Keychron K12 Review & Sound Test

Below is my thorough review of the Keychron K12.

To be frank, I’m just a weeeee bit of a Keychron fan

I own 5 different versions of these (in different sizes), and truthfully, they’re all dang good! 🤦‍♂️

But what about this new(ish) 60% layout?

Overall thoughts: The K12 is really well built, but the spacebar tends to be much louder than the rest of the keyboard (more than most other keyboards), and the sound might strike you as a little hollow, and the high profile might mean you need a wrist rest (maybe). But for the price (under $75), the K12 is still loaded with features, including Bluetooth 5.0 wireless, extra keycaps for Windows and Mac, and an overall great feel and sound. If you’re looking for a more compact 60% keyboard in the budget mechanical keyboard price range, the K12 delivers a LOT.

Below I’ll dive into my personal thoughts after typing on the K12 for over a year.

Let’s dive in.

Keychron K12 Sound Test

Here’s a quick sound test:

Design And Build

Bottom line: This is a really-well built keyboard.

Heavy and sturdy, it’s clear that the Keychron K12 is designed to withstand the test of time. That being said, the high-profile design might be a downside for some users.

It elevates the keys higher off the desk, which can be less comfortable for extended typing sessions. If you don’t already use one, you might consider investing in a wrist rest to alleviate this issue.

Related post: See our top picks for low-profile mechanical keyboards here.

Another notable feature of the Keychron K12’s design is its aluminum case. The material gives the keyboard a premium look and feel while also adding an extra layer of durability. The case’s weight also adds to the keyboard’s sturdiness, which can make it feel more substantial and less likely to move around on your desk.

However, one potential issue with the design is the placement of the USB port. Unlike most keyboards, which have the port on the back, the Keychron K12’s port is on the left side. This can make it a bit more challenging to connect to certain setups and may require some additional cable management. Nonetheless, it’s a relatively minor inconvenience compared to the keyboard’s overall quality and functionality.

Keychron K12 60% Layout Bluetooth Wireless/USB Wired Mechanical Gaming Keyboard with Keychron Mechanical Brown...
  • Keychron K12 is a compact 60% layout Bluetooth wireless mechanical keyboard aluminum frame non-backlight version (Exclusive color scheme) made for Mac and Windows. The K12 is crafted to maximize your...
  • With a unique Mac layout and Windows compatibility, the K12 is offering convenient accessibility to all the essential multimedia and function keys through the combination of key presses, yet compact...
  • Connects with up to 3 devices via the reliable Broadcom Bluetooth 5.1 chipset and switch among them easily for multitasking needs. The K12 is best to fit home, office and light gaming use while...

Switch Options

One of the great things about the Keychron K12 is the variety of switch options available. The keyboard offers both Gateron G Pro switches and optical switch options, each with their own unique characteristics.

The Gateron G Pro switches are surprisingly good.

They’re not the tip-top choice for many mechanical keyboard nerds, but they are WAY better than the standard Gateron switches, for sure.

I chose the Gateron Browns for my K12, and have been really pleased! They’re not too heavy or too light, and the tactile feedback is just right.

If you’re looking for a quieter option, the Keychron K12 also offers optical switches. These aren’t technically mechanical switches but offer a satisfying typing experience. They’re usually quieter than traditional mechanical switches, which might be a plus if you’re working in a shared space or don’t want to disturb others around you, etc, etc.

Battery And Connectivity

Wireless technology has come a long way since the days of the giant brick cellphones.

(Who remembers those??)

The Keychron K12 is no exception. Its Bluetooth 5.0 wireless connectivity is a standout feature that lets you connect to up to three devices simultaneously. That’s right, folks – three devices. You can go from typing up a storm on your computer to firing off a quick email on your phone without ever having to stop and reconnect. It’s like a keyboard with a secret identity!

But wait, there’s more! (lol)

The Keychron K12 is INSANELY good. Seriously, this thing could probably power a small town.

The non-backlit version can last for up to “two months” with a single charge, even with 8 hours of daily use. I say “two months,” because it’s actually more like 6 months for me.

And if you opt for the white or RGB backlit versions, you can still get up to 240 hours of battery life with the backlighting turned off. That’s almost ten full days of typing without ever having to worry about running out of juice.

Overall, the Keychron K12’s wireless connectivity and massive battery life make it an ideal choice for anyone who needs to stay productive on the go. So go ahead and type to your heart’s content – this keyboard can keep up with you all day, every day.

Keycaps and Lighting

60% K12 compared to a full-sized keyboard

The Keychron K12’s PBT keycaps are a key feature (pun intended) that contribute to the overall typing experience. PBT keycaps are known for their durability, as they’re more resistant to wear and shine than their ABS counterparts. The texture of PBT keycaps is also often preferred by typists, as it can provide a better grip and feel under the fingers. Overall, the PBT keycaps on the Keychron K12 offer a great typing experience that’s both comfortable and durable.

One thing that sets the Keychron K12 apart from other keyboards is the extra keycaps that come with it. By default, the keyboard comes with keycaps that are optimized for Mac use. However, if you’re a Windows user, fear not – Keychron also includes Windows keycaps so you can easily swap them out. This is a nice touch that makes the keyboard more versatile and customizable.

