Mechanical keyboards shyly reentered the PC market a little over a decade ago. Their market share initially was very limited but they rose to become one of the biggest market trends of the past decade, with most enthusiasts owning or wanting a mechanical keyboard nowadays. This explosively rising demand led dozens of companies to develop their own mechanical keyboard, saturating the market with products, allowing virtually any user to find at least one keyboard that perfectly matches his/her needs.

The only real issue with mechanical keyboards is that innovation is somewhat limited and manufacturers are striving very hard to develop that one product which stands out from the competition. It is true that modern mechanical keyboards are far more advanced than the regular, plain mechanical keyboards of the past decade, as advanced profiling with full programmability and advanced RGB backlighting is nowadays common amongst the top-tier products. The only problem here is that once a new feature or idea comes up, almost every manufacturer implements it within a year. Thus, the market grows stagnant once again, as every manufacturer has already implemented virtually every feature there is to implement on a mechanical keyboard.

Das Keyboard is one of the oldest PC keyboard manufacturers and one of the very few companies that exclusively specializes in designing and developing keyboards. Last year the company posted a crowdfunding project involving a “cloud-connected” mechanical keyboard. Although the campaign could have gone smoother, it did give birth to the 5Q, the world’s first cloud-connected mechanical keyboard. The company recently released the retail version, which they sent over for us to review.

But what is a “cloud-connected” keyboard? Simply put, it is a keyboard that “talks” with the internet – or rather specific cloud-based services and protocols, to be a bit more precise. This theoretically sounds very interesting, as the keyboard can source information from the internet and provide feedback in real time, but also connect to compatible “smart” devices around your home and display information or control them. For example, the keyboard could theoretically be programmed to flash a key when a smart door sensor triggers, or to change its backlighting settings depending on the status of the stock market. Aside from that, Das Keyboard is the first company that's implementing Omron’s new Gamma Zulu mechanical switches, making the 5Q a truly unique keyboard.

Packaging and Bundle

Das Keyboard supplies the 5Q in a relatively large, well-designed cardboard box. The orange-based artwork is quite eye-catching and the designer did an excellent job highlighting the keyboard’s most important features in a minimalistic manner. Once the external sleeve of the packaging is removed, a thick black cardboard box is revealed, exposing that the keyboard has ample shipping protection.

The main bundle of the Das Keyboard 5Q is spartan. Inside the box, we only found a quick-start guide, a couple of stickers, and a keycap puller. The keycap puller comes with a little bit of irony because, as we will see in the following pages, the proprietary keycaps of the Omron switches are not compatible with the widely available Cherry MX-based products.

The company also includes a very well-designed wrist rest. It features a soft, rubber-like top layer, with the company’s logo discreetly printed on the bottom left corner. The plastic frame is strong and flexible, minimizing the chance of physical damage. Attaching and removing the wrist rest is quick and easy, as it simply connects to the keyboard magnetically, without any plastic locks or hinges. The only issue that we found with the wrist rest is that dust and debris tend to stick on the top layer (especially in its small dimples), making cleaning a bit difficult.

The Das Keyboard 5Q Cloud-Connected Mechanical Keyboard
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  • GNUminex_l_cowsay - Tuesday, February 26, 2019 - link

    This whole cloud connection thing sounds incredibly dumb. Like some executive decided they too have to jump on the internet of things bandwagon, not considering that:
    a) None of the functionality they added is actually keyboard specific, and really just amounts to a notifications app that runs on windows, but NOW makes a light blink on on your keyboard.
    b) They overlooked actual keyboard functionality in the form of key remaps and macros.
    Reply
  • prophet001 - Tuesday, February 26, 2019 - link

    Yeah.

    You know what drives this stuff? The demand for sales.

    That's it.

    Sales. Have to sell.
    Reply
  • close - Wednesday, February 27, 2019 - link

    "This theoretically sounds very interesting"

    No, no it doesn't...
    Reply
  • justareader - Tuesday, February 26, 2019 - link

    I always wanted my own keylogger. Reply
  • prophet001 - Tuesday, February 26, 2019 - link

    lol

    People are so ignorant of these things.
    Reply
  • PeachNCream - Tuesday, February 26, 2019 - link

    Keyboards that phone home aren't a new thing. If you've ever installed an alternate on-screen keyboard on an Android and gotten the blaring warning message from Google saying that they won't be the only ones that might be able to creep over your shoulder while you send sordid text messages, you'd be a lot more comfortable with your PC having additional phone-someplace capabilities. It's a great time to be alive/harvested/bought-n-sold. Reply
  • Azethoth - Tuesday, March 05, 2019 - link

    You are right, my mechanical keyboards on my iPad and iPhone have phoned home for forever now. Reply
  • peevee - Tuesday, February 26, 2019 - link

    "most enthusiasts owning or wanting a mechanical keyboard nowadays"

    Do you have any proof for that?

    Don't fall to the typical modern "journalistic" standard of 100% fake news, please!
    Reply
  • Death666Angel - Tuesday, February 26, 2019 - link

    He could just define "enthusiast" as "someone owning or wanting a mechanical keyboard". You are looking for hard facts where the wording itself is anything but hard. Also, this is not an academic paper or a serious publication dedicated to analysing political or scientific stances. Cool it a bit. Reply
  • RSAUser - Tuesday, February 26, 2019 - link

    I've converted the entire office.
    Actually had a lot of people comment on reduced finger fatigue and we had an increase in production (probably as most people can type faster with mech keyboard due to feedback).

    Overall worth the $50 investment per keyboard about.
    Reply

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