For the past several weeks I’ve been using the Model S Professional Keyboard from Das Keyboard. In fact, I’m using it to type this review. I use it to Facebook, Twitter, Email, everything. What’s the big deal you might ask? It’s that I’m using it with my laptop computer.
I detailed in my review of the SteelSeries 6GV2 my struggle with the (also) SteelSeries designed keyboard that came with my MSI laptop. Apart from the keyboard, the laptop is my main machine for photo editing, video editing, programming, gaming, etc. I need to be functional.
While the SteelSeries model I used then was good, the Das Keyboard professional is excellent.
It addresses all of the problems I had with that other model and adds even more features I had not thought of. And does it all with a sleek presentation, solid construction and responsive keys that make it a joy to use.
The Das Keyboard professional offers the standard QWERTY keyboard layout, with separate number pad and arrow key bank. It offers leg lifts so it can be used flat or raised to a single height adjustment of about 1/2″. Additionally, it offers the normal sized ENTER key instead of the large L-shaped beast found on older keyboards. This means that the well used backslash “\” key is above the ENTER key for normal access. It also offers two Windows keys for accessing various functions within the Microsoft Windows operating system.
Being mechanical, the keyboard is noisiER than ordinary keyboards, but that’s not to say it’s noisy. If you tried to use it in a library, you might get noticed, but for home or office, it’s barely noticeable. Das Keyboard does offer a “Brown” version that is still mechanical but had switches that are slightly less noisy… if you think this might be a problem.
You connect the keyboard via a two-headed USB 2.0 cable. One head is for the keyboard itself. The other enables a two-port USB hub on the right side of the unit. You can use just as a keyboard if you don’t need the extra connections, but for desktop use where the computer itself might be less accessible, adding two closer connections should be of benefit.
The keys are made of solid plastic and the laser-etched lettering on them is clear and easy to read. The keyboard top surface is a shinier black plastic. The top surface slopes at a slightly different angle than the tops of the keys themselves thus creating one area where the top of the up-arrow key is only slightly higher than the surface. Originally I thought this would be a problem, but after my regular use, I never notice it.
Finally there is an included FN (function) key that controls various special controls. Volume controls (Mute, Lower, Raise) are FN+F1 through FN+F3 for example. Multimedia controls for Play/Pause, Stop, Previous and Next are on FN+F5 through FN-F8 and a FN-F12 activates your computer’s sleep capability.
You can also use the included adapter to connect to a PS/2 port on your computer (and still use the HUB USB connection to power that). This has the benefit of giving you full key rollover (all keys pressed will register) however you cannot use the multimedia key functions. If you’re using the USB keyboard connection, then you get up to 6 simultaneous keypresses registering. This mostly has an effect on gaming where you might use several keys at once, but I’ve never bumped into this limitation.
The Das Keyboard Professional is hands down my favorite mechanical keyboard out there. It’s heavy enough to not walk around the desk while working, it features a standard layout with keys the proper size and in their proper places and does not get in the way of my productivity. If you’re looking to improve your keyboard, you cannot go wrong with this one. It is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED if you’re using a Mac or PC running Windows or Linux.