As part of my plan to improve my WFH ergonomic setup, I decided to invest in a decent set of keyboards. But not just any keyboard, I have some requirements:
- Must give great feedback while writing, but yet not too loud
- I want it to be wireless & slim to blend in with my minimalist desk setup
- Want it to be designed for a Mac
- Does not look ‘gamery’
In this article, I’ll share my review of the Keychron K3 and some issues that are not addressed by other reviewers. Keychron K3
I am not a keyboard expert nor a gamer. This article will be from the POV of someone who spends a lot of time typing (blogging).
What I Like
☑️ Modern, low-profile looks
☑️ Quiet & comfortable typing experience
☑️ Mac keyboard layout as standard
☑️ Option for white-only LED lights
☑️ Cool Facebook community
What I Don’t Like
❌ Does not feel as good as mechanical switches
❌ MacBook Pro’s keyboard feels more premium
❌ Bluetooth connectivity fuzzing audio playback (resolved)
Get 10% Off from the Keychron website by clicking on my referral link below:
Why I Needed an External Wireless Keyboard
I spend upwards of 10 hours a day in front of my laptop. After that many hours, I started to develop pains at the back of my neck.
To help ease my pain, I purchased a laptop stand to elevate the laptop closer to my eye’s natural height. Because of this, I needed an external keyboard.
Previously, I had a mechanical gaming keyboard (blue switch) and it was amazing to type on. But there were a few things that I don’t like about it:
- It’s wired, which will mess up my current minimalist desk setup
- The ‘gamery’ adolescence looks
- Although the mechanical blue switches are amazing to type on;
- It’s tiring to press hard on the keys for long periods
- The clicky sound annoys people around me
- The RGB color is cool at first, but embarrassing after a while
After binging many YouTube reviews on ‘wireless mechanical keyboards’, I narrowed down 2 brands:
The Iqunix retro looks are amazingly unique, but at $169, I think it’s too much for a keyboard. So the next best option that ticks all the boxes for me, is the Keychron K3:
Why I Chose the Keychron K3
My brother-in-law has a Keychron keyboard, and I liked how compact & quiet it is over my old gaming wired mechanical keyboard.
Also, another selling point was that the Keychron was one of the very few external keyboards that have the Mac keys installed by default.
There was quite a selection of keyboards on Keychron’s website. For someone new into all of this, it was honestly a little overwhelming. I just wanted a decent keyboard.
I filtered to wireless & low-profile, which narrows it down to 3 choices: K1, K3 & K7:
The K1 has the most buttons, but I wanted something smaller. That leaves me with either the K3 or K7. At first glance, they both look identical.
The K7 is missing the top row multimedia keys. Plus, at the time of writing, the K7 was only available for pre-order. So that made my decision-making pretty easy; K3 it is.
Mechanical or Optical?
I could choose between the Gateron mechanical keys or the optical keys on my new Keychron K3.
Unfortunately, being a newbie in the keyboard world, the only frame of reference I had was with my old blue switch mechanical keyboard.
I ended up choosing the Optical keys for 2 reasons:
- I wanted to try something different than my old mechanical keyboard
- The optical keyboards are hot-swappable (that means I can change the type of keys in the future)
I then had to further choose between 3 types of optical switches:
I eliminated the blue switch because I already had it on my old keyboard. I was eyeing the brown switch because of its claims of being tactile and suitable for midway office/gaming.
A further YouTube research on what it sounds like sold me on the brown switches.
What’s Included in the Keychron K3 Box?
- The K3 keyboard
- USB A to USB C charging cable (braided)
- Keycap pulling tool
- Key switch pulling tool
- Instructions & quick guide
What I Like About the Keychron K3
Like: Quiet & Comfortable
I like how quiet the optical-brown switches are, compared to my old blue switch keyboard. I can type while someone is in the room without announcing to the world: Hey, I’m typing something!
I also like the keystroke travel, which cushions the impact from my finger jabs, making long typing sessions comfortable. Perfect for me as I type a lot for this blog.
Like: The Looks
The Keychron K3 is one of the slimmest mechanical keyboards you can get on the market. The color & slim profile matches with my desk set up.
BONUS: I got the limited edition orange bottom housing, which does give it a slight pop in an otherwise sea of grey.
BONUS 2: The charging port is located at the dead center of the keyboard. So if you’re one of those who like to keep your desk set up symmetrical during charging, this is a great bonus for you.
Like: MacBook Layout by Default
The row of multimedia keys on top is a nice compliment to the MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar. The K7 model does not have this top row of multimedia keys.
The Keychron brand is also one of the very few that makes keyboards specifically for Macs. My keyboard came with the Mac layout key set up by default and the Windows keys were given in a separate plastic bag.
Like: Option for White LED
My old mechanical gaming keyboard had an RGB backlight. At first, the lights were cool. But after a while, I got a little embarrassed when guests came over and saw my colorful keyboard.
As I wanted a keyboard that looks the least ‘gamery’ as possible, having the option to have a white-only LED backlight is attractive to me.
Like: Cool Facebook Community
I found out about a Keychron Facebook user group after my purchase, and in that community, you can see Keychron enthusiasts sharing their pimped-out keyboards.
It’s pretty cool. It’s just like underground car tuning groups, but for keyboards.
Unfortunately, the K3 has unique keycap designs, and there aren’t any afterparty custom keycaps (yet).
Pretty good keyboard so far. Now, let’s move on to the stuff that I don’t like about the K3:
What I Don’t Like with the Keychron K3
What I Don’t Like: The Typing Feel
The optical brown Keychron K3 could not compete with my old gaming keyboard with blue clicky switches.
The muted sound of the switches sounds plasticky to me. The build quality is just OK. If I’m honest, I think the MacBook’s keyboard feels more premium to touch and operate than the Keychron K3.
The possible solution is to buy a new set of swappable keys and maybe go back to the clicky blue switches.
But a quick search on Google gave me an idea to try and lube the mechanical part of the switches, as can be seen in Romsicle’s video:
What I Don’t Like: Bluetooth Connectivity Issues (Slight Annoyance)
There are 2 ways to connect the keyboard to your computer. To keep my desk set up clutter-free, I always use Bluetooth.
However, during the first 3 to 4 days of getting this keyboard, I’ve noticed Bluetooth connection issues.
I noticed that the audio fuzzes out on my Bluetooth earphones every time I press the escape or caps lock button. It wasn’t a good first impression.
But after 2 weeks, the connectivity issue improved itself. I still hear fuzzy audio through my Bluetooth earphones every time those 2 specific buttons are pressed, but it is much more bearable.
I decided that it has improved to the point that I can live with it.
Keychron K3 Verdict
The Keychron K3 is an overall good mechanical keyboard, and the pros outweigh the cons by a close margin.
I would rate the Keychron K3 a 7/10 in my buyer satisfaction and would recommend this to my friends and readers who type a lot.
However, I do not recommend the K3 model if you want to pimp out your keyboard right now due to the lack of 3rd party keycaps.
Get 10% Off from the Keychron website by clicking on my referral link below: