Upgrade Your Gaming and Nomadic Lifestyle with Our Top Fancy Mechanical Keyboards

As a digital nomad and avid gamer and programmer, I understand the importance of having a reliable and portable mechanical keyboard to get work done on the go for 2023. That’s why I’ve spent a lot of time researching and testing different portable mechanical keyboards. In this article, I want to share my findings and present the Top 8 Fancy Portable Mechanical Keyboards of 2023 with other digital nomads, programmers, and gamers who are looking for a portable keyboard that can keep up with their lifestyle.

When it comes to the design of portable mechanical keyboards, there are a few things to consider. For me, portability is key – I need a keyboard that’s lightweight and easy to carry around. I recommend checking out designs that are specifically built for portability, like those with folding or detachable cables. And if you’re someone who travels a lot, look for one that comes with a carrying case for added protection.

Another important aspect to consider is the durability of the keyboard. You don’t want a keyboard that will break down after a few months of use, especially if you’re someone who works on the move. Look for keyboards that are built to last, with a robust build and durable materials.

When it comes to layout, you’ll also want to think about how you plan to use the keyboard. Some people prefer a traditional layout with a full set of function keys, while others prefer a more minimalistic layout. Consider whether you need a full-size or TKL (Tenkeyless) layout, it will affect the size and portability of the keyboard.

Personally, I prefer a TKL layout as it’s more portable, and it’s just enough for my typing needs as a digital nomad.

Overall, when choosing a portable mechanical keyboard, it’s important to consider your own needs and preferences as a digital nomad or someone works in a cozy space. Whether you’re looking for a keyboard that’s easy to take on the go or one that’s built to last, there’s a portable mechanical keyboard design that’s perfect for you.

Picks Criteria & Recommendations

When it comes to choosing the right portable mechanical keyboard, there are several important factors to consider. One of the key features we looked for when making our recommendations is customization. Many mechanical keyboards offer the ability to customize the keycaps, switches, and backlighting. This is great for those who want to personalize their keyboard to fit their specific needs. Additionally, the ability to customize the behavior of keys can be a great asset for those who are typing, programming or gaming.

Another key factor we considered is the size of the keyboard. We have recommendations for both tenkeyless and full-size keyboards, as well as separate number pad recommendations. This allows for a range of options for different users, as well as different work and gaming needs.

In addition to size and customization, we also considered the overall versatility of the keyboards we picked. All of our recommendations are suitable for typing, programming, or gaming. We made sure that our picks are suitable for any kind of task that you might want to use them for.

Finally, we also considered the budget when recommending a portable mechanical keyboard. Consider budget-friendly options that don’t compromise on quality and performance, as well as feature-packed upgrade picks for enthusiasts. This way, you can find the right keyboard that fits your budget and preferences.

I. Top Portable Mechanical Keyboards.

1. Varmilo VA87M & Varmilo VA87M Mac – The best mechanical keyboard

mechanical keyboards Varmilo VA87M
Windows Version of VA87M

Varmilo VA87M is the best mechanical keyboard for its top-notch build quality, tasteful minimalist design, a wide variety of switches and keycaps, Removable Mini-USB cable, and a wire keycap puller for replacing or cleaning keys, and clear labeled media keys. It’s highly customizable, but not fully programmable. The Varmilo VA87M Mac is the best mechanical keyboard for Mac, It has macOS-specific layout and keycaps but otherwise identical to the standard VA87M. They are recommended as tenkeyless keyboard, they’re more ergonomic and save desk space.

Varmilo VA87M Mac Version
Mac Version of Varmilo VA87M
  • Brand: Varmilo
  • Model: VA87M and VA87M Mac
  • Product Recommendation: best mechanical keyboard
  • Mechanical switches: Cherry switches,
  • Switch options: Cherry MX Brown switches
  • Connectivity: Mini-USB cable
  • Additional features: Removable Mini-USB cable, wire keycap puller, clearly labeled media keys, ability to customize a couple of functions.
  • Durability and portability: top-notch build quality and tasteful minimalist design, dimensions: 14.02 by 5.28 by 1.3 inches (3.3 cm)
  • Ergonomic: recommended for tenkeyless keyboard for better ergonomics
  • Backlight: None, white, or RGB
  • Keycap Material: PBT

2. Leopold FC750R – The next-best keyboard

Leopold FC750R
FC750R

Leopold FC750R is a great alternative if the Varmilo VA87M is not available. It has an excellent build quality, minimalist tenkeyless design, and removable mini USB cable. It works on Windows and Mac and offers a few different high-quality keycap sets, but not as much variety as Varmilo does and does not have any backlight options. But the main drawback of this keyboard is the unlabeled media keys.

