Home » Keychron K8 Pro wireless mechanical keyboard review: Customi

Keychron K8 Pro wireless mechanical keyboard review: Customi

Source: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore

Even although I’m a Mac consumer, I actually cannot stand the Apple Magic Keyboard, and just about any comparable options. I merely do not just like the chiclet key really feel, and so they’re too quiet — I prefer to hear my typing, thanks very a lot. This is why I can solely use mechanical keyboards today, and fairly frankly, I’ll by no means return.

I bought into mechanical keyboards a couple of years in the past, with my first mechanical being the Keychron K2. At the time, for my first keyboard, it was a superb begin, however I’ve gone into the deep finish with this interest, personally. My present each day driver has been the Keychron Q1, which is among the firm’s extra “premium” choices, although there are nonetheless many extra high-end boards out within the area of interest market. But one factor I did not like was the truth that there by no means appeared to be a wi-fi mechanical keyboard with VIA/QMK compatibility.

Enter the Keychron K8 Pro. This is a part of Keychron’s Okay-series of wi-fi keyboards, nevertheless it now has compatibility with reprogramming software program VIA and QMK. When I noticed that Keychron was launching this one, I needed to give it a shot for myself.

Keychron K8 Pro Red Render

Keychron K8 Pro

Bottom line: The Keychron K8 Pro is a TKL mechanical keyboard with Bluetooth wi-fi connectivity and VIA/QMK assist. It can join with as much as three gadgets, works with each Mac and Windows, is hot-swappable, and has a variety of thock for the value level.

The Good

  • Wireless connectivity with as much as three gadgets
  • VIA/QMK assist and works with each Mac and Windows
  • Hot-swappable
  • Sound-dampening modifications for additional thock
  • Barebones or totally assembled variations with Gateron G Pro switches

The Bad

  • Not broadly accessible till May 2022
  • “Aluminum” body makes keyboard look recessed
  • VIA/QMK wants keyboard to be plugged in

Keychron K8 Pro: Price and availability

Keychron K8 Pro Side

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Right now, you possibly can solely discover the Keychron K8 Pro direct from Keychron. The webpage will take you to the energetic Kickstarter marketing campaign, which ends on April 15. Once the Kickstarter is over, it is best to discover the K8 Pro accessible to buy on the Keychron website, like its different keyboards. The Keychron K8 Pro solely is available in a black physique, which is made with plastic, although you possibly can go for an aluminum body for just a little extra money. The barebones model of the K8 Pro begins at round $79, and a totally assembled RGB backlight aluminum hot-swap model might be round $100.

Keychron K8 Pro: Solid physique, wi-fi, and reconfigurable

Keychron K8 Pro All in the box

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For one in all its Okay-series boards, the K8 Pro is a stable selection. Since the Okay-series are wi-fi, they’re meant to be just a little extra light-weight than premium mechanical keyboards available on the market, and that is evident with the K8 Pro. The physique itself is a plastic materials, however you possibly can go for the aluminum body for a little bit of added heft, which additionally offers the keyboard a bit extra a “thock” sound. The backside of the K8 Pro has rubberized toes to stop it from sliding round your desk, and there are two plastic toes that kick out to offer you two typing angles for snug typing.

This is a superb improve over the unique K8 that debuted in 2020.

If you are anticipating a full metallic physique for a wi-fi keyboard, I do not assume that is solely potential, because the supplies could intrude with the Bluetooth antennas. This is why the primary physique of the K8 Pro is plastic, with the aluminum simply being a body, although this specific one offers all the board a little bit of a “recessed” look. The general weight of the K8 Pro is fairly gentle, however then once more, I’m used to boards that weigh a number of kilos (perhaps round 5 kilos).

For those that plan to customise each final little bit of the K8 Pro, you will need the barebones model, as you should use your personal switches and keycaps. However, I used to be despatched a totally assembled (RGB backlight aluminum) model, which I believe is what most individuals who take a look at the K8 Pro will go for. The totally assembled variations allow you to select from Gateron G Pro Mechanical Red, Blue, or Brown switches. Reds are the quiet linear switches, Browns are the tactile and delicate sound switches, and Blues are the loud clicky switches that can make your colleagues dislike you in quiet workplace environments and even throughout gaming periods with mates in case you talk by way of voice chat.

