In my quest for a new keyboard the Keychron K2 is my second stop, with the Akko 3068 being the first attempt at finding a nice mechanical keyboard. After making a mistake about operating system support in the Akko purchase, I wanted to be sure that whatever my second purchase was, I knew without a doubt that it supported macOS/iPadOS properly.
The hardware switch on the Keychron K2 was the assurance I needed.
The Keychron K2 is a 75% layout keyboard, with the notable addition of a top function/media row. One of the faults I had with the Akko 3068 was the lack of much ability to control the media functions of my devices. The Keychron K2 provides full support for media control.
With this keyboard you also have a full set of arrow keys, and page up/down home/end keys and even a dedicated print screen button. Even on iPadOS this dedicated button will take a screenshot. I’ve trigged this key a few times by accident when I’m trying to use backspace. Not a deal breaker, but a bit annoying. Coming from macOS/iPadOS I’ve always used the built in keyboard commands to capture the screen and have never needed a dedicated button.
The keyboard is available in three different switch choices, all from Gateron. I got the Gateron Brown switches, which feel softer than the Cherry MX Brown’s from the Akko 3068. They also don’t have as sharp a sound at the Cherry switches on the Akko.
To finish off the construction of the keyboard, it has a dual position foot on the bottom that is rubberized to prevent slipping on your work surface. I end up using it in the highest position.
Like I said one of my biggest issues with the Akko 3068 was that it didn’t support macOS/iPadOS properly which meant that the Option/Command keys were flipped. The Keychron K2 has a switch on the side dedicated to changing between OS modes. Mine came with the macOS keys installed so I was set after a quick check to make sure that it was in the proper operating system mode.
For Windows and Android users, the keys you want are included in the box and they’re fairly easy to pull off with the included key puller.
While other mechanical keyboards have layers for programming your keys, the Keychron does not have this. The
fn key on the keyboard really only accesses the function layer, bluetooth settings, and some LED colour settings. You won’t be able to build in any custom functions with the Keychron K2.
The Keychron K2 has two different ways to connect to your devices. You change between bluetooth and wired connections with the switch on the left hand side of the keyboard, which has three positions. Bluetooth and wired on at either end of the switch with the middle position turning the keyboard off.
I love a keyboard with a proper off switch, because my kids regularly come in and start typing away on my keyboards which has created problems in the past. With a power switch, I just turn a keyboard off when I leave the house for the day.
With the connection type set to Bluetooth, press
fn and then either 1, 2 or 3 for three seconds to pair with that profile. Your keyboard will show up in settings and you can pair to it. To pair to a second device, repeat the process selecting a different profile. When in pairing mode, the backlight will flash quickly.
Switching between profiles is achieved with the same action, but don’t hold the number key. You’ll see the backlight flash to signify that it’s connecting on that profile. You’ll also see this key flash when you turn your keyboard on so that you know which profile it’s using.
When using bluetooth profiles on iPadOS, it’s been great. I haven’t noticed any lag and even when I go wired there doesn’t seem to be any difference in the performance of the keyboard.
Unfortunately, that’s not the story on macOS with my 2019 Mac Mini. Sometimes the Bluetooth profile works fine, sometimes there are terrible lags and I need to resort to plugging the keyboard in to have a typing experience that is in any way usable. I don’t think this is the fault of the keyboard though.
I’ve had this issue with my Kinesis Freestyle Solo and the Akko 3068 I was recently testing. Some other macOS users are also seeing terrible lag with wired keyborads. At this point, I’ll note it, but given that I’ve seen it on multiple keyboards and other users are reporting issues that sound exactly the same, I’ll put the blame on macOS.
Like most of the keyboards I’ve looked at, the Keychron K2 charges via USB C. It does place the port in a slightly odd spot though, on the left side of the keyboard. In the box comes a USB C -> A cable that has a 90 degree bend on the USB C end so...the provided cable fits with their port placement.
You can charge the battery by plugging the cable into any USB port. There is a red light on the side that will turn on when charging and it turns off once the keyboard is fully charged. They say it takes 6 hours to charge the 4000mAh battery, but I just used it for a day and left it plugged in overnight then unplugged it the next day.
In my testing, the battery lasted about 3 weeks of daily use with the backlights on and set to full brightness. I let my kids play with the backlight options so sometimes it was flashing, or responding to key presses...or whatever they wanted.
I’m not sure how to compare this to my other keyboards, because I never use a backlight on keyboards. My general thought is that if I plug my keyboard in when I think about it will it always have battery power?
Given that I had to remind myself at least a few times that I was trying to test the battery of the Keychron, I’d say that yes it will last about as well as any other keyboard I’ve used that was battery powered.
My big gripe with the battery is that it doesn’t report it’s charge status to iPadOS. You’ll get the red charging LED flashing when it’s dipping below 15%, but you can’t actually see what the status of the battery is.
Finally, while in bluetooth mode they keyboard will go to sleep with 10 minutes of inactivity. It takes a few key presses for it to wake up and connect to my iPad. Usually that means I walk into my office, touch the keyboard a couple times and then get to prepping whatever it is that I’m about to do. The keyboard and iPad are ready to work when I’m ready to work. If you really don’t like this you can press
fn+S+O to turn the sleep feature off.
At this point, I’ve found a keyboard that I’m happy enough with. There is nothing that I find amazing about the keyboard, but there are no obvious drawbacks like I had with the Akko 3068 either. I have another keyboard or two on my list to test out, but I’m not rushing out to purchase them.
For the next bit, I’ll be using the Keychron K2 as my main keyboard.