  • Brand: Leopold
  • Model: FC750R
  • Product Recommendation: next-best keyboard
  • Mechanical switches: available with most popular switch types
  • Connectivity: Mini-USB cable, Removable Mini-USB
  • Additional features: wire keycap puller,
  • Durability and portability: excellent build quality, minimalist tenkeyless design, compact
  • Keycap Material: PBT
  • Backlight: None

3. Leopold FC900R – The best full-size keyboard

Leopold FC900R mechanical keyboard
FC900R

Leopold FC900R is a great alternative for users who needs a built-in number pad in their keyboard, it is almost identical to the FC750R and offers the same excellent build quality, and available with all the most popular switch types, and with a few different PBT keycap sets. But, like the FC750R, it also has unlabeled media keys.

  • Brand: Leopold
  • Model: FC900R
  • Product Recommendation: best full-size keyboard
  • Mechanical switches: available with most popular switch types
  • Connectivity: Mini-USB cable, Removable Mini-USB
  • Durability and portability: excellent build quality
  • Keycap Material: PBT
  • Backlight: None
  • media keys: not labeled
  • Comparison: the Varmilo VA108M (full-size version) not recommended due to case design is not as good as the Leopold FC900R

4. The starter keyboard – Budget Pick

Keychron C1 & Keychron C2

Keychron C1 & Keychron C2

Keychron C1 and C2 are a great starter keyboard, they offer good build quality, an enjoyable typing experience, and an attractive minimalist design at an excellent value, and compatible with both Windows and Mac. They have cheaper ABS keycaps which may wear out faster but easy to replace, the hot-swappable feature can be an added benefit for those who want to try new switch types without soldering.

  • Brand: Keychron
  • Model: C1 and C2
  • Product Recommendation: starter keyboard
  • Mechanical switches: standard,
  • Connectivity: USB-C cable, Removable USB-C
  • Additional features: replacement keycaps for both Windows and Mac, upgrade to hot-swappable board
  • Durability and portability: solid build quality, dimensions C1: 14.06 by 5.12 by 1.5 inches (3.81 cm) and C2: 17.15 by 5.12 by 1.57 inches (3.99 cm)
  • Backlight: White or RGB
  • Keycap Material: ABS, lower-quality ABS keycaps
  • Comparison: cheaper than top picks

Key differences between C1 and C2

Keychron C1 (Starter Pick)
Keychron C2 (Budget Pick)

Keychron Q3 – The best, but expensive

Keychron Q3 Keyboard
Keychron Q3 Source: Photo by Michael Hession

The Keychron Q3 is an expensive keyboard, it offers excellent build quality, hot-swappable switches, an optional knob, and RGB backlighting, making it highly customizable. It also compatible with Windows and Mac and has a heavy aluminum case. The Q3 is available with a variety of switch and keycap options. But it’s more expensive than other options, taller and takes up more room on a desk, and you can’t customize the slope.

  • Brand: Keychron
  • Model: Q3
  • Product Recommendation: the best, but expensive
  • Mechanical switches: hot-swappable
  • Switch options: various options
  • Connectivity: USB-C cable, Removable USB-C
  • Additional features: optional knob, easy-to-program and full programmability with the VIA software, extra keycaps for Windows and Mac
  • Durability and portability: excellent build quality and heavy aluminum case, dimensions: 14.37 by 5.39 by 1.65 inches (4.19 cm)
  • Backlight: RGB
  • Keycap Material: PBT
  • Comparison: more expensive than other picks, takes more room on a desk than other picks, customizable slope is not possible

II. The Best Compact Mechanical Keyboards.

1. The Epomaker TH80 – Epomaker TH66 keyboards

Key differences between TH80 & TH66

TH80 and TH66 are both compact, high-quality portable mechanical keyboard that comes with a variety of Gateron G Pro switches. Both keyboards have a good typing experience and come with a host of extra features such as RGB backlighting, hot-swappable switches, a wireless connection, a fun rotary knob, and full programmability through Epomaker’s software. They also come with keycaps for Windows and Mac, and swapping between the operating system layouts is easy. They are more expensive than other options, but offer a high-quality typing experience and unique features.

