Das Keyboard Prime 13 Review: A Minimalistic Mechanical Plank

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Key Switch and Performance

At present, only Cherry MX Brown switches are available on the Prime 13. However, Das Keyboard tells HotHardware that it's planning to offer Cherry MX Blue switches next, though it didn't give us a time frame for when they'll be available.

Das Keyboard Prime 13 Cherry MX Brown Key Switches

The Cherry MX Brown switches used here have 2mm of pre-travel and 4mm of total travel. It takes 55 grams of force to register a tactile response, and the rated bounce time is less than 5 milliseconds. The switches have a rated lifespan at 50 million keystrokes.

Those are the technical specifications, anyway. In layman's terms, Cherry MX Brown switches feel lighter than Cherry MX Blue switches, and they're far less audible, making them good candidates for anyone surrounded by grumpy co-workers.

Gaming Performance


The Prime 13 isn't a gaming keyboard, a fact that's evident by the lack of dedicated macro controls or other fancy features that might give you a leg up on the competition. That also means there aren't any gimmicky features, nor is there a need to install any software or special drivers. Just plug the Prime 13 into your PC and you're ready to go.

Even though this isn't a gaming plank, we fired up a few games anyway (strictly for the benefit of our readers, of course!). The Prime 13 handled the effort just fine. No, we didn't have access to macros nor could we switch between custom profiles. But it's still a mechanical plank with a key switch that's popular among game players. If you can do without the added amenities, the Prime 13 will happily join you in battle.

Typing Performance

The overall typing experience is right on par with what we've grown accustomed to from Cherry MX Brown key switches. We didn't experience any wonky behavior, such as missed keystrokes or input delays.

Those concerned with ergonomics may lament the lack of a wrist rest, though there are clips on the bottom to prop the keyboard up at an angle, in case you prefer that to laying the keyboard flat.

Typists who have to look down at the keys on occasion will need to get used to some non-traditional labels on the keys. Most are as you would expect, save for the Return key, Shift key, Caps Lock, and Tab button, all of which are denoted by arrows.

If you prefer a softer, quieter typing experience, you'll feel right at home on the Prime 13. The Cherry MX Brown key switches hit the mark without feeling squishy like most membrane-based keyboards. However, if you prefer clicky keyboards with a bit more audible action, you'll want to wait for the Cherry MX Blue version.

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