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Das Keyboard Model S Professional Mechanical Keyboard Review

Posted May 09, 2012 12:00 AM by Baxter

Recently I found my fingers were getting fatigued by my shallow key Dell keyboard. A friend recommended I look into mechanical keyboards. The immediate advantages I found with mechanical keyboards were key rollover (ability to register all keystrokes simultaneously), feel, product longevity and PS/2 connectivity. When reading into mechanical keyboards I came across a very informative forum that broke down terminology and differences in mechanical keyboard types. That forum can be found here http://www.overclock.net/t/491752/mechanical-keyboard-guide. I was very interested and eager to order a mechanical keyboard but was held back by one factor - price. Mechanical keyboards are expensive. Before using a mechanical keyboard I would have never imagined paying 100 dollars for a keyboard, but after use I have become a believer.

The first mechanical keyboard I tried out was Das Keyboard Model S Professional. Das Keyboard's Model S was one of the better reviewed mechanical keyboards I saw online and it was very attractive aesthetically. When I received the keyboard I found the packaging was simple, clean and frustration free. It had arrived safely with no defects. Right out of the box the first thing I noticed was the weight of the unit. It's nice and heavy, inspiring a feeling that this keyboard is made to last and is very sturdy.

The cable leading from the keyboard is nice and thick. It seems sturdy enough to withstand being yanked on a bit, but for the cost of the unit I expect braided cable. The next thing I noticed was that there was a lack of cable management solutions molded into the plastic on the underside of the keyboard. And my biggest gripe was with the 2 built in USB ports. I think it's great to have USB ports built into a keyboard, but the positioning of the USB ports on this unit was on right hand side of the keyboard. As a righty, I can't imagine ever being able to plug anything into these ports without being frustrated when navigating the mouse. If the USB ports were on the top of keyboard I'd find them much more useful. The finish of the keyboard is glossy black and looks beautiful. However, the finish is very prone to show dust, hair, or whatever else lands on the board. Thankfully they included a nice wipe cloth to clean the board.

The size is the exact same as my everyday non-mechanical keyboard. The only difference in sizing I noticed is the Ctrl key is slightly smaller. There are no media keys on the Model S Professional. I didn't think I'd mind when I first got the unit, but I found myself missing them. There's also no included wrist rest. Thankfully any regular aftermarket wrist wrest seems to match up perfectly with Das Keyboard.

Besides the slightly smaller Ctrl key I found there was no "learning curve" when using this keyboard. Right away I was comfortable and my fingers felt great typing away. My accuracy and speed both improved as I become more adjusted to the keyboard, and I was blown away by how nice it felt. In addition, there are no "pressure points" on the keys. For example, space bar works just as well when pressed all the way to the right or left as it does when pressed right in the center.

Das Keyboard Model S uses gold plated Cherry MX Blue switches for each key. Cherry MX Blue switches are an absolute dream to type on, but offer both tactile and audible feedback. The 'clicky' audible feedback is not for everyone as some people find it to be loud and annoying. I found that typing a little more softly can dramatically reduce sound feedback. My co-workers around my cubicle weren't bothered by the sound and couldn't notice a difference from my regular keyboard. I would imagine this keyboard would be fine regardless of your typing style if you have your own office or cube, but I don't think it would be the best fit if your computer is in a dorm room or bedroom where others are sleeping. Das Keyboard has two "silent" versions of the keyboard available that use Cherry MX Brown switches that would reduce sound dramatically if noise is a factor.

Not only did I love the Das Keyboard Model S Professional for office use, but it was great for gaming as well. All simultaneous keystrokes register perfectly as advertised. My fingers felt great after a few hours of rigorous keystrokes in my favorite game Counter-Strike, and could see myself wanting a Das Keyboard for my gaming computer at home as well as my cubical at work.

