Review: Keychron K2 mechanical keyboard is a delight to type on and a joy to look at

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 21
Whether you're gaming or typing, a mechanical offers far better accuracy and an overall better feel than dome-switch keyboards. Keychron has made a Mac-friendly mechanical keyboard that has a few neat tricks up its sleeve.

Keychron K2 lighting effects


Mechanical keyboards are the choice of both professional typists and hardcore gamers, largely due to their reliability and high quality feel. If you're looking to grab yourself a mechanical keyboard, check out Keychron's K2. It features customizable lighting, can switch between Mac and Windows layouts, and comes in several different switch types.

Build quality

Keychron K2


The first thing that I noticed about the Keychron K2 mechanical keyboard was the build quality. It's a substantial keyboard and plenty heavy. It feels like it could last a long time-- something I appreciate as I tend to go through keyboards fairly quickly.

The developers note that the keys on the K2 are designed to last for 50 million keystrokes, which is longer than the average dome-switch keyboard. If you tend to wear through keycaps like I do, you can replace them easily as well. In fact, the K2 even comes with a keycap remover, as well as a few extra key caps if you'd like to switch out your Option and Command keys with Alt and Ctrl for a Windows layout.

The K2 is an 84-key keyboard, meaning that you'll have to do without your number pad if you go this route. For me, that's not a deal breaker, but for those who are professional number crunchers, it might be.

Sort of portable

A neat feature of the K2 is that it is portable -- insofar as it has an internal battery. While there's somewhat limited cases for needing this feature, we like it. You could pair it with an iPad or even your iPhone while you're on the go. It will work while directly connected to your computer, though, through a USB-A to USB-C connector, which also charges the keyboard.

Charging port and switches

Performance

I was impressed with the K2. The keys are responsive, the texture of the keys is smooth, but doesn't feel slippery, and overall it fits my hands pretty well. I like the six-degree angle you can achieve by flipping the feet on the back of the keyboard out, which does make typing quite a bit more comfortable than if they're left down.

Closeup of the keys


My only complaint, which is true of almost every mechanical keyboard I've used, is that they tend to be a little tall for my hands. If you've got smaller hands, you might find that you occasionally hit the option or command buttons without meaning to. I find that this isn't the case if I'm working at a lower desk, or if I raise my chair quite a bit higher, but I'm not always given these options. I may end up needing to invest in a wrist-wrest later down the line if I plan on continuing to use this as my main keyboard.

To click or not to click

Depending on what your personal preference is, you can opt for a variety of different switches in your keyboard. I like a linear switch that works well for both gaming and typing, so I opted for the red switch. I find that I type pretty fast on red switches, and they're somewhat less annoying for those around me who might not want to hear the click-click-click of a tactile switch.

That isn't to say that the red switches are silent. They're not. This is a louder keyboard than what an average might sound like, though the benefit of faster typing might be worth the extra noise.

Of course, if you like something more tactile, the K2 comes in blue and brown as well.

One keyboard to rule them all.

Bluetooth switches


Another neat feature of the K2 is that it can connect with multiple devices and quickly switch from one to another via keyboard shortcuts. Holding down Fn and pressing 1, 2, or 3, will allow the device to change which device the K2 is paired with.

A little extra

One of the coolest things about the K2 is that it comes with about 15 different lighting modes. Some modes are animated, while others are static. Some respond to key presses, others don't.

On top of that, each lighting mode can be customized to a specific color by holding down the fn button and hitting either the left or right arrow key.





Of course, if you're not into the lighting effects, you can turn them down or off by pressing the F5 button.

Overall

If you're a fan of mechanical keyboards there's no reason to think you wouldn't like the K2. It's a joy to type on, you can customize the lighting effects to your hearts desire, and it can control multiple devices all at once. What's not to like?

