Skip to main content

The Keychron K3 Bluetooth mechanical keyboard pairs perfectly with an iPad

Mechanical keyboards probably aren’t the first option you think of when selecting a physical keyboard for your Apple iPad, due to many being used primarily for gaming on the desktop. But as the tablet is so well suited to work these days, many will want to maximize their productivity and type comfortably, so won’t mind splashing out on a good keyboard.

The Keychron K3 is a mechanical Bluetooth keyboard designed for iOS, MacOS, Android, and Windows, with a wide range of optional switches to personalize the key feel, making it supremely versatile. Is it really worth getting a keyboard like this, and not one of the more established alternatives, if you’re mostly working on a tablet?


Thin and lightweight, the low profile Keychron K3 doesn’t look or feel like the average mechanical keyboard, and this makes it much more suited to mobile use. It also doesn’t sound exactly like other mechanical keyboards either, due to the option of choosing different key types, and therefore customizing how loud and clicky your key presses are. I have been using the version with Keychron’s optical switches, which are quieter than the mechanical switches.

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Key travel is generous despite the low profile. It’s somewhere in-between a normal Apple keyboard and a mechanical keyboard like the Keychron K2v2 in terms of height, with switches that are 40% slimmer than more conventional mechanical switches. On the back of the aluminum case are two switches, one for selecting the operating system it’ll work with, and the other for activating Bluetooth. Alternatively, there is a USB-C connector on the back so it can be physically connected to your computer. A sturdy braided USB-C to USB-A cable is included in the box.

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The Keychron K3 is compact enough at 22mm deep at its thickest point and 306mm wide to easily slip into a bag along with your iPad or laptop, and its modest dimensions mean it doesn’t look out of place when sat in front of your tablet either. I didn’t need a wrist rest, another advantage of the low profile design. It weighs 396 grams, less than an 11-inch iPad Pro, assisting further with its portability. The case has a small amount of flex, so when you’re typing it will “bend” in the middle, but it’s not distracting, and if anything adds to the pleasing feel. Otherwise, it’s supremely stable.

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

A word on the overall look. Keychron’s keyboards aren’t spectacular looking, and while they’re neatly designed, they are functional rather than beautiful. That said, the keys have a very pleasing texture, and just the right level of grip too. It may not be as flashy as many other mechanical keyboards, but the Keychron K3’s design suits its capabilities.

Typing on the iPad

Connecting with Bluetooth is easy and iPad Pro 2020 recognized it instantly. I experienced no connectivity issues at all during my time with the keyboard, and am pleased Keychron has used Bluetooth 5.1 for reliability. The 75% size layout makes it comfortable to type quickly on, without it ever feeling cramped. Most of my work over the past month has been typed using the Keychron K3, either connected to my iPad or to my Mac Mini.

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Typing in Pages and Google Docs is a very similar experience to using any other Bluetooth keyboard, with no lag, and all the usual shortcuts working without issue. I’ve been used to typing on the Apple Magic Keyboard with the iPad, and did miss the touchpad. Interacting with the touchscreen is slower. The same issue I have with Apple’s keyboard also continued, where I often accidentally switch between languages when typing, as the shortcut is too easily activated.

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

My review Keychron K3 came with three different optical Keychron low profile key types — red, blue, and white. I tried all three, and eventually settled on the white switches, which are quiet, tactile, and have just the right level of resistance for me. I found the clickier red switches forced me into more errors, and the resistance level of the quieter blue switches too strong. It’s all personal with keyboards though, as I really like the brown switches fitted to my Keychron K2, which are different very different from the K3’s white switches. Swapping the switches is easy, but time-consuming. A key puller is included in the box, and the switches don’t require much effort to free them from the chassis.

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Once I got used to the white switches, I could type quickly and naturally, although not quite as quickly as I can on my Keychron K2v2. Even after several weeks of typing on the K3, I never quite fell into a truly speedy, mistake-free rhythm. However, it never became annoying to type on, nor did it drastically slow me down. I was also faster typing on it than I am with the excellent Apple Magic Keyboard, and it was considerably more tactile. I’d have no problem using the Keychron K3 as a travel keyboard with my iPad.

Battery and RGB

The Keychron K3 is charged using the USB Type-C connection, and the 1,550mAh capacity cell is estimated to last for about 34 hours. I consider this to be accurate. The keyboard mostly lasted me four full workdays before I’d recharge it. A noticeable battery charge level indicator would be welcome though, as the red LED light isn’t obvious when sitting in front of the keyboard.

