Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Das Keyboard Model S Ultimate Soft Tactile MX Brown Mechanical Keyboard (DASK3ULTMS1SI)
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Color: Soft Tactile - Cherry MX Brown Switch|Style Name: Ultimate - Blank Key caps|Change
Price:$126.49+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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on January 21, 2011
First, you should know the difference between this model and the model with the same name that is listed for $129, as Amazon doesn't explain it. This model has the quieter Cherry MX Brown key switches, while the model for $129 has the Cherry MX Blues. If you check the two models out on Das Keyboard's website, you'll see it explained there.

Some background on me. I've been a programmer for the last 16 years, and I game about three nights per week for a couple hours. I spend about 12 hours a day on my computer, and have been going through keyboards every six to eight months for years. You know how nice a new keyboard feels. But after a few months, the keys don't actuate like they did when it was new. If you don't hit the key in the middle, it doesn't always depress. Consequently, you end up hammering the keys without even realizing it. The keys on this are rated at 50 million key actuations. So if I get even three years out of it, I'll be money ahead.

The Das Keyboard is an absolute dream to type on. I don't do many reviews, and see them as a waste of my time. All I can say is once you've used a mechanical keyboard, you'll never go back. And your speed with definitely increase. I would've bet money against that, and I would've lost.

Regarding the MX Blue key switches vs the MS Browns (this keyboard): I'm glad I went with this model. I'm on the phone with clients every day and am constantly making notes during my calls. I've had several people mention they can hear my typing, and this is the silent (not silent, but less noisy) version. Personally, I like "clack clack" of the louder model, but it's too loud for my use.

Regarding the blank keys: Obviously, I'm a touch typist. And if I were just writing documents, I would've bought the blank version without hesitation. But as a programmer, I'm constantly using keyboard shortcuts and use my keyboard to navigate as much as possible so I don't have to reach for my mouse. My concern was that I could still do that without key inscriptions. I have to admit, it forced me to lean my keys, and I didn't realize how much I was actually looking at my keyboard. But for the first week, I kept a jpg on my Desktop of the version with key inscriptions as a cheat sheet. After that, it was all smooth sailing and I've never looked back.

And I have to admit, the BA nerd factor of this is off the chart. I've had two clients who came to my office actually take pictures of it to show the other guys back at their offices. I admit there's a little vanity there. But if they perceive me a better programmer / computer user because of it, how could that possibly hurt?

The other added benefit is that the intimidation factor keeps computer illiterate people off my computer. No more "oops, I deleted that folder. Was that important?" If somebody can actually sit down and use it, they know what they're doing.

Just buy it...you won't regret it.

UPDATE 2/21/2012:

Well, I've been using this keyboard daily for a little over a year now. I've used it so much that the primary use keys are polished and high gloss lol. No big deal. But what is amazing is that the key actuations are just as fresh as the day I bought it. The first keys to go are usually my movement keys for gaming. But even those show no signs of wear (other than being shiny of course).

I don't see why it won't last three years like I mentioned in my Jan 2011 review. I'm already close to the break-even point cost wise (would've bought two $50 membrane keyboards by now), so this thing is a money saver. On top of that, it's a joy to type on.

Buying this is a no-brainer for any heavy computer user. I'm still in love with it.
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on July 5, 2012
There are four Das Keyboards:

1) Das Keyboard Model S Ultimate: With no inscriptions on the keys. Nothing at all. Uses Cherry Blue mechanisms.

2) Das Keyboard Model S Professional: Sporting newly redesigned electronics provides full n-key rollover. Uses Cherry Blue mechanisms.

3) Das Keyboard Model S Professional For Mac (this keyboard): Sporting golden-plated mechanical switches and a high speed USB Hub to connect your iPhone and iPad [NEW]. Uses Cherry Blue mechanisms. There are quieter Mac keyboards but none with better function and reliability.

4) Das Keyboard Model S Professional Silent: This silent model (read not silent but less clicky) is ideal for people working in an open environment or for workers who need to type while talking on the phone. Uses Cherry Brown mechanisms.

