Typing and Final Word
As a daily workhorse, the Das Keyboard 4 offers another divine typing experience that's become typical of the product line. The familiar Cherry MX Blue key switches are audible without being obnoxious and will take you back in time to when the IBM Model M ruled the day. The mechanical key switches allow you to type more accurately, as well as faster over time. The Das Keyboard 4 won't work miracles with your typing skills, but as you train your brain to get accustomed to the audible feedback and actuation points, you'll inevitably emerge a superior typist compared to pecking away on an inconsistent membrane or dome-based plank.
Depending on personal preference, gamers might want to gravitate toward the Cherry MX Brown version. These types of switches have a slightly lighter actuation force that, in theory, should allow you to double-tap a little quicker. They're also quieter, so if you game into the late hours of the night when others in the home are sleeping, Cherry MX Brown is the more polite choice.
As for gaming in general, the Das Keyboard 4 is a serviceable solution, and some will certainly appreciate the N-key rollover (NKRO) over USB function. However, the Das Keyboard 4 lacks certain gaming amenities. It doesn't have backlit keys, dedicated macro keys, built-in memory to save profiles, or a software interface that would make profiles necessary in the first place. In other words, this isn't a gaming keyboard, though you can use the Das Keyboard to play games if you don't need the extra features that dedicated planks bring to the table.
That said, it's not for everyone. Die-hard gamers who live and thrive with macros and other gaming features still won't be swayed by Metadot's efforts, and perhaps one day Metadot will build a version specifically with these users in mind. For now, the Das Keyboard 4 is a solidly built and downright awesome keyboard for professional and/or frequent typists who spend their days pecking away in front of a monitor. Even the occasional typist will appreciate the difference between the Das Keyboard 4 and a regular keyboard, just not as often.
The asking price is a bit of a barrier. To drive a Das Keyboard 4 off the lot, you'll need to bring at least $169 to the dealer, and that gets you a base model with Cherry MX Blue switches; Cherry MX Browns run $173. Either way, it's a premium for a plank that doesn't come with a backlight, dual-purpose Function keys, or a built-in LCD panel. We don't necessarily need these extras -- a backlight would be nice -- but we can't ignore that you can spend the same or less from competitors that offer these features along with mechanical key switches.
So yes, the Das Keyboard 4 is expensive. It's also the best version version yet with feature upgrades like a built-in SuperSpeed USB 3.0 port and media controls. We're less excited about the dual-purpose footbar/ruler, which teeters on being gimmicky, but overall the the Das Keyboard 4 is successful in delivering an elegant typing experience in a professional looking package.