Computer Accessories

OnePlus 81 Pro Keyboard review

On heavy duty

₹ 17,999

This is not an ordinary mechanical keyboard. No sir! This is made by the keyboard specialist Keychron in collaboration with OnePlus. Technically, it’s the same as the Keychron Q1 Pro Wireless keyboard but it has been OnePlus’d to stand out. As such, the OnePlus 81 Pro sits in a spot between enthusiasts and modders. And that’s precisely the audience for this keyboard but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t indulge and if we throw in some comparisons, you may feel tempted to nosedive right in.
This is a premium mechanical keyboard which frankly puts every other keyboard typing experience to shame. Yes, even our SteelSeries Apex Pro gaming keyboard which costs five grand more than the OnePlus 81 Pro Keyboard.


Lay your eyes on it and it’s easy to appreciate the design and build quality of the OnePlus 81 Pro Keyboard but put your mitts on it and you’ll be convinced that there’s some sorcery happening under perfectly angled keys. It’s built like a tank and that’s still an understatement. Superglue a wooden stick to one end and you can use this as a hammer to silence any naysayers or the boss.
Our review unit has the Dark Grey (Winter Bonfire) keycaps with red-coloured tactile switches. You can also pony up two extra grand for blue-coloured linear switches with Light Grey (Summer Breeze) keycaps. And yes, OnePlus has swapped the behaviours and colours. In the custom keyboard world, red-coloured switches are linear and blue are tactile.

The OnePlus 81 Pro also has hot-swappable switches so you can yank any of the switches and replace them as you see fit. The Keychron India website is quite active and affordable so getting started even as a novice should be easy. However, if you want to open this aluminium case and mess with the insides, it is easy to unscrew. This is a gasket-mounted keyboard and it has 10 installed and 4 gaskets in the box so you can add more sound dampening if you want. It’s nice to see OnePlus actually throw in these extras for the modding community.

Inside the box, you get one Type-C to Type-C cable (with a Type-A to Type-C adapter), one switch and keycap puller, one hex key, two extra screws and a set of Mac/Windows keycaps.


The typing feel is sublime. There’s barely any resonance from key presses and it feels factory lubed out of the box. The RGB light is also south-facing so you can see where your money went. These are not like CherryMX red switches. They do have a bump but also a stronger rebounding force and the PCB stabilizers are not at all flimsy so typing this review feels a lot more enjoyable than most gaming keyboards. You’ll have to use more force than Cherry red switches but these custom switches are better for typing in our opinion. Each keystroke and rebound sends a sensory confirmation that your key is registered and it’s quite satisfying to type.

It has double shot keycaps which will keep the wear and tear to a minimum. Our review unit came with PBT keycaps but if you pick the Light Grey (Summer Breeze) with blue switches there’s a special kind of plastic used for those keycaps. OnePlus calls it Marble-mallow material and it’s supposed to feel softer to the touch but we haven’t tried that yet.
You can customise the RGB and macro keys from Keychron’s VIA browser app after connecting the keyboard via cable. It’s simple and quick which makes tweaking through multi-systems a lot easier but it’s a bit confusing for newcomers. In comparison, Logitech’s software is much more intuitive and easy to use. However, there’s a ton of customization offered here and since the keyboard firmware is open source, you can get really geeky here with how your keyboard behaves.

There are 81 keys in total and we’re in awe of the grey and white shades on the keycaps that make it look like the keyboards of yore. The OnePlus red colour escape key and enter key add a tasteful aesthetic to the keyboard while the transparent volume knob brings a snobby chic to it.
This is a Bluetooth keyboard to which you can connect up to three devices and there’s a Mac to Windows slider button top side of the keyboard. We used it on our Windows machine for gaming, writing and video editing, and magazine work and video editing on the Mac Studio as well. It works well on both systems but the keyboard doesn’t seamlessly switch between the two operating systems. This could be an Apple Mac issue because we’ve seen this happen with our other Bluetooth keyboards as well which don’t come with a dongle. Logitech keyboards usually come with a dongle so it’s a safer bet if you’re switching between Windows and Apple Macs like us.

There’s also a Unified Keyboard Holder which is essentially a kickstand to raise the height or prop up the keyboard vertically when you’re not using it. It’s frankly the smartest solution to creating more desk space when you’re not using your keyboard and we love it. The kickstand is also tightly integrated with the keyboard so it doesn’t slip or lose its adjustment. We’ve been using this keyboard for around two months now and it’s hard to go back to other keyboards.


The OnePlus 81 Pro is not for you if you’re even slightly feeling the pinch of its price but if you are a keyboard enthusiast or simply want to get rid of Apple’s overpriced keyboard, the OnePlus 81 Pro is a fantastic addition to your workflow. As a writer, this keyboard definitely has one of the best typing experiences and so far it reassures me that if anything or any key stops working, I can easily replace it or better yet, upgrade it.
OnePlus has also not really meddled with the Keychron DNA and let this be an enthusiast keyboard which is more than welcomed. The upgrades are not too expensive but the keyboard is, so it’s frankly an indulgence but can easily be a must-have for serious key mashers or a gateway to DIY keyboards. It’s near perfect out of the box so you don’t really need to tinker it but if you wish to, the option is there. The only thing missing here is a wrist rest which would’ve made the deal sweeter. OnePlus doesn’t sell one but Keychron does sell one separately on their website.

Stuff Says

A premium typing experience like no other, this is a must-have if you’re a writer with deep pockets
Good stuff
Bad stuff
  1. Great typing experience

  1. Upgradable and repairable

  1. Manual and everything is explained on the Keychron website

  1. Easy to customize

  1. Some insane level of premium finish

  1. Bluetooth switching to Mac from Windows is buggy

  1. Decent battery life with RGB

Color: Dark grey/Light grey
Frame Material: Aluminum
Weight: 1887g
Number of keys: 81
Switch type: Mechanical
Layout: ANSI (US) Fully Assembled
Switch face: South-facing RGB
Compatible system: Mac/Windows/Linux/Android OS/iOS
Battery: 4000mAh
Bluetooth working time (RGB): Up to 100 hours (Lowest brightness)
Charging time: Around 5 hours
Charging port: USB Type-C