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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  • Ninhalem - Tuesday, January 10, 2017 - link

    I still use a generation 2 DAS Keyboard at work which is now called the Ultimate because of the blank keycaps. The DAS keyboards have always been tanks in my experience. Great thing about the blank keycaps, is that there are so few people that can touch type now in the workplace, that no one is going to screw with you, if you leave your computer unlocked. Reply
  • dan82 - Tuesday, January 10, 2017 - link

    If the keyboard is designed to last 10 years, shouldn't it have a USB Type C port?

    Otherwise, great review. I've been using a Das for years and still love the typing experience.
    Reply
  • dave_the_nerd - Tuesday, January 10, 2017 - link

    adapters are cheap. Or just replace the cable. Reply
  • crimsonson - Tuesday, January 10, 2017 - link

    Need more keyboard reviews....

    Seriously since Anand left, what is being reviewed here has really been poor. There are some good ones, but the amount of keyboard review, lack of GPU reviews, etc are troubling.
    Reply
  • robotslave - Tuesday, January 10, 2017 - link

    Give 'em a little credit-- the flood of power supply reviews seems to have dried up for the time being, at least.

    But yeah, still waiting on that review of the MacBook Pro with touchbar, guys.
    Reply
  • nikon133 - Tuesday, January 10, 2017 - link

    I'm finding it a bit silly not to include audio and media keys to gaming keyboard. Or the other way around, not to include backlight to more expensive (more premium?) one. I like the design, though. Reply
  • Agent Smith - Tuesday, January 10, 2017 - link

    Totally agree. If i'm buying premium keyboard why is it missing back lighting and palm rest?

    Bad decision !
    Reply
  • fanofanand - Tuesday, January 10, 2017 - link

    Das price is too high! Nice looking keyboard but it doesn't provide anything exceptional in terms of value. Reply
  • voicequal - Tuesday, January 10, 2017 - link

    I've been looking for a keyboard with a simple functional volume knob without the gaudy gamer styling. Das Keyboard 4 is the first mechanical keyboard that's a perfect fit. Reply
  • bigboxes - Wednesday, January 11, 2017 - link

    I have a couple of Cherry branded keyboards with blue MX switches. I'm not much of a gamer, but am not bothered by the sound. The keycaps are laser etched. I doubt they will wear out in my lifetime. Guess it won't last for generations in my family. Boo hoo. I'm a pounder so I love mechanical keyboards. Built like a tank. No backlights or multimedia buttons. Just how I like it.

    My first keyboard (before they became commonplace) had Chinese characters next to the English ones. The pictures online had no Chinese characters so I returned it. The replacement had Chinese characters as well. They retailer gave me a 50% discount just to keep it. Ended up being under $35. Now, I've grown attached to the Chinese caps. The only part that didn't last was a cable that one of my cats chewed through. I got a replacement from some kind soul on geekhack. Those guys are cultish when it comes to keyboards. I just like having something that I can type on all day and not get fatigued.
    Reply

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