  • Brand: Epomaker
  • Model: TH80 and TH66
  • Product Recommendation: The best 75% keyboard and The best 65%/68% keyboard
  • Mechanical switches: Hot-swappable
  • Switch options: Gateron G Pro switches, with recommendation for brown switches
  • Connectivity: removable USB-C, Bluetooth (three devices), USB dongle
  • Additional features: RGB backlighting, rotary knob, full programmability through Epomaker’s software, keycaps for Windows and Mac
  • Durability and portability: sturdy plastic cases, lubricated stabilizers, dimensions: TH80: 12.79 by 5.31 by 1.18 inches, TH66: 12.72 by 4.45 by 0.98 inches
  • Ergonomic: not mentioned
  • Backlight: RGB
  • Keycap Material: PBT
  • Comparison: more expensive than other options, cut unnecessary keys

Key differences between TH80 & TH66

The Epomaker TH80 – The best 75% keyboard
Epomaker TH66 – The best 65%/68% keyboard

2. Keychron V1 & Keychron V2

The Keychron V1 & Keychron V2
V1 vs. V2
  • Brand: Keychron
  • Model: V1 and V2
  • Product Recommendation: another great 75% keyboard and another great 65% keyboard
  • Mechanical switches: Keychron K Pro switch types
  • Switch options: recommends Brown switch if unsure
  • Connectivity: Removable USB-C
  • Additional features: RGB backlighting, hot-swappable switches, Windows and Mac keycaps, VIA software, rotary knob (extra cost)
  • Durability and portability: sturdy and durable
  • Ergonomic: similar to top pick, not as compact
  • Backlight: RGB
  • Keycap Material: PBT
  • Comparison: compared to top picks, similar features but less compact and no wireless

The key differences between V1 & V2

The Keychron V1 – Another great 75% keyboard
Keychron V2 – Another great 65% keyboard

3. The Keychron Q1 V2 & Keychron Q2

The Keychron Q1 V2 & Keychron Q2
  • Brand: Keychron
  • Model: Q1 Version 2, Q2
  • Product Recommendation:
  • Mechanical switches: Not specified
  • Switch options: Not specified
  • Connectivity: USB-C (removable)
  • Additional features: programmable through VIA software, customizable RGB backlighting, an optional knob, hot-swappable switches, extra keycaps for Windows and Mac.
  • Durability and portability: Heavy-duty aluminum case, excellent typing experience, taller and steeper non-adjustable slope, less portable due to extra weight, typographical inconsistencies on the included keycaps.
  • Backlight: RGB
  • Keycap Material: PBT ( higher-quality than ABS keycaps of Q1)

Key differences between Q1 V2 & Q2

The Keychron Q1 Version 2 – A fancy 75% keyboard
Keychron Q2 – A fancy 65% keyboard

4. Keychron K6 – A starter keyboard

Keychron K6 starter keyboard
  • Brand: Keychron
  • Model: K6
  • Product Recommendation: Best budget mechanical keyboard
  • Mechanical switches: Keychron or Gateron G Pro
  • Switch options: Recommends whichever Brown switches are cheaper
  • Connectivity: Removable USB-C, Bluetooth (three devices)
  • Additional features: Keycaps for Windows and Mac, available with either Keychron or Gateron G Pro switches
  • Durability and portability: ABS keycaps, thin plastic case, not as nice to type on as top picks
  • Ergonomic: 65% layout,
  • Backlight: White or RGB
  • Keycap Material: ABS

Key differences & Comparison

Compared to top picks, ABS keycaps, thin plastic case, and non-lubricated stabilizers don’t match the typing experience of top picks. K6 comes with keycaps for Windows and Mac, can connect to up to three devices via Bluetooth, available with either Keychron or Gateron G Pro switches, but not fully programmable, The included cable is too short. White-only backlight, hot-swap version a good deal, but hot-swapping is not a must-have feature in a budget board. If you find the hot-swap model for around $65, it’s a good deal, but if the RGB backlighting cost more than $80, we recommend one of the top picks instead.

The key differences between K6 and other Keychron models is that it is a 65% keyboard and is the best budget mechanical keyboard. It has ABS keycaps, thin plastic case, not as nice to type on as top picks, lacks the full programmability and it has a shorter cable. It supports connection via Bluetooth, and it’s available with either Keychron or Gateron G Pro switches.

Final Thought

In conclusion, as a digital nomad and zealous gamer, I understand the importance of having a reliable and portable keyboard to get work done on the go. After researching and testing various portable mechanical keyboards, I have compiled a list of the top 8 fancy portable mechanical keyboards of 2023 that can keep up with your demand. Whether you’re looking for a keyboard that’s easy to take on the go, or one that’s built to last, these mechanical keyboards are sure to meet your needs and preferences.

So, upgrade your gaming and nomadic lifestyle with one of these top fancy mechanical keyboards today. It is important to also consider the ergonomics of your setup while on the go. To ensure comfort and productivity, I highly recommend checking out The Best Portable Laptop Stand for Digital Nomads. These lightweight and durable stands allow you to easily adjust the height and angle of your laptop, reducing strain on your neck and shoulders while working on the go. So, make sure to take a look at our article on the Nexstand to complete your ultimate portable workstation setup.

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