The GMMK Pro vs Keychron Q1 are two of the best mechanical keyboards on the market today. Both have features that make them stand out from the competition, but which one is the better option?
The GMMK Pro offers a full-size keyboard with a solid aluminum frame and customizable Cherry MX switches. It also has a hot-swappable design, allowing users to easily switch out their keycaps for different styles.
On the other hand, the Keychron Q1 is a much more compact option, featuring an ultra-slim design and low profile keycaps. It also has extra RGB lighting effects for added flair.
Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference – if you want a full-sized keyboard with lots of customization options, the GMMK Pro is likely the better choice. However, if you need something smaller and lighter, the Keychron Q1 might be the ideal fit.
Keychron Q1 review
- Range of elements that can be customized
- The aluminum case is strong and durable
- Works works with Mac and Windows
- Key mapping software is compatible with key mapping software.
- No Bluetooth
- There is no height or angle adjustment
Keychron Q1 Keychron Q1 is a customizable mechanical keyboard that leaps beyond regular mechanical keyboards.
It offers a customized keyboard experience for seasoned users and comes with hot-swappable sockets for different switches and support for open-source software for key mapping. At first, it appears to be a bit complicated and requires an expert in keyboards to make the most of it.
My primary keyboard of choice is typically a Keychron K2V2. I’ve always thought of it as the perfect keyboard for my requirements. Is upgrading to Q1 make a difference?
And is the possibility of customizing it worth the effort? Another question to consider is whether it is available to all users. I’ve been working on it for over an entire week and was thrilled with the experience.
The top and bottom cases are made of CNC-machined aluminum. The 327mm-long body is home to a 75% keyboard. It’s made to be custom-built and has new switches added, either 3-pin or 5-pin, on the PCB and doesn’t require soldering. It can be purchased already built or as a “bare-bones” kit ready for you to construct, with your choice of gaskets, keycaps, clicky switches and noise-reducing.
My review model was preassembled with Gateron Brown switches and Keychron’s ABS plastic keycaps. The final aspect of personalization is placing your logo on the right-hand side of the top of the keyboard.
Keychron put their digital Trends Logo on the keyboard, and it’s gorgeous (see the image below). The change costs $30 and will undoubtedly prolong the time of delivery should you choose to do the option.
The Q1 is a massive piece of equipment that prevents it from bouncing around on your desk, along with its highly sturdy rubber feet. Although it can’t adjust the angle or height, I found it ideal for comfortable and fast typing with no fatigue. However, this will only be the case for some.
I’m surprised Keychron does not offer any adjustments to such a programmable product. The keyboard is available in blue, black or sleek gray.
I love the minimalist design that doesn’t sound like a “gaming keyboard” like other mechanical options; however, it will appear right at home anywhere on your desk, whether you’re playing or working on it.
The South-facing RGB lighting is more visible than the K2V2, and it’s easy to switch the appearance by pressing the Q and function keys simultaneously. If you switch your switches, their primary RGB color will also change as well as you can notice the more intense red effects through those Gateron Red switches in our photographs.
If a keyboard is designed to be used throughout the day, not for gaming, its design isn’t often thought of by the maker, so a keyboard is an ordinary keyboard, and the style will be what you get.
But not so for the Q1 Keychron, for instance, because If you do not like the color scheme of the keys shown in our images, you can alter the color and make it entirely personal. This is also true for the color of the case, the logo, and the overall experience.
2. Connection and software
The keyboard is connected to your computer by the thick, braided, high-end USB Type-C to Type-C cable. It comes with an aviator-style socket in the middle that allows different connections. The cable has a curly portion between the two solely for aesthetic reasons.
A USB Type-C to Type-A adapter is provided in the box, as well as a set of tools for changing the keyboard’s stabilizers, switches, and keys.
If connected when connected, there’s a switch at the back of the keyboard that lets you indicate whether you want to use it with Mac or Windows.
Keychron Q1 Keychron Q1 does not have Bluetooth, meaning it cannot be wirelessly connected to your laptop or computer or directly to your Apple iPad or another tablet. It’s OK because it’s not designed for use while you’re in the open since it’s heavy to be carried around.
Keychron claims its Q1 is suitable with QMK critical remapping software on Windows and Via’s software available for Mac.
