Keychron Q3 QMK customized mechanical keyboard overview – “Sophisticated metal art” in the form of a mechanical keyboard

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REVIEW – If you have ever wanted to make your own beautiful mechanical keyboard or wanted to buy a custom one to your liking, I would warmly recommend you take a look at the Keychron Q3 QMK Custom Mechanical Keyboard. Since I have an unhealthy obsession with mechanical keyboards but no budget for it, I simply HAD to review this beauty.

What is it?

The Keychron Q3 QMK Custom Mechanical Keyboard is a wired mechanical keyboard that can be ordered as an unlimited kit or fully assembled with a number of options to make your own. I received a fully assembled button for review and I think I’m in love.

What’s in the box?

  • Keychron Q3 QMK keyboard, fully assembled includes:
    • Aluminum housing
    • PCB
    • Steel plate
    • Sound absorbing foam
    • Housing foam
    • Foam seals for frame
    • PBT double button caps
    • Choice of Gateron G Pro switch
  • Key extractor
  • Key switch extractor
  • Hex key
  • Small Philips screwdriver
  • USB C to USB C cable
  • USB A to USB C adapter
  • User guide
  • A quick start guide
  • Mac options and command keys
  • Windows and Alt keys
  • Bag with extra foam straps and screws
  • Friendly reminder card to check that the switch pins are correct before re-inserting / inserting one

Hardware specifications

  • Width: 137 mm / 5.4 in
  • Length: 1 mm / 14.4 in
  • Front height: 19.7 mm / 0.77 in (without cap)
  • Back height: 32.6 mm / 1.4 in (without cap)
  • Foot height: 2.4 mm / .1 in
  • Angle: 5.2 °
  • Weight: 2000 g ± 10 g / 4.4 lbs (fully assembled version)
  • Housing material: Fully CNC machined aluminum
  • Plate material: Steel
  • Call speed: 1000 Hz
  • Key covers (fully assembled version): double PBT key covers, gloss-free, OSA profile (OEM height, SA shape)
  • Microcontroller unit: Arm Cortex-M4 32-bit STM32L432 ultra low power (128 KB Flash)
  • Switches: Gateron G Pro (fully assembled version)
  • Backlight: RGB LED facing south
  • Switch support: hot swap (5-pin and 3-pin)
  • Stabilizers: PCB with screws
  • Connectivity: Type-C
  • Operating environment: -10 C to 50 C / 14 F to 122 F

Design and features

The Keychron Q3 QMK keyboard is an 80% mechanical keyboard, so there is no numeric keypad. It comes in several different variants. There is a complete assembly with or without a handle and a set for barebones. The fully assembled two-piece aluminum frame with color-matched PBT double key covers comes in your choice of anodized carbon black, navy blue or silver gray. Note: If you don’t know what a PBT double-shot is, that means these keys are GOOD. They are gloss-resistant and the fonts do not wear out because it is not screen printing. The characters are actually the secondary color from which the caps are made.

This version also comes with your choice of Gateron G Pro red or brown pre-lubricated switches or non-lubricated blue switches. I got blue because they snap with a bump just before activation. All key stabilizers are attached to the frame, so don’t worry about breaking the tabs on the underside of your caps. You can also choose ANSI or ISO layout.

The Barebones kit is also available with or without buttons with the same three same colored frames. In addition to switches and buttons, it includes everything the assembled version does in the box. This could be a good choice if you have another switch or cap preference.

I’ve never had a keyboard with any noise attenuation before and I was pleasantly surprised at how it affected the sound of key clicks. There are 4, yes 4, separate layers of foam inserts. Between the top case and the steel plate are strips of foam that hold the switches in place. There are several of these strips between the steel plate and the lower housing. There is another laser cut foam sheet between the board and the PCB. And finally, there is a layer of foam between the PCB and the lower case. Foam-free keyboards can have, in the absence of better expression, rattle and sound.

The Keychron Q3 QMK mechanical keyboard supports both Mac and Windows using a mode switch on the back next to the USB-C port. Comes with matching Windows and Alt caps or Mac commands and options. So, all your favorite keyboard shortcuts should work smoothly.

The PCB supports hot-swappable switches, so if you don’t like the ones installed, either by Keychron or by yourself, depending on the model you choose, you can replace them. Soldering or desoldering is not included. I will say that it was difficult when I first removed the keys on this keyboard. The included pull-out switch rammed into the side of my finger, so I used another one I had. The switches were firmly embedded in the steel plate, so I had to pull harder than I was comfortable with. That being said, the next time I pulled one out, it was a lot easier for me. If you are new to switch replacement, watch out for bent pins. Make sure they are flat before inserting them. If you don’t, you could very easily break it and not know until you start using the keyboard. Okay, yeah, that was me. I did. But it’s okay. I managed to fix it and now it works well.

The PCB has south-facing LEDs. Why is it important? Well, I’ll tell you. These buttons do not allow the LEDs to light up. So, in order to see them better and all the different lighting modes, Keychron placed the LEDs on the bottom of the switch socket. Players, rejoice! There are keyboard shortcuts that allow you to select one of 12 different modes, LED brightness and speed. There’s also one for those of us who don’t necessarily want our keyboard to resemble a Vegas comic. Fn + Tab allows you to turn them off.

Let’s talk about the case. This thing has the top and bottom of CNC machined aluminum. And the operation of the machines is fantastic. It looks striking in my honest opinion. Having said that, once fully assembled, it weighs almost 4 and ½ pounds! If you are one of those unfortunate souls who still have to go to the office, you will think hard about pulling this back and forth. In case you’ve been wondering what’s all in the nearly £ 5 keyboard, and I know I have, it’s completely disassembled here.

Button. I like the buttons. Buttons are useful and fun. That. I know. I’m weird and I’m fine with that. The handle itself is aluminum and serrated. They did not save here. And the potentiometer used is powerful. I don’t think I’ll have to worry about accidentally recording a post on it. It also has very positive clicks or stops as you rotate it. I have a minor argument about it though. The stopper is a little short for my taste. I have the fingers of the sausage so the space between it and the surrounding keys is tight. It’s not such a big deal, but it’s the only thing I don’t like.

Which I like

  • Quality of workmanship. It’s above any other keyboard I’ve used or own
  • The key caps have the perfect shape, feel and look
  • Aesthetics. Dude, is that nice?
  • Size. Big enough to do the job and small enough not to take up the entire desktop
  • Sound and feel of the switch due to all foam seals
  • Switches that can be replaced by hot
  • Your choice of four different types of Gateron switches

Which I would change

Final thoughts

In case I wasn’t clear about the Keychron Q3 QMK custom mechanical keyboard, I like it. I love its feel, sound, size, look. Even if I don’t decide to use it every day, I will hang this rifle on the wall so I can just watch it. Keychron’s description of this keyboard as Refined Metal Art is dead.

The version I have costs $ 174 which I think is a great price for the quality of the keyboard you get for the money. If you’re a mechanical keyboard enthusiast, I think you’ll like it. If you wanted to make your own, but the price of all the individual parts makes you wince, a barebones kit could be near you.

Price: $ 174 for the version I got
Where to buy: keychron.com and other models on Amazon
Source: A sample review was provided by keychron.com

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