This battery return was with the RGB keyboard lights active too. There are 18 different configurations, all easily swapped between using a dedicated key, and they range from the distracting to the rather attractive. The effects aren’t really noticeable in daylight, but the keyboard really comes alive in low light. I know I don’t need RGB effects, and only type on the keyboard for work rather than use it as part of a colorful gaming setup, but I still want RGB effects because they elevate the appeal of an otherwise ordinary piece of office equipment.

Price and availability

The Keychron K3 costs $69 with a white backlight or $79 with an RGB backlight and can be selected with either the low profile Keychron optical switches I used for this review, or with low profile Gatreon mechanical switches. If you want to buy other optical key sets, those cost $25, while packs of 12 Gatreon mechanical low profile switches cost $4 each.

It’s available for pre-order now through Keychron’s own webstore, with shipping expected to start later in January.


The Keychron K3’s slim case, low-profile keys, customizable switches, versatile and reliable connectivity, and good typing experience make it the ideal Bluetooth keyboard partner for the iPad, or for your Apple computer. For the price, it represents excellent value, given less capable keyboards can cost a lot more. It’s well suited to being stowed in your bag, and the small size and subtle sound (depending on your choice of switch) means it won’t look out of place or annoy everyone if you use it in public.

If you want a superior, more desktop-like typing experience for your tablet, the Keychron V3 is recommended, just take your time choosing the right switches and if you can, try some examples out before deciding which one is right for you. If you’ll forgive the pun, it’s key to getting the best from the Keychron V3.

Editors' Recommendations

Andy Boxall
Senior Mobile Writer
Andy is a Senior Writer at Digital Trends, where he concentrates on mobile technology, a subject he has written about for…
Surprise Apple sale brings big discounts on iPad and Apple Watch
Data from a workout showing on the screen of the Apple Watch Series 8.

There are plenty of great discounts on Apple devices over at Amazon right now. That means substantial price cuts on the latest Apple Watch range as well as plenty of iPads too. If you're keen to learn more, we're here to help. We've picked out some of our favorite Apple deals going on right now. Check them out below to see how you can save big on highly sought-after devices.
Apple Watch SE (2nd Gen) -- $220, was $249

The Apple Watch SE (2nd Gen) is a marvel at this price. Easily one of the best smartwatch deals, it covers everything you could need. You gain comprehensive yet easy-to-use fitness tracking thanks to Apple's Activity Rings system and steady stream of challenges and rewards. It's fast too thanks to having the latest processor. Despite that, you still get to enjoy a two-day battery life with the watch easily comfortable to wear all day long. It lacks the ECG and blood oxygen sensors of the Series 8 along with the always-on display, but that won't be an issue for everyone. The key thing is you get an excellent smartwatch at a great price.

Read more
AMD Ryzen 9 7950X3D vs. Intel Core i9-13900K: only one choice for PC gamers
AMD's Ryzen 9 7950X3D inside of its packaging.

The AMD Ryzen 9 7950X3D and Intel Core i9-13900K are undoubtedly two of the best processors you can buy, but they aren't equal. We threw both of the CPUs on the test bench to answer the age-old question: is AMD or Intel better?

Based on our testing, the Ryzen 9 7950X3D wins this bout, mostly on the back of the excellent gaming performance AMD's 3D V-Cache technology brings. Intel's Core i9-13900K still holds up, particularly in productivity apps, but Team Red takes the win this time around.
Pricing and availability

Read more
These 5 features turned my iPad into a shockingly good computer
The iPad Pro (2022) sitting in the Magic Keyboard.

The iPad — and iPadOS — are still far away from the computing dreams that Apple is selling, even though there is enough firepower inside these sleek tablets to race far ahead of Windows PCs.  I've extensively used the 10th Gen iPad, and the M1-powered iPad Pro briefly, as my primary computer.

My experience has been a mix of rewarding and annoying when it comes to getting serious work done. Most of the vexation has to do with the fundamental mobile architecture of the apps you run on the iPad, but there are areas where Android tablets like the Galaxy Tab S8 offer more value. If you seek to extract the most computing fun out of your iPad, the following are the five use-case scenarios that could help.
Focus mode is an underrated discipline machine

Read more