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Update 9/1/21 – Still love this keyboard, I ended up picking up a Grifiti wrist rest and it honestly makes it so much better. This keyboard sits up pretty high, so you really need a wrist rest to get your hands up a little higher to be comfortable. This one works great, and it’s super inexpensive.
I’ve been going pretty hard in the paint on learning to code. I dabbled in some python last summer during the pandemic, but I didn’t really take it all that seriously. I’ve since started learning Swift and SwiftUI with the 100 Days of Swift course on hackingwithswift.com.
Typing a lot has made me really pay attention to my keyboard more. I had the Logitech MX Keys, and I honestly don’t have anything bad to say about it. It works exactly like it’s supposed to and it’s been 100% reliable for me so far. It’s also pretty good to type on, but it’s kind of a half measure in terms of keyboard design.
While the MX Keys has more travel than the chiclet style laptop keyboards, like the ones in, well, laptops, but also found on Apple’s own Magic Keyboard. It still has significantly less travel than mechanical keyboards, though.
If you’re old like me and remember using computers in the 80’s and 90’s, basically every keyboard back then was mechanical with it’s very long key travel and clicky keys.
So, half out of the secret idea that a better keyboard would make me a better programmer, and half because I simply wanted something to buy, I ordered a Keychron K4. It’s a modern keyboard, with bluetooth, USB C charging and connectivity, and backlighting, but it uses switches that feel like an old keyboard.
The K4 is pretty similar in size to the MX keys, with the exception of depth. Because of the larger keys, it’s WAY thicker.
You’ll also notice the Keychron keyboard has all the multimedia keys, just like the apple keyboard, and just like the MX Keys. That’s a super nice touch. You don’t realize how much you use those keys until you don’t have them. I’m looking at you, Apple Magic Keyboard for iPad.
Keychron actually makes a variety of keyboards, I just went with the K4 because I prefer having a 10 key, at least for a desktop. If I were going to travel a lot and wanted something that was more portable for working remotely, I would likely go with one of their smaller offerings without the 10 key.
You get to pick your key switches. I went with the Gateron brown switches thanks to the advice of my friend Mark, and they are perfect. They’re louder than a laptop keyboard, but not obnoxiously so. I think they would be fine in basically any setting unless it was of utmost importance to make as little noise and humanly possible. Speaking of keys, the keyboard comes with Mac keys installed, but you do get Windows keys in the box if you want to use it with Windows. There’s a switch on the side that switches the mapping between MacOS and Windows. You also get to pick your backlight, either white or RGB. I just went with white, as I’ve never been much for crazy RGB lighting on my computer and peripherals, but obviously, you do you.
The K4, and basically of their keyboard, can be connected via either cable (as I mentioned above, it’s Type C, thank god), or bluetooth. In bluetooth mode you can save up to 3 devices to connect to with a simple keyboard shortcut (Fn + 1, 2, or 3). Bluetooth connectivity seems good with no lag or dropped keystrokes, at least on my M1 MacBook Air.
This keyboard feels great, and after a few minutes to get used to a giant tall keyboard again, I feel like I can type a lot faster on this than on any other keyboard. The size is nice. Big enough to not be cramped but small enough to not take up your whole desk. (Yes, I know I need to clean my desk, but still).
I obviously have no useful input in terms of longevity, but Keychron has a reputation for quality.
Thus far, I’m pretty damn happy with this purchase. The only downside is now I think I want to get the K7 for travel, a think I would almost never use because I’m damn sure not going to carry a monitor with me and who uses an external keyboard with their laptop when they’re on vacation in a hotel, but that does’t stop me from wanting it. Basically now I want ALL the keyboards, and I’ve already been down this road with cars and I know how it ends.
Anyway, the Keychron keyboards are pretty damn awesome. I definitely like the K4 for the 10 Key, but I don’t think it matters which one you get. I’ve heard their shipping is kinda slow, so I ordered mine on Amazon with Prime delivery to get around that small annoyance, but ordering direct from them likely doesn’t take THAT long if the particular options you desire aren’t available on Amazon.