sound. Plus, you should use QMK/VIA software program to remap any of the keys, together with the rotary knob, nonetheless you see match.

Nevertheless, like the opposite Q-series boards, the Q3 undoubtedly isn’t one in every of Keychron’s cheap mechanical keyboards. The TKL measurement could not go well with everybody’s wants, and it lacks wi-fi connectivity. Nonetheless, if you happen to’re out there for this sort of mechanical keyboard, you’ll be able to’t go flawed with Keychron, particularly with a comparatively reasonably priced price ticket in comparison with different boards within the pastime.

Keychron Q3 Qmkvia Mechanical Keyboard Fully Assembled Blue Red 1800x

Keychron Q3

Backside line: Keychron Q3 is a premium TKL mechanical keyboard that’s absolutely customizable to fit your wants.

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