Das Keyboard 4 Professional Review
Can You Hear Me Now? –
The main gimmick behind Das Keyboard is the clicky, tactile response with each individual keystroke. Until you type on it yourself, there really is no way to accurately describe how this keyboard is different from other models on the market.
Here is a video I made over a year ago that demonstrates what a Das Keyboard really is:
Over the last six or so years I’ve had the opportunity to use almost all the different Das Keyboard models and it has pretty much been the only keyboard that I use on my main desktop PC. In fact, the major of myGamer content is produced with a Das Keyboard. Click the link above to learn more about why Das Keyboards are so great.
New in 2014 is the upgraded Das Keyboard 4 model. Outside of launching the first original model, this latest edition is the biggest update to the Das Keyboard brand in the last five or so years.
Instead of starting with what is different, I think it might be more important in this case to highlight was remains the same. First, this is still a keyboard for typists and the satisfying sound and responsiveness of the keys remains exactly the same. Without this main bullet point a Das Keyboard wouldn’t be a Das Keyboard. Because each and every keystroke, from the main character keys to the numbers on the number pad, is so responsive, springy, and just overall fulfilling to touch, a Das Keyboard can and will make you a better typist. The user only needs to gently press each key to generate a keystroke which results in faster and more accurate typing. Again, using one for yourself is really the only way to truly understand the quality that is put into this board.
Now that we know the overall look, feel, and quality ultimately remains the same as the previous Professional Model with Quiet Key Design, the big question is what is new and different. The minor negative aspects that I mentioned in my previous reviews have all been addressed with this new model and then some making this Professional 4 model the best unit yet. All these cool new features result in a slightly higher price, however.
Starting off, Das Keyboard is looking to the future as a single USB 3.0 plug now powers the entire unit instead of a pair of USB 2.0 plugs. Even if you are using an older computer, fear not as USB 3.0 is backwards compatible with USB 2.0. The end result of using a single port is the keyboard actually acts a two-port hub so the user actually gains an additional USB port. I had no issue using these ports either as my FitBit hub is constantly inserted while I swap flashdrives constantly in the other port. If you are going to use more power extensive products with this keyboard hub, like a printer with a scanner, then you might run into issues depending on which specific units are being used because the Das Keyboard is not powered by any external power supplies. Further, unlike the ports that were located on the right hand edge of previous models, which gets in the way of using a mouse, the ports have been moved to the top perimeter. Now plugging in that flashdrive won’t get in the way when using your mouse. Using these ports also make it much more accessible than fumbling around the back of a PC tower too. The length of the keyboard USB input is also over 6 feet to allow easy access to your computer without sacrificing data speed. It is worth pointing out that Das Keyboards are not wireless for a reason – wireless units can create unwanted lag. Take note, however, this new unit does not ship with a PS2 adapter most likely due to the USB 3.0 upgrade.
Also new to this 4 Professional model is the removal of built-in toekicks to prop up the unit at a slight angle. Instead, this new model comes with an optional red kickstand that easily snaps onto the back of the unit via magnets. This plastic bar is almost the length of the entire keyboard which makes the unit as sturdy as can be even with the most aggressive typing you can throw at it. This kickstand also doubles as a ruler as measurements are etched into it. Unfortunately, actually reading the measurements is rather difficult since the type is rather small and the red color makes it a little more difficult to distinguish what is what. But this innovated feature probably won’t be use much, if at all, anyway. If you do use this kickstand as a ruler, just be sure to return it to its rightful home on the bottom of your board so you don’t lose it.
Overall, the unit is the same size, shape and weight of the previous versions but when placed side by side some slight differences can be distinguished. To start, this new unit is actually more of a slightly off black, matte grayish color versus the shiny jet black of the original models. This actually works to its advantage as finger printing isn’t as much of a concern now; this is probably why the unit does not ship with a mini finger print cloth anymore. The back of the unit has also undergone some upgrades but I doubt most users will not notice or even care – the serial number tag is now a laser etched piece of metal in comparison to the simple sticker design of the first models. Not that it makes a big difference but it is comforting to know your serial number will not fade away in time if a warranty issue ever arises. The entire framing of the unit is also different as it juts out just slightly. While this makes no different performance-wise, hardcore users could actually built this into the top of desk by cutting a hole and dropping it in just like a cooktop or sink in your kitchen. While it is doubtful anyone will actually do this, the ability is there thanks to this new frame design. If anything, although minor, it makes it a little easier to grip for traveling purposes.
Like the updated rear serial tag, I doubt most users will notice the new font and positioning of lettering on each key. This new model’s font is actually easier to read (if you are using the Professional model instead of the blank Ultimate version that displays no text on the keys for a sleek/badass look) and each symbol is positioned in the middle of each key instead of the corner. New comers won’t think twice about this font decision but longtime fans will appreciate the change.
Besides the awkward positioning of the USB ports in the original models, the dead area in the upper right reserved for the logo just seemed like wasted space. This new design, however, makes solid use of this previously empty space by adding some media hot key functionality to the board. A jog-dial allows the user to instantly adjust volume levels, the recessed one-touch sleep mode button can easily save power when not in use, and the other media keys make things like fast forwarding just a tap away. These keys are especially help during Skype calls. Finally, it is also worth pointing out that all Das Keyboards are simply just plug-n-play.
I admit this probably is going to sound a little silly but typing on a Das Keyboard is euphoric but yet exhilarating, entertaining but serious, and sophisticated but playful. These mechanical keyboards provide a responsive feedback that makes typing pleasurable instead of chore-ish and this new Professional 4 model increases functionality and doesn’t really have any shortcoming other than a higher price point (but you get what you pay for). This latest unit does not feature the full blown clicky sound of the original model, which still remains as my personal favorite, but the quieter key design is probably welcomed by bystanders and coworkers. While this is not a gaming keyboard or a unit loaded with all sorts of crazy hot keys and shortcut/macro features, this keyboard is designed from the ground up with typing in mind. If you spend a good chunk of time typing, formulating spreadsheets, or just want to impress your neighbors, Das Keyboard should be one of the first keyboard brands to consider. The new features will not light your world on fire but they improve upon the original models in every way and stands as the most convenient unit yet if you don’t mind spending a few extra bucks for the upgrades.
By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief myGamer.com
Follow me on Twitter @ZackGaz