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This retro-style keyboard will make you love typing again (or maybe for the first time)

Keychron's Q6 Pro proves there's nothing quite like the click of a mechanical switch.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer
Matthew Miller/ZDNET

As an engineer and mobile tech writer, I spend many hours a day pounding away on a keyboard. The dual monitors, keyboard, and mouse are my most valuable tools for getting work done; therefore, making sure these components are optimized for my workflow is crucial to my daily life.

Review: Keychron Q5 keyboard: Greater functionality at a greater price

I've tested many keyboards over the past few years and most have had layouts ranging in size from 60% to 96% sizes. For the past few weeks, my fingers have been flying on a full-size, 100% layout keyboard and -- with lots of available space on the Vari Electric Standing Desk -- I am thoroughly enjoying the experience.

Keychron sent along the Q6 Pro fully-assembled knob model in Shell White with the Keychron K Pro banana switches. This model is priced at $210 and is ready to go right out of the box with a keycap puller, switch puller, screwdriver, hex key, and USB-C to USB-C cable in the box.

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My wife thinks the Shell White color is straight out of the '80s and I fully agree. With a few light gray-colored keys and red accent keys, the Q6 Pro fits perfectly with my desktop computer. A rotational knob positioned on the right side can be programmed to your favorite quick setting, which is a nice touch. By default, it behaves as a volume control, and I've kept it that way.

Also: I found the best keyboard for students, and its ChatGPT shortcut proves it

The banana switches are tactile keys with a gentle sound level. I like that they're not too loud or too quiet; as I pound away on the keys, there is a satisfying clickiness to them.

Matthew Miller/ZDNET

One of the differences between the Q6 and Q6 Pro is the support for a Bluetooth 5.1 wireless connection, so you can pair the newer model with a tablet or smartphone. I tested the Q6 Pro with an iPad Pro and the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Plus, both of which received inputs adequately. For more mobile lifestyles, having wireless connectivity is a game-changer. 

Keychron advertises 100 hours of working time with the RGB lights at the lowest brightness and 300 hours of battery life with the backlight switched off. I'll have to use the keyboard a little longer to see if the company's claims hold true. Currently, its battery has held up well.

Also: Are you keyboard customization-curious? Razer has just the thing for you

Twenty-two variations of RGB backlight settings are available with the south-facing lights adding a fun element to the keyboard. You can have patterns flowing across the keyboard or even have lights appear as you activate each key. I recommend taking some time and trying out the various lighting modes, as there are plenty to customize. The Keychron KSA profile (spherical angle) double-shot keycaps are very comfortable with a palm rest positioned to raise your hands to the proper typing level. 

Matthew Miller/ZDNET

As with most of these Keychron mechanical keyboards, you can customize your experience with the VIA software that supports key mapping, shortcuts, macro commands, and more.

ZDNET's buying advice

The Keychron Q5 Pro offers a similar experience in a 96% layout that is a bit narrower than the Q6 Pro. It seems that each new model that Keychron delivers inspires me to replace a previous model. I'm planning to use the Q6 Pro as my primary keyboard due to all of the functionality and space that is provided. I haven't experienced any issues using the keyboard, and also love the way it sounds with the banana switches. I can always change out the switches too -- that's one of the benefits of most mechanical keyboards.

Also: Uh oh, now AI is better than you at prompt engineering

Mechanical keyboards provide a nostalgic typing experience that many people enjoy. The Keychron Q6 Pro is one of the few keyboards with a 100% full-size layout that's as customizable as it is. The ability to change out the switches in order to adjust the keyboard to your personal preferences -- and the keys through the VIA software -- makes this a keyboard you can use for a long time. That's how it should be when you're paying more than $200 for one.

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