Best-known for its smartphones, OnePlus broadened its horizons Tuesday by rolling out the new OnePlus Featuring Keyboard 81 Pro wireless mechanical keyboard, among other products.
The keeb’s name may be off-kilter, but its design and functionality, co-engineered by well-known keyboard maker Keychron, look right on target for Mac users.
OnePlus Featuring Keyboard 81 Pro mechanical keyboard
The company introduced the new keyboard in addition to the new OnePlus 11 smartphone, its first tablet, called OnePlus Pad, and updated wireless noise-cancelling earbuds, OnePlus Buds Pro 2.
The OnePlus Featuring Keyboard 81 Pro is the first product to emerge from the company’s co-creation platform, known as One Plus Featuring, the company said. That partly explains the keyboard’s odd name. The “81” in the name refers to the number of keys.
The mechanical keeb’s Mac-friendly, 75% layout closely resembles that the Keychron Q1 Pro wireless mechanical keyboard, which followed its popular Q1. Makes sense, since Keychron collaborated with OnePlus on its new keyboard.
And while the new OnePlus board works well with macOS, you can also use it with Windows, Linux and Android.
Featuring a CNC aluminum body and a double-gasket design, the new OnePlus product also has hot-swappable mechanical switches. That means you can swap them out for others without having to use a soldering iron.
The included switches are your choice of linear “Summer Breeze” red ones or clicky “Winter Bonfire” blue ones, which sit under “Marble-mallow” keycaps. OnePlus said the keycaps are comfortable and durable.
Clear control knob
The clear, programmable control knob at the upper right corner of the layout is an interesting feature. Such knobs are becoming commonplace on nicer mechanical keyboards, but the transparency is unusual.
You can use open-source firmware QMK and VIA to change what the knob does, remap keys or create macros.
Like the Keychron Q1 Pro, the new keyboard features RGB backlighting and a 4,000mAh battery. That may give it around 300 hours of use without backlighting turned on (that’s what the Q1 is rated for).
And like most products of its kind, the keyboard angles upward toward the back. But it also has an arm on top you can swing down to create a steeper angle if you like.
OnePlus hasn’t yet said what it will charge for the Featuring Keyboard 81 Pro, but it’s expected to ship in April. Keychron sells its Q1 for $199, with different options. And its Kickstarter campaign with slightly lower pledge prices is still ongoing.