Enter the Das Keyboard Professional

Those of you that have been reading my blog entries regularly should know by now that I am a bit maniacal when it comes to my input devices. Even if a device is serving me well, I can’t help but search for its replacement—call it a disorder if you like, it’s just how I am.

Over the last few months, this has led me to try a Unicomp Customizer 104, a pair of Enermax keyboards, SteelSeries’ 7G gaming keyboard, and now one of the new Das Keyboards. The older Das Keyboard’s claim to fame was its high-quality “clicky” construction and blank key caps. The company claimed the blank keys forced users of the Das Keyboard to memorize key locations, and over time, the users would become better typists. Despite its relative success, however, the original Das Keyboard had a rather Spartan appearance that wasn’t very enticing. So the company decided to update the look and overall design, and while they were at it introduce a version with key labels as well.


Das Keyboard Professional

The new Das Keyboard line-up consists of Professional and Ultimate models. The Professional unit is adorned with key labels, while the Ultimate unit is blank like the older model. As much as I’d like to say I’m geek enough to handle the Das Keyboard Ultimate, I opted for the Das Keyboard Professional—as cool as using the Ultimate would be, I don’t have the time to re-learn how to type. I’ll save that adventure for another time.

Like the original, the allure of the new Das Keyboard line-up is their high-end construction. The keyboards feature Cherry MX blue mechanical key switches that provide tactile and audible feedback. These new models also feature blue LED indicators for the number, scroll, and caps lock keys, a built in, two-port USB hub, and an “almost-n-key” rollover function that allows up to 12 keys to be pressed simultaneously without ghosting. In addition, the new Das Keyboards have an extra long USB cable and slick, glossy outer casings that enhance the look of the units, although the shiny outer casing is prone to fingerprints and scratches.

I have been working with the Das Keyboard Professional for about two weeks now, and have to say it is vying for the title of my favorite keyboard. With that said, the Das Keyboard Professional is certainly not for everyone. Personally, I prefer the sound of clicky keys like those used on the Das Keyboard. Once you get used to the sound, I find that I can almost tell when I have made a typo by the sound of the clicks. The unit’s clicky keys will almost certainly deter some users though. If you prefer to work in silence, or are in an environment where others may be annoyed by the sound of the keys, the Das Keyboard is not going to fit the bill. Having been a fan of clicky keyboards since the days of the Northgate Omnikey, the Das Keyboard’s audible report works for me.

I also find the Das Keyboard Professional’s blue LED indicators and glossy exterior visually appealing, and I think its USB ports are in a good position. But while the key layout is standard, I have had an issue getting used to the angle of the upper-most row of keys, below the function keys. When typing feverishly, I have found the Q, W, E, R and T keys to be harder to press than I would like. The keys work fine, however, and it is only my left hand that’s having the problem, so I think it is just a matter of time before I get fully comfortable with the Das Keyboard and this issue goes away.

I plan to stick with the Das Keyboard Professional for the foreseeable future. So far it has the best combination of looks and features for my personal tastes. How long I feel this way remains to be seen though. I gravitate towards input devices like a moth to a flame, and if something else exciting comes along, I know I’ll want to try it out.


Posted Mon, Nov 10 2008 3:26 PM by Marco C

Comments

Dave_HH wrote
on Tue, Nov 11 2008 8:33 PM

Dang.. I'm jonesing again, you ***!

3vi1 wrote re: Enter the Das Keyboard Professional
on Thu, Nov 13 2008 8:03 PM

Looks pretty nice.  -2 for no ergonomics, though.

MikeL_HH wrote re: Enter the Das Keyboard Professional
on Fri, Nov 14 2008 9:07 AM

Define ergonomics... because no keyboard has ergonomics worth a damn unless you get an "ergonomic" keyboard with the funky split keys, raised tapered surface, etc. The Das Keyboard is just as good (or bad) as any other non-"ergonomic" keyboard out there. Actually, for a trained typist, the Das Keyboard is likely to be better on your hands since it uses superior key-stroke technology. You miss fewer strokes and you don't need to press the key down all the way like in conventional membrane keyboards. If you type very fast and often, nothing will mess up your hands faster than a flat short-travel laptop style keyboard.

ice_73 wrote re: Enter the Das Keyboard Professional
on Fri, Nov 14 2008 9:28 PM

imo, this is overprices. 129? i can get a keyboard for about 5 bucks..... i admit the das keyboard looks to be spectacular, but it doesnt provide any real features than a regular keyboard... and for 129 dollars id expect something more out of a keyboard.

Marco C wrote re: Enter the Das Keyboard Professional
on Fri, Nov 14 2008 11:31 PM

I agree, $129 is a lot of money for a keyboard, but there really is no comparison to an el-cheapo $5 keybaord other than key layout.  Logevity, build quality, key buffer, tactile feedback--everything is better on a keyboard like the Das Pro.  For someone like me who makes a living banging away on a keyboard, I can appreciate the differences.

ice_73 wrote re: Enter the Das Keyboard Professional
on Sun, Nov 16 2008 10:38 PM

true, true, making a living off the use of a keyboard would make a huge difference, but for me (a gamer, and an enthusiast) something along the lines of a steel series, or a razer (which both cost around 80, and can be gotten off ebay for even cheaper) seems like a much better option.... though there is a point where nothing really "new" can be added to a keyboard, and that starts around 70 dollars. alot of the more expensive keyboards (remember the oled maximus?) are just for personal style, or of extreme quality. the same is true for everything though. as an audiophile i notice that the difference between 300 dollar headphones, and 700 dollars one is there, but not an extreme difference. something that the casual user, would not even notice. and the difference between price is too much. basically, while im sure the keyboard is amazing its just a bit too much for me. however im glad you found a keyboard you finally love marco! no more complaining eh?

Marco C wrote re: Enter the Das Keyboard Professional
on Mon, Nov 24 2008 9:45 PM

Oh, I'll find a reason to complain.  I'm a bit OCD and sometimes I just NEED to replace something for the sake of replacing it. :)

ice_73 wrote re: Enter the Das Keyboard Professional
on Thu, Nov 27 2008 10:48 PM

i wonder what you do with all the old ones, im the type of guy to not buy anything new unless i really need it (but when i buy something i want it to last). as Rockerfeller said "im not rich enough to buy cheap stuff" (meaning that cheap stuff breaks easier, and it overall worse and you end up "upgrading" more, costing more in the long run).

what ever happened to the maximus keyboard? (the oled one)