Usage, Findings and Conclusion
As with any new keyboard, there is always a learning curve and the same holds true with the Das Keyboard. Having used a Logitech G15 daily for over two years, it took a little time getting used to not having some of the “extras” like macro keys and more basic features like a wrist rest.
Once I had become accustomed to the Das Keyboard, however, typing on it was a real pleasure. The clicky tactical feel does seem to improve typing speed and there is something reassuring about the resounding “click” each time you press a key. It's also quite the departure from other keyboards that eventually become mushy to type on.
To demonstrate this, I recorded a short video clip that shows me typing on the Das Keyboard Ultimate:
The blank keys of the Ultimate most certainly helped to reinforce my inner geek. For someone who isn’t a skilled typist, a computer with a blank keyboard can be intimidating and may keep them away from using it – an added benefit for those who don’t like others to use their system.
Kidding aside, there is some sort of benefit about having no inscriptions on the keyboard. If you are looking to improve your typing skills, the Ultimate will no doubt assist you with that task. Not being able to look down at the keys and use the hunt-and-peck method will force you to learn how to type properly. The Das developers thoughtfully kept the tiny location notches on the “F” and “J” keys so you will still know where the home row keys are by feel.
If you absolutely insist on having inscriptions on your keys, but love the look or feel of the Das, then the Professional model is for you.
Aesthetically, although the Das Keyboard is very plain, it looks really clean and professional. The glossy black enclosure matched the surface of my computer desk perfectly. The blue LEDs used to indicate caps lock, num lock and scroll lock status are thankfully very subtle as well. The board itself has a lot of weight to it and feels as though it is built solidly. The two integrated USB ports are an added bonus, especially if your computer does not have front I/O ports.
The Das Keyboard is backed by a 30-day money back guarantee, so should you not totally love your new keyboard, you can return it for a full refund or exchange, no questions asked. Additionally, a one year limited warranty accompanies the unit that covers any defect (although, as per their warranty page, if Bigfoot steps on your keyboard, you are out of luck).
All of this does come at a steep price. The Das Keyboard Professional and Ultimate have a retail sticker price of $129, which would generally be considered a lot to be spent on a keyboard. At this price point, it would be nice to perhaps see a wireless version to further keep with that minimalist approach. Also, it wouldn't be such a bad idea for Metadot to offer interchangeable keys, so perhaps you could start out with the inscribed keys and replace them with blanks as your skills move forward.
All in all, if you are looking to improve your typing skills, and the audible clicks won’t bother you or others around you, then the Das Keyboard is worth checking out.