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.
Since their initial launch, Keychron has become one of the most popular names in the mechanical keyboard community and are well known for their keyboards. Today Keychron launches the Q3 – a larger and more refined version of the previously reviewed Q1 keyboard – but it comes in a TKL size. In this review we’ll compare Keychron’s Q3 to the Q1 as well as MSI’s VIGOR GK71 Sonic.
With a MSRP of $179 for the fully assembled version ($159 for the barebones version), the Q3 is not a “cheap” keyboard – this is a keyboard which is aimed at enthusiasts. That said, the Q3 is cheaper than competing products of similar quality and provides an excellent value for this particular niche.
Like previous Keychron products, the Q3 comes in a sturdy box, 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 Keychron Q3, which includes
- Aluminum Case
- Steel Plate
- Sound Absorbing Foam & Case Foam
- 16x Gaskets (10 installed and 6 in the box)
- Gateron screw-in stabilizers
- PBT Double-shot keycaps
- Gateron G Pro Switches
- South-facing LED lighting
- Optional knob version is available
- Switch Puller
- Keycap Puller
- Hex Key
|Front Height||19.7 mm (without keycaps)|
|Back Height||32.6 mm (without keycaps)|
|Feet Height||2.4 mm|
|Weight||2000 g ± 10g (4.4 pounds)|
|Body Material||Full CNC machined aluminum|
|Polling Rate||1000 Hz|
|Keycaps||Double-shot PBT keycaps, not shine-through, OSA Profile (OEM height, SA shape)|
|MCU||Ultra-low-power Arm Cortex-M4 32-bit STM32L432 (128KB Flash)|
|Switches||Gateron G Pro|
|Backlight||South-facing RGB LED|
|Switch Support||Hot-swappable (5 pin & 3 pin)|
|Stabs||Screw-in PCB stabs|
What’s different from other keyboards?
Open Source Software Support
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.
Like previous Q-series keyboards the Q3 is extremely sturdy, being comprised of an Aluminum body & Steel plate. This is not a light keyboard, weighing at 4.32 pounds. If the zombie apocalypse happened and you didn’t have anything else to defend yourself with, the Q3 would come in quite handy. The included keycaps are double-shot OSA PBT.
Improvements vs the Q1
After the release of the Q1, the community gave feedback to Keychron resulting in changes which have improved the silence and sound of typing.
The Q3 has been designed to be sturdy and silent, with a double-gasket design. In addition to gaskets on the plates, Keychron has included silicone pads between the top and bottom cases to reduce sounds levels generated. Screw-in PCB Stabilizers assist with stability.
Below is a video showing a typing test with my review sample – as you’ll see, this is a very quiet keyboard. Truthfully, this is the quietest keyboard that I have personally tested.
This unit came with Gateron Pro Brown 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 the sounds of all switches they have available shown below:
Here are a few photos showing the Q3 disassembled:
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 Q3 does not come with one by default.
The following is my subjective view on how Keychron’s Q3 with Gateron Pro Browns compares to MSI’s VIGOR GK71 SONIC and Keychron’s previous Q1 keyboard.
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 Q3 with Gateron Pro Browns land nearly as fast, but the landing is softer. While it’s still possible to mash your fingers with the Q3 + Browns, I barely had to adjust my default typing style to avoid doing so. When it comes to noise levels, the Q3 is even quieter than MSI’s GK71 – it is the quietest mechanical keyboard that I’ve had the pleasure of testing. The Q1, in comparison, was louder and easier to mash fingertips on. My typing levels are fast when using the brown style switches, but a little bit slower than when using red style switches.
Keychron has improved it’s Q series keyboards greatly with the release of the Q3 – making improvements based on community feedback. Open source software support means you can make adjustments to lighting settings (and more) without proprietary bloatware.
This is the quietest keyboard that I have personally tested, making it great for office use – and it’s very comfortable to type with even for long periods of time. The build quality is absolutely phenomenal and extremely sturdy.
Keychron’s Q3 is a great keyboard and I would highly recommend it, especially to those looking to try their first fully custom mechanical keyboard
- TKL Layout
- Extremely quiet, your co-workers might not believe it’s a mechanical keyboard
- Open source software support
- Extremely sturdy build quality
- A great value in comparison with it’s competitors
- Wrist rest not included
- Wired-only (no wireless option)
If you’re interested in learning more about Keychron’s Q3, please visit it’s product page at https://www.keychron.com/pages/keychron-q3-customizable-mechanical-keyboard