Review: Das Keyboard Model S Professional for Mac

Rating: 4/5

Posted in Mac, Reviews on 16/08/2012 by J. Glenn Künzler

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For someone such as myself, who spends the majority of their day typing, using a quality keyboard can make all the difference.  Recently, I’ve had the opportunity to test the Das Keyboard Model S Professional for Mac, using it to replace my Apple Wireless Keyboard for all of my day-to-day work – and I must say, it’s been a very interesting experience.

Overview

The first computer I ever used was an Apple IIe. In those days, Apple’s computers used built-in keyboards – and the keyboards were always especially good. They keys always provided plenty of feedback and a nice clicky sound. The trend of bundling exceptional keyboards with Apple computers continued until  the Apple Extended Keyboard II was discontinued in 1994. Apple never made a keyboard quite like that again.

Das Keyboard’s Model S Professional differs from Apple’s current line of keyboards in many ways, but the most crucial difference is that it is a mechanical keyboard. The use of mechanical switches gives the Das Keyboard excellent tactile feedback, as well as a very satisfying click with each key press.

Design

Among the high points of a premium keyboard like the Model S Professional is the design. From the considerable heft of the keyboard, the sleek black design with its glossy border, and even the font on the keys, it’s easy to see that design was a crucial consideration for Das Keyboard. Overall, I like the design very much . The keyboard includes a pair of USB ports, as well as media keys that work with the Mac.

There were a few aspects of the design that I did not find quite as appealing. For instance, the keyboard does not come with a backlighting option, which makes it difficult to use in darker environments. This is especially true considering that they keyboard is black.

While the keyboard includes  two USB ports, neither of these ports is capable of powering an iPad. The ports are also located in the upper-right section of the keyboard, which makes it difficult to use a mouse or properly place a trackpad next to the keyboard while something is plugged into those ports. I’d have much preferred the ports on the left side of the keyboard, or even along the rear.

Also, I found it very disappointing that the keyboard requires two USB ports. That’s all of the available USB ports on a MacBook Pro! Failure to plug the keyboard into both ports results either in a keyboard that doesn’t function, or being locked down to using only one of the two additional USB ports that the keyboard provides.

I was also disappointed that the keyboard did not include keys for Mac features such as Spaces/Mission Control, Launchpad and Dashboard (although truthfully, most third-party Mac keyboards also lack these keys).

As a final note, I found myself wishing that Das Keyboard offered a model without the built-in number pad. I doubt that most people use a number pad frequently enough to justify the additional bulk, and the presence of the number pad makes it much more difficult to center the keyboard on a desk.

Performance

Whatever the Das Keyboard Model S Professional lacks in design, it more than makes up for in performance. Plainly put, I’ve never had such a comfortable typing experience in my entire adult life. I really can’t put this any other way than to say the Model S Pro is an absolute joy to type on.

Due to the exceptional high-feedback mechanical switches, I was able to type faster, more accurately, and for longer periods of time than with my Apple Wireless Keyboard. The trade-off, however, is the sound. This keyboard is very, very noisy. As such, it might not be appropriate for use in many office situations.

Verdict[rating:4]

I really enjoyed using the Model S. It’s the most comfortable keyboard I have ever used – comfortable enough that I can forgive the fact that the keys are so noisy! Unfortunately, due to the lack of a model without the number pad, and due to the few design issues dampening the experience, I can’t see myself replacing my current keyboard for day-to-day use.

For anyone serious about keyboarding, and who isn’t bothered by the issues I was put out by, I highly recommend the Model S Professional. It’s an extremely confortable and high quality keyboard capable of providing a lifetime of use – and while the $135 retail cost can be a lot to swallow, it is priced competitively with other professional keyboards.

For more information, or to purchase the Model S, visit the Das Keyboard website. Das Keyboard’s products are also available from Amazon.com with free shipping.

Pros

  • Solid, stable design.
  • Extremely comfortable to use, with excellent key feedback.
  • Beautiful, consistent, laser-etched keys.
  • Delightfully pleasing German name!

Cons

  • Price.
  • No wireless / Uses two USB ports.
  • Awkward placement of USB ports.
  • Noisy.
  • Cannot charge an iPad.
  • No backlighting.


Author

J. Glenn Künzler

Glenn is Managing Editor at MacTrast, and has been using a Mac since he bought his first MacBook Pro in 2006. Now he's up to his neck in Apple, and owns an old iBook, a 2012 iMac with an extra Thunderbolt display for good measure, a 4th-generation iPad, an iPad mini, 2 iPhones, and a Mac Mini that lives at the neighbor's house. He lives in a small town in Utah, enjoys bacon more than you can possibly imagine, and is severely addicted to pie.