The Keychron K3 Pro vs Keychron K3 (Version 2) are two slim mechanical keyboards offered by Keychron, each catering to different user preferences and needs. In this article, we will dive into a detailed comparison between the two keyboards, exploring their design, features, customizability, typing experience, and more.
|Keychron K3 Pro||Keychron K3 (Version 2)|
|Price||CHECK PRICE||CHECK PRICE|
|Released||Sep 29, 2022||Sept 11, 2019|
|Layout||ANSI 75% (84 keys)||ANSI 75% (84 keys)|
|Material||Aluminum body, ABS keycaps||Aluminum body, ABS keycaps|
|Switch Options||Gateron Low Profile 2.0||Keychron Low Profile Optical|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth 5.1, Type-C cable||Bluetooth, USB|
|Frame||Aluminum top plate||Aluminum sides|
|Keycap||PBT, double-shot||ABS plastic|
|Dimensions||306 x 116 x 22 mm||306 x 116 x 22mm|
|Weight||1.16 lbs (525g)||0.87 pounds (396g)|
Keychron K3 Pro Features
Premium Build Quality: The Keychron K3 Pro features an aluminum body, providing a premium and sturdy feel.
RGB Backlighting: The K3 Pro comes with RGB backlighting, offering customizable lighting effects for a personalized experience.
Low Profile Double Shot PBT Keycaps: The K3 Pro comes with durable and fingerprint-resistant double-shot PBT keycaps, ensuring long-lasting and easy-to-read key legends.
Improved Stabilizers: Redesigned stabilizers on the K3 Pro reduce key wobbling, enhancing typing accuracy, especially on larger keys like the spacebar and Enter key.
Via Software Support: The K3 Pro is compatible with the Via software, allowing users to remap keys, create custom macros, and customize lighting for a tailored setup.
Wireless Connectivity: The keyboard supports wireless connectivity via Bluetooth, allowing users to connect up to three devices and switch between them seamlessly.
Extended Battery Life: The K3 Pro boasts impressive battery life, offering up to 100 hours of usage on a single charge in wireless mode.
Brown Gateron Switches: The K3 Pro is equipped with brown Gateron switches, providing a tactile and moderately quiet typing experience.
Keychron K3 (Version 2) Features
Simple and Aesthetic Design: The Keychron K3 (Version 2) features a clean and minimalistic design with a row of keys, making it visually appealing.
Low Profile Optical Switches: The K3 (Version 2) comes with low profile optical switches, offering a unique typing experience with a thinner profile compared to traditional mechanical switches.
Keycap Compatibility: The K3 (Version 2) supports aftermarket keycaps, but due to its low profile nature, finding compatible keycaps might be challenging.
Mac and Windows Compatibility: The K3 (Version 2) is compatible with both Mac and Windows operating systems, making it versatile for different users.
Hot Swappable Version Available: The K3 (Version 2) is available in a hot swappable version, allowing users to easily replace switches without soldering, providing customization options.
Wireless and Wired Modes: Like the K3 Pro, the K3 (Version 2) can be used in both wired and wireless modes, supporting Bluetooth connectivity.
Angle Feet: The K3 (Version 2) includes adjustable angle feet, providing some inclination options for a comfortable typing position.
Gateron Blue and Red Switch Options: The K3 (Version 2) is available in Gateron Blue and Red switch options, catering to users who prefer clicky or linear typing experiences.
Key Differences: Keychron K3 Pro vs Keychron K3
1. Design and Build:
K3 Pro: The K3 Pro features a premium aluminum body, offering a more robust and durable build quality.
K3 (Version 2): The K3 (Version 2) also has an aluminum frame, but its overall design is simpler and more minimalistic.
K3 Pro: The K3 Pro comes with low-profile double-shot PBT keycaps, known for their durability and resistance to wear and tear. They feature legends that won’t fade over time.
Keychron K3 (Version 2): The K3 (Version 2) also has low-profile keycaps but lacks the double-shot PBT material, which may make them less durable in the long run.
K3 Pro: The K3 Pro comes with Gateron Brown switches, offering a tactile feel without the loud click, making it suitable for both typing and gaming.
Keychron K3 (Version 2): The K3 (Version 2) offers Gateron Blue and Red switch options. Gateron Blue switches provide a clicky feel, while Gateron Red switches offer a smooth linear experience.
Keychron K3 Pro: The K3 Pro features redesigned stabilizers, reducing key wobbling on larger keys like the spacebar and Enter key, improving typing stability.
