Keychron launched its custom Q3 80% tenkeyless (TKL) all-metal mechanical keyboard on Tuesday. Following the sold-out initial runs of its Q1 and Q2 customizable keebs, the Q3 is an all-aluminum mechanical keyboard with a gasket mounting design. It features hot-swappable switches, a high-grade aluminum enclosure, QMK/VIA mapping support and more, the company said.
Keychron Q3 80% TKL Metal Custom Mechanical Keyboard
Founded in 2017, Keychron manufactures a range of 15 popular wireless mechanical keyboards for Mac, Windows and Android. It added its Q range of customizable decks to its K range of decks with the release of the Q1, with a 75% layout, in September 2021. The sleek 65% Q2 followed at the start of the new year. And the company recently added a wired optical mouse to its lineup.
The new Q3 80% TKL custom all-metal keyboard doesn’t skimp on the essentials, Keychron said. This makes it a suitable tool for gamers and programmers.
“Gamers and programmers love the familiar, classic TKL layout because skipping the numpad allows for wider mouse movement and quicker access to required keys. These types of users also have deep-rooted habits that would be disrupted if they moved away from this layout,” said Paul Tan, COO of Keychron. “The thing is, the all-metal TKL is generally expensive, barebones, and has lackluster switches and keys. “
“Users can customize every part of the Q3 to create their ultimate typing experience. In the case of fully-assembled keyboards, users can still experience the benefits of a beautifully crafted CNC aluminum keyboard, either button or buttonless,” added Tan.
Keychron said the Q3 uses a new microcontroller unit (MCU), an ultra-low-power ARM-based chip, and 128KB of flash storage.
The keyboard has a 1000 Hz polling rate (rare for the QMK and VIA) for responsive keypresses. The company said the responsiveness makes the keyboard good for competitive PvP gamers, when milliseconds count during gameplay. The main benefit of the Q3 for programmers, Keychron added, is that they can customize each key and create shortcuts.
Technical challenges, Mac layout
Keychron mentioned that he faced technical challenges with Q3.
“The biggest technical challenge we faced while designing the Q3 was how to create the all-metal keyboard, while still providing a comfortable typing experience,” Tan said. “It’s difficult to adjust keyboards for comfort in mass production and there are long lead times to bring them to life. With patience, we overcame this challenge and the result is very high quality demands for the entire Q series of keyboards, which is why they are so comfortable to type on.
The Q3’s Mac layout retains the same media and function keys as the Apple keyboard, while remaining compatible with Windows devices with a reliable USB-C cable, Keychron said.
Other features of the Q3 include bolt-on stabilizers, south-facing RGB lighting, ANSI/ISO layout, and hot-swappable switches. You can order the keyboard in black, gray or blue color combinations.
Additionally, Keychron said, “Users can experience the next level of sounds and comfort with a joint mount design. It offers smooth resonance and a springy fingertip feel.
If you want to hear the clicking sound on different versions of the Q3, take a look and listen to the video below. It shows the Gateron G Pro red, brown and blue switch sounds.
Price: barebones version, $154; fully assembled version, $174
Or buy: Keychron