Prime 13 Design and Features
Compared to past versions, it's been two generations since Das Keyboard switched from a glossy finish to a matte black aluminum top plate. Both have their aesthetic merits, though one advantage of the current design is that it's fairly resistant to finger smudges.
The same isn't true of the black ABS thermoplastic keycaps on the Prime 13. It's the same material Das Keyboard used on its previous generation plank, only with a different font that's translucent to let the backlight shine through. It doesn't take long for finger grease to leave glossy smudges on the keycaps, though after extended use of the Das Keyboard 4 Pro, we can say that the laser-marked inscriptions stand up exceptionally well over time.
Das Keyboard said its fan base frequently pings the company with requests for LED backlighting, an unsurprising revelation, and it responded by finally implementing the feature here. These are individually backlit keys, meaning each key has its own LED, with six levels of brightness. If you shutdown your computer, the Prime 13 will remember what illumination level you last used when you boot it back up.
This is one of the brightest backlit keyboards we've ever seen—at full blast, the LEDs managed to distract our peripheral vision. Not everyone will have that a problem, but for those that do, it's easily solved by turning down the illumination, or you can turn off the LED backlight altogether. In addition, the Prime 13 has an auto-dimming feature that kicks in after 10 minutes of inactivity.
Since each key has its own LED, backlighting is uniform across the board—there aren't any dead zones. The exception is on keys with multiple inscriptions. For example, the lighting shines through just fine on the number portion of the top row of number keys, but the secondary functions underneath—exclamation point, dollar sign, and so forth—are noticeably dimmer. Das Keyboard is far from alone in this regard, as we've seen many backlit keyboards exhibit the same behavior.
White is the only LED color option here, a decision we're sure Das Keyboard would chalk up to its mission of making a keyboard for the minimalmist. That's not a total cop out—this isn't a gaming keyboard, after all, but it's still a drag that there aren't more color options to play with.
- Fn + Esc = Sleep
- Fn + F1 = Backlight brightness down
- Fn + F2 = Backlight brightness up
- Fn + F5 = Media previous track
- Fn + F6 = Media play/pause
- Fn + F7 = Media next track
- Fn + F9 = Volume mute
- Fn + F10 = Volume down
- Fn + F11 = Volume up
- Fn + F12 = NKRO toggle