But, Via could not be installed in the Apple Mac Mini M1 with Big Sur, and the Via website could be more user-friendly for those unfamiliar with installing software that isn’t available in the Mac App Store.
When I inquired about this issue, Keychron said that the program was working without issue on my computer, which suggests this could be an isolated problem.
Before the first time I used my Mac, the system needed certain keystrokes to allow it to recognize the Q1; however, aside from that, there was no configuration required. I do not require the remapping and macro tools offered by Via, so the fact that the system didn’t function was not an issue.
Also, the keyboard is working without issue. If you require custom settings and you use a Mac, you may require some patience or knowledge of the process to download non-App Store programs to gain these tools.
Based on my experience with previous Keychron models, Keychron Q1 was significantly quieter while typing, despite using Gateron Brown switches in both.
The sound deadening within the case does a fantastic job. However, it can sound a bit hollow, which Keychron is aware of and has addressed with the option of additional foam to help with sound dampening for the user to use if required. The gasket mounts offer ample flexibility and spring when you press the keys.
Keychron claims that the gaskets provide 2.5mm to travel. If you’re looking to get more volume out of the Q1, switch the switches to more responsive Gateron Blue versions.
The model I’m reviewing is equipped with an ANSI layout, which is it is not the preferred ISO design, as you can see that the Enter key is more significant.
The keyboard took time to adjust to because my small finger would hit both the Enter and Shift keys while typing fast. After getting familiar with it, my typing speed and precision are precisely the same as when I used the K2V2 Keychron, indicating that if you’ve used mechanical keyboards, you shouldn’t face any issues adjusting to Q1.
The key caps that are standard ABS keycaps appear to be more durable than the ones found in the Keychron K2V2 and have less of a plastic-like under-your-finger feel and a more comfortable indentation.
But, I switched the caps to one set made of polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) that offers a more sumptuous feel and will resist fading and shine for a long time. Keychron sells PBT keycaps for around $40. They’re expensive, but they’re worth it for the more comfortable and long-lasting feel.
It will take less than 30 minutes to switch all the keycaps using the included tool, but it takes longer to switch the keys. It’s not arduous since a “puller” tool is included in the package. However, you’ll have to be patient as it’s a long and often tricky process requiring lots of effort to pull the switches from the PCB.
I changed between the Gateron Brown switches for one of the Gateron Red switches, and it took me about 45 minutes. Since the switches require force to take them off, they quickly break the aluminum chassis, but it’s not visible once assembled.
I don’t prefer to change the switches regularly; however, having the ability to change them is a huge advantage.
Why? Experimentation because enjoying typing is an incredibly unique thing. The feeling on the Red switches is superior to that of Brown buttons and allows me to type faster and more accurately, which I was unaware of until I played around using the Q1’s custom-made.
There’s generally an incredible feeling of solidity when typing on the Q1, particularly when compared with the K2V2’s body made of plastic.
Every keystroke has a satisfying amount of damping but is not as loud, yet it still feels satisfying. The Brown switches are more reliant on power to activate, compared to the Brown switches that are fitted to the K2V2 and are enjoyable.
After trying various mechanical keyboards lately, such as the Keychron K3 and the Azio Izo, to name a few examples, I’ve consistently gone back to the Keychron K2V2. I’m expecting to do it with something other than Q1.
The durability of the body of the metal and the superb Gateron Red switches that I’ve been working on, and the quiet sound (I record interviews and the clattering of the keyboard on K2V2 in the background when I’m taking notes is highly annoying).
Also, I’m more efficient and quicker at typing with it. I’ll keep it at my desk.
The real discovery was helped by Q1’s flexibility that goes far beyond what I know and how far my needs as far as they are concerned, making it an ideal choice for the novice as well as the more experienced.
4. Prices and availability
Keychron Q1 is available to pre-order now. Keychron Q1 is available to purchase now. Shipping is scheduled to begin around September 15. Fully assembled in one of three colors, the Q1 retails for $169. However, this is a promotional price per the store’s online site and could be raised by $179 at any moment.
The basic versions are currently out of stock for purchase at the time of writing and will be available soon after the release of the fully assembled version.
Glorious GMMK Pro review
- Excellent quality of construction
- Numerous options for customization
- Great audio
- Functional, bloat-free software that is free of charge.
