Keychron Q5 Assessment: A full-sized mechanical keyboard in a compact shell

Keychron Q5 Assessment: A full-sized mechanical keyboard in a compact shell

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The Keychron Q5 is the corporate’s latest wired mechanical keyboard, and is a full-sized keyboard in a compact shell that may enchantment to not simply avid gamers, however common customers as properly.

We have constantly given good scores to Keychron’s keyboards, such because the K3 mannequin and the Q1 mannequin. The Q5 isn’t any exception.

It is going to enchantment to individuals who get pleasure from swapping out their keys, as this mannequin does not require soldering. It is a wired-only keyboard that works with Mac, iPad, and Home windows machines.

This mannequin, like others earlier than it, affords customization of {hardware} and software program, in addition to key remapping. The field comprises a USB-C to USB-C cable and a USB-A to USB-C adapter, and the instruments wanted to swap switches and keys.

Keychron Q5 – Design

The keyboard affords a full typing expertise in a compact, although not light-weight, design. It is an absolute beast at 5 kilos (2310g), doubling its utility as a house protection weapon. This is a rise from the Keychron Q3 which weighs 4.41 kilos. The Q5 measures 5.7 inches (145 mm) and is 15.3 inches in size (390.4 mm) in colours Carbon Black, Silver Gray, and Navy Blue.

Just like the earlier mannequin, the Keychron Q5 was constructed to help Apple customers, though the keyboard does include a system toggle and an extra set of keycaps for Home windows customers. Q5 homeowners can save two layouts on the keyboard, one for every working system.

The keyboard’s metallic physique is made with 6063 aluminum processed by means of over 24 manufacturing levels corresponding to sharpening, anodizing, CNC milling, sandblasting, and extra.

To assist cut back typing noise and pings from the metallic, the Keychron Q5 comprises a layer of case foam in addition to sound absorbing foam. The double gasket design makes use of silicone pads between the highest and backside circumstances to cut back noise resonance between the layers.

Switching between operating systems
Switching between working programs

The RGB LED lights used for backlighting are south-facing to light up the keyboard higher from a typist’s angle. The lights do not intervene with set up of third-party OEM or Cherry-profile keycaps. The sharp corners of the highest case are additionally appropriate with third-party keycaps.

The screw-in design of the brand new PCB stabilizers permit for simpler upgrades. They’re extra steady than earlier Keychron fashions, and the Q5 helps third-party stabilizers corresponding to these from Cherry and Durock.

The field has every little thing wanted to get began, corresponding to gaskets, cables, keycaps, and switches. It additionally consists of the instruments required to swap them, corresponding to a swap puller, keycap puller, screwdriver, and hex key.

A mechanical keyboard such because the Keychron Q5 is an funding for individuals who depend on typing every single day. Its design and format of keys makes it an answer for just a few audiences.

Keychron Q5 – Keys and switches

The Keychron Q5 has an 1800 (96%) format reasonably than a full-sized format. It features a quantity pad, arrow keys, and performance keys whereas eliminating a handful of keys corresponding to scroll lock and pause break. This makes it extra compact than a full-sized, 100% keyboard.

This format is a step up from the Keychron Q3 we reviewed in April. Receiving a good evaluate, that tenkeyless mannequin is even smaller, missing the 10-key quantity pad of the Keychron Q5.

The keyboard helps Gateron G Professional Purple, Gateron G Professional Blue, and Gateron G Professional Brown switches, and customers can hot-swap them without having to solder something.

These pre-lubricated switches supply completely different ranges of working pressure, journey, habits, and sound. In accordance with the corporate’s chart, the quiet purple switches are nice for places of work and avid gamers, the clicky blue switches are appropriate for typists, and the mild brown switches could enchantment to avid gamers and people in halfway places of work.

Different switches provide different results
Completely different switches present completely different outcomes

The keyboard got here with quiet purple switches, which had been completely nice for me. I would not be capable of inform the distinction between the three until I had three keyboards, every with a unique sort of swap. The switches aren’t the one side obtainable to customise.

Keychron Q5 – Customization

The Q5 is massive on software program customization, with open-source QMK firmware that permits customers to remap keys, which takes place by the use of VIA key remapping software program. There are lots of configurations doable to vary the keyboard format, add shortcuts, change the backlighting results, and configure the knob.

That knob is programmable by means of the VIA software program. It helps key and macro instructions corresponding to quantity, zoom, adjusting display screen brightness or keyboard backlight, choosing on-screen content material, and different potentialities.

The knob works on the iPad, controlling the amount by default. As well as, iPadOS helps altering the modifier keys of a keyboard in Settings > Normal > Keyboard > {Hardware} Keyboard. Full key remapping, nonetheless, should be completed on the Mac. There isn’t any Keychron app obtainable on the App Retailer, and VIA key remapping software program is barely obtainable for Home windows, macOS, and Linux.

The Keychron Q5 knob
The Keychron Q5 knob

Customization seems within the {hardware} of the keyboard as properly. As famous above, Keychron designed the Q5 to extra simply help third-party stabilizers and keycaps.

Utilizing the Keychron Q5

Total, I believe the typing expertise on the Q5 is sweet. There may be some degree of adjustment that takes place when going from a non-mechanical keyboard to a mechanical one. There’s extra journey on the Q5 versus my MacBook Air keyboard, and I discovered myself hovering my fingers over the keys extra.

The Q5 works as anticipated on the iPad. Sadly, the keyboard drains energy from the iPad, so utilizing it with a dock that gives a number of USB-C ports is a should. One port can be utilized for energy and one other could be assigned to the keyboard.

It is the primary mechanical keyboard I’ve ever used, and though I loved it, it isn’t a mannequin I like to recommend for rookies. The dimensions and weight of it make it appear to be one thing to work your method towards.

Bluetooth can be good for the keyboard, however I can think about why Keychron did not embrace it. The metal case may intervene with the sign, and it might want batteries that may require altering its design.

The Keychron Q5 is nice for folks in search of an alternative choice to a full-sized keyboard, because the keys lacking on this 96% format aren’t going to matter for many customers. It is not a great possibility for iPad customers as a result of there are lighter, cheaper keyboards that match the iPad’s portability.

Keychron Q5 top view
Keychron Q5 prime view

It is meant for desktop customers who do not typically change their keyboard’s place. Players are one other good viewers, because the Keychron Q5 has a polling price of as much as 1,000 Hz to cut back latency.

Keychron Q5 Execs

  • Sturdy design that may doubtless outlast us all
  • Scorching-swappable keys
  • Full keyboard with 96% of keys that folks want
  • Programmable knob

Keychron Q5 Cons

  • Weight
  • No Bluetooth help

Rating: 4 out of 5

The place to purchase

The Keychron Q5 is offered to buy beginning at $165 for the barebones mannequin, and fully-assembled for $185. This mannequin, with the knob, prices $195.

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