Using the Das Keyboard: Feelings and Impressions
Before I share my impressions about the Das Keyboard III, I have to disclose that I have been using Keytronic KT800/KT1000 dome switch keyboards for over ten years now. Before that, I used a mechanical switch keyboard for about eight years. As a result, I am not quite used to notebook-type or trendy keyboards of these days, but what I am used to is fairly high comfort while typing.
Considering the fact that Das Keyboard is positioned for professional typists, it should be compared against mainstream/entry range keyboards that are used in typical daily routine of someone whose job is dependent on the keyboard and not its style. As a result, we decided to compare Das Keyboard to Keytronic KT800/1000, HP K US 0133, Logitech Cordless EX110 and a cheap noname keyboard. Obviously, the Das Keyboard is much more expensive than the aforementioned units, but those products are the ones which are actually utilised by the vast majority of typists.
Since the Das Keyboard is all about tactile feelings and visual impression, this part of the review is extremely subjective.
The first thing that is noticed when the Das Keyboard is removed from its box is that it is heavy, which is actually a pleasant impression: you hold a high-quality item in your hands; not a cheap device, but a properly made product that is designed to work and help you make money.
Thanks to glossy surface as well as enlarged USB hub ledge, the Das Keyboard III Professional looks stylish. The Das Keyboard I and II were not glossy and their shape was not as stylishly simple and “straight” as that of the III. To further impress, the keyboard uses fashionable blue diodes on Num, Scroll and Caps Lock indicators. As predecessors, the new Das Keyboard has no additional keys “for consumers”, but just everything which is required for professional users.
While the “professional” version does look good, the Ultimate edition of the Das Keyboard looks amazingly well: with no marks at all, it attracts attention not only because of the stylish shape, but because of the apparent absurd: the keyboard without marks! The absence of marks obviously has its pros and cons, but we will talk about it a little later.
Typing on the Das Keyboard is much more comfortable compared to HP K US 0133, Logitech Cordless EX110 as well as cheap noname keyboards. In fact, the EX110 as well as noname keyboards have little resistance at all, thus, there is no tactile feeling of pressing and many typing mistakes occur because of that. The HP and Keytronic dome-switch-based keyboards have rather high resistance against pressing, which makes them pretty comfortable to use, but this resistance is a little different compared to that on the Das Keyboard. In fact, higher strength should be applied to start pressing a key of Das Keyboard at first, but then they key sinks down with very low resistance, a distinctive feature of several high-end keyboards by Logitech.
The official motto of the Das Keyboard is “the mechanical board that clicks”. For some, clicking is probably important as it also gives an indication that a key has been pressed, some will dislike this feature as it distracts others and also adds unnecessary sound. To tell you the truth, I rarely found the clicking of the Das Keyboard annoying, even while the music was playing.
The keys of the Das Keyboard are of the nearly ideal form: large and curved enough. In fact, I got used to it after 10 years of using Keytronic keyboards in 10 to 20 minutes. This is very impressive, as in about three months of using Logitech’s EX110 on the multimedia testbed I could not feel myself comfortable due to its small keys and the lack of almost any resistance during pressing.
Since I’ve never used any kind of multimedia keys on any keyboards, I am not used to them and did not feel any discomfort about their absence on the Das Keyboard. But many would disagree with me on this.
While the glossy surface of the Das Keyboard gives it a stylish look, this surface can be scratched just too easily: the first scratches on the unit emerged in just a couple of days and were caused either by the napkin bundled with the product or by a Motorola pad that is supplied with its phones to remove fingerprints and things like that.