Mechanical keyboards have been in the spotlight over the past few years, with the market growing exponentially and dozens of companies designing and promoting myriads of new products. The technology itself is definitely not new, with the first mechanical keyboards coming out over three decades ago, but they quickly faded away after the introduction of electronic/membrane keyboards that were selling for a fraction of the price. Today, mechanical keyboards are high up on the list of extra peripherals that enthuaists are interested in purchasing for their PC systems.

Introduction

As manufacturing costs came down, mechanical keyboards started finding their way into the consumer market about a decade ago. While still much more expensive than typical membrane keyboards, their market prices were becoming relatively affordable for people that were willing to pay the premium price for a better user experience. At that time, the market was very limited and only a few companies dared to tread towards it, let alone base their foundations on it.

In this review we are taking a look at two mechanical keyboards from Das Keyboard, the renowned US-based designer of mechanical keyboards. While their first keyboard was not a mechanical keyboard, every keyboard after that first one was, and nowadays the whole brand name is essentially bound with the design and marketing of quality mechanical keyboards. The company has supplied us with both their highly popular Das Keyboard 4 Professional and their newest Das Keyboard Prime 13, which are of similar design but are targeted at different target groups.

Packaging and Bundle

Das Keyboard 4 Professional

We received the Das Keyboard 4 Professional in a wide, yet thin white cardboard box. The box itself is of good quality and, with the combination of additional cardboard packaging and polyethylene foam pieces inside it, it is offering excellent shipping protection to the keyboard.

We found no bundle inside the box of the Das Keyboard 4 Professional. Considering that it is a product targeted towards professionals, the company rightfully does not expect them to worry about fancy items such as stickers. A keycap puller would be nice, if only for cleaning purposes. On the other hand, inside the box we found a 35 cm ruler, which doubles as a magnetic tilt stand for the keyboard. Although the presence of a ruler is not a breakthrough innovation, it certainly was rather creative for the designer to replace the keyboard's simple tilt mechanism with an item that can actually be of some use one day in the office.

Das Keyboard Prime 13

The box of the Das Keyboard Prime 13 is of equal size to that of the Das Keyboard 4 Professional, offering the same level of shipping security. The artwork and the aggressive phrasing however clearly hint that this keyboard has an somewhat different market focus.

Inside the box we found a quick start guide with very basic information about the keyboard and a keycap puller. There is no ruler here, the Prime 13 is a standard design with feet for tilt.

The Das Keyboard 4 Professional Mechanical Keyboard
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  • BrokenCrayons - Thursday, January 12, 2017 - link

    For every person I've met that cites a non-impact actuation point of mechanical keyboards, I've also noted that none of them actually type that way. The key goes all the way down for those people regardless of the keyboard. When you're dealing with a few millimeters of travel and pecking out something on a keyboard, the human brain and muscle/tendon structure is simply incapable of physically reacting that quickly or with that degree of precision while still delivering even a modest rate of key entry. Nevermind when it's under the relative duress of something like a game where its busy reacting to stimulus rather than processing the best way to lovingly stroke its overpriced keyboard. As with everything else, higher actuation points are nothing more than bullet points on the keyboard's box that help justify the added expense to the buyer. Reply
  • maximumGPU - Thursday, January 12, 2017 - link

    you met a few people that type a certain way and extrapolated that to a theory of the human brain? talk about sweeping generalisations!
    i touch type (not pecking) and i don't bottom out unless i'm gaming. I don't type much faster while bottoming out either. You're free to disbelieve me, but it's increasingly looking like you're the one trying to rationalise sticking to membrane keyboards.
    Reply
  • BrokenCrayons - Thursday, January 12, 2017 - link

    "You're free to disbelieve me.." I will, thanks. :3 Reply
  • Iloveherb - Monday, January 16, 2017 - link

    Most of the keyboards on this list https://www.gamewire.org/pc-gaming/best-mechanical...

    Ducky Shine, Cherry MX Board, Das Keyboard 4 etc.

    I think the main difference is the build quality
    Reply
  • Zan Lynx - Wednesday, January 11, 2017 - link

    If you don't count the Das keyboards as high-end then I can't imagine what would satisfy you. I've used a lot of keyboards and I now own three of the Das boards. The 4 Pro is my favorite.

    I have hopes that the Keyboard.io will exceed it, but we'll see if they ever get their manufacturing running.
    Reply
  • Iloveherb - Monday, January 16, 2017 - link

    I agree, Das keyboards are great Reply
  • JohnMD1022 - Monday, January 16, 2017 - link

    Which do you consider to be high end? I used a series of IBM Model Ms for years, and am now using a Razer. Reply
  • JohnMD1022 - Monday, January 16, 2017 - link

    Topre? I tried one for a few hours, put it back in the carton and gave it to a friend who loves it. Tastes differ. Reply
  • MTEK - Tuesday, January 10, 2017 - link

    "The Ultimate Experience for Badasses".... Looks like a nice keyboard and all.... but are they mocking their customers? Reply
  • BrokenCrayons - Tuesday, January 10, 2017 - link

    The target market is very hard to pin down because of how commonplace it is to play video games these days and how broad the definition of "gamer" is now. After all, a grannie rocking it out hardcore on Pogo.com is as much of a gamer as a 22 year old boy that's gone bloodshot from playing Call of Duty. Given the broad demographics, I think most companies simply can't cope and pick that they think is the most common stereotype to target with products, hoping not to lose appeal to everyone else based on packaging and sales speak. Reply

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