Keychron K8 Mechanical Keyboard, A Review
I spend an inordinate amount of time at the keyboard, so it only makes sense that I’m in an endless pursuit for a better all around keyboard, but specially one that’s adept to coding and productivity. Every couple of years or so, I start looking for a new keyboard that improves in some respect what I already have. My main criteria are, ranked 1–7, where 1 is most important:
- Tactile/aural experience (1)
- Price (5)
- Layout (4)
- Clean/minimalistic aesthetics (2)
- Connectivity (6)
- Upgradeability/Customization (7)
- Build quality (3)
This year looking at several review sites, this keyboard came up. The first shock was price, but in a good way. This keyboard can be had for less than $100 in amazon and other retailers, which made the decision almost an impulse buy. Once received, it became apparent that it was the right decision.
Build and Materials
Very well built. Rigid aluminum frame and super solid polymer switch plate and back. Very little to non-existing flex throughout abdicating all the experience to the switches and keys.
The switches I selected Gateron Blue as I wanted clickiness and tactile switches. The switches are RGB LED equipped so, if you’re into that sort of thing, it might be alluring to you. I normally disable all RGB effects as soon as I connect keyboards to my computers, so can’t speak how capable they are in this respect.
As for the switches, I honestly can’t tell the difference between the Gateron Blue and Cherry MX Blue. If there’s a difference is in theory, but in my experience I could not distinguish one from the other in a blind test. This is a good thing given Cherry MX switches are the industry standard and prime example of great mechanical switches.
This keyboard is a good example of form and function. No gaudy nobs, no superfluous keys, understated and muted typeface and colors on keycaps and surfaces. And yes, I know, you’re probably yelling “WHAT ABOUT THE BIRHGT ORANGE ESCAPE KEY????!?” I like it. It’s like that little fun aspect we all need in a sea of grey and black. And I bet you’re also thinking “WHAT ABOUT THAT RIDICULOUSLY SHALLOW DEPTH OF FIELD?!?!?” ehhh total amateur hour over here, sorry.
While price is fairly low in my criterial list, can you really beat this keyboard in terms of price-value? I do not think so. I don’t think anything in the market right now comes even close for under $100.
Nearly perfect. Compact yet plenty of space and forgiving. Every other ten-key-less compact keyboard I’ve tried and owned, in spite of their pros, they felt crowded and condensed and very little margin of error and causing wrist strain. Not the case at all with the Keychron K8, it neither compact, nor full sized, it’s “right sized”, if you pardon my cliche.
The keyboard can be used wired or wirelessly via Bluetooth. The wired connection is a USB-C at the keyboard and standard USB-A at the computer end. Bluetooth was super easy to pair and almost-at-par latency with wired configuration. However, if you’re planning to play twitchy games or are a prolific 100+ WPM type of writer, I’d stick with the wired configuration.
I very, very, very rarely fiddle with key-mapping and/or layout customization. I’m decidedly in the “off the shelf” configuration camp. That said, this keyboard does have the option through 3rd party tools to do all of the above, but I’m unable to comment as how good that experience is and the capabilities thereof.
As alluded to above, the Keychron K8 is in my opinion and experience best in class for under $100 mechanical keyboards. If you, like me, are into mechanical keyboards and one that is priced at “impulse buy”, this keyboard should be in your short list.
I’ve received feedback from a reader insinuating I’m receiving compensation from vendors for writing these reviews in my blog. I want to make this super clear: I do not receive compensation of any kind for writing these reviews (other than these reviews being part of Medium’s paywall). There are no kick-backs or discounts, etc. All gear I review is bought from amazon or other e-commerce sites by me with my money. All links I provide in my reviews are referrer-program-free and most permalinks which can be found via google search. I do these reviews because I love writing and I love sharing my thoughts on gear I buy which hopefully are useful to others.