Mechanical keyboard company Keychron has launched a Kickstarter for its first keyboard with Hall effect switches Kikron Q1 HE. The fully assembled model costs $214 if purchased as part of Kickstarter, and there’s also a base model available without switches or keycaps for $194.
Compared to traditional mechanical switches, Hall effect switches are analog and therefore able to tell the difference between a light press and a full press on each key. So, with the Q1 HE, you can take advantage of this by customizing how far you want to press each key before it triggers, and there’s also a ‘hot play’ feature that can register a keystroke the second you re-press the key – instead From having to lift past the reset point. If you want a really luxurious look, you can assign up to four commands to the same key to take advantage of this analog sensitivity.
Keychron is not the first keyboard manufacturer to use Hall effect switches, which have previously appeared in models of wootingThe Steel Series and Corsair. But it’s worth noting that Keychron makes some of the best mechanical keyboards out there, which means the Q1 HE has the ability to combine a great typing feel with a comprehensive suite of Hall-effect features.
The Keychron Q1 HE’s analog features are customized via Keychron’s web app, which can also handle other key remapping duties. This is a departure from the excellent Via app that Keychron keyboards typically work with, and it remains to be seen if Keychron’s software can match Via’s power and ease of use.
The Q1 HE can be used either wired or wirelessly, and if you’re going the wireless route, there’s the option to connect via Bluetooth or using a 2.4GHz USB dongle. The latter offers a responsive polling rate of 1000Hz, while Bluetooth benefits from the ability to connect with up to three devices.
In terms of build, the Q1 HE is close to the Keychron’s Q1 Pro. It uses a 75 percent compact design with an all-aluminum body and gasket-mounted construction. Its keycaps are made of durable, double-sided PBT and use Keychron’s old-style OSA profile, and are equipped with PCB-mounted screw-on mounts. The Gateron 2.0 linear magnetic switches are technically hot-swappable, but you will only be able to replace them with last Hall effect switches. It’s obviously equipped with a volume knob, as well as south-facing RGB backlighting on each key.
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