Keychron K11 Pro Review: A Great Portable Split Ergonomic Keyboard

We recommend the Keychron K11 Pro keyboard if you're looking for a good portable, split ergonomic keyboard to carry to your workplace.

The Keychron K11 Pro is an attractive package, with low-profile keys, decent build quality, and the ability to supplement, if not replace a full sized ergonomic split keyboard such as the Microsoft Sculpt keyboard. It is relatively heavy though, weighing in at 510g, but its heft does make the keyboard feel and look very solid and substantial. More importantly, it remains portable, and is small enough to carry in a backpack or laptop bag.

Price: USD 114 

Version reviewed: Hot swappable, RGB backlight

Pros:
  • Typing experience is great
  • Portable and reasonably priced
  • High quality build from a reputable manufacturer
  • Software to customise keyboard user friendly and well documented
  • Keycaps and switches can be replaced by the user
Cons:
  • Typing feels a bit cramped, impacting speed and accuracy
  • Keys are slightly smaller than full sized keyboards
  • Heavy (510g)

Typing experience

Typing on the Keychron K11 Pro feels good, with a standard layout, key sizes close to a standard keyboard, and decent key travel and tactile feedback. The keys are also shaped and made with material to help your fingers stay on them during active typing sessions. It will be instantly familiar for any laptop user from the past five years, and only a short adjustment period is needed to get used to it.

The keyboard does feel a bit cramped when compared to the Microsoft Sculpt keyboard I use as my daily driver. This has a slight impact on typing speed: while I can type at around 83 WPM with the Microsoft Sculpt, using the Keychron K11 Pro decreases this to 73 WPM. It also hits typing accuracy, and I find myself making silly typos.

Design and Ergonomics

The K11 Pro is a 65% keyboard, with an Alice layout. In other words, it has 68 keys compared to 108 keys you’ll find on a full sized keyboard, and the Alice moniker refers to its split and angled design. 

Given its reduced layout, the keyboard lacks niceties such as a function row, but it does include dedicated home and delete keys. Other keys, such as page up and page down, can be accessed by a combination of keypresses, which you can also configure through software. There is a knob as well which defaults to volume control, and its inclusion seems like an odd choice, as it does jut out, and I just haven’t found it useful. I wish they had used the space to include a few more keys, such as an end button.

While other keyboards have a negative raiser to tilt the keyboard away from the user to provide an ergonomic posture, the K11 Pro does not. This may be a deal breaker for some, but mitigating this is easy. By adjusting the height of your chair’s armrests, you can position your hands so that they hover above the keyboard, which helps to avoid angling your wrists upwards and exacerbating carpel tunnel issues.

Portability

The keyboard is still relatively small, coming in at 34.6 x 11.5 cm (13.62 x 4.53") and will fit into a small backpack or laptop bag. It is certainly not the smallest split ergonomic keyboard out there, with that award going to the Proto Arc XK03 (full review here), but it is the closest you will get to a keyboard which feels like the full sized deal, while remaining portable.

To protect your purchase, Keychron also sells a Saffiano leather pouch for USD 25 and is available in three colours (orange, black and grey). The fit is perfect, and it protects the keyboard from bumps and scratches while en route. The use of string to secure the pouch is an interesting decision, and only time will tell if it holds up to daily use.

Customisation

Keychron really wants you to customise the keyboard in any combination you want. The RGB backlight version even includes a key and switch puller in the box, and with the availability of low profile Gateron switches, you can change all the switches, or individual switches to your liking. Want a particularly loud and clicky spacebar? Just replace it with a blue switch. Do note that Keychron also sell a white backlight version of the K11 Pro, but this version does not let you swap the switches out.

Keychron also includes a few additional keycaps in the box, primarily to let you switch from Mac centric keys to Windows.

Software configuration is also simple. Configuration is done through the VIA app, accessible through your web browser, or downloadable to your computer. It is fully customisable, and you can change all key mappings, backlight colours and patterns, and combination keypresses. The software is well polished, easy-to-use, and provides a very good user experience.

Connectivity

You can connect the keyboard to three devices using Bluetooth, or directly via a USB-C wired connection. Compared to traditional wired only keyboards, Bluetooth means there is no set up time and you can take the keyboard out of your bag and start working. 

If you haven’t used the keyboard for a while, it may take one key press to wake it up again. The Bluetooth connection is stable, and there is a switch at the back of the keyboard so you can turn it off, preventing the battery from draining.

Conclusion

This is a good alternative to your daily driver, and could even replace it. It is reasonably portable and will fit into a backpack, with good build quality, customisability, and user-friendly software configuration. The Keychron K11 Pro is also quite affordable, which puts this high on my list of recommendations if you’re looking for a portable split ergonomic keyboard.


Updates

Last updated: 2 April 2024

Originally published (v1.0): 2 April 2024

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K Bulsuk: Full Speed Ahead: Keychron K11 Pro Review: A Great Portable Split Ergonomic Keyboard
Keychron K11 Pro Review: A Great Portable Split Ergonomic Keyboard
We recommend the Keychron K11 Pro keyboard if you're looking for a good portable, split ergonomic keyboard to carry to your workplace.
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K Bulsuk: Full Speed Ahead
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