Keychron V5 Max keyboard review

A wireless mechanical keyboard designed for both gaming and typing, is does this board bridge the gap between high performance and reasonable pricing? Updated: Jul 8, 2024 9:55 am WePC is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Prices subject to change. Learn more Table of Contents Table of Contents Keychron is a brand that is known for making boards with something approaching the feel and quality of a premium-level mechanical keyboard, but at a more affordable price. The Keychron V5 Max is one of six different size variants in the V5 Max line (designated V1-V6) that have different sizes and numbers of keys and buttons, but are otherwise identical. This range of boards is positioned between their standard Keychron V budget range and the more premium Keychron Q Pro series, basically having the functionality of the latter but with a plastic build instead of an all-aluminium chassis. We had the pleasure of putting the Keychron V5 Max keyboard through its paces and were very pleased with the results: read below for all the details. Pros Good price A superb typing experience (with Jupiter Brown/Keychron Super Banana switches) Durable PBT Doubleshot keycaps User-friendly onboard software Hot swappable Great build quality Wired & wireless Windows/Mac/Linux functionality Cons Standard keycaps don’t have shine-through lettering for typing in the dark The font on some of the standard keycaps looks cheap Heavy Design & Features The Keychron V5 Max is a 96% size, wireless-capable keyboard that can use either a 2.4GHz WiFi signal, Bluetooth, or USB-C braided cord connection if you want to go wired. On the top right you’ll also find a multimedia knob (which defaults to volume control but can be programmed to alternative functions). The 96% size has standard key-spacing for the most part, so the keys don’t feel cramped, but the arrow keys and numpad are squashed together a bit more and some of the navigation keys are missing that would be present in a full-size board. As discussed there are five other size variants in the V Max range and each are available fully assembled or barebone (with no keys). All but one – the smallest V4 Max – come with the multimedia knob. The full range is as follows: Gateron Jupiter Red / Brown / Banana (hotswappable) variable (as low as 0.1mm) 2.4GHz WiFi / Bluetooth / USB Type-C (180cm braided Cord with silicone cable tie), USB-C to A adapter included The case of the V Max board is made of ABS plastic, but it still feels durable and is heavy to boot. This is partially due to the gasket mount design, polycarbonate plate, and multiple layers of sound-absorbing foam, all of which help to dampen noise and, in the case of the gasket mount, give a bit of a softer spring to the keys when typing.  On the bottom are four rubberised feet, with the usual two adjustment heights on the extendable back feet (with the third option being the completely retracted position), which is what we like to see. On the back of the board is a sliding switch that can be set to either WiFi, Bluetooth, or wired connection, and next to it another switch to go between Windows or MacOS layouts, which is a nice, easy solution. The QMK firmware that runs the board is compatible with Windows, MacOS, and Linux systems. There are also detachable Type-C and Type-A receivers for the wireless connection stored in the back, which can be taken out and plugged into your desired device. The 2.4GHz connection has a nice 1000Hz max polling rate, making it ideal for games where you need low latency; the Bluetooth connection is limited to a 125Hz polling rate, as is typical. We wouldn’t say the USB-C braided cable is the nicest we’ve seen, it retained noticeable kinks from when it was unwrapped from storage, however it does the job. You also get a USB-C to USB-A (male end) adapter so you can plug it into your computer’s USB-A port, also you get a USB-C to USB-A (female) adapter, so you can actually plug in the USB-A wireless receiver to the cable’s end if you want to extend your wireless range.  As standard the assembled boards come with one of the following three Gateron Jupiter switches: Red, Brown, or Banana. Our test unit came with Jupiter Browns pre-installed but we also received some Keychron Super Banana switches as well to try out, which have a lower operating force than the Jupiter Banana variants (47±8 gf vs 59±10 gf). You get the standard keycap and switch removing tools with the keyboard as you’d expect, so swapping these out is easy. The stabilizers are screw-in so can also be replaced if needed. Both the switches and the stabilizers come pre-lubed. In contrast to the cheaper Keychron V the V Max is designed to accept switches are South-facing, not North-facing. There are a wider range of South-facing switches available, improving your hotswap options, however they tend to block the backlighting more, so bear this in mind. We were sent the standard ‘Carbon Black’ Double-shot OSA PBT keycaps with our review model. Compared to your cheaper keys, double-shot PBT should last a good long while and have improved oil-resistance, and it’s definitely nice to see these in a board that doesn’t have a premium price tag. The OSA shape is similar to the classic OEM but with tops that are a bit more concave in shape. The font of the lettering on the ‘tab’, ‘caps lock’, ‘shift’, ‘control’, ‘backspace’, ‘num clear’, ‘del, ‘home’, ‘end’ keycaps isn’t the nicest we’ve seen from an aesthetic perspective, looking a bit child-like and the biggest indication that this is a cheaper board, but they are at least very legible. The majority of the standard keys, plus function keys look absolutely fine though and there are some very nice-looking alternative sets on the Keychron webstore, although this requires additional expenditure of course. You get some alternative keycaps for Mac and Windows users (‘Windows/option’ and ‘alt/Mac’) in the box. Previous Next Price The pricing for the Keychron V5 Max specifically is as follows, with the other size models falling within a $5 window of this MSRP: $99 / £90 for the Fully Assembled Knob variant $79 / £73 for the Barebone Knob (careful now) version This is a very reasonable price considering the features you get, and compares favorably with offerings by brands such as Corsair. Previous Next Performance We found the Keychron V5 Max to be a very pleasant typing experience indeed. The keystrokes are quiet but still have a satisfying thock, there’s good stabilization, and the nice key-spacing plus OSA caps and the switches we used minimized typing errors. Both switch types we used were nice and tactile – ideal for typing on: with the Jupiter Browns and their longer actuation being a good mid-ground if you want keys you can type and game on, with the Keychron Super Bananas being preferable if you like a slightly more responsive, snappier click with a shallower actuation when you’re typing. If you’re after a dedicated gaming experience then the linear Red switch option might be worth considering. The keycaps felt great from a tactile perspective, with a nice, slightly matte texture, helping to minimize slipping. The lack of ‘shine-through’ lettering to allow the RGB to illuminate the key designations however does make typing in the dark a bit difficult, though besides this the backlighting itself is solid: with 15 levels of brightness (including off). The action of the multimedia dial/knob is muffled and is only clearly audible when you give it some venom, and felt reasonably solid, though not quite as sturdy and satisfying to use as that on other premium boards we’ve tried.Like the board itself the VIA software/Keychron (web) Launcher you can use to tweak the keyboard is compatible with Windows, macOS, and Linux. It has a nice stripped-back design that’s easy to navigate, and lets you assign macros to the keyboard, change basic key assignment, customize backlighting, and set up your own profiles. Thanks to the onboard 256K Flash memory, you can save at least six of these on the keyboard itself.

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