By now, regular readers of my blog should know that I have an unhealthy obsession with input devices. I constantly experiment with different mice and keyboards in an effort to find the “perfect desktop”, at least for my tastes. Over the years, my quest has led to me to two conclusions: 1) I prefer wired laser mice, with high-resolution sensors (the wakeup delays with wireless mice were simply too annoying to live with) and 2) well-made mechanical keyswitch keyboards are superior to mushy rubber domes or membrane ‘boards.
After experimenting with virtually every keyswitch type over the last couple of years, I have settled on the Cherry MX Brown as my preferred keyswitch, with Topre Capacitives coming in a very close second. The Cherry MX Brown is a tactile, but non-clicky keyswitch that requires only a light touch to actuate (relatively speaking). Once accustomed to Cherry MX Brown switches, typing for extended sessions resulted in less finger fatigue and faster typing speeds, though the latter could also partially be attributed to sticking with one keyboard (a Filco) for much longer than usual.
Due to the fact that I’ve grown so fond of Cherry MX Brown keyswitches, I was immediately intrigued when I heard the news that Metadot would be releasing a new Das Keyboard based on the switches. The keyboard would be called the Das Keyboard Model S Professional Silent, and in addition to using Cherry MX Brown switches, it offered a number of enhancements over the previous version of the Das Keyboard as well.
I really liked the look and feel of the previous Das Keyboard Professional, which featured clicky Cherry MX Blue keyswitches. But while that model was built well and looked great (I liked the glossy casing, some did not), it suffered from a weird controller glitch that could cause transposed keystrokes at very high typing speeds. For most people this wasn’t an issue, but for fast typists who could “burst” to very high speeds while typing common words, the transposition errors were quite a nuisance. Metadot acknowledged the bug, and went to work on the keyboard featured here, the aforementioned Das Keyboard Model S Professional Silent, along with new Ultimate and clicky Pro models as well.
The Das Keyboard Model S Professional Silent looks much like the previous version of the Das Keyboard Pro, save for some minor tweaks. The new model has more subdued blue backlighting on its status indicators (caps lock, scroll lock, num lock) and the new laser-etched keycap inscriptions make the keycap font look somewhat different, although it really isn’t. The glossy, black case returns and the shape and overall layout of the keys, ports and cabling are the same.
The Das Keyboard Model S Professional Silent separates itself from the previous version in a few ways, however. First, there are the laser-etched keycaps which are more durable and won’t fade. Then there’s the new keyboard controller which features N-Key rollover, and a new USB hub which provides enough power to charge devices like a smartphone or media player. I should point out though, that N-Key rollover only works when the keyboard is connected to a PS/2 port (which is the case with all NKRO keyboards), when connected via USB, the board offers 6-key rollover. And that the new USB hub has its own dedicated USB connector—whereas the previous Das keyboard has only a single USB connector for both the keyboard and USB hub, this latest version has two.
I have been using the Das Keyboard Model S Professional Silent exclusively for the last few weeks and have been nothing but pleased. The keycaps are surprisingly durable and haven’t begun to get shiny at all (which I couldn’t say for my FIlco board after the same amount of use), the USB hub works perfectly, and the N-Key rollover works as it should. Throughout many hours writing and gaming, the Das Keyboard Model S Professional Silent has served me well. Perhaps the only downside is that the keyboard’s glossy black case attracts fingerprints and is easy to scratch, but it cleans up easily.
For $135, the Das Keyboard Model S Professional Silent is a great keyboard that’s priced competitively with other high-end Cherry MX Brown-based boards. I should point out that Metadot is also running a promo through the end of August that’ll get you 24% off and free shipping, which makes the Das Keyboard Model S Professional Silent a great buy in my opinion.
I think I’ll be sticking with the Das Keyboard Model S Professional Silent for the foreseeable future. So far, nothing has turned me off about the keyboard at all. It’s durable, it looks good, and it hasn’t failed me yet. I’m sure I’ll be compelled to switch between the Das and my Topre and / or Filco boards at some point, but it’ll be due to my OCD and not any inherent problems with the Das. If you’re thinking about taking the plunge and investing in a mechanical keyswitch keyboard, the Das Keyboard Model S Professional Silent is a great place to start—especially if you can take advantage of the Back to School discount.