This affordable Keychron mechanical keyboard provides a satisfying typing experience equal to pricier models

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  • The Keychron K1 SE keyboard is a premium upgrade over cheap, plastic office-style keyboards.
  • You can choose how the keys feel while typing with selectable switch options when you buy the keyboard.
  • This keyboard is also wireless, and it works with Macs and Windows computers. 

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Is it absolutely worth spending money on a premium keyboard, like the Keychron K1 SE, when you already have a cheap office keyboard? Not necessarily. Cheap office keyboards serve their purpose, and some can be perfectly comfortable. 

Rather, a premium keyboard, like the Keychron K1 SE, is a nice treat to give yourself, or even as a gift to someone else. The K1 SE isn't even that expensive at $75 — it's actually cheaper than Apple's $100 Magic Keyboard. 

Perhaps it's the nature of my job as a writer that makes me notice something as mundane as a keyboard, but there's something to be said about a premium, sleek, wireless clacker with a clean design that looks attractive, feels comfy, and declutters your desk.

What is the Keychron K1 SE?

A top down view of the the Keychron K1 SE wireless mechanical keyboard.

Antonio Villas-Boas/Insider

Keychron's K1 SE is a "low-profile" wireless mechanical keyboard that's significantly slimmer

than typically big, chunky mechanical keyboards. It's not as slim as some common keyboards with "membrane" keys, like Apple's Magic Keyboard or Logitech's MX Keys, but it's close while keeping the satisfying typing experience of a regular mechanical keyboard.

Designed for both Mac and Windows, the keyboard has plenty of features worth mentioning. Most noteworthy is the fact that you can choose how you want your typing experience to feel with different key switch options (more on that later). You can also get a version of the K1 SE that lets you swap out the switches with different ones of your choosing, if you're inclined to that kind of advanced setup. 

This keyboard is also backlit and comes with 18 lighting effects, and you can pick a version with colorful lighting rather than simply white lighting. You can pair up to three different connected devices for easy switching, and it has media controls like volume, play/pause, and previous/next. Just keep in mind that you need to press the "Fn" key to work those media controls, as they're tied to buttons on the top row of F-keys. That's unfortunately less convenient than dedicated media keys. 

You can choose how your keys feel when typing.

A profile view of the Keychron K1 SE wireless mechanical keyboard.

Antonio Villas-Boas/Insider

One of the Keychron K1 SE's major draws is that you can choose what you want your typing experience to feel like by picking a certain mechanical "switch" before you buy it. You can pick between blue, brown, and red switches. 

Blue switches make a loud clicky noise and have a pronounced feedback bump when you press a key. Brown switches are less noisy and have a somewhat muffled feedback bump. Red switches are the least noisy and don't have a feedback bump. When in doubt, brown switches tend to be a good option for mechanical keyboard beginners. You can actually get a sense of what each switch sounds like in Keychron's video below.

Personally, I like red switches that offer a smoother typing experience, not to mention they're the quietest of the bunch. 

What's it like to use the Keychron K1 SE?

The rear or the Keychron K1 SE wireless mechanical keyboard.

Antonio Villas-Boas/Insider

I'm not going to exaggerate or pretend that using the Keychron K1 SE is some kind of life-changing revelation. But I can definitively say that it offers a really pleasant typing experience. In fact, this is the first low-profile mechanical keyboard I've tried after using several chunky mechanical keyboards, and I'm thinking about sticking to low-profile from now on. 

The Keychron K1 SE and its aluminum top and mechanical keys offer a more premium feel. The keys feel sturdy, solid, responsive, and they bounce back with confidence compared to the wiggly keys you find on most cheap keyboards. 

The Keychron K1 SE also imparts a clean and premium look compared to a cheap plastic keyboard. Extra design elements also add a little flair, like the tastefully orange Escape key.

The bottom line

My short time with the Keychron K1 SE keyboard was largely an enjoyable one. For less than the most popular wireless keyboards for Windows and Mac, this model offers similar form and function. This makes the Keychron K1 SE an easy recommendation for the work from home crowd, or even at the office if you get the quieter red switches.

Antonio Villas-Boas

Senior Tech Reporter

Antonio is a senior tech reporter for Insider's Reviews team, where he helps lead coverage, reviews, and guides of smartphones, tablets, accessories, wearables, smart home products, as well as audio devices from Apple, Google, Samsung, OnePlus, and other major tech companies. Before joining Business Insider, Antonio was a consumer-electronics analyst at PCMag. He graduated from Colgate University in 2009 with a bachelor's degree in history. You can contact Antonio with tips and cool tech via email at: avillasboas@businessinsider.com Learn more about how our team of experts tests and reviews products at Insider here. Learn more about how we test tech and electronics.

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