Hacker Keyboard Test with Das Keyboard

Who could forget their first keyboard? The keyboards of yesteryear were heavy, mechanical, and indestructible—in other words, beautiful. These days, most people use flat keyboards, but many of them miss the good old days when keyboards were bulky and loud. 
Over the past few weeks, the development teams at Jimdo had the opportunity to try out various keyboards from Das Keyboard that are designed to enable users to type faster. The company’s keyboards are "built with the highest quality components, including gold-plated mechanical key switches".
Below, we recount the opinions of different members of our team.

Jens: “Das Keyboard is the new Model M. It has a satisfying clicking sound, which makes even the most mundane coding experience resonate like a heavenly piece of piano music. This keyboard will last for all eternity. One warning: Due to the insane amount of noise this keyboard produces, it may not be suited to certain work environments. In short, this is a quality keyboard, and you don’t just see that quality, you also hear it. :-)”

Joscha: “I tested Das Keyboard’s Model S Ultimate, soft tactile. It’s an awesome keyboard (especially with blank keys :-)). Very satisfying to pound the keys. The volume wasn’t a problem. Personally I still prefer flat “notebook” keys, which means that I opted to switch back to my 0815 CHERRY keyboard. One thing in particular that bothered me was the position of my wrists due to the height of the keyboard (you could of course solve this with gel pads, but with a flat keyboard there’s no need to solve the problem at all).”

 Ingo: “I was quite pleased with the keyboard I tested. The pressure point was very comfortable and my fingers seemed to move just right from key to key. I also think that including 2 USB ports was a great idea: You can plug in a mouse and charge your mobile phone, for instance. One thing I’d like to see improved: I chose the so-called “quiet” version, and it was still rather loud. This makes it difficult to use around colleagues who are sensitive to noise. Finally, optional backlighting could improve the coding experience for some.”

 Tobias: “Das Keyboard is definitely a quality product. I was surprised at how heavy the keyboard is (1.36 kg (3 lbs))—it’s much heavier than the average keyboard. Of course that isn’t such a big deal, because this isn’t the kind of keyboard you’re going to be carrying around with you. I wasn’t sure why 2 USB ports were included. After I connected the keyboard, I realized that it was wider than my previous one since the Das Keyboard has separated arrow keys and a number pad. Unfortunately, this means that I have to choose between having my keyboard directly in front of me or put it off to the side so that I can comfortably use my mouse. While typing I noticed the acoustic feedback immediately. The pressure and click of the keys ensure that you know when a key has been pushed. Typing was easy and comfortable, although I definitely needed to move my fingers much more than I do with a flat keyboard. I found it frustrating that the layout was so different from the standard Apple keyboard (even though I was using the Mac version). If I wanted to use a mechanical keyboard, I’d look for one with quieter switches and no number pad. 

Hauke: “Since this wasn't my first mechanical keyboard I was really excited whether there could be any further improvements in typing experience given that I'm in love with the Cherry MX blue switches for years now. For anybody not familiar with the differences of keyboard switches I suggest reading http://www.pcworld.com/article/242037/mechanical_keyboard_faq_pick_the_right_switch.html. While my first mechanical keyboard (Deck 82 Small Form Factor) had Cherry MX black switches my second one (Filco Ninja Majestouch 2 - Tenkeyless) had blue ones. The differences between those switches are enormously! Especially if you are typing blind and fast the blue switches are the best I know for now - never had the chance to test Topre switches. There are some people out there who swear on them…

So, back to the daskeyboard. The guys from daskeyboard were so nice to leave me a Model S Ultimate to play with. For about 3 months now I'm using this keyboard at work and I'm quite comfortable with it. It's very well manufactured and has a compelling solid quality. I can't say nothing about the printing on the keys because my keys didn't have any. :-) But the slightly roughed keys are nice to touch and despite the heavy use of them still not nagged. The typing noise is loud but this shouldn't be a surprise. At last this is the price one have to pay for a clicky awesome typing experience. Personally I don't like the glossy look of the keyboard's housing. It's prone to greasy fingerprints and scratches and looks a way to snobbish for a nerdy programmer. Furthermore I'm a big friend of tenkeyless keyboards given that I never use the number pad. The frame of the housing is a bit to big also. Compared to my Filco Ninja it's twice as big.

Summing up the above I still prefer my Filco Ninja Tenkeyless. It may be a little bit of a nerdy psychological thing but I think the Filco is a little bit 'clickier' than the Ultimate S although both of them have the same kind of switches. If daskeyboard would shrink the housing's frame and offer a tenkeyless version of it's keyboard I would give it a try since I really like the plain unprinted ubercool look of the keys and Filco isn't offering this for now.”

All in all testing these solid keyboards was a lot of fun! We'd like to say thank you to the Das Keyboard Team!

Hendric Ruesch | Partnerships
hendric@jimdo.com, @HendricRuesch

Hendric's journey has taken him from studying the social sciences to a deep fascination with the social web. He joined the Jimdo team in February 2008 and is responsible for partnerships, the Jimdo affiliate program, and social media.