I can’t even put into words how excited we are to finally get our hands on the newest keyboard from Keychron, the K8. This keyboard is absolutely loaded with features and is the first tenkeyless board from Keychron to come with hot-swappable switches. We have a lot of thoughts on this keyboard, so let’s dive right in and review this bad boy.
We took a ton of pictures of the K8, so if you don’t feel like reading, you can check out our full photo album here.
- Tenkeyless layout
- Mac & Windows Compatible
- Wireless/Wired (Bluetooth 5.1)
- Gateron/Optical Red, Brown, or Blue Switches
- RGB Lighting with 15+ Types
- Detachable USB-C Cable
- Aluminum Option
- Hot-swappable Option
- Dedicated Virtual Assistant Key
- 4000 mAh Battery
- And MORE
Overall Build Quality
The Keychron K8 comes in a sleek floating keycap design with a high-profile aluminum bezel that reinforces the case and adds a nice heavy feel to the board. The keyboard feels well-constructed and super rigid, which we really enjoy. If you try to twist the case, there is no creakiness, just a solid and sturdy frame.
The keyboard features a light and dark colorway that looks professional and stylish. The design of the K8would work perfectly for someone needing a keyboard for the office or other public usage. For those of you that like a light show, you also have the option to upgrade the backlight to RGB.
Upgraded Rubber Feet
The Keychron K8 comes with a new design for the rubber feet which is a big upgrade from the previous models. Instead of two thin rectangular rubber feet, the K8 has two larger, more-rounded feet, which keeps the keyboard from sliding around. While new rubber feet aren’t exactly the sexiest of upgrades, we did notice a decent improvement in how well it sticks to slippery surfaces.
The adjustable legs on the K8 come with two different angle options so you can choose the ideal typing angle that feels most comfortable. Keychron first implemented the two adjustable legs on the K6, so it’s nice that they rolled the upgraded design into the K8. The more options the user has, the better.
The wireless connection on the Keychron K8 feels flawless. We were able to connect via Bluetooth by holding down the FN key + 1/2/3, giving you the option to connect to up to three devices and easily switch between them. We experienced very little delay when typing and no missed keystrokes.
To test out the range of the wireless connection, we tried typing from the other side of our apartment, about 25 feet away, and the keystrokes still registered without any issues. The Kickstarter page says the Bluetooth connection will hold from up to 10 meters away (33 feet), so that seems accurate based on our experience.
The wireless connection makes it really convenient to switch between my personal computer and work laptop without the need of a second keyboard, making it an excellent keyboard for working from home. From my experience with the K6, the battery will usually last about a month without charging, but I haven’t had a chance to test the full battery life on the K8 yet. The rechargeable battery is the same size, a beefy 4000 mAh, so it should last for just as long.
A feature that really sets the Keychron K8 apart from the competition is how easily you can change between Mac and Windows operating systems. By toggling the switch on the side of the keyboard, you can change the settings for Mac/Windows in seconds. TheK8 would be very easy to switch between a Windows PC and an iPad on the fly.
The K8 also comes with a new multimedia key that activates the virtual assistant on Windows & Mac. By pressing the key, it should activate Cortana or Siri. We tried this feature out while connected to a cell phone via Bluetooth and it opened the Contacts menu which was interesting.
The RGB lighting on the K8 comes with 15 different preset configurations along with additional color combinations. The RGB lighting on the K8 isn’t really outstandingly bright, but it gets the job done and scratches that RGB itch. If you’re not a fan of RGB lighting, you can get the K8 with a white backlight, so if you plan on using your keyboard in an office, the white backlight could be a better option for you.
The Power Cable
The K8 comes with a braided USB-C cable. The cable connects on the left-hand side of the keyboard and is designed to have the USB head at a 90-degree angle. A small gripe I have with Keychron is USB-C port location, because I generally prefer to plug in the keyboard on the back side. I find the left-hand port can get in the way and is a little more difficult to route the cable to. In addition, the USB-C port is slightly recessed, so using a custom cable might not be possible. Not a big issue overall, though.
The Keychron K8 comes with your choice of Gateron/Optical Red, Blue, and Brown switches. We received the K8 with Gateron Blues, which is the only switch they had available to send with the pre-production board. From our experience, Gateron switches have a really nice sound and feel, especially their Red switch. Compared to Cherry MX, Gateron switches can be just as good, although their durability is not quite as high.
You have the choice to get a hot-swappable keyboard for a slightly higher price, which we definitely recommend. A hot-swappable keyboard allows you to change out the switches without desoldering and is a great way to test a ton of different switches to figure out what your preferences are.
The hotswappable sockets are 5-pin, which is ideal. A 5-pin connection allows almost all switches to work with the keyboard and the 5-pin connection is more stable and the switches will wobble less.