Das Keyboard Model S Professional is a bit of a mixed bag. On one hand it's sturdy, sexy, and a joy to type on. On the other, its lack of cable management and media keys and its poorly placed USB ports leave some room for improvement. The Model S Professional sells for $129.00 on Das Keyboard's homepage. I was able to find it for $103.00 shipped on eBay. For me the price is justified. I have never had such a wonderful experience typing and gaming. My fingers felt great after hours where they used to become fatigued. A wonderful feel and sexy yet sturdy design outweigh its slight flaws that will keep your fingers happy for years to come.

DISCLOSURE: One or more of the products mentioned in this review were sent to me by Das Keyboard for evaluation purposes. The opinions in this review are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR, Part 255 guides concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising.

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#1

Re: Das Keyboard Model S Professional Mechanical Keyboard Review

05/09/2012 9:21 AM

Nice review. I think it's funny that Das Keyboard offers earplugs as a reply to co-workers or family members that get annoyed by the clickity clack. What is it that really makes the most noise: the actuation point, or bottoming out?

I've really only used membrane keyboards or laptop keyboards, so bottoming out is the only way I'm used to knowing the key has been pressed. And that's what makes the most noise. I'm sure that if I used a mechanical keyboard like this, even the loudest one, it would eventually quiet down after I got the hang of moving to the next key after feeling the tactile feedback rather than bottoming out on each keystroke.

As I type, I watch the letters and words form on the screen. If I miss a letter, I see it immediately and fix my typo. Did you notice with tactile feedback that you missed less letters? What do you like most about having tactile feedback when compared to your run of the mill membrane keyboard?

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: Das Keyboard Model S Professional Mechanical Keyboard Review

05/09/2012 9:36 AM

You made a great point about the noise. There's much more sound from "bottoming out" the key vs the "clicky" actuation point feedback. As I got used to the switches i stopped bottoming out each keystroke which I believe increased my typing speed.

I found my accuracy increased also because I had been using keyboards with shallow keys similar to laptop keyboards. The switch to Das Keyboard also took care of finger fatigue I was having as well.

It was a beautiful keyboard. I really liked the blue LED's for Num, Caps, Scrl Lock.

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#3
In reply to #1

Re: Das Keyboard Model S Professional Mechanical Keyboard Review

05/10/2012 4:21 AM

I have an original IBM 'clicky' keyboard. (sounds a lot like the Das Keyboard minus the Windows keys and the USB hub) I find the tactile feel helps me miss fewer keystrokes as I feel the springs buckle but I usually let them go down far enough for the flapper to hit the circuit board. That's what makes most of the noise. The spring buckling is pretty quiet. I suppose the brown switches have a cushion of sort at the bottom to keep the flapper from hitting the C.B.

The original IBMs don't have blue switches, just one big molding to hold all the flappers in place as well as the parallel bars for all the long keys. They were a nightmare to rebuild 'back in the old days'. You had to remove all the key caps, flip it over, remove the back cover and C.B., replace the broken flapper(s), make sure all 102 were sitting perfectly in their notches, lay the C.B. on top, press it down with the back cover (the C.B. was flat, everything else was curved), slide the back cover into place and reinstall all the key caps (and parallel bars). Then you had to test it to make sure you hadn't broken the feet off the flappers while sliding the back cover into place. And back in those days (mid '80s) it was still cheaper to do that than buy a new keyboard.

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#4

Re: Das Keyboard Model S Professional Mechanical Keyboard Review

05/10/2012 7:37 AM

Here's a link to some photos I took of the keyboard.

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150857859184659.429733.57680629658&type=3

"Like" cr4 on facebook if you haven't already!

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#5

Re: Das Keyboard Model S Professional Mechanical Keyboard Review

05/21/2012 10:16 AM

I have been using a das keyboard for about a week now. It is a pretty nice keyboard, and i think i can type a little faster on it. I wouldn't mind the loudness of typing on this keyboard at my house, but using it in the office almost makes it seem like i have a typewriter.

As long as your coworkers aren't to close to you i would suggest giving this keyboard a try.

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