Das Keyboard has been in the mechanical keyboard game as long as I have been aware of non-IBM solutions, and has always seemed to have an aura of prestige surrounding not only their products, but the company as a whole. This is due to their ability to deliver products that are solid, sturdy, and well thought out. Additionally, once you have your hands-on their products, you can see that there is much more time and effort put into the design than other companies are willing to devote. This allows Das Keyboard to set themselves away from the masses of other companies offering more mundane solutions with fancy lights and "gaming" features to compensate for their lack of style and grace.
We have had the pleasure of trying out Das Keyboard when we took a look at the Model S Professional keyboard some time ago. Even then we were impressed with what Das Keyboard brought to the table. It was just a shame we had to return that keyboard, as we really thought it would spend a few years under our fingers typing out these reviews. Ever since that keyboard was sent back, there have been thoughts of someday getting back to their keyboards, and enjoying what they have to offer someone who has went from a full time gamer, into someone who now spends much less time on the WASD keys, and much more time on all the other keys.
The time has finally arrived for Das Keyboard to seek us out for our opinion on one of the two latest keyboards to hit the market. Both designs are ninety-nine percent identical, and that one percent left is a major change in appearance. The keyboard we will be looking at today is the Das Keyboard 4 Professional, which features an all black appearance, and laser etched key caps with a new font. The second version of the Das Keyboard 4 is named the "Ultimate," and this solution offers blanked out keycaps and black painting on the multimedia keys rather than the white used on the Professional.
Now that introductions are over, let's get down to the cold, hard facts of why this Das Keyboard 4 Professional should be your next choice; especially for the typists out there.
Das Keyboard also provides a very thorough set of three "charts," as we usually call them, but in reality these are listings of "Features," "Information," and "Even More Information," as they are titled. The main product information listed in the first box covers six main inclusions to this design. These are built around either brown, or as in our sample, blue Cherry MX gold plated switches. It then goes on to mention the multimedia keys, and oversized volume knob. The keyboard is not only USB 3.0, but it also offers a pair of ports on the back for speedy 5 GB/s transfers, without having to reach for the PC. This is a first to us, and it is quite impressive.
Along with laser etched keys, and bumps present on the home keys, Das also offers an instant sleep button near the multimedia keys; they say this button is to save energy, but it is a great way to hide anything "questionable" when a coworker walks in the office as well.
The second box dives a bit deeper into the features of the 4 Professional. Here they cover the 104-key layout of the keyboard (which we will be seeing in the U.S. layout), and they also mention a key addition for UK, NO, and DE layouts. They also add something called a "footbar" rather than adjustable feet in the back. This is red, magnetically attaches, and offers a SAE and Metric ruler on each edge. Das also lets us know that they extended the cable longer than most, if not all, other solutions we have seen, to over 200mm in length. The last bits here cover the physical dimensions of the keyboard, along with its weight of 2.9 pounds.
The last section explains that this keyboard supports full NKRO, but it must be turned on, otherwise it offers six-key instead. It then goes on to tell us of the anodized, textured aluminum top panel of this design that goes along well with the brushed aluminum volume knob and its red trim ring. It also says that this keyboard is firmware updateable, if updates should become available. Lastly, it covers the PC requirements to getting the Das Keyboard 4 Professional up and running on your desktop.
You will find that the cost of the Das Keyboard 4 Professional is a bit on the high side, but you do get what you pay for with a keyboard such as this. Keep in mind though, it's not all fancy with LEDs, splashes of odd angles, and odd design elements to distract from the fact that they used just enough to get by. Also keep in mind that this keyboard is more for those with typing in mind, rather than gaming and surfing the net.
Both the Ultimate and the Professional are going to be found with pricing at, or slightly above the $150 U.S. dollar mark. While there are solutions at half the price, the components used, the thought in the detail, and the overall design are something that most other keyboards just cannot offer. As we said earlier, for the office environment, you will be hard pressed to find something quite like what you are about to see (or not see in the instance of the key caps on the Ultimate version).
PRICING: You can find the DAS KEYBOARD 4 PROFESSIONAL for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.
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