When it comes to keyboards, I've owned a few. Big ones, small ones, fat ones, skinny ones, and even one that comes in two parts. What I have however always wanted, is a 60% keyboard, a tenkeyless keyboard. One that is portable, yet mechanical. A joy to type on, and a joy to travel with. Until now, the closest I've had to this ideal was the keyboard included with Pokémon Typing Adventure: a surprisingly good but non-mechanical device. Seeing Keychron's K2 keyboard got me excited. It's portable, it's sleek, it's mechanical, and it's surprisingly affordable.
Out of the box, first impressions are something special. The keyboard has an air of simplicity to it, rocking a sleek design that would be at home with a Mac setup. Unusual to me, it also features keycaps for both Mac and Windows, as well as a key prying tool to swap them on the fly to suit your preferences. As well as these keys, you also get two orange keys for the Esc and light configuration buttons in the top-left and top-right of the keyboard respectively. As much as I like the overall aesthetic of these keys, the appeal quickly wears off when you turn the keyboard on and see how the RGB lights filter through. The entire keycap lights up. It's not so much an issue when you know what these keys are, but when I really want to see the colours dancing across the keyboard, it's a little distracting.
So it has a few extras for the Mac users among us. That's great, but what about everybody else? What makes this keyboard special? I can break this down to three key areas: the battery life, the connectivity, and the design. Perhaps the standout feature, the K2 rocks a huge 4000mAh battery. What does this mean for the average user? 72 hours of continuous Bluetooth usage, lights and all. I've used this keyboard for a few hours each day for the past few weeks, and I'm happy to report it's still going strong. Only needing a reported three hours to fully charge however, running out of battery barely feels an issue.
It sits perfectly on a 13 inch laptop.
When it comes to Bluetooth keyboards, there's one aspect that stands as an irritation to many: usage across devices. With my Pokémon Typing Adventure keyboard, switching devices meant pairing it to the new device. And if I wanted to use it again on the first device? Pair it again. It's a small irritation sure, but it's a real irritation all the same. The K2 doesn't necessarily solve this problem, but it goes a long way in minimising it. When in Bluetooth mode, you can pick between three saved connections as simply as pressing the Function key, along with the appropriate number. On top of this, you can plug in a USB-C cable to connect it to any computer, game console, whatever has a USB port. Though it's generally the standard nowadays, it's still good to see USB-C over its mini or micro counterparts.
Finally, the design. I honestly love it so much I want to bring it up again. The model I have is the most expensive one on offer, featuring RGB lighting and an aluminium frame, coming in at $89. If you want something a little bit cheaper, you can opt for a plastic frame with RGB backlighting for $79, or a plastic frame and white backlighting for $69. If the build quality of the plastic frame is even half as nice as this one, the price more than justifies itself. I love seeing this keyboard on my desk. I love pulling it out of my bag, and most of all I love using it.
With the option of Gateron Reds, Browns, or Blues, you have your standard array of switch types available. Though I've never tried Cherry MX Reds, I can say the Gateron Reds are a joy to type with. If I were to pick a word to describe it, it'd be smooth. There's no distinctive press or click where you feel your input is registered. Unlike the more tactile Blues and Browns, these are quiet and satisfying in a way I struggle to really describe. If you haven't tried Reds before, I do recommend giving them a shot.
Both a positive and a negative for the K2 is the distinct lack of a companion app. This ultimately means usage is as simple as plug and play, but you are limited to the keyboard's base feature set. This means no macros, no remapping, and no configurable lighting. While there is a fantastic assortment of lighting to scroll through, and likely one for every conceivable occasion, there is a slight sadness in knowing I can't make my own. Something like the Ultimate Hacking Keyboard's companion app is the gold standard to me: an app that allows you to configure, without requiring a background process at all times to fully utilise. It's a shame the same isn't on offer here, but the keyboard does ultimately tick all the right boxes for me out of the box.
All in all, the K2 is everything I wanted in a tenkeyless keyboard and more. Sleek, portable, and an overall joy to use, it's a keyboard that would find a home in any office or on any desk. It's stunning, with a build quality and battery life to match. Whether $89 is a good price is something I can't really decide for another person, but I can tell you this is something I've had no issue recommending to friends and family. It really just ticks all the right boxes.
- Number of Keys: 84 keys
- Switches: Gateron blue/red/brown switches
- Number of Multimedia Keys: 12
- Main Body Material (A, B Series): ABS
- Main Body Material (C Series): Aluminum bezels and ABS bottom frame
- Keycap Material: ABS / PBT
- Available in ANSI and UK ISO layouts
Connectivity and Power
- Backlit Types: 18
- Backlit: Adjustable 4-level RGB backlit
- System: Windows/Android/Mac/iOS
- Battery: 4000mAh Rechargeable li-polymer battery
- BT Working Time (Single LED): Up to 68 hours (Lab test result may vary by actual use)
- BT Working Time (RGB): Up to 72 hours (Lab test result may vary by actual use)
- Charging Time: Around 3 hours
- Connection: Bluetooth and Type-C cable
- Bluetooth version: 3.0
- Bluetooth Device Name: Keychron K2
- Compatible System: macOS/Windows
- Dimension (Plastic frame version): 313 x 123 x 38.5mm
- Weight: About 663g / 23.4oz
- Dimension (Aluminum bezels version): 317 x 129 x 38.5mm
- Weight: About 794g / 28oz
- Operating Environment: -10 to 50℃
- 1 x Keyboard
- 1 x USB-A to USB Type-C Cable
- 1 x Keycap Puller