The Keychron Q1 Pro is a sublime mechanical keyboard. The addition of wireless connectivity ensures it offers one of the most complete packages available with a sturdy construction, smooth and tactile switches, and extensive software-based customisation. It may be expensive, but the Q1 Pro is a fantastic keyboard for its asking price.
- Ridiculously sturdy construction
- Smooth and tactile switches
- Powerful software
- Connectivity options are a bit limited
- Keychron K Pro Brown switches:The Q1 Pro comes with Keychron’s own switches, offering a smooth and tactile typing feel.
- VIA software:It also comes with a powerful software suite for customisation
- Bluetooth connectivity:As well as working over a wired USB-C connection, the Q1 Pro also works over Bluetooth on up to 3 devices.
The Keychron Q1 Pro marks out a major upgrade to one of my favourite keyboards of 2022.
It adds the powers of Bluetooth connectivity to the Keychron Q1 that has had pride of place on my desk and that has been used in anger for the last year.
Alongside this, it features the same sturdy frame, thoughtful design and features that enthusiasts can appreciate, resulting in one of the best mechanical keyboards money can buy today.
- Ridiculously hefty construction
- Infinite customisation
- Convenient wired/wireless mode switching
Placing the Keychron Q1 Pro next to my trusty Keychron Q1 V2 reveals how little has changed in terms of the keyboard’s design. It provides a ridiculously sturdy CNC’d aluminium case that provides no flex at all, as well as an especially reassuring heft, with a total mass of 1.8kg. That’s a lot for a mechanical keyboard, let alone one with a smaller 75% layout like the Q1 Pro has.
That smaller form factor is actually my favourite layout to use, with it providing most of the functionality afforded by a more traditional TKL layout, although with a slightly squished up nav cluster in the name of saving space. The Q1 Pro also brings with it the fun of a knob in the top-right corner for media playback. It’s a convenient addition, and feels tactile to use.
Unlike my trusty Q1 V2 however, this particular Keychron Q1 Pro isn’t customised in any way however – it’s the pre-built variant. As much as having the brand’s own keycaps may at first seem a little underwhelming, these are PBT keycaps. They’re comprised of higher quality plastics compared to the more traditional ABS keycaps that are seen on a myriad of other keyboards, reinforcing that the Q1 Pro is a quality product.
The keycaps themselves are two-tone grey, with a small blue accent for the Esc key, and offer a more spherical profile than your standard ones. This helps the Q1 Pro to offer a bit more of a retro aesthetic, while still being a thoroughly modern keyboard.
Keychron offers a myriad of different compatible keycap sets with the Q1 Pro, or, if you want to go further afield, then virtually any MX-stem keycaps will fit the keyboard. It all depends on what profile of keycaps it is you want, which in turn can change the look and feel of it all.
It’s around the back where the Q1 Pro has experienced a major change, with the addition of a pair of switches to allow you to choose between both Wired and Bluetooth modes, as well as whether you’re using the keyboard on Windows or Mac. Alongside this comes a USB-C port for charging, which is always nice to see.
- Smooth and tactile typing experience
- Convenient connectivity with Bluetooth
- Decent battery life
Where my previous Keychron endeavour came with cherry-picked switches (if you’ll pardon the pun) in the form of some CHERRY MX Clears that I selected when configuring the board, the Keychron Q1 Pro I’ve got here comes with the brand’s own K Pro Brown switches. These are most likely rebranded Gateron G Pro switches, which is what shipped with the wired Q1.
It’s normally at this point where I’d go on a bit of a tangent about my issues with Gateron switches, as their Browns especially haven’t provided the most consistent performance in the world. However, these K Pro Browns are some of the better MX Brown clones I’ve experienced in years.
They offer a consistent and snappy keypress, complete with a rounded bump halfway down the key travel. Oftentimes clones can be especially scratchy and inconsistent, but with the K Pro Browns being pre-lubed, it allows them to offer a smooth and yet tactile keypress that makes them a joy to type on.
