Keychron’s Q2 is a compact experience on the popular customizable keyboard

Keychron mechanical keyboard fans were pleasantly surprised when he announced the Q1. It was the company’s first foray into fully customizable keyboards, and we loved it so much. Today it’s Q2’s turn, which is a smaller (65% or no “functional key”) version of the Q1. Despite the reduced space, it retails for the same price, starting at $149 for the bare bones or $169 if you want to assemble it all — cheaper than most competitors.

When we tested the Q1 we liked it very much. It offered the same level of configuration as the much-loved GMMK Pro for about $100 less. However, the GMMK Pro’s selling point (in this author’s opinion) revolves around its luxurious “Lubed Panda” switches and a responsive typing experience. ‘Panda’ is GMMK’s ‘switch’ which is the mechanical part of the switch for those who don’t meet Drop and/or use ‘mechanics’ – the important part, really, because this will often determine how the keyboard ‘feels’.

As with the Q1, the Q2 is compatible with VIA’s (and thus QMK) configuration software that allows you to easily remap keys for just about anything, create macros, and more. Also like the Q1 (and, increasingly, GMMK Pro and more), there is an option to replace the far right key (insert) with a clickable rotor for volume and media control.

I’ll admit, after using GMMK Pro for a while now, I find the Gateron Reds that come with the Q2 a little obvious in comparison, but this is the fun of a customizable keyboard, you can use any keys you like (or change them more or less than any other part). You can even load it up with pandas if you want to, although that will require (a lot) of extra spending.

The Q2 remains USB only (non-wireless) but is still compatible with Windows or Mac and OS-specific keycaps are included in the box. It’s also as sturdy and well-built as the Q1 with its all-metal casing. You can choose from three colors including: black, grey, and dark blue.

Ultimately, the Q2’s selling point boils down to whether you prefer a compact keyboard or access to the physical function keys (they can still be accessed here with shortcuts obviously).

Q2 was also joined by some relatively new additions. Keychron is prolific if nothing else. In particular, the lightweight K14/70% wireless has hot-swappable keys for a less expensive on-the-go option that retails for a modest $59. The company also recently unveiled its first M1 wired mouse. It’s very similar to the Razer Viper ($39) but also bears more than a passing resemblance to the Glorious O (also from the same folks behind the GMMK Pro).

Keychron Q2 orders are open as of today.

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