If you’re looking for a TNK mechanical keyboard compatible with the Mac OS system, the Keychron Q3 may be the best keyboard for your cost.
The Keychron Q3 hits nearly all the marks when it comes to a customizable and solidly designed typing experience, and misses only a few relatively minor metrics.
Introduction of the Keychron Q3 Keyboard
Different from other models in the company’s products, the Keychron Q3 is truly focused on customization. Its 80% layout offers a more familiar and comfortable experience than other Q Series. Like other Keychron products, this keyboard has high quality. In brief, the Keychron Q3 is one of the best mechanical keyboards you can get and is a great choice for mechanical keyboard enthusiasts using a Mac device.
The design of the Keychron Q3 is similar to that of the previous keyboards in the company’s Q series.
Basically, it’s a heavy keyboard. The weight between the Keychron Q3 and the Keychron K2 is strikingly different at first. If you’re used to keyboards like Apple’s Magic keyboard, the Keychron keyboard will feel like a piece of machinery to you.
Compared to the previous Keychron Q1 and Keychron Q2, the main attraction of the Keychron Q3 is its larger layout. The Keychron Q3 is an 80% or “keyless” keyboard that gives the user more typing space. This is one of the reasons why Keychron’s more compact keyboard is popular.
The Keychron Q Series is a highly customizable piece of equipment. This is the main difference between the Keychron Q3 and the much-loved Keychron K2.
You can purchase a quasi-system version of the Keychron Q3, which is essentially a metal plate and is assembled by yourself. This will involve picking out switches, keycaps, and other items. Or, you can purchase a fully assembled Keychron Q3 keyboard. Even if you do such, you can still choose the switches you want. the Keychron Q3 is hot-swappable.
Today I plan to introduce the Keychron Q3 Blue keyboard with Gateron Red switch Pro. Its keycaps are light blue, sea blue and dark blue. And the overall color of the keyboard is relatively consistent and the sprayed paint blue of its aluminum case gives me a feeling of blue and purple interchange.
Let’s take a look at how the Keychron Q3 is actually used.
I still remember the Keychron Q1, which is a finished mechanical keyboard with a 75% Gasket structure configuration. At that time, there are few rivals at the same price. With the same idea, Keychron released Q2, Q3, and Q65, the keywords are also aluminum case and Gasket, while Keychron Q3 is a relatively common, standard 87 TKL layout. And, at the same time, there are two options for independent kits and finished keyboards. In addition, Keychron Q3 also includes a small change knob version. Its F area as a whole is moved to the left and more compact to make room to add a volume knob.
Unboxing and Packaging Accessories
Keychron’s keyboard box is printed with the keyboard model: Keychron Q3 at the top and the thumbnail of the keyboard below is colorful and reflective, full of design.
After opening the box, you can see a very thick sponge, which plays a good protective role in the keyboard when being transited.
Having taken away the sponge, you can see the keyboard, four additional keycaps, a type-c cable, an instruction card about the axis body, a warranty card and a manual.
Keychron Q series has always been more playable. After lifting the specific instructions, there are four things hidden under the keyboard, respectively, screwdriver, internal hexagon, keycap puller and shaft puller, which provide a great convenience for users to disassemble the keyboard for personalized transformation.
There are several gaskets not installed, and Keychron provides the corresponding tools, which are required to let the user finish.
The keyboard case consists of the upper and lower cases. And there is a sloping surface at the front of the bottom case, so that the side of the keyboard does not look so dull and stubborn. The keyboard I have is the keychron Q3 87 keys knob version. Its CNC aluminum case increases the weight of the keyboard, which feels solid and durable. Its keycaps adopt PBT double shot process. The version of the keyboard has three colors: black, gray and blue. The keychron Q3 keyboard is an 87-key layout and has a hot-swappable socket.
The Keycaps’ color will vary depending on your keyboard’s configuration, but there will always be a “highlight” color on two of the keys. For example, on the silver-gray Keychron Q3 keyboard we are reviewing, the Enter and Escape keys are yellow.
If you are a connoisseur of mechanical keyboards, the keycaps themselves are OSA PBT keycaps, while for those users who are not professional, the keycaps only are comfortable and durable enough. The standard font is pleasant enough and very easy to read.
The Keychron Q3 knob version in my hand has a relatively compact layout of its F area and the keys are moved towards the left as a whole. For example, if you are a Warcraft player, keys like F1 and F2 are high-frequency operation keys, and you will frequently misuse them at the first stage. It requires that you use it for a long time and then develop new muscle memory.
Besides, the Keychron also provides a standard no-knob 87-key kit you can choose, which is still relatively humane. The knob version will not be so smooth and you need to turn from the upper blank or use two fingers to pinch the knob operation.
In terms of its detail, it is good. The resistance of the scroll wheel is slightly larger so that it is not easy to accidentally touch and support the press. If you do not need this knob, you can remove the encoder and replace it with a personalized nameplate or button.
The knob is designed between the F12 key and the function keys on the right, so the overall F area of the keyboard is shifted to the left and the design is similar to the 100-key keyboard. The F1 key is almost above the key of “1”. If you are not used to this design and do not need the knob, you can buy the version without the knob.
