Keychron V1 Overview : Budget keychron just got better

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Keychron started as a Kickstarter project under the name of Keytron in 2017, formed by a group of 3 keyboard enthusiasts with experience in the industry after they had a conversation regarding things they didn’t like with existing mechanical keyboards. Their initial Kickstarter project was a wild success, raising nearly $330,000 USD.

Today we’ll be looking at Keychron’s recently released V1 75% mechanical keyboard. With a MSRP of $69.99, the V1 is “entry level” for mechanical keyboards – slightly cheaper than the previously reviewed K8 keyboard.

Like previous Keychron products, they come in a sturdy boxes, protected by molded padding on the inside and covered with a soft covering for protection.

What’s in the box (fully assembled version)

  • Quick Start Guide
  • User Manual
  • USB-C Cable

  • USB-A to USB-C Adapter
  • Alternative Keys, Extra screws, 3M padding
  • Fully assembled keyboard
    • 1x PCB
    • 1x Steel Plate
    • 1x Sound Absorbing Foam
    • 1x Case Silcone Pad
    • 4x Stabilizers
    • Double-Shot PBT keycaps
    • Mechanical Switches
  • Switch Puller
  • Keycap Puller
  • Screwdriver
  • Hex Key

Unit Specifications

ModelKeychron V1
Length328.5 mm
Width148.7 mm
Front Height17.9 mm  (without keycaps)
Back Height25.8 mm (without keycaps)
Feet Height2.4 mm
Angle3.5° / 8.5° / 11°
Weight970 g ± 10 g (Fully Assembled Version)
Body MaterialABS Plastic
Plate MaterialSteel
Polling Rate1000 Hz
KeycapsDouble-shot PBT keycaps, not shine-through, OSA Profile (OEM height, SA shape)
MCUUltra-low-power Arm Cortex-M4 32-bit STM32L432 (128KB Flash)
BacklightSouth-facing RGB LED
Switch SupportHot-swappable (5 pin & 3 pin)
StabsScrew-in PCB stabs
ConnectivityUSB Type-C
Price$69.99 USD

Features of the V1

Build Quality

Unlike Keychron’s Q series boards which can be used to fight the zombie apocalypse due to how strong, heavy, and sturdy they are – the V1 in contrast uses a ABS shell which reduces it’s weight considerably and makes it less ideal to use as a weapon in case of zombie apocalypse.

Source: Keychron

Combined with the silicone pad and sound absorbing foam include, these changes make it’s sound profile louder than the Q series keyboards but slightly quieter than the K series keyboards from Keychron.

(Optional) Programmable Knob

Source: Keychron

Two versions of the V1 exist, one of them includes a knob for volume control.

Double-pop out legs

The V1 supports double pop-out legs allowing you to set the keyboard at 3 angles in total – Flat, low height, and mid-height.

Open Source Software Support

Open Source VIA keyboard software, shown with Keychron’s Q2 connected

Some keyboard manufacturers force you to use proprietary, sometimes bloated, software in order to change keyboard settings. Keychron, however, supports QMK/VIA functionality – which means you can use open source software to create macros, adjust RGB settings, remap keys, etc.

Below is a video showing an in-depth tutorial on how to adjust settings using this software.

South-facing RGB

Typing tests

Compared to Keychron’s K8, the V1 sounds slightly less loud but overall similar in noise level.

This unit came with Gateron Pro switches, the sound of typing will vary depending on switch type used. For those wanting a more in-depth sound comparison, Keychron has uploaded a video to YouTube showing their own recording of the V1 while typing shown below.

Usage Testing & Comparison to other keyboards

I don’t claim to be an expert on mechanical keyboards, I can only talk about my experience with the keyboard as I use it. For these keyboard reviews, I use the products at my day job which involves a lot of typing, and use the boards exclusively for 1-2 weeks to get a proper feel of how the unit performs. While testing I used all of these keyboards with a wrist rest – but the Q5/Q6 does not come with one by default.

The following is my subjective view on how Keychron’s V1 compares to other keyboards, including Keychron’s previously released K8.

The keys on MSI’s GK71 with Sonic Red switches land fast and almost hard. I did have to adjust my typing to be slightly lighter than normal to avoid mashing my fingers while using this board, but not by much. Typing on the GK71 Sonic was fairly quiet, to the relief of my office co-workers. My typing speeds are the fastest when using Reds style switches.

The keys on Keychron’s K8 with Gateron Reds land fast and hard, and extended typing sessions will cause fingertip strain if you don’t type lightly. Keychron’s V1 is similar – it’s best to type lightly on the keyboard to avoid fingertip strain, but for those with lead fingers the landing is somewhat softer than the K8’s – resulting in slightly less wear on your fingers.

Conclusion

I prefer this keyboard to Keychron’s previous offering of this level, the K8, because it has a slightly softer sound profile and a softer landing on keypresses. It’s also a bit cheaper than the K8 was. If you’re looking for an entry level mechanical keyboard that doesn’t break the bank, the new V1 works well.

Keychron V1

Pros

  • 75% keyboard means you don’t lose much compared to a “full size” keyboard
  • Easier to type on than previous Keychron entry level keyboards
  • Open source software support

Neutral

  • Wired-only (no wireless option)

If you’re interested in learning more about Keychron’s V1, check out the YouTube review embedded below from Hardware Canucks or Keychron.com for more information.

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