The original Keychron K2 was and still is one of my favorite third-party Mac accessories. Keychron K2 version 2 is subtly based on the original’s legacy. Watch our practical video for details.
Keychron K2 (v2) enhancements
- Bluetooth 5.1 for more reliable connection
- Oblique bottom frame
- Options for two feet
- Dedicated Caps Lock backlight
- Tactile sliders and labels
Oblique bottom frame
The most notable exterior design difference between the original K2 and the updated version is the sloping bottom frame. Instead of a flat resting area, the updated version has a wedge design that provides an angle for writing, even when the feet are sloping.
Such an update seems subtle, but even with just a few degrees of extra incline, it feels more natural to type on Keychron K2 version 2.
Video: Keychron K2 version 2 review
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Options for two feet
Together with the sloping bottom frame, Keychron has changed the design of the feet. Version 2 includes an option for two slopes. Users can now choose to engage a pair of shorter feet for a less dramatic climb.
Keychron says that the K2 v2, which has the same 4000mAh battery as the original version, is rated for the same approximately 70-hour battery life as its predecessor. I would love to see a K2 with a larger battery for even more battery life over Bluetooth, because battery life is probably the only real “weakness” I have seen from this keyboard.
In other words, the biggest benefit of the Bluetooth 3.0 → 5.1 upgrade is an increase in connectivity reliability. Although I rarely experienced connectivity issues with the original Keychron K2, improvements in this area are always welcome.
In my experience, the original Keychron K2 actually lasted me 2-3 weeks on Bluetooth before I had to charge it. Performance will vary depending on the light you set the backlight, along with the type of backlight effects you decide to use.
The great thing about the K2 is that it has a USB-C port for connecting the included angled USB-C cable (which is now coming braided) to charge the K2. This allows you to charge the keyboard and / or use it as a wired keyboard if desired.
Dedicated Caps Lock backlight
The previous keyboard lacked a visual signal to tell users that Caps Lock was active. This can cause you to enter incorrect passwords, including annoyances. Version 2 has a dedicated Caps Lock backlight that illuminates Caps Lock letters in red when active.
Tactile sliders and labels
The updated Keychron K2 has the same button layout on the left side of the keyboard to switch between Mac and Windows mode, and / or Bluetooth and cable mode. Version 2 has updated sliders with a more tactile surface to make it easier to identify the switches via touch. The labels for each switch, although still ridiculously small, are also a little more readable than before.
Keychron K2 excellent features
- Tactile mechanical Gateron red, blue or brown key switches
- Mac-centric layout with 84 keys
- RGB backlight with 15+ effects
- Pair with up to three Bluetooth devices and switch seamlessly between them
- Wired cable mode via included right-angle USB-C cable
- Support for Windows
- Including Windows-centered keyboard
- Approximately 70 hours of battery life
- Aluminum frame (optional)
- Including key handle
Still one of the best keyboard options for Mac users
One area that has remained consistent between version 1 and version 2 is the feedback response from typing on the Gateron keys. Just like version 1 of the Keychron K2, the updated Gateron model has red, blue and brown switch options. These key switches are what give mechanical keyboards their “click” tactile feel. Each type of switch is different in sound and feel.
As before, I chose the calmer brown key switches, which are tactile and clicky, but are a little more refined compared to the extra high and tactile Gateron blue switches. Key switch setting is largely subjective, so it may help to test each of the switches before committing to a particular type.
Gateron brown key switch sound test on Keychron K2
I have been writing regularly on the original Keychron K2 for almost a year, and it is still as wonderful to write on as the day I got it. The updated K2 feels just like the original, which is good.
Compared to scissor switch options such as the Apple Magic Keyboard, the Keychron K2 with the Gateron key switches is a great tool for additional key travel (4 ± 0.4 mm total travel) when you press a key.
The result is a more satisfying writing experience that I think reduces fatigue in the finger and wrist compared to alternatives with relatively little keystroke. I like to illustrate it this way: typing on a low-travel keyboard is like getting your fingers to crash into the keyboard, while the keys on the mechanical keyboard act as shock absorbers to reduce the load of impact on your fingers. If you have never typed on a mechanical keyboard before, you owe it to yourself to try one.
What made the original Keychron K2 so amazing to me is that most of the mechanical keyboards up until that time were just wired. Keychron was not the first to make a wireless mechanical keyboard, but it was the first to make one good wireless mechanical keyboard.
Not only is the keyboard Bluetooth-enabled, but it has the ability to connect to three different Bluetooth hosts, such as a Mac, a Windows computer and an iPad, and switch between the three via a simple key combination.
The keyboard is also Mac-friendly out of the box. Not only does it have the full range of function keys for adjusting brightness, engaging Mission Control and Launchpad, controlling media playback, etc., it also has Mac-centric caps for keys such as Option and Command.
If you are primarily a Windows user, you can easily replace some of the Mac keyboards with the included Windows keyboards. K2 comes with a practical keystroke for easy removal and replacement of keys. I also think the keystroke is convenient to have around when cleaning the keyboard.
RGB effects and backlight
As the first version of Keychron K2, version 2 has over 15 different RGB backlight effects to choose from. These effects can be cycled through via the light bulb key in the upper right corner. You can also scroll through different colors for each effect by pressing the Fn + left or right arrow key.
RGB comes as standard on the Keychron K2 with aluminum frame, which is the one I recommend you buy. There is also a white version with only backlighting, but it comes with the less desirable plastic frame.
The RGB effects are fun, if not a little gimmicky. I often found myself turning off the effects, or settling for a simple white LED backlight when writing in dark environments. In most cases, I used to disable RGB lighting directly (tip: press fn + light bulb key to quickly turn the power on or off). Not only was this less distracting, but disabling the power helps save battery life.
As you can probably see, I’m not much of an RGB fan, but if you like the idea of having multicolored flashing, breathing, or static lighting effects on your keyboard, then you’ll love the Keychron K2. Be sure to watch our handy video above as I demonstrate some of the effects available.
While I do not think the improvements are enough to guarantee v1 owners to loop their current keyboards to upgrade to v2, the upgraded model makes Keychron K2 a more obvious choice for Mac users looking for their first wireless mechanical keyboard.
This is, in my opinion, one of the best accessories for Mac users, especially if you own a desktop Mac like an iMac, Mac mini or Mac Pro. K2 also provides a good iPad companion with the ability to pair with up to three hosts and connect to iPad Pro directly via USB-C.
After using version 1 for almost a year, I have been very impressed with how well the keyboard has held up. For example, none of the keyboard labels have begun to fade, and the key switches feel as tactile and responsive as they did on the first day.
You can find Keychron K2 on Amazon. Are you using a mechanical keyboard with your Mac? If not, what prevented you from making the move? Sound down below in the comments with your thoughts on the matter.
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