The Keychron K2 Mechanical Keyboard starts at $69.99 for white backlit keyboards and $79.99 for RGB backlit keyboards. Prime members can get blue or red switch RBG keyboards with free shipping from Amazon. Alternative options, including brown switches and non-RGB lit keyboards, are available on the Keychron website.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

    Pros
  • Keys are easy to press
  • Lighting effects offer hundred of customization options
  • Solid build quality
    Cons
  • Keyboard may be a bit tall for shorter people or those with taller desks
  • Some switches may be potentially too loud for those who share a room with others
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 36
    That red ESC key is really hideous, they should include a plain keycap to replace it.
    cat52
  • Reply 2 of 36
    If it’s not in ones taste. There’s always Varmilo who does amazingly high quality keyboards. Both built to order and more standard. 
    Swift toggle between Mac/windows. All sizes as well. 
  • Reply 3 of 36
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 10,309member
    Whether you're gaming or typing, a mechanical offers far better accuracy and an overall better feel than traditional keyboards.
    Huh?
    LOL...  A mechanical keyboard IS a traditional keyboard -- in that they were the original keyboards on all personal computers and before that on typewriters.

    I still use one when I'm doing finances.   It's probably 20 years old but works as well now as the day it was new -- and it works a LOT better than the one on my MacBook (although it's kind of a toss up compared to my Thinkpad T410).
    SpamSandwichCloudTalkind_2cgWerksrandominternetperson
  • Reply 4 of 36
    netroxnetrox Posts: 1,056member
    I bought a mechanical keyboard because I was feeling nostalgic about it but I returned it because I find that it required more effort to type and the trying errors were not reduced. The current Mac keyboard provides the most comfort and less travel time.
    watto_cobragodofbiscuitsjohnbsiriusurahara
  • Reply 5 of 36
    I guess there’s no accounting for taste. My all-time favorite “keyboard” is the IBM Selectric typewriter, which was perfectly ergonomically engineered. If I could get THAT keyboard on a Mac...
    watto_cobraGeorgeBMac80s_Apple_Guycat52
  • Reply 6 of 36
    I don't like the one red button, looks silly! There's a lot of keyboards out there that light up and have cool features and they look loads better than this!
  • Reply 7 of 36
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 10,309member
    I guess there’s no accounting for taste. My all-time favorite “keyboard” is the IBM Selectric typewriter, which was perfectly ergonomically engineered. If I could get THAT keyboard on a Mac...
    I'm actually using an IBM keyboard with my desktops.  Nobody ever topped IBM keyboards.   They engineered every minute detail to make them as efficient as possible.
    SpamSandwich
  • Reply 8 of 36
    spice-boyspice-boy Posts: 1,439member
    A bit retro, no?
    GeorgeBMacurahara
  • Reply 9 of 36
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 9,233member
    Some of those lighting effects looked pretty cool, imo. I saw the youtube video.

    I liked how there were so many different options for the effects, so you could go subtle if you want or go overboard if that's how you roll.
  • Reply 10 of 36
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 9,233member

    The fact is, many people still like these traditional, full travel keyboards.  If you don't then move on.
    I'm one of those people who like full travel keys, especially since it's for home or office use.

    This isn't a super slim laptop where chiclet keys are needed.

    I got plenty of room and space on my desk and I like big keys. I also don't mind if the keys make noise, I like the noise and I don't have to worry about disturbing anybody in close proximity.
    GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 11 of 36
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 9,233member
    spice-boy said:
    A bit retro, no?
    I like retro, but one thing that is definitely not retro is the lighting effects, because no retro keyboard ever had anything like this one has.
  • Reply 12 of 36
    I guess there’s no accounting for taste. My all-time favorite “keyboard” is the IBM Selectric typewriter, which was perfectly ergonomically engineered. If I could get THAT keyboard on a Mac...
    I'm actually using an IBM keyboard with my desktops.  Nobody ever topped IBM keyboards.   They engineered every minute detail to make them as efficient as possible.
    They’re what I learned to type on and I’ve never encountered a better keyboard.
    GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 13 of 36
    dewmedewme Posts: 3,833member
    Are the key caps lighted or is  just the surface below the key caps lighted? If Apple added lighted keys to its standard desktop Mac wired keyboard I’d buy it in a heartbeat. 
    edited November 2019 razorpit
  • Reply 14 of 36
    It feels like it could last a long time-- something I appreciate as I tend to go through keyboards fairly quickly.
    What on Earth are you doing to them? I don't think I've ever replaced a keyboard in my life.

    I had to set up new accounts at my credit union the other day, and the guy kept passing me his PC keyboard that had keys like this to type new passwords and stuff on. I could barely type on it reliably and absolutely hated the experience. Personally, I have no desire to return to the dark ages, I've completely moved on. 

