The Keychron V3 Keyboard is Exquisite Excess for the iPad

Mechanical keyboards are probably not the first option you think of when choosing a physical keyboard for your Apple iPad, as many are primarily used for desktop gaming. With the tablet being so good for work these days, many want to maximize their productivity and type comfortably so that they don’t mind playing on a good keyboard.

The Keychron K3 is a mechanical Bluetooth keyboard for iOS, MacOS, Android and Windows with a large number of optional switches for personalizing the key feel, which make it extremely versatile. Is it really worth buying a keyboard like this one, rather than one of the more established alternatives, if your main work is on a tablet?

design

The slim and lightweight, low-profile Keychron K3 doesn’t look or feel like your average mechanical keyboard. This makes it much more suitable for mobile use. It doesn’t sound exactly like other mechanical keyboards either, as different key types can be selected and therefore customized how loud and clicking your key presses are. I used the version with the Keychron optical switches, which are quieter than the mechanical switches.

Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The key stroke is generous despite the low profile. It’s somewhere between a regular Apple keyboard and a mechanical keyboard like the Keychron K2v2 in terms of height, with switches 40% slimmer than traditional mechanical switches. On the back of the aluminum case there are two switches, one to select the operating system it works with and the other to enable Bluetooth. Alternatively, there is a USB-C port on the back that allows it to be physically connected to your computer. A sturdy braided USB-C to USB-A cable is included.

Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The Keychron K3 is compact enough, 22 mm deep at its thickest point and 306 mm wide, to easily fit in a bag with your iPad or laptop. Due to its modest dimensions, it doesn’t look out of place in front of your tablet either. I didn’t need a palm rest, another advantage of the flat design. It weighs 396 grams, less than an 11-inch iPad Pro, and supports portability. The case has a low flex, so that it “bends” in the middle when typing, but not distracting and, if at all, contributes to the pleasant feeling. Otherwise it is extremely stable.

Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

A word about the overall picture. Keychron’s keyboards don’t look spectacular, and while they are neatly designed, they’re more functional than beautiful. Nevertheless, the keys have a very appealing texture and just the right grip. It might not be as noticeable as many other mechanical keyboards, but the Keychron K3’s design suits its capabilities.

Typing on the iPad

The connection with Bluetooth is easy and the iPad Pro 2020 recognized it immediately. I had no connection problems at all during my time with the keyboard and I’m pleased that Keychron has used Bluetooth 5.1 for reliability. The 75% layout makes it easy to type quickly without ever feeling tight. Most of my work over the past month has been typed with the Keychron K3 connected to either my iPad or Mac Mini.

Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Entering Pages and Google Docs is a very similar experience to using any other Bluetooth keyboard with no lag and all the usual shortcuts that work with no issues. I was used to typing on the Apple Magic keyboard with the iPad and I missed the touchpad. The interaction with the touchscreen is slower. The same problem that I have with Apple’s keyboard also continued, where I often accidentally switch between languages ​​while typing because the shortcut is too easy to activate.

Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

My Keychron K3 review came with three different types of low profile Keychron optical keys – red, blue, and white. I tried all three and ended up going for the white switches, which are quiet, tactile and have just the right resistance for me. I found that the clickier red switches forced me to make more mistakes and the resistance level of the quieter blue switches was too strong. When it comes to keyboards, everything is personal, as I really like the brown switches on my Keychron K2, which are very different from the white switches on the K3. Changing the switches is easy but time consuming. A key puller is included, and the switches don’t take much effort to free them from the chassis.

Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Once I got used to the white switches, I was able to type quickly and naturally, although not quite as quickly as on my Keychron K2v2. Even after several weeks of typing on the K3, I never got into a really fast, error-free rhythm. Typing never got annoying, however, nor did it slow me down drastically. I also typed on it faster than the excellent Apple Magic Keyboard, and it was a lot more tactile. I would have no problem using the Keychron K3 as a travel keyboard with my iPad.

Battery and RGB

The Keychron K3 is charged via the USB Type-C connection, and the cell with a capacity of 1,550 mAh lasts an estimated 34 hours. I think that’s right. The keyboard usually took four full business days before I charged it. A conspicuous display of the charge level of the battery would be welcome, however, since the red LED is not visible when you are sitting in front of the keyboard.

keychron v3 hands-on functionality price photos release date k3 rgb

Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

keychron v3 hands-on functionality price photos release date k3 white

Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

keychron v3 hands-on functionality price photos release date k3 blue

The battery was also returned when the RGB keyboard lighting was activated. There are 18 different configurations, all of which can be easily interchanged with a special key. They range from distracting to attractive. The effects aren’t really noticeable in daylight, but the keyboard really comes to life in low light. I know I don’t need RGB effects and only type on the keyboard for work instead of using them as part of a colorful gaming setup, but I still want RGB effects because they add to the appeal of an otherwise ordinary office device.

Price and availability

The Keychron K3 is priced at $ 69 with white backlighting or $ 79 with RGB backlighting and can be selected with either the low profile Keychron optical switches used for this test or low profile Gatreon mechanical switches. If you want to buy other optical key sets, these are $ 25, while packs of 12 Gatreon mechanical low-profile switches are $ 4 each.

It can now be pre-ordered via Keychron’s own webstore. Shipping is expected to begin in January.

Conclusion

The slim case of the Keychron K3, the flat keys, the adjustable switches, the versatile and reliable connectivity and the good typing experience make it the ideal Bluetooth keyboard partner for the iPad or your Apple computer. For the price, it’s excellent value for money as less powerful keyboards can cost a lot more. It’s fine to tuck in your pocket, and the small size and subtle sound (depending on your choice of switch) mean it won’t look out of place or annoy anyone using it in public.

If you want a superior, desktop-like typing experience for your tablet, the Keychron V3 is recommended. Just take the time to choose the right switches and try a few examples if possible before deciding which one is right for you. If you forgive the pun, it is key to getting the most out of the Keychron V3.

Editor’s recommendations



Comments are closed.