Keychron K3 (Version 2): The K3 (Version 2) has standard stabilizers, which may not provide the same level of stability as the redesigned ones in the K3 Pro.
Keychron K3 Pro: The K3 Pro offers extensive customizability through the Via software, allowing users to remap keys, create macros, and personalize lighting effects.
Keychron K3 (Version 2): The K3 (Version 2) has some level of customizability, but it lacks the advanced software control available in the K3 Pro.
6. Battery Life:
Keychron K3 Pro: The K3 Pro boasts an extended battery life of up to 100 hours on a single charge, making it suitable for long wireless usage.
Keychron K3 (Version 2): The K3 (Version 2) has standard battery life, which may require more frequent recharging.
7. Hot Swappable Option:
Keychron K3 Pro: The K3 Pro does not have a hot-swappable option; switches are pre-installed and non-removable without soldering.
Keychron K3 (Version 2): The K3 (Version 2) offers a hot-swappable variant, allowing users to easily change switches without soldering, providing greater customization possibilities.
8. Price Range:
Keychron K3 Pro: The K3 Pro is priced higher $119.99 due to its premium build, advanced customizability, and enhanced features.
Keychron K3 (Version 2): The K3 (Version 2) is more budget-friendly $99, making it an attractive option for users seeking a low-profile keyboard without all the advanced functionalities.
Design: Keychron K3 Pro vs Keychron K3
Both keyboards is quite similar, with both including a USB cable for charging and connectivity. However, it’s worth noting that the K3 Pro, despite being labeled as a “pro” unit, comes with a USB-A to USB-C cable, which might be a bit inconvenient for users expecting a USB-C to USB-C connection.
Visually, the K3 Pro stands out with its contrasting three-tone design in black and blue-gray, featuring a pop of magenta on the Enter and Escape keys. On the other hand, the K3 (Version 2) sports a more understated Shades of Gray look with a subtle flash of orange on the Escape button.
The K3 Pro comes with low-profile double-shot PBT keycaps, which are more durable and resistant to fingerprints compared to the ABS keycaps found on the K3 (Version 2).
Another notable difference is that Keychron redesigned the stabilizers on the K3 Pro, aiming to minimize key wobbling on larger keys like the spacebar and Enter key, resulting in a more stable and accurate typing experience.
Battery Life and Connectivity
Both keyboards offers a 75% layout and can connect wirelessly to up to 3 devices via Bluetooth. Surprisingly, the K3 Pro, marketed as the “pro” version, outperforms the K3 (Version 2) in terms of battery life. The K3 (Version 2) claims a battery life of approximately 34 to 70 hours, while the K3 Pro offers an impressive battery life of up to 100 hours, making it more power-efficient, especially for extended wireless use.
The K3 Pro’s key selling point lies in its customizability, thanks to the support of QMK/VIA software. This enables users to reprogram the keyboard’s functionality and lighting according to their specific workflow. By connecting the K3 Pro via cable and using the Via software to load the K3 Pro keymap, users can easily drag-and-drop remap key commands, create custom macros, and configure unique lighting effects. This level of customization makes the K3 Pro a powerful tool for programmers, coders, and gamers who need highly personalized setups.
In contrast, the K3 (Version 2) lacks such extensive customizability and is more appealing to general-purpose users who may not require advanced reprogramming options.
Both keyboards feature brown Gateron switches, but the typing experience varies between them. The K3 (Version 2) provides a quieter typing sound, similar to keys with dampening applied, making it suitable for office environments where noise should be kept to a minimum.
In contrast, the K3 Pro produces a louder, higher-pitched typing sound, making it more suitable for home offices or individual workspaces where sound is less of a concern.
Additionally, the K3 Pro enhances typing accuracy with its redesigned stabilizers, reducing key wobbling and delivering a more consistent typing experience, especially on larger keys like the spacebar and Enter key.
In conclusion, the K3 Pro and K3 (Version 2) cater to different user preferences and use cases. The K3 Pro shines as a customizable keyboard with extensive Via software support, making it an excellent choice for programmers, coders, and gamers who value personalized setups. Additionally, its improved battery life in wireless mode is a significant advantage.
On the other hand, the K3 (Version 2) appeals more to general-purpose users who appreciate its understated aesthetics, quieter typing sound, and a satisfying typing experience.
Ultimately, your choice between the two keyboards depends on your specific needs and whether you prioritize customizability and enhanced features or a more traditional and office-friendly experience.