    Those lighting effects are fucking stupid. Somewhere out there, some moron who calls the Touch Bar a "gimmick" is buying one of these keyboards.
    Eric_WVGGurahara
  • Reply 15 of 36
    It feels like it could last a long time-- something I appreciate as I tend to go through keyboards fairly quickly.

    What on Earth are you doing to them? I don't think I've ever replaced a keyboard in my life.

    I had to set up new accounts at my credit union the other day, and the guy kept passing me his PC keyboard that had keys like this to type new passwords and stuff on. I could barely type on it reliably and absolutely hated the experience. Personally, I have no desire to return to the dark ages, I've completely moved on. 

    Those lighting effects are fucking stupid. Somewhere out there, some moron who calls the Touch Bar a "gimmick" is buying one of these keyboards.
    Agreed. I’m still using my G4 keyboard that I have taken apart and cleaned dozens of times. 
    The lighting effects seem mostly pointless. I want backlit keys, not a disco ball on my desk. 
    fastasleepSpamSandwich
  • Reply 16 of 36
    DaRevDaRev Posts: 26member
    I am very happy with my K1 keyboard from them, I like the feel and though I don't use most of the lighting effects, I appreciate the LEDs brightness.   I do wish they had more of a control panel like the Logitech keyboards.
  • Reply 17 of 36
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 2,720member
    Hmm, this looks interesting, but I think I'd wait until they get in a few more hands. The big features I haven't seen before is the Bluetooth & USB in a mechanical keyboard. It would be great to just be able to switch it to work with the iPad or iPhone for a bit, sometimes.

    I don't care much for all the lighting effects, but they can be turned off... or I think just a consistent (at a particular level) backlight. IMO, that's better than no backlighting of most mechanical keyboards I've seen.

    I wonder about those keys though. I'm familiar with the reputation of the Cherry keys, but I don't know much about Gateron or how they compare with what I'm familiar with (even though they use the Red, Brown, Blue terminology... I wonder if they feel the same as Cherry keys of those colors?).

    fastasleep said:
    I had to set up new accounts at my credit union the other day, and the guy kept passing me his PC keyboard that had keys like this to type new passwords and stuff on. I could barely type on it reliably and absolutely hated the experience. Personally, I have no desire to return to the dark ages, I've completely moved on.
    Just remember that most PC keyboards are just absolute crap. Just because they look like these kinds of keys doesn't mean anything. I also struggle when I go to take exams in the typical computer lab, or library, etc. These things (if anything like, say the Apple Extended II) are just a dream to type on.

    That said, I it has been a while since I've used one, and I do wonder how much the newer keyboards have changed my typing style such that I wouldn't think they are so nice anymore? I also wonder about the noise. It wouldn't be an issue much of the time, but when I'm recording audio, I'd probably keep my Apple Wireless Keyboard (precursor to the Magic keyboard) around for that.

    I wouldn't call them the 'dark ages' though, as the quality and feel (though a bit longer throw) was far, far better than most anything made today.
    (Unless, of course, you're more accurately referencing the Dark Ages historically - agricultural flourishing due to global warming, university, science, hospitals, self-governance, explosion or art, music, architectures, etc. - but then that wouldn't make much sense of your statement. Then, I suppose I'd have to agree that much like the Dark Ages, our modern efforts, at least in some areas, kinda leave something left to desire).
    Eleanor
  • Reply 18 of 36
    EleanorEleanor Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    charles1 said:
    That red ESC key is really hideous, they should include a plain keycap to replace it.
    It also has the normal keycap to replace if you do not like this orange one which is enclosed in the extra keycaps. thanks.
    cgWerks
  • Reply 19 of 36
    I love the feel of the old IBM mechanical keyboards. I like seeing a substitute with Similar sound/feel and all these options. 

    What about one with a touchpad or trackpoint?  I don’t like taking my fingers off the keyboard to use external ones. It’s going to be really clunky to use this with the MacBook Pro trackpad. 
    SpamSandwich
  • Reply 20 of 36
    I make the fatal error of buying the K1 Version 1 101 key RGB keyboard from these people. To this day it does not work properly, rebooting into Bootcamp holding down the Option key is mostly useless. Their customer support is non-existent and most unhelpful. They seem to be unable and/or unwilling to issue a firmware update to fix this. Buy keyboards from these people at your peril.
    dewmefastasleep
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