The three function keys on the right side of the knob are the screenshot key, Siri key and RGB switch key when adapted to the Mac system.
The Keychron Q3 adopts Gateron G Pro axes, available in red, brown and blue switches. The previous Q1 and Q2 used the Gateron Phantom axis. In fact, these two axis bodies are the same in their parameters, and the only difference is their color.
The type-c interface is in the upper left corner, next to which is the switch for Mac and Win systems.
As for the back, owing to the wired single mode and without the signal for slotting, the base is a complete aluminum case with four simple non-slip pads and eight screw holes fixed and without brackets. The keyboard is about 2KG, especially heavy and suitable for people who practice martial arts to exercise. Even though the weight, the small non-slip pads can also be very stable, and thus you do not need to worry about slipping.
The knob in the upper right corner can be directly pulled down, and keys on both sides of it are used to control the volume. If you hold down the FN and knob can adjust the brightness of RGB.
Case Material: Aluminum
Layout:87+1 (a button/knob/nameplate or standard 87)
Switch: Gateron G Pro
Keycap: PBT double shot
Connection: Type-C cable, wired
Like many customizable mechanical keyboards, the Keychron Q3 uses the QMK solution and supports VIA changing key’s function. The VIA software allows you to load the JSON file of the Q3 (There are differences between the knob and key versions), which may be difficult for newcomers, but should not be unfamiliar to those who have played with the customizable keyboard. In addition to key functions, the Keychron Q3 supports full key customization, and you can also set multimedia and other shortcut keys. The mute, volume + and volume – functions of the knob version can be re-customized by default.
In addition, it supports 4 levels of key function customization, which can set many FN combination shortcut keys.
Keychron Q3 adopts the popular Gasket structure and the inner plate is not rigidly connected. And the case of Keychron Q3 is fixed by screws, so it is still quite easy and convenient to disassemble. The case has a total of 8 screws. Half screws are on the top and the else on the bottom. You can be separated after taking down the case. But please note that after separation, the inner plate is stuck in the top case, and can not be removed directly, so you have to take out the Type-C interface board.
In terms of details, the positioning pillar increased can be seen in the upper case, which prevents the inner plate from distorting. To a certain extent, they can avoid the installation of the inner plate on one side, resulting in keycaps wearing the outer case.
The internal configuration of the Keychron Q3 is not too far from that of the Keychron Q1. The depth of the bottom case will consider sinking deformation, and is equipped with EVA sound-absorbing foam, and add a PET sheet.
If you want to be softer, you can choose to remove the bottom foam. And the PET sheet plays a role in preventing the inner plate from being pressed to the bottom.
The “ears” of the inner plate are attached to the tampon on the top and bottom, very soft and soft, and provide six replacement equipment. After sticking on the upper tampon, the keyboard will have a better cushioning property.
Keychron Q3 using the lower light position will be a little harsher than the upper light position. However, the keycaps with the original height have nice compatibility. Due to the use of a black metal positioning plate, the backlight of the Keychron Q3 is weaker, so the overall brightness is not high. Preset lighting modes are rich, and you can directly complete the switch operation through the shortcut keys.
Keycaps, Keys and Axis Body
The finished Keychron Q3 keyboard comes with a set of PBT double shot keycaps which are OEM height. And their surface feels very fine, smooth, slightly frosted grain feeling, not rough and easy to be accustomed to. And the keycap itself is also good. The characters are very clear, and the F area is increased functional labeling on the second layer. At the same time, the Keychron Q3 keyboard gives away MAC additional keys, which after all supports WIN/MAC dual mode. In short, this set of ball-shaped keycaps is not only comfortable to use but also enjoyable in terms of its appearance.
Keychron Q3 finished product provides Gateron G PRO series keycaps, G PRO red switch, G PRO blue switch and G PRO brown switch. When the keyboard is sold, it is greatly greasy and smooth. In addition, the standard switch is the Gateron switch. The keyboard supports a hot-swappable changing switch and is compatible with three-legged and five-legged switches.
The large keys of the Keychron Q3 keyboard are the Gateron PCB satellite switch without wire noise.
The factory keycaps are adapted to the Mac system keys. After all, it is one of Keychron’s main selling points and is the perfect adaptation to the Mac system, which couldn’t be denied.
Keychron K series and Q1 keyboard use ABS material keycaps, which have been complained about by players. After updating, this Keychron Q3 keyboard adopts PBT material ball-shaped keycaps, and the overall texture is not bad.
The aluminum Keychron Q3 Gasket keyboard is overall good as a leading role in knowing customizable keyboard. If you feel that the Gateron G Pro switch is common and want to get a better switch, you can just buy the kit.
The 87 keys + knob design is relatively innovative and the Gasket structure is pretty suitable for typing. The PBT material ball-shaped keycaps can give you a comfortable hand feel. In addition to the full-key RGB effect, it supports a variety of effects to switch. The Keychron Q3 Gasket keyboard has a nice performance compatible with Mac/Win system. It enjoys a perfectly F area adapted to the Mac.
The Keychron Q3 Gasket keyboard is interesting and valuable. If you are an advantageous person, its innovative design must can activate your interest in the customizable keyboard.