Mechanical keyboard nerds tend to shy away from cheap gear. However, Keychron’s latest mechanical keyboard could lead to a change of habits. The Keychron C3 Pro costs just $35, but it offers premium typing feedback and acoustics through a double-mounted gasket construction. It also uses durable shine-through double-shot ABS keycaps, it’s got adjustable feet, and it comes with a choice of Keychron’s red or brown mechanical switches.
The C3 Pro uses a compact TKL layout—it’s the smaller and cheaper sibling to Keychron’s C2 Pro (which is widely praised for its build quality). And, much like the C2 Pro, the C3 Pro contains a bevy of useful specs. Keychron C3 Pro’s polling rate clocks in at 1,000 Hz, and n-key rollover is employed to properly register simultaneous key presses. You also get software customization through the industry-standard QMK/VIA, which is extremely rare in affordable keyboards. Of course, this keyboard requires a wired connection, which is to be expected at $35.
However, Keychron’s build quality is the big selling point here. Gasket-mounted keyboards tend to be fairly expensive, yet the C3 Pro uses a double-mounted gasket chassis with a layer of sound-absorbing foam. It should provide a very “expensive” typing experience with responsive physical feedback and pleasant acoustics. Presumably, it doesn’t have the awful “pinging” sound that you’ll find in similarly-priced mechanical keyboards. We still haven’t tested the C3 Pro, so please treat this as an assumption.
This keyboard is illuminated with north-facing red LEDs, which shine through the legends of its double-shot ABS keycaps. Unfortunately, as you may have already guessed, the C3 Pro does not have hot-swappable switches (although the larger C2 Pro does). The lack of hot-swappability is a disappointment, but Keychron notes that the C3 Pro can still be a thrifty plaything for hobbyists or developers, as it uses a “high-performance” ARM Cortex-M4 32-bit architecture with 256K Flash.
You can purchase the Keychron C3 Pro today at Amazon for $35. It supports both Windows and macOS, and customers can choose between red or brown switches. I suggest using the brown switches if you want a tactile feel, which gives you extra physical feedback and can prevent accidental key presses when typing. The red switches have a smoother response and are great for high-paced gaming.