Mechanical keyboards are back from the dead, in style and better than ever. Today's keyboards are all about being as stealthy as a hovering black ninja in complete darkness. Like many of you out there, I love me my silent and squishy keyboard keys with an extra layer of silence that is a silicone keyboard cover. But that all changed when I went mechanical. Having had no real experience using the full frontal mechanical keyboards of today, I went in head first not knowing what sort of madness will come out from Das Keyboard. The company is known to have one of the best mechanical keyboards known to man. And they've just released a Mac version, the Model S Professional for Mac. The full review awaits you after the cut!
The Model S Professional for Mac is essentially Das Keyboard's respectable Model S Professional model only with a Mac key layout you'd expect. It also requires no drivers or app installing on your part, just plug it in and you're all set to type away. It'll run you $133 with not a single extra included. The least I was expected to find in the box was a simple key cap puller tool, but no that will cost you extra. We were lucky enough to get a firs-look and test out the Model S Professional for Mac before it is released in early April. It is available to pre-order at the moment for $113 with the chance of getting one early.
Das Keyboard's Model S Professional was inspired by the legendary IBM Model S mechanical keyboard, and rightfully so. As were many competing mechanical keyboards for that matter. The Model S Professional for Mac
The Model S Professional is one epic piece of keyboard. Having spent nearly a month with it, this is what you'd call a true keyboard. None of those chiclet style keyboards will excite you as much as a Das Keyboard keyboard. Admittedly I've been one to fond over such keyboards and how quiet they can be. But what if you're more of a thrill seeker and you just want to try something different for a change? Well then, this is the mechanical keyboard to start with.
I'm no mechanical keyboard expert, but $133 is a bit too much for what you're getting. In essence, the Model S Professional is a plain and simple keyboard by the looks of it. Compared to others though, its got only the best internals like German-engineered mechanical key switches that are gold plated. Mind you those are Cherry MX blue mechanical key switches. That means the blue class offers the most audible clicking sound and feedback possible.
Not to sugar coat it, the Model S Professional isn't going to win any awards for its beauty. As far as mechanical keyboard go, they're a bunch of somewhat ugly chunks of bulky black keyboards. Razer is the only one that did a good job designing the exterior to look a bit more like keyboards you'd by only because they look good. However, the Model S Professional makes up for that the moment you press your first key. It'll feel so good you'll think you lost your virginity. No offense. The combination of matte and glossy black plastic doesn't look half bad, and the entire keyboard feels very well built. Keys are held in place firmly and don't rattle around. It's got four rubber feet for traction and standard flip-out elevators for adjusting the typing angle.
As you're aware by now, the Model S Professional is a wired mechanical keyboard with an extra long 6.6ft (2-meter) USB cable with two USB plugs at the end. Why two USB plugs you ask?
One belongs to the keyboard itself while the second one is used for the built-in USB hub with two USB 2.0 ports. These ports are fully powered and are capable of providing sufficient power for powering and charging various devices as well as allow for syncing. The two USB ports are located at the right hand side and spaced with good clearance.
Typing on the Model S Professional is pure joy. Absolute fun with every key press. The keys are extremely springy, tactile and offer the most amazing feedback I'd ever experienced with a keyboard. Whether it's old school mechanical or not. Coming from a slim keyboard with flat chiclet style keys, the Model S Professional takes getting used to. At first you'll feel like your fingers are getting a workout trying to press down these monstrous keys, but I've quickly found myself comfortably typing as quick as I could with great satisfaction of that now considered unique clicking sound and fantastic tactile feeling. The Cherry MX blue mechanical switches are designed in a way so that minimal force is required to register a key press. Pressing a key half way is enough to trigger off input. That's means a mechanical keyboard such as this one is more accurate and a safe bet for those fast typists who constantly type without looking at their keyboard.
This is the sort of keyboard that will make you want to type all day long. And if you can type as fast as 100 words per minute, people nearby will think someone's firing an M16 on auto. Well realistically it sounds more like a typewriter. Seriously, typing on the Model S Professional is very loud. So if you're selfish, this is the perfect mechanical keyboard for you. Otherwise you should be thinking about buying some earplugs to hand out. Das Keyboard will even sell you some.
You don't need to spend much time with this keyboard to find out its drawbacks. And there are quite a few of them. Although this is the Mac version with a Mac key layout, Das Keyboard hasn't done a good job making sure all the Mac keys are present and work as they should. It seems as though the F keys were far more important to Das Keyboard even though they bragged about this being a Mac keyboard. The large delete key you'd use with command in order to delete a file isn't appropriately named as such. Instead, it is named "backspace". And that belongs on a PC keyboard mind you.
As for the top row function keys, you've got music, sound and a sleep key, but they're all "fn" function keys which means that you need to hold down the fn button in order to press each of those keys. Now for what's missing. You won't find the usual Mac keys like Spaces/Mission Control, Launchpad and Dashboard. At least the brightness keys are primary. Of course you can assign those F keys with all the above, but then that defeats the purpose of opting for a Mac version of this keyboard. Even Logitech did a better job making a Mac keyboard with proper Mac keys with the K750 solar keyboard. And the list goes on. The least Das Keyboard could have done to make Mac users happier was to add backlit keys. If I had one more drawback to nitpick about it would have to be about the key font. It looks nice but it isn't very practical. It's too small and the 'e' key looks like an 8.
Check that out, a blue LED light magically appears thru the glossy, black abyss unlike that K750 keyboard.
Is this a good keyboard for gaming you ask? It lacks some convenient key features that you'd find on Razer and other gaming oriented keyboards, but yes of course. One thing you should consider is that if you do game at night, not having a backlit key layout is what should make you consider other alternatives.
Even though Das Keyboard botched its so called Model S Professional keyboard for Mac, I'd be willing to turn a blind eye and keep on typing on this wonderful mechanical keyboard. Because it's just brilliant. Unfortunately, this isn't a proper Mac keyboard, but it most definitely is a proper mechanical keyboard in every way imaginable. Normal keyboards sound boring and can't live up to the extreme tactile feedback of the Model S Professional.