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Das Keyboard Model S Review

written by: M.S. Smith•edited by: Simon Hill•updated: 9/4/2010
4

The Das Keyboard Model S is a variant of the Das Keyboard, a modern mechanical keyboard aimed at people who do too much typing. The S stands for Silent, as this model is meant to create less noise. Does it succeed?

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    Introduction

    Das Keyboard is a keyboard company for keyboard fanatics. Yes, that’s right – there are actually people who are fanatical about keyboards. These strange folk want keyboards with great feedback and a crisp feel.

    The defining trait of the Das Keyboard products is the loud click-clack they make when you type. However, this can be annoying for some. The Model S is meant to reduce the noise somewhat, making it easier for nearby friends and family to tolerate. Does it succeed? And is it a good keyboard?

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    Build Quality

    Rating Average

    Das Keyboard My first impression of the Das Keyboard Model S was a bit of a letdown. Das Keyboard products are not cheap – this one is $135. Yet the plastics used don’t feel any more expensive than a keyboard costing $50 or $60. I could even see differences in the color of the plastic used to mold the bottom of the keyboard.

    The keys themselves are better, but still not impressive. The upper half of the keyboard has a glossy piano black finish which attracts fingerprints. The gloss looks decent, but again fails to convey the level of quality you’d expect from such an expensive product.

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    Layout and Features

    Rating Average

    The layout of the Das Keyboard Model S is very standard and includes nothing in the way of media keys. That is fine – this isn’t supposed to be a media keyboard. While nothing special, the layout is simple and functional. It is possible to sit down with Das Keyboard Model S and begin using it without encountering a learning curve.

    The only feature that the Das Keyboard Model S boasts is a USB 2.0 hub with two ports. This hub offers solid transfer speeds and is very convenient. However, the hub is located on the right side of the keyboard, which is awkward. Most right-handed users place their mouse here. Peripherals attached to the USB hub can get in the way of your mouse hand.

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    Typing Feel

    Rating Average

    Das Keyboard Model S Review Here is where the Das Keyboard Model S shows its hand and goes for the win.

    Like all Das Keyboard products, the Model S uses gold-plated mechanical key switches. A typical modern keyboard uses the cheaper rubber dome switch. Rubber dome switches are fine for most users, but they have a squishy, vague feel that some typists don’t like. The mechanical switches that are used on the Model S feel more akin to a typewriter. The keys have a smooth, linear stroke that bottoms out firmly. The overall typing experience on the Model S is excellent.

    Mechanical switches are great for long typing sessions, but they tend to be loud. This audible feedback is actually preferred by some, but it often distracts co-workers or family members who happen to be nearby. The Model S uses specially designed mechanical switches that don’t create as much noise. This does reduce the sound somewhat, but the Model S is still louder than a rubber dome keyboard .

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    Conclusion

    Rating Average

    The Model S is a mixed bag. It offers a typing experience that few keyboards can match – and those that can are also expensive. If you type for more than a few hours per day the purchase of a mechanical keyboard like the Model S – or the normal Das Keyboard – can make your work more pleasurable.

    The problem is that the Das Keyboard Model S doesn’t look or feel (typing aside) as expensive as it should. The plastic seems to be the type used to construct a child’s toy. If Das Keyboard addresses the build quality issues it will have the perfect keyboard. For now, however, it is merely good.

*Please note - the author received 'Das Keyboard Model S Review Unit (On Loan)' from a company other than Bright Hub in order to develop the content contained within this article or review.