This is the primary wi-fi keyboard that you would be able to reconfigure with VIA/QMK software program.

My unit got here with the Gateron G Pro Mechanical Red switches, which isn’t my private choice. I are likely to go for tactiles, however I used to be really stunned with the reds. They do not require a variety of actuation drive, so it’s totally responsive, and because of the sound dampening foam and silicone pads inside, it produces a incredible “thock” sound. This can be partly because of the OSA profile double-shot PBT keycaps that Keychron consists of, which is principally OEM profile with rounded corners. For those that want a comparability, it is someplace between Cherry/OEM and KAT/SA keycap profiles. My day-to-day Keychron Q1 with Dark Magic Girl DSA profile keycaps is what I desire, however I discovered typing on Keychron’s OSA profile to be snug for a full day of labor. This is, after all, subjective like every thing else about mechanical keyboards.

Keychron K8 Pro Gateron G Pro Red Switches

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The Keychron K8 Pro is a tenkeyless (TKL) format board, which suggests it just about has every thing besides the numpad. So in case you want every thing (quantity row, operate key row, arrow keys, cursor management keys) however the ten key, then the K8 Pro is for you. I personally keep on with 75% or TKL, although I can go as small as 65% if there are extras like rotary knobs, as I need not enter numbers frequently.

You can use the Keychron K8 Pro in each wired and wi-fi modes by switching the toggle on the aspect to whichever mode you want. And in case you swap between Mac and Windows, there’s a toggle for that too (together with some Windows-specific keycaps within the field to assist keep away from confusion). The USB-C port is just a little bit recessed on the aspect, so it might or could not work along with your current USB-C cables, relying on how thick they’re on the USB-C aspect. Thankfully, Keychron features a braided L-shaped USB-C to USB-A cable that works completely, however ensure that to watch out with it, as not each different cable will match. Fortunately, I didn’t have a problem with the pink coiled cable that I’ve been utilizing, which initially got here with my NK65 Milkshake Edition.

The 4000mAh battery will final 300 hours with no backlight, or 100 hours with the backlight.

Since the K8 Pro is wi-fi, it has a 4000mAh rechargeable li-polymer battery like the opposite Keychron Okay-series keyboards. However, someway the K8 Pro has longer battery life than its predecessor, the usual Keychron K8. With the K8 Pro, you will get about 300 hours with no backlight as an alternative of 240 hours, and 100 hours with backlight on the lowest brightness versus 68 hours. I’m undecided how that works contemplating they each have a 4000mAh battery, however if you wish to go longer between fees, then positively decide up the K8 Pro.

The greatest function of the K8 Pro is the very fact that it’s the solely wi-fi mechanical keyboard with VIA/QMK assist, at the least, that I do know of. With VIA and QMK software program, you possibly can customise and remap keys to higher fit your wants, together with issues like macros. However, the one detrimental is that this requires the keyboard to be plugged in with a cable, so you possibly can’t remap and reprogram the K8 Pro wirelessly. VIA can be nice for troubleshooting your keyboard if there’s something mistaken and it’s essential verify, resembling lifeless keys.

Keychron K8 Pro High Angle

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Those who additionally like RGB backlighting will love the K8 Pro. It comes with 19 backlight choices, and you may even customise them in VIA in case you so want. While I initially cherished RGB, I’ve grown accustomed to boards with out them since most of my keycap units aren’t shine by way of. The keycaps that include a totally assembled K8 Pro aren’t shine by way of, so except you will have some pudding caps or one thing, the south-facing RGB on the K8 Pro is just not an enormous deal. Plus, you possibly can merely flip the lights off with the sunshine key.

Like different Keychron keyboards, every thing you want for the K8 Pro comes within the field. This consists of keycap and swap pullers, a hex software and mini screwdriver, USB-C cable, and additional keycaps for Windows.

Keychron K8 Pro: Must be plugged in to make use of VIA/QMK

Keychron K8 Pro Usb C Plugged In

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I feel my greatest letdown with the K8 Pro is the truth that it’s essential plug it in to reconfigure with VIA/QMK software program. I hoped that it could work wirelessly, however I suppose that is smart from a technical perspective. Still, being one of many solely wi-fi mechanical keyboards on the market with this functionality is spectacular.

You can solely reconfigure the K8 Pro when it is plugged in.

