Keychron K2 Review – A compact and clicky keyboard

Over the last decade, mechanical keyboards have been gradually increasing in popularity. They provide a completely different experience than many of us are used to with our membrane alternatives and scissor-switch laptop keyboards.

One of the most well received models released in the last few years is the Keychron K2. Its signature orange escape key makes it immediately recognisable, and it’s built up a cult following within a fairly short amount of time.

It’s considered by some to be the best wireless keyboard for Mac. We’re going to look at this keyboard to check out how it fares against some pretty stiff competition.

Keychron K2 Review

The standout feature of the Keychron K2 is the layout of the keyboard itself. It has a design that’s fully compatible with the Mac OS, which is very rare for a mechanical keyboard. This makes it an ideal purchase for Apple users.

It is a little smaller than most other keyboards on the market at only 75% layout with no numpad. Even though it’s slightly smaller, it definitely stands out as one of the more attractive and noticeable keyboards available right now.

It’s still fairly early days for Keychron, who have only been around since 2017. But with their flagship keyboard performing so well, it’s going to be interesting where they take things over the coming years. Let’s look at the K2 in more detail.

Build and Design

The build quality of the K2 is what makes it a great keyboard. The standard model comes with a plastic frame, though you can choose to upgrade to an aluminium frame if necessary, which should be a little more resilient. It’s actually just an aluminium casing around the plastic design though.

They’ve actually made a couple of changes to the newer version of this keyboard. The main one is that it has a small incline built into the bottom of the keyboard. This makes it a little bit easier to type, and it’s definitely a nice addition to make.

One thing that may put some people off going for the K2 is the lack of a numeric pad. This has effectively been removed to help make the design even smaller, which works for those looking for a compact design. Only you’ll know whether a numpad is an essential for your needs.

But that does make this a great keyboard if you’re looking for something you can pack into your backpack easily. Travelling with the K2 shouldn’t be much of an issue because it’s small, but also very robust and well made.

Performance and Use

If you’ve not used a mechanical keyboard before, then it can take a while for you to adjust. But the K2 is not drastically different to any other mechanical type, although it doesn’t require a lot of force when you’re actually typing.

You can use it both as a wired or completely wireless keyboard, with a new improved Bluetooth module used within the keyboard. If you plan to use the backlighting then it’s a good idea to keep it wired, otherwise you’ll need to charge it fairly often (at least weekly).

If you do use it wirelessly, then you can consider enabling the sleep mode (it actually comes with this set up as default). After 10 seconds of no use, it’ll switch into sleep mode, which can help to extend the battery life of the keyboard itself.

One of the good things about this keyboard for gaming is that it’s NKRO, which is perfect if you want to avoid ghosting. This basically means that you can press as many arrow and function keys at the same time, and they’ll all register. Some keyboards are limited to just registering a few at the same time.

This is only the case when it’s wired though, and it reverts to 6-key rollover when wireless. This should still be more than enough for most people, even if you want to use it for occasional gaming sessions.

The lack of a software to use with the keyboard will be new to many that are used to using Razer Synapse or Logitech Options. But it is meant to be a minimalist design, and it does all of this pretty well.

Switches

keychron-switches

Probably the most exciting part of a mechanical keyboard is the ability to change the switch types and keys. So, I have to give a quick mention to the Gateron switches that the keyboard uses.

They’re going to make a subtle but noticeable difference when you’re using the keyboard, so it makes sense to think about it beforehand.

You have a few different key types to choose from. Whilst they all have the same amount of travel, they’re going to be slightly different in terms of performance.

Many people will want to opt for the silent red switches – very light and ideal for gaming, they’ll probably be the better choice if you’re changing over from a standard membrane keyboard. The Gateron Red switch is most similar to the Cherry MX Red switch, and they all follow a similar pattern.

For those that want the true mechanical keyboard experience, the blue clicky keys will give a louder and more responsive tap. Some users will prefer this if you like to know that your keystroke has been registered.

Then, brown switches are somewhere in-between the two. Whilst they’re not clicky, they do provide more feedback than a red switch. There are a few other colours to choose from, so it’s worth doing a little research before deciding on one.

Pros

The customization that you can get with the K2 beats most other mechanical keyboards on the market. It’s no wonder they’ve become so popular in the last few years, as they give you additional accessories and keycaps to design the keyboard you want.
The build quality of this Keychron keyboard definitely helps it to stand out amongst other models. It uses high quality Gateron switches too, which should be reliable enough and easy to change if you do have issues.
Although it doesn’t make much of a different to performance, the retro design is another pretty good thing about this keyboard. It helps it to stand out, so if you’re looking for something to use at the office, this would be the perfect choice.

Cons

Availability of the K2 is definitely one of the main downsides and frustrating things about this keyboard. It can be difficult enough getting your hands on one if you’re based in the US, so it’s a lot harder if you’re across the pond in the UK. For this reason, you can often be expected to pay a premium with retailers or resellers.
You can use it whilst it’s plugged in with the accompanying cable, but the cable is a USB to USB-C type. This means that it works perfectly with older Macbooks, but with newer ones, you’re going to need an additional adapter. This may be fixed in the near future.

Conclusion

Overall, there are a few different options to look at when searching for a mechanical keyboard. From the Razer Huntsman range to the Steelseries Apex, they’re typically designed to be useful for gaming.

The K2 fills a gap in the market for those looking for a keyboard for their Macbook that is fine for gaming, but also great for work too. It operates as well as any other mechanical, but the fact that it’s made for work and Mac use makes it much easier to operate.

If you’re looking for something even smaller, then you could think about looking at the K6, which is only 60% layout. But for most people, the Keychron K2 will be one of the best compact keyboard available.

About Steve

Hi, I'm Steve. I've worked for the past 8 years in a major furniture retailer in the UK, so I know my way around a desk or two. On the weekends, I spend time with my kids or I'm probably outside in the garden doing something or other!

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