Keychron K3 Review – for minimalists and travelers who like a good keyboard

Mechanical keyboards tend to be massive affairs. This keyboard is much smaller, about the size of a standard laptop keyboard but with much better key travel. And well, it has RGB lighting. And it is wireless. I bought it for travel but I ended up loving how much of my desk it freed up, so I have been using it at home as well. It has all the keys I need and they really aren’t that much smaller – just removing the big bulky frame, numpad, and all those ‘customizable’ keys I never really use on my bigger keyboards (I do use the customizable buttons on my mouse, the Razer Naga Trinity all the time, instead, and love it).

I also find it more comfortable than my big keyboards! My hypothesis for the reason here is that I have also spent most of my life typing on laptop keyboards. This size is much more familiar and accordingly more comfortable for me. In particular, I find the thinner size of this keyboard to be more comfortable for my wrists overall. I strongly suspect that if you are most familiar with a massive mechanical keyboard, then you will find this one rather frustrating (although still better than the alternatives if you need something for travel).

  • Pros:
    • Small and wireless!
      • Easy to travel with (not just for flying to a vacation, but also if you are the kind of person who runs around directly accessing different computers or servers frequently).
      • It is takes up much less desk space. Very minimalist.
      • Doesn’t need a wrist rest like a bigger keyboard does (at least not for my big hands)
    • Lack of heavy frame:
      • Makes the RGB lighting more prominent (when used)
      • Easier to clean!
    • USB-c charging, swappable keys, decent build quality, nice optional case, lots of switch choices, ability to connect to multiple devices
  • Cons:
    • Battery life, at c. 24 hours of use, is plenty for travel, but means you’ll need to keep it plugged in for convenient desk use. I’ve never even seen the low battery light come on, so hard for me to say how long it might actually last.
  • Highly Subjective:
    • Whether or not you will actually enjoying typing on this.
    • RGB lighting can be switched between different modes but keys can’t be individually customized. This lighting is also not as bright as its bigger colleagues, but the lack of big frame means the entire keyboard seems to glow, rather than just the keys. Models with just a white backlight are available and actually cheaper, but that’s boring!
    • Price – it is much cheaper than many mechanical keyboards, but is definitely not a budget keyboard either. I would say that for a boutique keyboard for a niche market, it is a good value.

I got this keyboard with the black optical switches, and they are great for me – not too noisy, offer a decent bit of resistance, but not too much. For gaming, I would venture a wild guess that this outperforms your standard laptop keyboard, but I have no idea by how much.

Razer Chroma vs Keychron K3. This picture also doesn’t capture how much thicker and heavier the Razer is (and with more cords). The Razer does have RGB lighting that is more visible when sun/lights are bright.

The amusing thing is I bought this as a travel device, but now I really feel it is a keyboard for minimalists who like to type a lot. As a travel accessory this is perhaps excessive, if you already have a laptop with a functional keyboard. I take it because I can use it with my iPad as well as offering a slight boost to my laptop typing. Or if you are crazy like me, where on my current trip, I brought a mini pc along, and that needs a separate keyboard, mouse and portable display (to continue this aside, iPad + mini PC (no battery, only desk use) + wireless keyboard and mouse actually looks to be a decent travel setup to consider).

I am guessing that the keyboard market as a whole is going to start moving more in this direction. As an early adopter (I got this on Kickstarter, although from a well established company, Keychron) of a device that pushing the boundaries a bit, I am extremely satisfied with this keyboard in that it seems to work as advertised. Plenty of people may not find it comfortable, but that doesn’t change it being a decent keyboard from what I have seen.

An attempt to show the backlight of the Keychron K3. In dark settings, it shines quite brightly at full brightness, and the lack of frame gives the entire keyboard a glowing gem feel.

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