Review: Das Keyboard Professional Model S (clicky)

Guest-reviewer and 'PC Projects' columnist James Sugrue reminisces over keyboards, and eventually reviews the Das Keyboard Professional Model S (clicky).

NameKeyboard: Das Keyboard Professional Model S (clicky)
At a glance:Replicates classic IBM Model M design,Loud, mechanical key switches,Excellent tactile feedback,Compatible with PC and Mac (alternate key-caps available)
Summary:A must-have for heavy keyboard users.

Guest-reviewer and 'PC Projects' columnist James Sugrue reminisces over keyboards, and eventually reviews the Das Keyboard Professional Model S (clicky).

Keyboards. They’ve been around as long as there have been interactive computers, and yours is probably the most overlooked part of your system. If you’re a child of the 80’s like myself, you’ll no doubt yearn for the good old days, when keys had a resounding click with positive feedback and were built using mechanical switches. My favourite of all time is the IBM AT “clicky” keyboard, known to the tech-savviest as the IBM Model M. I saved mine from the tip at a former workplace, and it became my faithful companion until I had to retire it a few years ago – I could no longer get the AT connector on the keyboard to work with the Frankenstienian adapter I made to get it to work on modern computers. That was a sad day. Like putting down and old dog or binning a favourite pair of jeans.

I’ve tried every possible keyboard since, looking for a replacement. Everything from Microsoft ergonomic models, to cheap Taiwanese clone brands. Nothing came close to Ol’ Clicky.

My current model of choice is a five-year-old Apple keyboard, rescued from an old iMac. It has nice big keys, not those awful laptop-style keys that manufacturers seem to be in love with these days, and the keys themselves provide nice feedback. It has a pretty major flaw, though: it’s a Bluetooth model, and chews through batteries like an old V8 drinks petrol. I was happy with it, but not satisfied.

Then one day I was surfing the internets, as one does, and came across an article by a fellow coder, describing the Das Keyboard. It was designed to replicate the IBM Model M. Interest piqued. Actually, I’m sounding cooler than I really was. I was more excited than a twelve-year old at a One Direction concert. I went to their website (Das Keyboard’s, not One Direction’s), found the local distributor and ordered it straight away.

If you want to avoid sycophantic gibbering, you can skip to the end, as I’m about to wax lyrical. First thing to note: the Das Keyboard is big. And heavy. Good start. I ripped it out of the box and started typing on it, and immediately started giggling like a gaggle of aforementioned twelve-year-old concert-goers. The feel of the keys, the click as the mechanical switch is depressed, the clack as it is released. Heaven. I had found my keyboard Nirvana after all these years. Your mileage may vary, but as someone that spends a great deal of their working life tapping keys, I’m naming the Das Keyboard not only my peripheral of the year, but my favourite peripheral. Ever.

Cons? Well, it’s loud. I count that as a ‘pro’ personally, but if you’re in a crowded open-plan office, it could get a little irritating to other people around you – Das do make a silent version , but that’s a bit like a diesel supercar – kind of misses the point. The only other issue is the cost. It’s expensive for a keyboard, at $190. If you’re just a casual user, then it’s hard to recommend slapping down that much of your hard earned wedge, but if you do spend more than an hour or two at the keyboard each day, then the Das Keyboard is a must have.

You can thank me later.

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James Sugrue

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