The 1961 IBM Selectric typewriter was the result of the first serious thought about keyboard ergonomics. The effort showed in every detail of operation. The adjustable but uniform key touch, spherical keycaps, the ability to handle and buffer multiple key presses, and its hallmark tactile feedback contributed to vastly improved typing speeds at any skill level. Every competent typist I knew for the next two decades refused to work with any other typewriter. Alas, in the frenzy to re-invent everything, we've thrown out most everything we learned. And, cheap flat undersized plastic paddles sitting atop flimsy mushy contacts that throw every possible wrench into eye-hand coordination have become the norm as professional typing skills (and High School typing classes) have sadly gone the way of the dodo... until mechanical keyboards like this one.

While it may LOOK good to tilt up a keyboard like an old typewriter keyboard, doing so actually puts more pressure on your wrists. Plus, you should keep your wrists straight, angling them in towards each other, place your monitor directly in front at eye level or lower, and use two hands for entering key combinations. But, most importantly, your keyboard should be low enough so that your arms point slightly downward when you type - with your fingers slightly lower than your wrists (which should usually hover above the wrist pad). And, don't forget a chair with some lumbar support as well as brief stretching breaks every 20 minutes. Also note that wear to lettering can be accelerated (still taking a long time) if hand moisturizers have not been fully absorbed.

High-end keyboards still lack the variable key touch of the 1961 IBM Selectric so one must choose the switch characteristics to their liking / primary use (a better way). To that end I'll summarize the basic types of Cherry key switches:

A linear switch - best for gaming (eg: hard to press Cherry MX Black to allow resting your hand on the key without accidentally pressing or easier Cherry Red) is like a doorbell - smooth travel with no bump.

A tactile switch - best for typing and very good for gaming (eg: Cherry MX Brown with the smoothest and lightest touch for the fast control typist or gamer although accidental pressing is therefore possible or the harder to press so gamers often dislike limited production Cherry Clear or discontinued White) is like a light switch - halfway through you feel a bump and then the light comes on.

A clicky AND tactile switch - best for a lone hard-hitting typist as they are very noisy and often disliked by gamers (eg: Cherry Blue or Buckling Spring) is like a Bic pen - clicks loudly AND you feel a bump. Again, this keyboard uses the Cherry Blue key mechanisms.

Please, let me know if you found this useful.
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on November 20, 2012
A little over a year ago, I had received a full-sized Das Keyboard Professional S (with cherry MX blue switches) as a gift. It typed great out of the box: I loved using it and after I got used to it I was typing extremely fast and enjoying it for gaming and work alike. As a product of my own stupidity, I spilled a sticky drink into that old keyboard and was unable to clean it out. I gave it an isopropyl alcohol bath (I do not recommend this: Das Keyboard states to not submerge the product) out of desperation, and cleaned the stickiness of the keys, but ruined the switches in the process. I gave up and decided to order a new one.

I used that keyboard for a long time, and I'm on my computer quite a bit: I know what the Das Keyboard feels like. The replacement just arrived, and I'm a little upset. The normal keys feel about the same, but the larger keys (backspace and space in particular) feel extremely squishy and sticky. Attempting to type at my full speed, I constantly feel 'stopped' by the non-responsive feedback of the spacebar: no click, and I never feel it come back up (I rest my thumb on it when I am typing). It works, for sure, but it seems like they've made a small change to some of the larger keys on the keyboard and it feels cheaper and more like a well-used membrane keyboard. I dearly miss the feel of my old Das Keyboard now.

Proceed with caution.

Edit (Sept. 2013): I gave myself plenty of time to get used to the new Das -- almost a year. However, I broke down and bought a new Das Keyboard Ultimate, and the lovely feel of my old Das is back. As comments have stated, the switch in quality is only in the Das Professional with media keys. The Ultimate and Mac Professional are the same old quality. The bigger keys of my Professional never 'broke in' and the primary keys remained stiff. I highly recommend anyone looking into the keyboard to pick up one of the other versions, as it is definitely my favorite keyboard; just not the media keys version.
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on August 17, 2012
I am that old, having watching the progress of technology. Keyboards have progressed. The Apple wireless keyboard is aesthetically pleasing. However functionality can trump aesthetics.

