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Keychron C3 Pro review: Affordable excellence in a mechanical keyboard

Keychron C3 Pro

4.0 / 5

The Keychron C3 Pro is a worthwhile budget mechanical keyboard pick for Mac users, offering reliable features without breaking the bank on a high-quality peripheral.

The keyboard market can be intimidating, between choosing brands, switch types, and price ranges. People get keyboards for work, gaming, or both, so a cheap, high-quality, all-in-one solution is hard to find.

Keychron has a large lineup of keyboards of all shapes and sizes, and the C3 Pro shows they know how to fit their features into a cheaper keyboard without losing quality.

Keychron C3 Pro review - Design

The C3 Pro is a wired-only, mechanical tenkeyless keyboard, making it more compact than the average keyboard. Out of the box, you get a USB-A to USB-C cable, spare keycaps, and a 2-in-1 keycap and switch puller.

The body is composed of a steel plate with a plastic body and uses gaskets and foam inside the chassis to reduce sound. The keyboard is not hot-swappable, but you can change the keycaps, which helps if you use the C3 Pro for both Mac and Windows.

Keychron C3 Pro - The rubber feet and stands for the keyboard

One of the advantages of the plastic frame of the C3 Pro is the built-in stands, which have settings for 4, 6, and 8.7 degrees for different comfort preferences.

The keys are made of double-shot ABS plastic, which helps with durability and wear over time. Two months of daily has not worn down the C3 Pro.

At around 2 pounds (910 g) and with the size of the frame, the C3 Pro is not a slim keyboard. It's great for desk use but can still be put in a backpack for transport.

Keychron C3 Pro - The Keychron Brown Mechanical switch
Keychron C3 Pro review - The Keychron Brown Mechanical switch

The C3 Pro comes in Keychron Red and Brown mechanical switches, which give users a choice between a smoother or tactile typing feeling.

We found that the C3 Pro has a standard black and red color scheme, with red backlights that support over fourteen modes. You can, however, switch out the three red keys for an all-black look.

As with most Keychron keyboards, the C3 Pro has QMK/VIA compatibility, which goes a long way for those who want to adjust light settings and macros. VIA lets you customize your keyboard on different layers for both Mac and Windows keyboard settings,

Keychron C3 Pro - The VIA overview for the keyboard
Keychron C3 Pro review - The VIA overview for the keyboard

As a note, VIA can run on Chromium-based browsers, but Safari and Firefox users can download it here.

Keychron C3 Pro review - Usage

The typing experience feels smooth, but despite the gaskets and foam, there's still a bit of a plastic clicking after a keypress, which isn't bothersome. With a 1,000Hz polling rate, the speed of the C3 Pro is great, so there's no concern for response time for typing and gaming.

The Keychron Brown mechanical switches stay true to their described tactile feel, maintaining a gentle "clack" sound upon each keypress.

We enjoyed customizing different backlight modes and macros on VIA, which can save time and increase productivity for students and office workers.

If you use the stand, we recommend purchasing a palm or wrist rest to maintain comfort for long typing sessions. We found that typing at a high angle could get tiring quickly, but use cases may vary.

Keychron C3 Pro review - Affordable and appealing

Compared to other Keychrons, the customization level of the C3 Pro is low, but including VIA and over a dozen backlight modes makes it a wise choice compared to other keyboards of that price range.

All under $50, you get a keyboard that feels good to type on with light and key customizations, making the most of your money, given the features.

Keychron C3 Pro review - Pros

  • Affordable
  • Customizable through QMK/VIA
  • High polling time and quality typing feel

Keychron C3 Pro review - Cons

  • Not hot-swappable
  • Cheaper typing feel and sound
  • Wired-only

Rating: 4 out of 5

Where to buy the Keychron C3 Pro

The Keychron C3 Pro is sold exclusively on Amazon, with it generally — and currently — 26% off at $36.99.