Depending on how long you've been using computers or how much a geek you are, you might have heard how old-fashioned keyboards with mechanical key switches were immensely better and more durable. We are talking about the really old keyboards as they were shipped with the original IBM PC in the early 80s.
With 64K of RAM and a single 5 1/4 inch floppy drive, these were serious business machines, and the IBM keyboard that came as part of this package eventually made a reputation for itself. So much so that the manufacturer rated each key good for over 100 million keystrokes.
Fast forward to today and you can see that the priorities have changed significantly since then. Internal components are usually the ones that drive sales, and the mouse is often seen as the more important input device. Now enter the keyboard. A product that hopes to regain some of the essence of these first generation PC keyboards or, as they bluntly put it on their website, to offer "the best keyboard in the world".
The third generation of the Das Keyboard is available in two versions: the Original Das Keyboard (Ultimate), which uses completely blank keys, and the Das Keyboard Professional, which adds labels to the keys. We tested both versions of the product, which are essentially the same except for the above. We did this to see how the blank board can help you become a touch typist as per the manufacturer's instructions.
The Das Keyboard may initially impress you with its extremely sleek appearance compared to some of the other options on the market. There are no fancy LCD screens, built-in media buttons, macro buttons or touch-sensitive pads. What you get, however, is a basic keyboard layout with a glossy black body, mechanical switches on each key, and a built-in two-port USB hub. That minimalistic look is exactly what the team aimed for through Metadot.
Both units arrived in a white sales package. Inside, we found a single installation sheet that also directs users to the Das Keyboard website to find the user manual, specifications, repair and warranty information, as well as a cleaning cloth and the keyboard itself.
Both keyboards have a glossy black housing with matt black keys. If fingerprints are bothering you, be sure to keep the cleaning cloth nearby. There is no palm rest on either model. It may take some time to get used to if you've used one before. The name of the keyboard is printed on the top right of the board above the number pad. Here you will also find the two USB ports that are 1.1 / 2.0 compatible and do not require an external power supply.
The real selling point of the Das Keyboard isn't the aesthetics, but the keys themselves and how they sound and feel when you type. The Das Keyboard is modeled after the classic IBM Model M and uses mechanical gold-plated key switches that offer the same tactical and audible click that many of us got used to at the time. One of the great things about the keys on this board is the fact that they are very easy to remove, which makes cleaning the device a quick and painless task.
The bottom of each keyboard reveals four large rubber feet to keep the board securely in place while typing. Each board weighs a whopping 2.6 pounds, so there is little movement possible during use. With two retractable feet on top of the board, you can easily lift the device if you'd rather type on an incline.