I have been very unsatisfied with keyboards the past few years. My typing skills seemed to worsen. A few months ago I decided to buy a mechanical keyboard for gaming for durability reasons. What I did not realize was that ol' feeling that a mechanical keyboard provides. The assurance that when a key is pressed, it types. The gaming keyboard was an improvement but with my new job I knew my typing was going to increase dramatically. I had looked at the DAS Keyboard in my previous search but opted for a gaming specific keyboard (Cherry MX Black Switch's) since that was my focus.

I decided to purchase the DAS Keyboard and see if it would help. First the DAS does use a different switch (Cherry MX Blue) than the gaming keyboards so there is a different feel to the press and feedback. The DAS feels smoother, my fingers just seem to roll, flow into across the keyboard. I am even considering using the DAS for gaming, the "Special" gaming keyboard layout does not apply to the DAS, but the feel and especially responsive keys I believe will be an improvement.

So now I have a DAS for home and work. The keyboard uses two usb ports if you wish to use the built in USB ports on the keyboard. In essence you gain one extra USB port if you assume that a normal wired keyboard would have taken one USB port. I have used the keyboard on both my MAC and Windows machines with no issues. The keyboard mapping can be changed in Mountain Lion or previous versions of Mac OS X.

I am very pleased and my co-workers are not annoyed by the clicking and I do not find it bothersome. I am not sure how loud some of the other versions are with clicking, but the Mac version is acceptable.

The keyboard has the normal fold out stands to angle the keyboard and much more sturdy than what I have found on most other keyboards brands. The cable has a sturdy thick rubbery feel and a good length.

The keyboard will not wow you with aesthetics or "cute" and mostly useless lcd gimmicks. The only item I added for my own ergonomics was a keyboard wrist pad, that is my own personal preference and configuration.

I would give this keyboard a full five stars and recommend it for anyone that spends most of their day typing.
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The manufacturer commented on the review below
on November 27, 2012
I just got my DAS and I am really disappointed by the space bar. Oh man for a key that is hit most often, this is not the feedback that I should be getting from it. I have the same keyboard at work, well it is an older model, without the fancy media keys, but who cares. I would rather trade all the bells and whistles for my old space bar back again.. I can't believe this is the same keyboard that I use from the same company... What happened? What changed? How is this possible?

To everyone who is thinking of buying this because you want that tactile feeling. Just beware, this is not the same keyboard as the one that they used to sell. The spacebar for me is just boarderline unbearable, yes, it is stickier and gummier than my G15 (non mechanical) keyboard. I think I will be returning my DAS and possibly trying to buy an older version... This is really disappointing.

For those that don't know what is going on, read the other reviews too especially around how this keyboard no longer feels the same. I actually bought insurance when I purchased this keyboard in fear that the switch in their OEM manufacture will cause some problems down the road, but I can't believe I am not happy with this keyboard out of the box....
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The manufacturer commented on this review (What's this?)
We take all customer feedback very seriously and regret that you had an issue with our keyboard. We have tested a batch of keyboards and are unable to repeat the issue you experienced. We are happy to replace your keyboard with a new one where we have personally tested the spacebar. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to send us a message at daskeyboard.com/support and we'd be happy to address them.
The manufacturer commented on the review below
on January 30, 2013
Last year Das Keyboard changed manufacturers from a high quality Taiwan factory to one in China. The new keyboards are garbage. They use different mechanisms in many of the large keys like the space bar making it a flaccid, soft, non-mechanical feeling key. It is not nearly as snappy, clicky or loud as any of the other keys. It is in fact a very noticeable impediment when you're typing. I use a $55 monoprice keyboard at work that has cherry mx blue keys and no space bar issue....I actually prefer it very much to this one I paid more than twice for. I'm sick of companies trying to cut costs and offering inferior products under a brand name they've established as high quality. I think this one is going back.