Perhaps I’m too used to the Q-series of keyboards now, however the lack of colour choices in the case of the K8 Pro can be obvious. It solely is available in black, and whereas it is appropriate for just about each desk setup, I do want that there was some colour selection. Black is boring.

Keychron K8 Pro Recessed

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I’m additionally not a giant fan of how the aluminum body seems on the K8 Pro. The body itself is just a little taller than the precise physique, so it creates a recessed look, which is extra apparent on the appropriate aspect. I desire my keyboards to look flush, like a single piece of metallic, so I’m simply not a giant fan of this aesthetic. Of course, that is additionally how the unique Keychron K8 seems, so perhaps I’m simply making a giant deal out of nothing. But the aluminum body simply stands proud like a sore thumb for me, however your choice could fluctuate right here.

The aluminum body offers all the keyboard a recessed look.

Lastly, it seems just like the K8 Pro will not be accessible to the plenty till someday in May. So even in case you again it on Kickstarter within the subsequent few days or place a pre-order on Keychron’s website, you will not see it for a couple of extra weeks. Such is the lifetime of the mechanical keyboard interest normally although, however nonetheless price noting.

Keychron K8 Pro: Competition

Keychron Q2 Hero

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When it involves the most effective mechanical keyboards, there isn’t a scarcity of TKL layouts. However, it is tougher to search out one which can be wi-fi with VIA compatibility. If you do not thoughts a wired possibility that’s comparatively inexpensive, I’d advocate looking on the Glorious GMMK. I reviewed this keyboard and appreciated it quite a bit; it is available in barebones or totally assembled choices, is hot-swappable, and has a fairly smooth search for any setup. Plus, the USB-C cable is in a greater placement on the high heart of the board itself, moderately than off to the aspect, which might be higher for coiled aviator cables (purely aesthetics). However, it would not use VIA for remapping, and the software program is not accessible on Mac. But it is nonetheless a superb plug-and-play keyboard.

I additionally reviewed two different Keychron keyboards that could possibly be opponents. My private favourite in the mean time is the Keychron Q1 however even the Q2 can be nice, relying on what you want (a 75% or a 65% format). Though these aren’t wi-fi, they’re Keychron’s premium choices with stable aluminum our bodies, hot-swappable, VIA/QMK suitable, have variations with rotary knobs, and are available in a number of colours. They are just a little pricier although, however that is as a result of they’re of upper high quality. Honestly, they’re price it, however provided that you possibly can dwell with out the wi-fi connectivity (they are not journey boards).

Keychron K8 Pro: Should you purchase it?

Keychron K8 Pro Side Toggles Usb C Port

Source: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore

You can buy this if …

  • You want a wi-fi mechanical keyboard
  • You do not want a numpad
  • You need all of the customization choices

You should not purchase this if…

  • You depend on a numpad
  • You do not want a wi-fi mechanical keyboard
  • You desire a stable aluminum physique

The Keychron K8 Pro is a superb TKL wi-fi mechanical keyboard. It has a stable construct for being plastic with an elective aluminum body, can join with as much as three gadgets by way of Bluetooth, and may final for weeks on a single cost. All of this makes it an incredible mechanical keyboard to journey with, so long as you possibly can match it in your bag (it isn’t probably the most compact dimension). Plus, it is hot-swappable, so you possibly can all the time change out the switches if desired, and it’s even suitable with VIA/QMK — the primary wi-fi keyboard to have the ability to accomplish that.

out of 5

But if you’re reliant on a ten-key for each day work, then the K8 Pro is just not for you. Since it is TKL, it lacks the numpad, and in case you’re doing a variety of information entry, then doing so with the quantity row is probably not your fashion. Unfortunately, the K8 Pro is at present the one wi-fi keyboard that Keychron affords with VIA/QMK compatibility, however in case you do not want that, then you possibly can take a look at its giant number of different Okay-series wi-fi boards to suit your wants. The greatest draw of the K8 Pro is the truth that it’s wi-fi with VIA assist, however in case you do not want the wi-fi element, then you definitely’d be higher off with the Q-series, although that’s restricted to a 75% and 65% format in the mean time.

Keychron K8 Pro Red Render

Keychron K8 Pro

Bottom line: The K8 Pro is a wi-fi TKL mechanical keyboard with VIA/QMK compatibility. It has a stable physique, is hot-swappable, sounds nice, and comes with every thing you want.