Ever since I reviewed the original Das Keyboard about two years ago, it has been the only keyboard that I have used since. After two years of abuse, it is still going strong with no problems whatsoever and is easily my favorite typing keyboard.
Recently, Das Keyboard released their latest model, the Model S Professional Silent Keyboard. Apparently, one of the biggest complaints regarding the original unit came from non-users. Meaning, the people that were typing on this “clicky” keyboard were annoying nearby people, pets, and babies who were exposed to the loud keystrokes. Basically, there really has not been a better way to annoy your co-workers, which is why Das Keyboard half-jokingly sells earplugs.
At an attempt to make co-workers not as annoyed and to make your cranky newborn sleep easier, Das Keyboard invented what they are calling the “silent” version of their solidly built keyboard. This title, however, is somewhat deceiving.
Let’s just be honest; it would not be a Das Keyboard if it didn’t make some type of satisfying noise when you hit each key. The Silent version simply just tones down the sound a level or two. But is not so much the volume as it is the type of sound it makes. In comparison to the original, the Silent version makes more of a hollow sound, which as a result, comes off as being a bit quieter and numbs the echo. This is still a Das Keyboard through and through so do not expect a completely quiet performance as the name might suggest. Unfortunately, it really is something you just have to experience for yourself to fully understand. Watching a YouTube video or listening to typing from an Mp3 does not do it justice. You have to press down a key with your own fingers to understand the full effect.
Although the sound that is emitted with each keystroke is different from the original, it is still quite gratifying and remains the highlighting feature of the unit.
The Silent version is very similar in overall design regarding comparison to the original. It still uses a long USB cord (no wireless option available – wireless can cause lag and there would be no option for an extra USB hub), takes about 5 seconds to install, can be used as a two port USB hub, has optional replicable keys to suit MAC and Linux users, can be used with a PS2 adapter, has a glossy black casing, has laser etched keys to prevent fading and chipping, and uses blue LED lights to signify when the Caps Lock or Number Lock is engaged.
The keyboard itself is a simple and straightforward design that is sure to please any typist. The overall construction of the unit is built with a solid foundation and just feels very study; you won’t have to worry about the keyboard moving or shaking when pounding on it even with the built-in legs extended. It is not hard to see the quality that went into this unit.
Unfortunately, the complaints I had with the original unit are still present here in the Silent version, although minor. The black casing, although it looks pretty dang cool, will finger print easily (but the keyboard does ship with a small cloth to help ease the finger print pain). The USB ports are on the right side of the keyboard which means that cords could get in the way when right-handers are using a mouse. There are not any cool short-cut keys, but are not totally necessary anyway. And the cost of the Silent version is actually a few bucks more than the original model.
Besides these minor complaints, I really only have one true gripe with this keyboard – a squeaking noise. On occasion, if you hit a key off center, it will emit a squeak as opposed to the patented click noise. This mostly happened with my Backspace key and was not present in the original Das Keyboard model. Perhaps it is because the key itself is wider than the rest of the standard keys, but this occasional squeak noise is quite different sounding and really stands out, but for the wrong reasons.
Perhaps one of the biggest differences hardware-wise is the Silent version has two USB cables attached to it: one is dedicated for the keyboard, the other solely for use with the HUB. The original model just had one plug that was used for both the keyboard and drew power for the HUB. It should be noted that the either the original model or the Silent type does not require an additional power supply. I was able to charge both my iPod and use my Logitech controller at the same without any issue whatsoever. But even if your external devices were using too much power, the Das Keyboard is designed to automatically shut down one port if power consumption is too high.
Das Keyboard also stands behind their products by offering a pretty decent warranty as well. Their commitment to quality and customer satisfaction was also proven several months ago when they initially released their Silent edition keyboard. Shortly after the product’s launch, Das Keyboard recalled all the units so that some key entry problems could be fixed. Making it as painless as possible, they sent customers a box with paid shipping label, similar to Microsoft’s Xbox 360 errors. The result of this error is the keyboard that is reviewed in this article and I have not had a single problem with it. Das Keyboard did what was right and stood by their product.
Although the Das Keyboard might not be ideal for hardcore PC gamers due to its lack of super fancy extra features, it will most likely make you a better typist, and this is the keyboard’s ultimate goal. The “clicky” sound that these keyboards make is definitely the biggest gimmick, but it is most welcomed. The Silent version still creates a patented Das Keyboard noise with each keystroke, but it is toned down from the original model. In my opinion, turning down the clicky sound effect from a Das Keyboard is like drinking Diet and caffeine free Mountain Dew…what is the point? But if you don’t want to annoy your co-workers (as much) or want that baby or spouse to sleep more soundly, then the Silent version takes priority over the original.
Either way, both models are built with quality and create a typing experience like no other. If you ever have the opportunity to test out a Das Keyboard, just type out the standard, “the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” sentence. By the time you reach the end, you will understand the reasoning behind Das Keyboard… just don’t be surprised if you catch yourself muttering the word “whoa.”
– Long USB cord (no wireless option)
– Can be used as an additional two port USB hub with dedicated power supply (1.1 and 2.0 supported)
– Solid construction
– Makes for a fantastic typing keyboard
– Actually makes typing amusing
– Can work with game consoles or other OS’s
– Good warranty
– Sounds different from original model and is quieter
– Easy to install – just plug it in
– Ultimate edition also available – keys are black, not labeled
– No short cut keys
– Is not ideal for hardcore PC gamers
– Finger prints easily
– Higher price point
– Some keys on rare occasion, if not hit directly on center, can create more a squeak sound than a click sound
– USB ports are on right side of keyboard which can get in the way of a mouse
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