REVIEW – Das Keyboard with Quiet Key Design (Hardware)

Silent But Deadly –

Over the last few years, I had the privilege of experiencing Das Keyboard’s Professional and Model S Professional Silent units. Both are outstanding typist keyboards that remain impressive from the first key stroke. Listening to customer feedback, the developers now offer their same Professional keyboard design but outfitted with their new quiet key technology.

This Quiet model uses MX red switches
This Quiet model uses MX red switches

Das Keyboard’s new Professional Quiet keyboard boasts the following features:

 

– Quiet key design

– German engineered, gold plated mechanical key switches

– Two USB 2.0 ports for charging phones or other USB devices

– A 6.6 foot USB cable

– Function keys to instantly control media/shortcuts

– Glossy black finish with blue LEDs

– Laser-etched keys

– Plug and play

– Comes with optional PS2 adapter and cloth to wipe away finger prints

– Can work with other devices that support USB like game consoles

– Retails for $149

 

Pretty much the only difference with this Quiet model is the amount of sound generated with each key stroke. This is still the high quality Professional unit that Das Keyboard has been selling for years just outfitted with different audible feedback. Some new secondary media keys have been added too.

Due to the different product names, I think it might be beneficial to explain the difference between the units that Das Keyboard offers.

Previous Das Keyboard units. Pretty much retain the same design.
Previous Das Keyboard units. Pretty much retain the same design.

First, the Professional model was the initial launch keyboard that promoted a “clickyness” that made typing a unique experience. Here, typists were treated to a tactile response that was measured by the feedback of the keys through the clicky sound they made with each keystroke. This keyboard was specifically designed to generate a louder key tap noise and still remains as my personal favorite.

Its takes up two USB ports but it also acts as a 2-port USB hub so you are not really losing anything
Its takes up two USB ports but it also acts as a 2-port USB hub so you are not really losing anything

Next, a year or two later Das Keyboard listened (cheap pun intended) to customer feedback of their initial Professional unit, complaining that the noise it produced was bothersome to anyone within close proximity. Users loved the springiness of each keystroke but coworkers, spouses and newborns were not as approving of the loud tactile response. So Das Keyboard then introduced their Model S Silent unit. Still sporting the same overall keyboard design, the main difference was that each keystroke was dulled significantly while still generating a softer yet familiar tactile click noise and keystroke feedback. The name Silent was somewhat misleading because the keyboard still made noise although it is significantly quieter than the original version.

The new Media Keys feature
The new Media Keys feature

Now, Das Keyboard has taken this quiet idea one step further by introducing their new Quiet model. Without question, this new Quiet unit is by far the quietest Das Keyboard yet. But just to be clear, this keyboard still makes a little bit of noise. It is not 100% muted.

But that is ok. In fact, it would probably be weird if a keyboard made no sound whatsoever. This new Quiet version manages to remain muffled enough so your coworker in the next cube will not be bothered. The kicker is that the tactile response has not taken a hit in quality. It might be quiet, but this is still a Das Keyboard. Hitting each key generates that most welcomed clicky response that users have grown accustomed to over the years. I have said this in my previous Das Keyboard reviews, but no written word or video can explain this. You just have to physically type on it for yourself to fully understand.

Why would someone want a quiet keyboard? Well, when you are Skypeing with a loved one or having that important GoToMeeting with the President and a 100 other coworkers, hearing each keystroke can be unwelcomed. Speaking for myself, I know that my Professional Das Keyboard makes noise so I purposely try and not type when we are recording our live videocast streams. So having a quiet keyboard does have its advantages. However, I am a fan of the clicky and tactile response so I actually encourage the louder keystroke design of the original models. Why take a shower with a raincoat on, right? But again, I do see the advantages.

If you are a hardcore PC gamer then Das Keyboard probably isn’t for you. It is, however, for people that are not so much interested in shortcut keys, one touch macros, or special function keys found in high tech gaming keyboards. These keyboards were designed for typing. The shape of the keys, the amount of pressure required to hit each key, the noise that it makes, the response of each keystroke and the hardwired USB connection were all specifically designed for typists.

That is a lot of clicky keys!
That is a lot of clicky keys!

Without busting out a detailed scientific experiment, I am unable to test Das Keyboard’s claim that each keystroke requires 45g of pressure while most keyboards require 55-60g for each keystroke. However, after using this keyboard for a while, I can honestly say that it is easy to type on. But not only is it easy, it allows for faster and more accurate typing. Personally, I have been using both the initial Das Keyboard Professional model and the Silent S type on my main computer since they were first introduced several years ago. But when I move to my other wireless Logitech keyboard on my other computer, I just cannot type as fast or accurately. Now, I love the wireless connection but it does freeze up on me a couple times each week and there is occasional lag. However, like the solid use of the other cool shortcut features like scrolling zoom, adjuster volume slider and on-board calculator that instantly saves the result to my clipboard, but I honestly cannot type on it like these Das Keyboard products. And when you type a lot, having the right keyboard, the right tool for the right job, can make all the difference.

My complaints about the unit remain the same: I wish the USB ports were on the left side since wires can get in the way of right-handed mouse users and the price might be a little higher than you might think. But the positives drastically outweigh the negatives. Das Keyboard is a high quality and durable product that makes typing an experience instead of the usual chore. And now with the quieter key design, your neighbors and coworkers won’t mind when you are hammering out that next best seller, blog post, or video game review at 3am.

4.5/5 Stars

Check out www.daskeyboard.com.

Follow me on Twitter @zackgaz

 

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