However, if you’re not a fan of the bundled switches in the Q1 Pro for whatever reason, then it’s handy to know that it is a hot-swappable keyboard. This means you can chuck in any switches you like, whether they’re tactile, linear or clicky, and also conform to the MX standard of 3 or 5 pin mounting.
To test this, I took some of the MX Black Clear Tops I had laying around, put them in after taking the K Pro Browns out, and they felt fantastic. Swapping the switches is especially easy as you simply grab a switch puller from inside the box, pull gently to get the switch out, and then replace it by making sure the pins line up with the socket, and then push down until it clicks into place.
The typing experience afforded by the K Pro Browns is a comfortable one, given the light, lubed switches. Intriguingly, the Q1 Pro is also a gasket mounted keyboard, so the typing experience is by design, a little bouncy. This makes things perhaps a tad more responsive and comfortable than more of a rigid keyboard with a metal plate running through it.
Connectivity is taken care of via either Bluetooth or a USB-C wired connection, which keeps things convenient. You can pair the Q1 Pro with up to three devices at once, and switching between them is as easy as picking the relevant channel using the Fn key and the relevant number.
On the front of battery life, Keychron rates the Q1 Pro to last for up to 300 hours with the backlighting off, and up to 100 hours with it on. This falls short by comparison to the Asus ROG Azoth for instance, but still offers you the chance to use the Q1 Pro for a few weeks between charges. The fact I only had to charge the Q1 Pro once in my testing is testament to its solid endurance.
Software and lighting
- Bright RGB lighting
- Powerful software suite
The discussion of backlighting leads me nicely into this next section. The Keychron Q1 Pro comes with RGB lighting that’s bright and vibrant, and works well as long as you’ve got switches with clear housings inside the board to allow the lighting to shine through. If you’re using switches with black plastic housings, then these will severely mute the lighting to the point where it’s hard to notice.
On the front of software, the Q1 Pro utilises VIA, which is a seriously powerful piece of kit. There’s the option to program four separate function layers, as well as remapping functions directly onto keys, giving you plenty of potential for customisation.
You can also program macros and fiddle with a set of presets for lighting too. It’s a very functional bit of kit and does all of what most people will need. Even though it might not look as big-budget as suites from more mainstream manufacturers, VIA gets the job done.
Should you buy it?
You want a fantastic typing experience: The K Pro Browns inside the Q1 Pro offer a responsive, smooth and tactile typing experience that makes it a joy to use.
You want a full-size layout: While the Q1 Pro is a brilliant keyboard for space-savers, those looking for a more conventional layout may wish to look elsewhere.
If I wasn’t someone who had a regularly rotating keyboard on my desk because of the job I do, the Keychron Q1 Pro would be sticking around for a long time. It offers one of the most complete packages available in the mechanical keyboard world today, adding the powers of wireless connectivity to an already excellent product.
It’s one of the sturdiest and well-built keyboards that money can buy, with a machined aluminium case and a compact layout that makes it a solid choice for space-savers. What’s more, its K Pro Brown switches offer a responsive and comfortable typing experience, complete with a smooth and tactile feel to them. The presence of enthusiast-level features such as gasket mounting, a hot-swappable PCB and the powers of VIA also make this more than just a good looking keyboard.
Of course, the obvious comparison here is to the Asus ROG Azoth, another 75% keyboard I labelled a few months ago as one of the best mechanical keyboards money can buy. While the Q1 Pro may not offer the fun of an OLED screen, it offers arguably better build quality and more subdued looks at a fair bit lower of a price, making the Q1 Pro a better choice for generalists, as opposed to the gamers in the crowd.
How we test
We use every keyboard we test for at least a week. During that time, we’ll check it for ease of use and put it through its paces by playing a variety of different genres, including FPS, strategy and MOBAs.
We also check each keyboard’s software to see how easy it is to customise and set up.
Spent at least a week testing
Compared the build quality with similar priced keyboards.
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The Q1 Pro offers wireless connectivity, while the Q1 is wired. What’s more, it has a polycarbonate plate inside, as opposed to a steel one.
Yes, the Q1 Pro’s case is made of CNC machined aluminium.