Keychron K2 V2

I recently ran into a problem with my keyboard at home, a Logitech K350, AKA a Logitech Wave; the O key stopped reliably working. Sometimes it would work fine, sometimes it would work only when pressed with an excessive amount of force no touch-typist could reliably muster (at which point the key would clank down awkwardly), and sometimes it just wouldn’t work at all. Unsurprisingly, the letter O is one that I use with a good bit of regularly, so this presented a problem. I decided to go ahead and order a new keyboard and started sizing up my options. I didn’t do much research, though, before Craft Brew Geek recommended the Keychron K2 V2. He hadn’t used one but had seen positive feedback on it from some highly respected people (MKBHD, anyone?), and I think he wanted someone he knew to try it out before he decided if he should get one. I was happy to oblige after doing a little research of my own and seeing almost exclusively positive feedback.

The first thing worth noting is that this is Version 2. That’s important because you can find the first version floating around on the cheap. It’s important to not mix them up, though; the initial offering of the K2 was fraught with problems that V2 tackles nicely. V2 comes in a few different variants based on the lighting and body style that you want, along with how much you want to pay. I went for the variant with RGB lighting (cool but not that important) and an aluminum frame (extremely important.) I had read online that the keyboard sans frame was light to a detriment without enough weight to properly hold it down on the desk. I did pay more for the frame, but with the build and the features, this is still relatively cheap in the world of mechanical keyboards.

The K2 is a TKL (tenkeyless) keyboard, meaning that it doesn’t have a number pad. Unlike many other TKL models, though, it has 84 keys because it still features dedicated arrow keys and dedicated Home, End, Page Up, and Page Down keys. Memorizing another function layer for keyboards that don’t feature dedicated keys like this isn’t the end of the world, but I view having them as a significant quality of life bonus.

The bigger quality of life bonus, though, falls to the keycaps. The K2 features macOS-based keycaps. It comes with replacement keycaps for Windows in case you use an that operating system and need to swap Option for Windows and Command for Alt. This is pretty common among mechanical keyboards, though it’s worth mentioning that the K2 has a dedicated physical toggle to control if it’s operating in macOS or Windows mode; most keyboards use a software function for that. The bigger difference, though, is in the function row. Along with having the standard F1 – F12 markings, the keycaps also show the corresponding macOS function. As a macOS user, I can’t stress how helpful it is to have the keycaps appropriately marked so that I know which key is going to turn up my volume and which one will launch Exposé, for example. As another quality of life bonus, the K2 also features a dedicated screenshot key that’s the equivalent of hitting Command + Shift + 4 on macOS. That’s extremely cool in my opinion.

On top of all of this, Keychron also provides orange keycaps that you can opt to use on Escape and on the key which controls the backlighting. I thought they looked snazzy and decided to use them, though you can swap to more standard keys if you wish. I was also a pleasant surprised that a wire keycap puller was included rather than one of the cheaper plastic ones that’s all but guaranteed to scratch up your keycaps. While there are plenty of dedicated keys, there’s even more functionality of the K2 tucked behind key combinations in conjunction with the Function key. The included instruction booklet clearly highlights all of these, and it was a matter of minutes to get everything configured the way I wanted it.

The lighting in my photo isn’t great, but rest assured that you can eschew RGB in favor of locking the lights in to a nice shade of pink.

I’m the type of person who rarely uses any type of adjustable riser on my keyboards, and this was one of the biggest flaws with the original take on the K2; it was almost completely flat. V2 of the K2 has a nice, gentle slope that’s pretty much exactly where I want it to be. For those who want more of an angle, there are 2 sets of adjustable feet on the bottom. The official website only calls out the difference of 9 degrees, which has to be for the more drastic of the pairs. I’d guess the other is 4 degrees, but I wasn’t about to dig up a protractor to find out. The default slope makes for a very nice typing experience for me, so I haven’t even worried about the feet beyond confirming that they exist.

Typing on the K2 is an overall pleasant experience with one minor issue I’ll touch on later. Keychron offers three choices of switch: Gateron Blues, Browns, and Reds. This was my only real hesitance in deciding to buy the keyboard since I’ve always been a stickler for Cherry switches. I opted for the Gateron Browns even though I would prefer Blues simply because I’m using this keyboard for work, and I don’t need my typing to be any louder than it already is while I’m thundering out 120 WPM on calls. While the Gateron Browns don’t feel quite as nice as Cherry Browns in my opinion, they’re really close. Both Cherry and Gateron Browns even actuate at the same 55 grams. I feel good that my concern over the switches wasn’t warranted.

The K2 can connect to devices either via Bluetooth or USB-C. I’ll likely never use it via Bluetooth if my Plum Nano serves as any indication, so USB-C will be my go-to method. This is where one of the two issues I have with the K2 V2 comes into play. The USB-C port is on the left side of the keyboard rather than the back, which you can see in the top image. The provided USB-C cable accounts for this by connecting at a right-angle so that it can immediately be directed behind the board, and this seems to work fine… as long as I have that cable. If I’m ever forced to use a different, more standard cable, that’s going to make for a janky setup.

The other issue I have with the K2 V2 I hesitate to even really call an “issue”; it’s more something I need to adjust to a little bit as a touch-typist. The right Shift key is a little bit shorter than it would be on a standard ANSI QWERTY keyboard. This is done to allow for the dedicated arrow keys. I would say that 98% of the time (yes, I’m completely making up this number), it’s not an issue. The other 2% of the time, I accidentally extend my pinky just a bit too far and hit the up arrow or awkwardly catch the edge of the Shift key. It’s not a huge ordeal, and as someone who has periodically dealt with using ISO keyboards before I know I’ll adjust quickly; it feels worth mentioning, though. It’s also good practice for me since my Starlabs Lite Mark III that’s currently sitting in customs in the UK has a much shorter right Shift key for the exact same reason.

On the whole, I’ve been extremely pleased with the K2 V2 so far. I’ve used it for a little over a week, generally spending 9 – 14 hours a day on it between work, training, and personal projects. It’s a treat to type on, the functionality is nice without being overkill, and I think the size really hits the sweet spot between not taking over my desk and not forcing me to re-adjust it every 5 lines of code because it’s constantly moving; the aluminum frame that I opted for undoubtedly helps it in that regard. I really do think that for $90 USD you could do significantly worse, and the K2 V2 has features and a build quality I’d be expecting from a mechanical keyboard in the $120 – $150 USD price range. I think this is a great keyboard for anyone, but especially if you’re a macOS user in the market for a mechanical keyboard, the Keychron K2 V2 would be a smart place to start.

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