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Blog posts and video from Steven as he “COMBS” through the minutia to discover tech, retro-computing, physical computing, gadgets and sci-fi.

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Commodore Plus/4 Series

29 February 2020

OPEN THE BOX: Keychron K2 keyboard for Mac

by Steven B. Combs, Ph.D.
tags: openthebox - keychron - keyboard - mac - unboxing - mechanical

It was time to get a new Mac keyboard. I’ve been using the same Matias One Keyboard for iPhone and Mac for many years. Back in the day, the Matias had a few unique design features and the keyboard provided a typing experience similar to early Mac computers - think Mac II series. The keys are mushy and have a satisfying and hollow feel when pressed that reminds Mac users of the days when Apple created substantial and bold keyboards; not flat and “tappy” slates of plastic and aluminum. Another unique feature of the Matias One was the built in cradle for an iPhone that could connect to the keyboard via Bluetooth. With a push of a button, I could go from typing on a Mac to answering a text message on an iPhone.

IMAGE OF MATIAS AND K2

Much has changed since the original purchase of this keyboard. I’ve replaced my iPhone with a Pixel Phone, I’ve gone through three Macs, I’ve grown more fond of “clicky” mechanical keyboards, and I like to use my keyboard with more than one Bluetooth device at a time.

Enter my new purchase, the Keychron K2 Wireless Mechanical Keyboard.

This is not a review of the Keychron K2 but an explanation of my purchase and insights to the video I posted on YouTube, Opening the box: Keychron K2 keyboard. That video is below:

 

Not only do I take the new Keychron K2 out of it’s shipping package and box in the video, I also take a look at the design and features; including the very cool 15+ LED backlight effects package that I will likely never use. Spoiler, I do. Read on.

K2 LEDs

While this is not a review of the keyboard, I did use this Keychron K2 to type this blog post and have to say, I am impressed. I chose the aluminum body (you can get a less expensive plastic body) and I appreciate the heft and quality this material brings to the product. As I mention in the video, I chose the Gateron blue switches because I like a hard to press key and a satisfying and audible click. A red (quiet) and a brown (gentle) switch is also available as an option.

Other features I already appreciate include:

  1. The ability to connect and control three different Bluetooth devices.
  2. The keyboard design, the key colors, and the font used on the keys provides a modern looking keyboard.

    Keychron K2 Keyboard

  3. An extra long USB-C charging cable for optional wired connectivity (is this feature available on any other keyboard?). If the rechargeable batteries die, you can connect to a Mac using the included cable and keep working.
  4. Quality quick reference card and instruction manual (see video for more information).
  5. Keyboard feet to add more angle to the your finger’s approach.
  6. The Gateron blue switches are immensely satisfying and I really enjoy the feel of typing on this keyboard. Almost as much as my trusty Unicomp Two Tone Ultra Classic Buckling Spring keyboard.
  7. A huge thanks to Keychron for including the items necessary to switch out keys so this same keyboard can be used on a Windows PC. That will never happen, but I do use Chrome OS and Linux. If I ever did want to move this keyboard to one of those platforms, I have the keys and the key puller to make it happen.
  8. Okay. I’ll admit it. The LEDs are a whole lot of fun and I’ve wasted some time playing with them; however, I’ve landed on the plain and boring white backlit keys. They are reminiscent of an original MacBook G4 I owned back in the day and work well when I’m in a dimly lit environment. I can even control the LED brightness using the familiar keyboard controls on the top keys.
  9. Speaking of keyboard controls, this model has all the necessary top keys, with proper markings, to control the Mac’s media and display. A bonus is the crop key on the far right. Press to activate a cropped screen capture. NICE!

Only time will tell if I can recommend this keyboard for the long haul. Initial impressions are good but a keyboard is only as good as its longevity. I’ve been using a Das Keyboard 4 Professional, with quieter Cherry MX brown switches, for over six years with nary a quirk. It’s still going strong and only time will tell if the Keychron will become my new favorite Mac keyboard. It is off to a very good start, though.

Drop a comment below and let me know if you use a Keychron or if you have any questions.

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