Another feature that can affect the Keychron K12’s price is the lighting. Here’s a quick breakdown of the different options:

No backlighting:

  • Most affordable option (saves maybe $15)
  • Doesn’t sacrifice any of the keyboard’s main features or functionality
  • Great for those on a budget

White-only backlighting:

  • Provides some visual flair without breaking the bank
  • Good middle ground option
  • Still lets you see the keys in low-light situations, etc, etc, just not fancy gamer looks 😉

Full RGB backlighting:

  • Cost $15 more-ish (not a huge deal)
  • Offers a decent amount of pre-built RGB settings to play around with.
  • Color looks GOOD. (some budget RGB lighting does not)
  • Offers more visual feedback during use, etc. Even if it blinds you at night 😉

Regardless of which lighting option you choose, the Keychron K12’s PBT keycaps and extra keycaps make it a great choice for anyone looking for a keyboard that’s both durable and customizable.

Sound & Feel

The Keychron K12 is a pleasure to type on, but it’s not without its quirks. Overall, the typing experience is smooth and responsive, with minimal key rattle or wobble. However, one potential issue is the sound level – the keyboard can be a bit loud, especially when compared to other mechanical keyboards. And ESPECIALLY the space bar, as I’ve mentioned!

You might find the sound fine, but it can also be a bit distracting for others.

Space bars will ALWAYS sound a bit different on each keyboard, but the K12 is especially noticeable.

Compared to the other keys on the keyboard, the spacebar can be quite loud and even sound a little hollow. This may be a minor issue for some users, but for others, it could be a deal-breaker.

But even with the space, my personal experience typing on the Keychron K12 has been positive. I enjoy the tactile feedback of the brown switches, and Keychron’s PBT keycaps are ALWAYS high quality.

After listening to some sound tests, if you don’t mind the space bar sound, the Keychron K12 offers a SOLID typing experience at an affordable price point. 

The Bottom Line: Should You Buy The Keychron K12?

So, is the Keychron K12 worth the investment? In short, yes. Despite some minor drawbacks, the keyboard offers a lot of value for its price point. Here are my overall thoughts:

Pros ✅

  • Sturdy aluminum case
  • High-quality PBT keycaps
  • Bluetooth 5.0 wireless connectivity
  • Long battery life
  • Extra keycaps included

Cons ❌

  • Loud spacebar
  • Non-standard USB port placement
  • Higher noise level than other mechanical keyboards

Overall, the Keychron K12 is a solid choice for anyone looking for a compact 60% wireless mechanical keyboard.

The keyboard’s sturdy build quality, versatile switch options, long battery life and Bluetooth connectivity make up the key features.

That’s a lot for a $75 keyboard!

Just be aware of the potential noise level and the placement of the USB port.

My final tip for potential buyers would be to think carefully about which lighting option is best for your needs. While RGB backlighting can be a fun way to customize your keyboard, it does come at a higher price point (but honestly not by much). Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference.

K12 Alternatives

While the Keychron K12 is a great option for a 60% mechanical keyboard, there are other alternatives you might want to consider. Here’s one popular option:

Ducky One 3 Mini

The Ducky One 3 Mini is a compact keyboard that features a minimalist design and customizable RGB lighting. It’s known for its high build quality, reliable Cherry MX switches (also hot-swappable now in the 3rd version!), and detachable USB Type-C cable. The keyboard also comes in several different color options, including the popular Daybreak series!

Anne Pro 2

The Anne Pro 2 is a versatile keyboard that can be used wired or wirelessly via Bluetooth. It features a sleek, low-profile design and customizable RGB lighting. The keyboard also has a wide variety of switch options, including Gateron, Kailh, and Cherry MX switches. The Anne Pro 2 also comes with a number of extra keycaps that can be used to customize the look of the keyboard.

Kbd67 Lite R3

The KBDfans KBD67 Lite R3 is a custom keyboard kit that offers a slightly larger 65% layout. While it doesn’t come with switches or keycaps (which you’ll need to purchase separately), it provides an opportunity for you to build your own custom keyboard. The KBD67 Lite R3 features a gasket-mounted PCB that enhances the sound and feel of the keyboard.

The keyboard also offers hot-swappable PCBs that make it easy to change out switches without soldering. Overall, the KBDfans KBD67 Lite R3 offers a high level of customization and a great typing experience for those who are willing to put in the time and effort to build their own keyboard.

Keychron F.A.Q.s

Is The Keychron K12 Good For Gaming?

While the Keychron K12 is not specifically marketed as a gaming keyboard, it can certainly be used for gaming. The Gateron G Pro switches offer a tactile feel that can be satisfying for gamers, and the keyboard’s wireless connectivity and long battery life make it a great option for those who prefer a wireless setup. However, if you’re looking for a keyboard with more dedicated gaming features, such as programmable macros or dedicated media keys, you may want to consider other options.

What Is The Difference Between Keychron K2 And Keychron K12?

The Keychron K2 and K12 are both wireless mechanical keyboards with lots of the same features, but the K2 features a larger, 75% layout, while the K12 is a more compact, 60% layout. They both offer Gateron G Pro switch options, including hot-swappable PCBs, and customizable RGB lighting. They both are wireless and work for both Windows and Mac as well.

How Long Does Keychron K12 Battery Last?

The battery life of the Keychron K12 can vary depending on the lighting options and usage, but in general, it offers a long battery life. The non-backlit version of the keyboard can last up to 2 months with a single charge, while the white and RGB backlit versions can last up to 240 hours with the backlighting off.

Is Keychron Good Quality?

Keychron is known for producing high-quality mechanical keyboards at affordable prices. The Keychron K12 is no exception, with a sturdy aluminum case and high-quality PBT keycaps that provide a great typing experience. They’re probably the highest-quality budget keyboards on the market, especially the pre-built mechanical keyboard market.

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