The K8 comes with standard ABS plastic keycaps that are super smooth and quite thin. The keycaps are designed to let the RGB shine through and illuminate the legends. We found them to be a weak point when it comes to the K8, we could see the keycaps wearing down fast and developing a shine quickly. We definitely recommend swapping out the keycaps for a PBT set or thicker ABS plastic. But you can’t complain too much when the keyboard comes in at such an affordable price.
The K8 also comes with a few extra keycaps so you can swap out the Window’s/Mac specific keys, and a couple orange keycaps for the escape key and light key to allow you to add a nice little touch of customization.
When it comes to the stabilizers on the K8, I have nothing bad to say. The stabilizers are plate mounted and pre-lubed. They feel excellent and there is very little rattle when typing. Usually with a new keyboard I would recommend doing the usual Band-Aid, Clip, and Lube modification to the stabilizers, but this keyboard feels great right after purchase. The typing experience in general is pretty great, especially since you can swap out the switches for whatever you like.
Possible Sticking Point: The Height
Keychron keyboards have notoriously been taller than other keyboards, so Keychron has received some negative feedback in the past in regard to that design choice. The question is, how does the height of the K8 compare to their other models? We put together a table full of different keyboard heights so you can see for yourself how they compare.
|Keyboard Model||Front Keyboard Height||Back Keyboard Height|
|Keychron K8||3.2 cm||3.9 cm|
|Keychron K6||2.8 cm||3.4 cm|
|Keychron K2/K4||3.4 cm||3.6 cm|
|GMMK Compact||3.0 cm||3.9 cm|
|HyperX Alloy Origins Core||2.6 cm||3.2 cm|
As you can see, the Keychron K8 is slightly shorter in the front than the K2/K4, and is actually half a centimeter taller in the back. This can be attributed to a more angled keyboard, which I have found feels slightly better to type on.
The Keychron K6, however, has the shortest dimensions of all the keyboards from Keychron, so that may be a good choice for someone who’s not sure about the keyboard thickness. Personally, I don’t mind the thickness of the K8, but I could see how it might be a big sticking point for other people.
When compared to a normal tenkeyless layout, such as the HyperX Alloy Origins Core, the Keychron K8 is a little over half a centimeter taller. While it is noticeable, the extra thickness is not as bad as some make it out to be. The GMMK Compact, for example, is a 60% layout that is just as thick as the K8 and feels great to type on.
Possible Complaint: Recessed Area Between Keys
We do have a small complaint in regard to the aesthetic design of the K8. While the aluminum bezel around the keyboard adds a lot to the overall quality in terms of how rigid and solid the keyboard feels, we find it also creates a sort of strange recessed look in the space between the keys.
The other Keychron models don’t have the same recessed look because all of the keys are smushed together. It’s not a huge complaint, it just looks a little strange at first glance. The lowered area might also make regular cleaning of your keyboard a bit more difficult.
Keychron K8 Specifications
|Number of Keys||87|
|Number of Multimedia Keys||12|
|Battery Life||4000 mAh|
|Working Time||Up to 70 hours|
|Battery Type||Rechargable li-polymer battery|
|Backlight||Adjustable 4-level LED backlit|
|Charging Time||Around 3 hours|
|Charging Port||USB type-C|
|Bluetooth Operating Distance||Within 10 meters(open space)|
|Name of Bluetooth Device||Keychron K8|
|Keycap Color Mix||Light grey/Deep grey|
|Size||Aluminum Frame 359*129mm|
Plastic Frame 355*125mm
Height (front) 35mm
Height (rear) 42mm
|Weight||Aluminum Frame 887g/31.2oz|
Plastic Frame 740g/26.1oz
|Operating Environment||-10 to 50 C|
Final Thoughts on the Keychron K8
Overall, we were quite impressed by the Keychron K8. For a keyboard that is packed with so many features at such a low price point, it does not disappoint. I can’t think of another tenkeyless mechanical keyboard with this many features that also has an option for hot-swappability at this price point. It can be very difficult to find a good wireless mechanical keyboard for Mac, but Keychron fills that niche nicely.
We did have some complaints, such as the keyboard height being a bit on the tall side, even though the angled keyboard design does help with the height issues. We could definitely see the height being a sticking point for many. The recessed area between the keys is also a little strange looking, but that’s just personal taste.
At the end of the day, you really can’t go wrong with the Keychron K8, this keyboard would make an excellent choice for many, especially if you need a wireless mechanical keyboard that is the equivalent of a Swiss Army Knife. We took a ton of extra photos of the K8, so you can check out a full photo album here.
You can find the Keychron K8 on Kickstarter through this link.