Disclaimer: This is a review from a customer and I have not been paid to glorify them. The keyboard really is this good.
In January 2015 (or maybe it was ’14. I’m not sure anymore), I picked up a first-gen Das Keyboard 4 Professional with Cherry MX Browns. I said “first generation” because they’ve come out with a redesign (the letters on the keycaps have been centered in the new version instead of the top left corner is the only difference in the pictures). It’s my first mechanical keyboard, and I’m glad I made the switch (pun intended). As a high schooler living in the 21st century, typing on technology is becoming something extremely important and commonplace. A good keyboard, therefore, is a must – comfort is key to writing those long essays. It’s not limited to essays when I’m typing, too – I build stuff with computer words and collect treasure chests every so often.
How is it when writing?
The keys are magical. Seriously. They seem to be in the right place at the right time, all the time. The force required to send a keystroke on this keyboard seems to be less than my old keyboard (the good old Logitech wave with the cushion pads and the media control at the top). Even now, the keys feel the same as when I first bought them – they don’t seem to have gummed up like the old one has. Or maybe because I haven’t used it enough. It might be that as well. I’m not sure when I finally realized that I had adjusted to the different keys, but I can definitely say that I have – typing on the keyboards at school make me want to cry.
How is it when gaming?
The consensus, or at least the reputation, is that mechanical boards are for gamers. Not true – while I do occasionally fly around in fantasy worlds, I don’t consider myself a hardcore gamer. So while I can’t offer much in how this keyboard performs when it comes to gaming (there are no options for recording macros or whatnot to pull of those fancy tricks over and over again if that makes a difference), I can tell you that mechanical boards are NOT just for gamers. I have played Child of Light, the Floor is Jelly, and the Sun and Moon on this board, however, and my experience with the board in these games has been favorable.
All in all, the board itself types well.
The media keys do media things (last song, pause/play, next). Sometimes they’re a bit off – keypresses do not seem to be registered – and that’s something I think could be improved, but aside from that, the media keys work fine. The volume knob does its job, and every step can be felt. That’s a nice touch. The sleep button sends the computer to sleep (no surprise there), but the way that it’s flush against the rest of the board is a nice touch. It seems to not be in the way when it’s not required, so accidental pushes are avoided. The LED indicators are a bright, bright blue. Looking directly into them is not painful (though they are bright), but it’s angled so that you won’t have to. They don’t seem to fit with the board – the logo is red – but at this point, that’s just nitpicking. The two USB 3.0 ports function (though sometimes they are hard to find), and the NKRO (activated via SHIFT+MUTE) works as well. The LED indicator lights are supposed to flash a certain number of times to indicate NKRO on or off states on toggle, but the description does not accurately reflect my device when toggling.
The board overall has a sturdy feel to it, owing to the weight, material, and appearance, probably. My rubber pads on the bottom of the board were not aligned properly, however, and this led to the board tilting when typing in various parts of the board. This was later fixed by applying a little rubber pad to the bottom of the rubber pad, to even it out.
The magnetic ruler that doubles as a footbar does its job as a footbar. It does not do its job as a ruler well, however – the markings and numbers are difficult to see, even under proper lighting conditions (daylight). Placing the ruler back after use is exactly what you expect – dependent on the surroundings. For me, it was slightly difficult owing to the fact that a higher platform was placed just in the way of the keyboard, making replacement difficult. The fact that it snapped into place thanks to the magnets, and that there are guides at the bottom of the board to place the ruler, made the process slightly easier.
The keyboard itself is fabulous, but the ruler is difficult to use due to the writing on the ruler being the same color as the ruler. It’s difficult to see the numbers and marks. This doesn’t merit taking away points from the board itself, though, which is an extremely wonderful piece of hardware for writing. Gamers beware – if backlighting and macros are things you absolutely require, you won’t find them on this board. If, however, you’re looking for a good solid board to last you through your ups and downs and long reports up the wazoo, this is a keyboard I’d definitely recommend.
TL;DR: Keyboard is good even after at least six months of use, but the uneven padding and almost unusable ruler is slightly disconcerting. The ports are fine, if not a bit hard to find once in a while. Some may be turned away from the lack of features, but this is where you ask yourself: what is truly necessary?