The Keychron K3 is a compact 75% mechanical keyboard that is completely furnished with the function as well as arrow keys. It’s extremely light, and perfect for those who are constantly on-the-go as it has a thin and low-profile design, with wireless connectivity too. Before we dive into the review, why not we go through the specs real quick?
Keychron K3 – Specifications
|Backlight||White or RGB backlight options|
|Hot-swappable option||Yes (Keychron Optical)|
|Switch type||Gateron Mechanical or Keychron Optical|
|Connectivity||Wireless or wired mode|
|Keycaps||With keycaps for both Mac and Windows OS|
|Body material||Aluminum frame|
|Charging Port||USB Type-C|
What’s In The Box?
- Keychron K3
- USB Type-C Cable
- Keycap Puller
- 4 x Gray Keys for Windows (2 x Alt, 1 x Esc, 1 x Windows Key)
- 1 x orange “Light Bulb” key
- Replacement feets
- Quick Start Guide And Manual
The Keychron K3 features a 75% layout, with a total of 84 keys complete with function row and arrow keys. It measures 2.7cm thin, with a weight of a mere 400g. This makes it a great keyboard for portability and mobility, because of thin and lightweight it is.
Build quality wise, the Keychron K3 is great as it has an aluminium side frame, with a plastic base below it. There’s very little flexing when you press down hard on a key, but it shouldn’t be a problem for normal daily use. The keys have a bit of wobble in them, but it isn’t very noticeable when typing.
On the back of the keyboard, there are two switch toggles. One is for the connection method, to switch between wired, off Bluetooth. As for the other, it’s to switch between Windows and Mac layouts. And it’s nice to have these switches physically available, rather than embedded within the keyboard’s FN function. On the bottom, you get a couple of rubber feet to keep the keyboard in place. There’s also a 2-step adjustment feet to allow you to adjust your typing angle.
The Keychron K3 does come with RGB backlighting, which are individually backlit keys. There are several colour and lighting profiles for you to cycle from using the FN and function keys. However, it isn’t programmable, so you’re stuck with the default lighting options that Keychron provided you with.
In a well lit room, the keyboard’s RGB lighting doesn’t shine as well. But when darkness comes, that’s where it truly shines. In the dark, the RGB is just bright enough to illuminate the keys, and there’s minimal light bleeding through the legends and side profiles.
Cable / Wireless Connectivity
For the cable provided, it is a USB Type-C cable that spans 1.2m. It is braided, which is a bonus in terms of durability. When plugged in, we noticed the port is a little wobbly, but not too big of an issue, since you don’t fumble with the port on a daily basis.
As for the wireless connectivity, the Keychron K3 does allow for pairing up to 3 devices simultaneously using Bluetooth. Alternatively, you can plug in the USB-C cable and use the keyboard in wired mode. Because it connects with Bluetooth, there will be no wireless adapter/dongle included in the box.
The keycaps on the Keychron K3 are made out of ABS, and they are indeed low-profile keycaps. This also means that equipping the board with standard keycaps are not possible. While the keycaps do seem like they’re of high quality, I’m more worried of the legends fading off from oil stains in the future. Just after using it for a week, I’ve already noticed the amount of smudges and oil that’s accumulated on the board.
Switches + Sound
- Key Switches – Keychron Low Profile Optical Brown
- Feel – Tactile
- Operating Force – 51 gf
- Actuation Force – 48 gf
- Pre-Travel – 1.7 mm
- Total Travel – 2.7 mm
The Keychron K3’s typing sound may vary depending on which switch you’re getting. Our unit came with the Keychron low-profile optical Brown switches, which offer a tactile typing experience. These switches have a low pre-travel distance, and doesn’t need too much force to bottom out. Generally, it is quiet, but when you do bottom out or exert too much force, you will hear a rather loud ping(?) on each keypress.
The Keychron K3 is a low-profile mechanical keyboard, so I had to ditch my wrist rest for the review, because of how low it is. It has decent ergonomics, typing angle is adjustable with the adjustment feet on the bottom. Apart from that, all the keys are compacted together into the 75% layout with no bezels in between areas. This can take some time to get used to if you’ve never used a board with this layout before. You do lose the numpad area, the right shift key is shorter, but you still get a full-sized arrow cluster keys, together with the page up, page down, home, and end keys.
From the grip on the surface of the keycaps, it’s a bit hard to type on the keyboard. Usually, my fingers glide and slide through the surface of keys to type, and this keyboard’s keycap sort of prevents that. I’m not a big fan of how this keyboard types and feels, but if it’s solely for when you’re travelling, or out and about, then sure, it’s a great keyboard. But if you’re looking for a keyboard that will be a mainstay on your desk, I believe there are better options out there.
The fact that it’s using tactile brown switches makes it less favourable for me, as that extra “bump” in typing adds to the fatigue I face typing on such low-profile keycaps and switches. These switches are indeed hot-swappable, but your choices are very limited (likely only with Keychron’s own low-profile optical switches). So, be sure to choose the right type of switch (linear, tactile, clicky) at the time of purchase.
In wired mode, the keyboard does alright when it comes to gaming. But still, it boils down to whether or not you like the low-profile switches and keycaps’ feeling when gaming. In hindsight, red switches might be better for gaming.
In wireless mode, there is a bit of latency on the Keychron K3, which is pretty high. It’s good for normal, everyday use, but don’t even think about gaming on the keyboard when it’s in wireless mode. It doesn’t have the lowest latency/highest polling rate available.
The Keychron K3 is a great choice, only if you’re someone who loves to bring your keyboard around with you. But if you already are a low-profile keyboard user, or into the design, you’re more than welcome to add the Keychron K3 to your existing arsenal of keyboards on your desk. It has a 75% layout with all the keys you need, caters to both macOS and Windows, has RGB backlighting, and both wired and wireless connectivity.
However, do remember that the low-profile switches and keycaps are an acquired taste, and not everyone can accept it. The RGB profiles aren’t customizable, and the keyboard doesn’t come with a software to further customize the FN combos or hotkeys/macros.
Price wise, it offers quite a decent set of features, and I’d recommend this board to any tactile user who’s always travelling, or want something clean and minimalist on their desk.