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The Keychron Q5 is the company’s latest wired mechanical keyboard, and it’s a full-featured keyboard in a compact case that will appeal to not only gamers but regular users as well.
We have consistently given good reviews to Keychron’s keyboards, such as the K3 model and the Q1 model. The Q5 is no exception.
It will appeal to people who like to swap out their keys as this model does not require soldering. It’s a wired keyboard that works with Mac, iPad, and Windows computers.
This model, like others before it, offers hardware and software customization and button remapping. The box includes a USB-C to USB-C cable and a USB-A to USB-C adapter, as well as the tools needed to swap out switches and buttons.
Keychron Q5 – Theme
The keyboard offers an immersive typing experience in a compact, if not lightweight, design. It’s an absolute beast at five pounds (2310g), which doubles its usefulness as a home defense weapon. This is an increase over the Keychron Q3, which weighs 4.41 pounds. The Q5 measures 5.7 inches (145mm) and is 15.3 inches long (390.4mm) in Carbon Black, Silver Gray and Navy Blue.
Like the previous model, the Keychron Q5 was designed to support Apple users, although the keyboard comes with a system switch and an extra set of keycaps for Windows users. Q5 owners can save two layouts on the keyboard, one for each operating system.
The keyboard’s metal body is made of 6063 aluminum, which undergoes over 24 manufacturing stages such as polishing, anodizing, CNC milling, sandblasting and more.
To reduce typing noise and pings from the metal, the Keychron Q5 includes a layer of case foam and sound-absorbing foam. The dual seal design uses silicone pads between the upper and lower cases to reduce noise resonance between the layers.
The RGB LED lights used for the backlight are south-facing to better illuminate the keyboard from a typist’s perspective. The lights will not interfere with installing OEM or 3rd party Cherry Profile keycaps. The sharp corners of the top case are also compatible with third-party keycaps.
The screw-in design of the new PCB stabilizers allows for easier upgrades. They’re more stable than previous Keychron models, and the Q5 supports third-party stabilizers like those from Cherry and Durock.
The box includes everything you need to get started such as gaskets, cables, keycaps and switches. It also includes the tools needed for replacement, such as B. a switch puller, a keycap puller, a screwdriver and an Allen key.
A mechanical keyboard like the Keychron Q5 is an investment for people who rely on typing on a daily basis. The design and button layout make it a solution for a few audiences.
Keychron Q5 – keys and switches
The Keychron Q5 has a 1800 (96%) layout and no full size layout. It includes a number pad, arrow keys, and function keys, while eliminating a handful of keys like Scroll Lock and Pause Break. This makes it more compact than a full-size 100% keyboard.
This layout is an improvement over the Keychron Q3 we reviewed in April. This tenkeyless model gets a positive review and is even smaller as it lacks the Keychron Q5’s 10-button numpad.
The keyboard supports Gateron G Pro Red, Gateron G Pro Blue, and Gateron G Pro Brown switches, and users can hot-swap them without having to solder anything.
These pre-lubricated switches offer different actuation forces, travel, behavior and sounds. According to the company’s chart, the quiet red switches are great for offices and gamers, the clicking blue switches are great for typists, and the soft brown switches can appeal to gamers and midway office workers.
The keyboard came with silent red switches, which I found perfectly fine. I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between the three if I didn’t have three keyboards, each with a different type of switch. The switches aren’t the only aspect that can be customized.
Keychron Q5 – Personalization
The Q5 places a strong emphasis on software customization, with open-source QMK firmware allowing users to remap keys, which is done via the VIA key remapping software. Many configurations are possible to change the keyboard layout, add shortcuts, change the backlight effects and configure the button.
This button is programmable via the VIA software. It supports key and macro commands like volume, zoom, adjust screen brightness or keyboard backlight, select screen content and other possibilities.
The button works on the iPad and controls the volume by default. In addition, iPadOS supports changing a keyboard’s modifier keys in Settings > General > Keyboard > Hardware Keyboard. However, a complete key remapping needs to be done on the Mac. There is no Keychron app available on the App Store and the VIA key remapping software is only available for Windows, macOS and Linux.
Adjustments also appear in the hardware of the keyboard. As mentioned above, Keychron designed the Q5 to more easily support third-party stabilizers and keycaps.
With the Keychron Q5
Overall, I think the typing feel on the Q5 is good. When switching from a non-mechanical keyboard to a mechanical keyboard, some adjustment takes place. Unlike my MacBook Air keyboard, there’s more travel on the Q5, and I found myself floating my fingers over the keys more.
The Q5 works as expected on the iPad. Unfortunately, the keyboard drains power from the iPad, so using it with a dock that offers multiple USB-C ports is a must. One port can be used for power and another can be dedicated to the keyboard.
It’s the first mechanical keyboard I’ve ever used and while I enjoyed it, it’s not a model I recommend for beginners. The size and weight make it seem like something to work towards.
Bluetooth would be nice for the keyboard, but I can see why Keychron didn’t include it. The steel case could interfere with the signal, and it would require batteries, which might require a design change.
The Keychron Q5 is great for people looking for an alternative to a full-size keyboard, as the keys missing in this 96% layout won’t matter to most users. It’s not a good option for iPad users as there are lighter, cheaper keyboards that match the iPad’s portability.
It is intended for desktop users who don’t often change the position of their keyboard. Gamers are another good audience, as the Keychron Q5 has a polling rate of up to 1,000Hz to reduce latency.
Keychron Q5 advantages
- Durable design that will likely outlast us all
- Hot swappable keys
- Full keyboard with 96% of the keys people need
- Programmable button
Keychron Q5 Cons
- No Bluetooth support
Score: 4 out of 5
Where to buy
The Keychron Q5 starts at $165 for the barebones model and fully assembled for $185. This model with the button retails for $195.