Keyboard

Keychron Q1 Unboxing – What Do You Get for $169?

After its first teaser back in April 2021, the Keychron Q1 is finally available for pre-order. After using the keyboard as my daily driver for the past week, it’s really quite good, especially for a pre-built keyboard at this price point.

If you’re interested to pick up the Q1, here’s an unboxing of the keyboard, so you’ll know what you get in the box. Compared to other pre-built keyboards, the Q1 does come with a number of neat accessories too. Without further ado, let’s get to it!

The packaging of the Q1 itself is quite nice. It doesn’t feel cheap at all, and the keyboard itself inside the box – along with the accessories – is well protected with foam. Rest assured, it will survive the shipment process.

Depending on which variant of the Q1 you get, there will be some differences. I got the $169 (about RM715) fully assembled model, so the keycaps and switches are already installed onto the board. If you get the $149 (about RM630) barebone kit instead, you’ll get the Q1 without these two components.

One particularly neat accessory that’s bundled with the Q1 is a colour-matched coiled cable. While it’s really just a sleeved cable with a coil to it – so it’s not quite as premium as a “proper” custom coiled cable – it still has an aviator connector to complete the look; it’s a nice touch.

Also included with the Q1 are a number of extra keycaps with Windows and macOS-specific legends. Naturally, you only get these spare keycaps if you opt for the fully assembled model. Extra screws for the Q1’s case are given too, along with a USB-C to USB-A adapter for the coiled cable.

Aside from that, you also get 10 extra strips of gaskets in the packaging of the Q1. Do note that out of the box, only eight strips of gaskets are applied to four cutouts (top and bottom) of the Q1’s plate. There are actually a total of eight cutouts on the plate for the gaskets, so four of them are completely empty.

As pointed out in our review of the Q1, leaving these gasket cutouts empty introduces quite a bit of case ping to the keyboard, though you do get a lot of flex for a soft, comfortable typing experience. Installing the 10 extra gasket strips does reduce the case ping quite a bit, though as expected, it does stiffen up the keyboard accordingly.

Basically, keeping in mind these two factors, it’s up to you if you want to install the 10 extra gasket strips to the Q1 or not.

Anyway, I digress. Completing the list of accessories that are bundled with the Q1 are a metal switch puller, as well as a rather nice wire keycap puller. Do note that you will also get a screwdriver and an allen key to disassemble the Q1, though we didn’t receive these two items with the review unit.

So these are what you get in the box of the fully assembled Q1. Do note that you can also get a number of add-ons with the keyboard on Keychron’s official store, including a custom badge – Nextrift’s review unit has our logo on it – a resin or wooden wrist rest, and even a wide range of OEM profile dye-sub PBT keycaps.

Like most custom keyboards, the Q1 can be purchased with other plate materials too. It comes with an aluminium plate by default, and you can add-on either a brass plate, a polycarbonate plate, or an FR4 plate.

If you’re keen to get the Q1, here’s what you need to know about this 75% pre-built keyboard. It uses a gasket mounting system – this mounting style is typically only offered on custom keyboards – it has a full CNC aluminium case, along with a hotswap PCB that supports VIA out of the box for easy key mapping.

Keychron also worked with Gateron quite a bit for the Q1. Not only can it be purchased with three new factory lubed Gateron Phantom switches – Phantom Brown (tactile), Phantom Red (linear), or Phantom Blue (clicky) – it features screw-in stabilisers made by Gateron too.

Usually, the stock stabilisers of pre-built keyboards are not of particularly good quality, but that’s surprisingly not the case with the Q1. These Gateron-made stabilisers are lubed quite well at the factory to minimise rattling, and they feel nice and secure too. In fact, I don’t feel the need to swap them out with aftermarket stabilisers.

Not quite sure yet if the Keychron Q1 is for you? Then watch our video review of the keyboard above. Alternatively, you can also read our thorough review of the Q1 right here.