- The keyboard is more expensive than other custom keyboards
- Modifiable RGB lighting options are not available.
- Certain aftermarket parts may not work
1. In The Box
- The power cable A White-colored, braided USB cable.
- Keycap puller made of plastic: orange and made of plastic, it is used for taking off keycaps.
- Metal switch puller is made of thin metal that can remove switches.
- Barebones keyboard: Keycaps not included or switches are included.
- Small pamphlet with information about where to find warranty information and details about the product.
GMMK Pro comes with a few accessories. GMMK Pro comes with a few accessories, which permit a couple of primary use for the keyboard. The GMMK store offers more accessories you can purchase separately, including premium versions of the accessories included in the package.
You’ll need to buy these items at a price that is marked up. The small pamphlet is included in the box, providing the best way to obtain more information about the product. However, receiving a separate user manual containing more details would have been great. The keyboard comes with a two-year warranty.
2. Build Quality
- Materials: CNC Aluminum for the case that has an aluminum plate
- Color: Black or White-Ice.
- Flex is not a factor.
- Typing Angle: 6 degrees
- Kickstands There is none
- The Power Cable is a USB-C Port located in the middle
The build quality of this keyboard is unparalleled. With a full aluminum frame, it is constructed like a tank with there is no flex. Regarding the plate, there are several choices, with aluminum being the most popular option. There are also either polycarbonate or brass, based on what you’re looking to get.
The brass plate provides a more rigid typing experience, while the polycarbonate plate is more elastic. The polycarbonate plate isn’t without its problems in that the switches can be released easily, and the stabilizers need to be mounted correctly, which is why we suggest brass or aluminum for the time being.
3. Size and Layout
- Layout Size: 75%
- Rotary Knob A knob that can be programmed and is made of steel with an enveloping feel. It can be replaced easily.
- The length is 13.1 inch / 333.2 millimeters
- Width 5.3 inches / 135 millimeters
- Thickness 1.3 inch /32 millimeters
- Weight: 3.3 lbs (barebones) / ~3.75 lbs (completed)
GMMK Pro GMMK Pro comes in an expanded layout of 75 with all arrows. The maritime group and the function row are separated from the alphanumeric keys that are the primary ones. This reduces the chance of errors when typing and provides a more efficient layout that does not call for an additional number pad.
It also features an encoder knob with programmability that different colors can replace according to your preferences. Glorious has silver and gold choices for the knob. The knob is constructed of aluminum with a pleasing touch and can control the volume.
- Keycap Material: PBT
- Profileof Cherry: Cherry profile
- Legends: Dye-sublimated
- Standard Bottom Row No
- Keycaps from Aftermarket Yes, but in particular layouts only.
- Keycaps can be purchased separately from Glorious
The keyboard doesn’t come with keycaps, but we’ve used Glorious keycaps and will discuss these species in this article. In other cases, you’ll need to purchase the keycaps separately from a different store.
If you’re purchasing keycaps outside of the Glorious store, it is essential to find items that are compatible with 75%’s layout since keys that are commonly used will not be able to fit correctly. The Glorious keycaps come in a mixture of blue and green and are of a lower level than usual.
They have a premium feel, and the change from blue to green looks great in the white ice box style. This profile comes from Cherry, which is different from the standard OEM profile. The legends do not have a shine-through, which means that you will not see the RGB of the keyboard will not light the legends.
5. The Switches
Similar to the keycaps, you’ll have to purchase the switches separately. The keyboard is hot-swappable, meaning that the switches you select can easily mount without soldering. Additionally, the connectors are 5-pin, so virtually every mechanical switch available will work using this type of keyboard.
The switches are positioned south-facing, so you should be fine with using Cherry keycaps with profiles. Hot-swappable sockets were extremely well-thought-out by Glorious. The keyboard has three different plate choices, meaning each plate has a good test. We tested an NK Cream switch for each test.
- Type Glorious GOAT PCB Screw-In
- Color Clear
- Lubed/Unlubed: Lubed
7. The RGB
- Color The RGB color
- Per-Key: Yes
- Side glow: Yes
- Location of the LED Direction: South-facing
- Change Lighting Effects: FN + Up, FN + Down
- Change Brightness Change Brightness Software
The keyboard comes packed with RGB. It has the option of per-key RGB on every switch and side-glow, which is an appealing aesthetic. It is possible to switch between different lighting effects using the FN + Down and Up Arrow keys.
