Das Keyboard Model S Ultimate
Company: Metadot Corp.
As I begin to type this review, my heart is filled with sadness. Don’t get me wrong, the Das Keyboard may be the best keyboard I have ever used. No, the reason the sadness is setting in is simple: I have to send this back once my review is over. And truth be told, which is paramount in any review, I have put off this review for too many months. I kept telling myself that was because I just needed more time to use the Das Keyboard before I felt confident to write a review. I was lying to myself. I just wanted to keep using it.
The Das Keyboard is a high performance mechanical keyboard. What does that mean? Well, unlike the keyboards of todays laptops and desktops, the Das Keyboard actually has hardware switches under each and every key. The tactile response of a keyboard with mechanical switches is something anyone under thirty-five years of age are not used to, and may not like. But if you are over that age, chances are the very first keyboard you used was a mechanical keyboard, and the sound, feel, and responsiveness will come back to you within seconds of typing on this keyboard.
One of the problems, if you can call it that, is that this keyboard is LOUD when you use it. How loud? The audio file below was recorded via the built-in Voice Memo app on my iPhone, sitting about a foot away.
Too loud for you? Well, if you work in a crowded office space, yeah, you won’t be the most popular person. I have been testing the Das Keyboard at my day job, and while I have a nice quite office all to myself, the guy in the office next to me HATES me a little more each day, especially on those days I am typing a lot.
To let’s be clear; I honestly don’t care. My speed and accuracy when typing on this type of keyboard is leaps and bounds better than the awful keyboard that comes with desktop Macs today. Seriously, when you stop and think about it, the mouse and keyboard is the main way you interact with your computer. Since when did our standards as computer users drop so far that we can accept such awful devises? The keyboard on my Macbook Pro is only slightly better than the stand-alone Apple keyboard. And none come close to the Das Keyboard Model S Ultimate for Mac.
Let me first tell you what I don’t like about the Das Keyboard before I get too much into signing its praises.
- This thing is heavy. Like almost three pounds heavy! Yes, a THREE POUND KEYBOARD. Mechanical switches, remember?
- It has a large footprint on your desktop, although not much more than an Apple Extended keyboard.
- The build-in USB hub needs its own power, meaning that the Das Keyboard will use two of your computers USB ports. No problem, it has a two port built-in USB hub, right? Well, sure, if you don’t mind USB plugs sticking out the right side of the keyboard. The proper place for a hub like this would be on the top, facing away from the user, not on the side, where any person using a mouse on the right side of the keyboard will bump into it, or get tangled up in the USB cords hanging out there. It’s really the only “dumb” thing about the Das Keyboard, and seems so obvious I am amazed that no one thought this through better in the design stages. The USB hub, if used, only increases the footprint of the Das Keyboard.
Obviously, for those of you like me who grow tired of using the Apple keyboards, or the chinchy keyboards that comes with every plastic black desktop PC, the Das Keyboard is a marvel. The Das Keyboard Professional for Mac was created with Apple users in mind, and sports all the Apple-centric F-keys. However, without spending some time in your keyboard set-up re-mapping some of the keys, the user is required to push a modifier key to get the Apple function keys to work correctly. Not a huge problem, but annoying nonetheless.
While I have the “Clicky” model, there is a “Soft Tactile” version as well. I assume it is a lot more quite in operation than this keyboard is. (see above) For me, however, the loudness of this keyboard is part of the appeal. I LIKE the sound it makes. I feel that I am working hard when I hear that sound.
So how does the Das Keyboard Professional for Mac actually FEEL when in use? After all, feel is the key to the Das Keyboard. Accuracy in typing is also big for me, and probably you too if you are a child of the 1970’s – 1980’s and remember what keyboards felt like back then. The IBM Model M had been my favorite all-time keyboard. The throw of the keys, the placement, the hight, the… rightness of it. I learned how to type using that keyboard, and in many ways, the Das Keyboard is a throw-back to those early keyboards. Not a faithful one, however. For that, you should look at the SpaceSaver M Keyboard I reviewed back in July 2011. But the pedigree is there, taken to another level and made modern.
When MyMac was started, way back in 1995, my goal was to become a writer. While that never happened to the degree I had hoped, I do still love the feel of writing via the keyboard. The act of typing itself is very pleasant to me, and the Das Keyboard Professional for Mac feels like a sports car to me. Precise, smooth, and tight. Everything that is right with typing. The keyboard for the true connoisseur.
That said, for many, the price alone will scare them off. After all, this is a pricey keyboard! Again, I would remind Apple users that as consumers, we are used to paying more for our computers than the budget-minded PC folk are. And outside your mouse or trackpad, what do you interact with more? Your keyboard. So why settle for cheapness, or a keyboard that just “gets the job done” when you can spend a little money to get the job done in style?
I love the Das Keyboard Professional for Mac, and warmly recommend it to any person who takes typing seriously. This is the “Mac” of keyboards, while the actual keyboard that ships with the iMac is a cheap PC.
MyMac.com rating: 10 out of 10