Das Keyboard Prime 13 Review: A Minimalistic Mechanical Plank

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Das Keyboard Prime 13 Intro And Specs

Does the name Daniel Guermeur mean anything to you? It should. He's the founder and CEO of Das Keyboard, previously known as Metadot, and he's part of the reason why the peripheral market is now flush with mechanical keyboards. It started in 2005 when, on a mission to become a faster and more accurate typist, he created a completely blank keyboard. His idea worked, and it gave rise to the Das Keyboard, the first mass produced keyboard for the "uber geek."

A year later, Metadot came out with its second model, the Das Keyboard II (DK2), with mechanical key switches. It's hard to believe now, but mechanical keyboards weren't really a thing as recently as a decade ago, after the original classics of the '80s faded away. But the DK2 helped changed that—geeks immediately took to the keyboard's clicky key action with audible feedback, reminiscent of the old IBM Model M.

 Das Keyboard Prime 13 Stock

From there the market for mechanical keyboards grew, slowly at first, until more recently going full steam ahead. Now mechanical planks are all over the place with more models coming out all the time. And what of Das Keyboard? It's still in the game, having just launched its newest mechanical model, the Das Keyboard Prime 13 (just Prime 13 from here on out).

Having already contributed to the history and evolution of the keyboard among professional and enthusiast typists with previous iterations, the Prime 13 isn't a revolutionary new product, nor does it represent an evolutionary upgrade over the Das Keyboard Pro 4. So, what is it?

The Prime 13 is a minimalist keyboard with only the "essential key features users really need on an everyday basis." Part of that is marketing speak to excuse the lack of amenities, though it has a few notable features that we'll cover in just a moment. Before we do that, let's have a look at the spec sheet.

Das Keyboard Prime 13 Mechanical Keyboard
Specifications & Features
Form Factor:
 Full size
Switch Type:
 Cherry MX Brown
Backlight:
 Yes (individual key backlighting)
Backlight Color:
 White
Dedicated Macro Keys:
 None
Anti-Ghosting:
 Full N-key rollover (NKRO)
Disables Windows Key:
 No
Audio Ports:
 None
USB Ports:
 1 x USB 2.0
Wrist Rest:
 No
Dimensions (WxHxD):
 6.77 x 1.22 x 18.03 inches (17.20 x 3.11 x 45.80 cm)
Weight:
 2.9 pounds (1.32 kg)
Warranty:
 1 year
Price:
 $149 MSRP - Find It At Amazon

Das Keyboard Prime 13 Stock 2

The biggest feature upgrade here is the white LED backlighting. That's something not found on any previous Das Keyboard model, though the X40 Pro from the company's recently formed Division Zero gaming unit is backlit.

Das Keyboard also changed things up by going with Cherry MX Brown key switches. They're tactile like the Cherry MX Blue key switches, meaning you can feel the point at which a keystroke registers, but lack the loud "click" sound that some people find satisfying (and others within earshot find annoying). Cherry Browns also require less force to actuate.

With specs out of the way, let's get down to the nitty-gritty!

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