The RGB options in the keyboard firmware are less diverse, which is why you’ll need to download the application for more customization. The keyboard’s lighting will likely bounce off the plate and create a vivid experience.
8. The Software
- Name: Glorious CORE, QMK and VIA
- Compatibility: Windows
- Macros Yes
- Per-Key Lighting: Yes
- Keys Remap Yes
- Onboard Memory: You can save as many profiles as possible.
- Profiles Yes
It is a great keyboard. Glorious software is quite robust and provides a wide range of functions. Apart from the software, it is also compatible with open-source software like VIA and QMK to allow you to customize your keyboard. It is also compatible with QMK and VIA.
GMMK Pro has enough memory onboard to store a personalized profile, but when you open the program, it is possible to access additional. You can create different RGB layering, modify the lighting for each key, change keys’ remaps and macros, alter the rate of polling and much, much more.
- Type of Port USB-C
- Wireless is not available.
- Latency: 1000 Hz / 1ms
- Compatibility: Mac/Windows
- Number of Devices: 1.
- Cable Length: 6 ft / 1.83 m
- USB Passthrough There is no
The keyboard has an in-center USB port to power the keyboard. The GMMK Pro can only connect via a wired connection, but no wireless connectivity alternatives exist.
The cable included with the keyboard is six feet long, making it perfect for wired use. The latency/polling frequency is 1000 Hz or 1 ms. It can be adjusted further by the software if required.
The stabilizers do not have typical, but instead, they attach directly to the PCB. This provides improved stability as opposed to the standard plate-mounted stabilizers. Glorious utilized their proprietary GOAT stabilizers, which come in a silver and clear color.
They look like Durock or Everglades; however, they are different in different colors. They also have factory-lubed to reduce shaking and rattle. The stabilizers worked very well, except for the spacebar, which needed some modifications from our side to prevent the bar from shaking.
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GMMK Pro vs Keychron Q1
So I built the GMMK Pro last week (a writing plan is in my drafts of that). I received an email from Keychron the same week that I received the GMMK Pro shipped. I waited about six months after I reserved the board for purchasing it.
GMMK Pro, so the timing was an exact coincidence. I’ll be discussing my thoughts on this GMMK Pro in its post, but I’d like to highlight the announcement of Keychron’s Q1 board.
So far, Keychron has had great entry-level mechanical boards, but among the features they still need to have is the ability to utilize QMK to create custom firmware/key mapping and the option to purchase the basic board with no switches or keycaps.
That’s changed now with their recent announcement. Contrary to most of the boards they launch through Kickstarter, the one they have announced will be on their website towards the beginning of July or August. It will be available for the ship in September.
I’m writing this blog because the features of the GMMK Pro and the Q1 are pretty similar. It’s almost like they saw one another in the GMMK Pro and said, “how could we duplicate this feature set and make it a little less expensive”.
Below is a comparison between features:
|Feature||GMMK Pro||Keychron Q1|
|Layout/number of keys||75% TKL – 83 keys (ANSI US)||TKL – between 83 – 87 keys|
|Rotary knob||Yes, comes with all boards||Not at launch, will be added later|
|Price||$170 barebones aluminum case option|
Varies between $200-350 for additional options
|$140 for base option|
$170 for basic kit (keys and switches)
|Case material||Aluminum, polycarbonate, or brass||Aluminum only|
|Wireless / Bluetooth||No||No|
|ANSI/ISO option||Yes – not at launch||Yes – at the launch|
|RGB||Yes – south-facing RGB||Yes – south-facing RGB|
|Stabilizers||Preinstalled GOAT stabs||Unknown at launch|
|Third-party stabs?||Yes – but durock v2 takes some|
work fitting into the plate
|Yes – support for both Cherry|
and Durock V2
|QMK / VIA support||Not at launch – planned for mid-2021||Yes|
|Colorways||Black and silver (known as white)||Unknown but the marketing page shows Blue, Gray, Gunmetal|
|Typing Angle||6º – no legs||Unknown – no legs|