UPDATE: So I contacted Das Keyboard as they left a comment on this review telling me to. Their resolution was for me to purchase either a Used or Refurbished keyboard from their website. I was assured as of now, all their refurbs are the previous generation of keyboards manufactured to better specs. I returned this one and went for the refurb for around $100. The quality of the older board is about 1000x better. It arrived slightly scuffed here and there, but I probably would have done that anyway given enough time.
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The manufacturer commented on this review (What's this?)
We're sorry you didn't have a satisfactory experience, and we would like to fix that. Please contact us directly so we can address your concerns. We can be reached at www.daskeyboard.com/support/
on June 30, 2011
You're in the market for mechanical keyboards so you're not generally afraid of a $100+ price tag.. Get this keyboard. The Cherry MX Brown switches makes typing feel like butter - absolutely a pleasure typing on this keyboard.

If you're iffy about buying this because of the lack of letters, get it anyway. Sure, the professional version has characters on the keys, though I keep hearing that they wear off easily which is a bit counter-intuitive. Get this keyboard and you will memorize where all the keys are - very simple.

Why the Silent version over the regular (MX Blue switches)? Personal preference. Both of these keyboards have volume - if that isn't going to bother people around you, whether it be coworkers, family members or roommates, here's why I STILL suggest the "Silent" version - it still takes SLIGHTLY less force to press down the key. 45g vs 50g doesn't seem like a huge thing, but it really can be. BUT, if you want the Cherry MX Blues for their famous extra click sound, absolutely go for it. The two switches have few differences - I chose the Browns because I didn't need the extra sound and I wanted the easiest possible typing experience - I got what I wanted.

If others who have reviewed this gave it anything less than 5 stars because it is NOT silent or some other non-issues, I ask them to DO THEIR RESEARCH before buying AND reviewing a product. This keyboard is a 5-star product; there should be no question about that.
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on May 2, 2013
This keyboard is a HUGE disappointment (for a previous Das Keyboard owner). I unfortunately/fortunately got one of Das Keyboard's "new" (OEM) cheaply "made in china" keyboard. By appearance and feel the new keyboards big buttons (shift, space, delete, enter, and CTRL) are very loose, feel weird and make creaking noise when depressed too slow or at a weird angle. For a $130 keyboard this keyboard is very cheaply made. I returned the new keyboard immediately. If you really want a Das Keyboard, then I suggest getting a refurbished keyboard directly from there site or purchase a used keyboard from Amazon (it increases your chance of getting an old OEM build of the DAS Keyboard/good build quality). The new OEM keyboards suffer from very bad quality.

Do yourself a favor and save yourself some money (and support American workers/business) and buy yourself a Unicomp (Google it) keyboard. Unicomp owns the patents on the famous "IBM Model M" keyboard and they make a lighter (weight) version called "Ultra Classic" at $79 (not a typo). In my opinion, cherry switches (new mechanical keyboard) always sound and feel like cheap plastic compared to the sturdy sound and feel of the buckling spring keyboard (Model M). While current mechanical keyboard attempt to improve or copy the original IBM Model M keyboard, they pale in comparison in quality, price, sound and feel. I think "WASD keyboards" makes some pretty sweet keyboards (super customizable) one of the best cherry switch keyboard (filco are really good too).

EXTRA!!: If you haven't decided if which type of cherry keys you like yet, then you can order the sampler kit from WASD Keyboard ([...] which contains blue, brown, red and black cherry switches to test for feel and sound)

**[...]l. I wish I would have known what I know now, before I bought the NEW Das Keyboard. **
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on April 7, 2011
This keyboard is the Das Model S Ultimate Silent, meaning it has Cherry MX Brown switches and no lettering on the keys (they're blank, forcing you to learn how to touch type).

The mechanical switches in this keyboard are great, they don't make the clicking noise at the actuation point (halfway down the key-press, when the switch is activated), however they still have the same tactile bump as the non-silent version of the keyboard that uses the MX Blue switches. The reset point of the MX browns is almost the same as the actuation point, so it is very easy to double tap the keys as you can "float" at the halfway point and just slightly lift and depress the key repetitively. If you bottom out the keys as you type (you press them all the way down so that the key hits the back-plate), the keyboard will make some noise, however if you learn to touch type you won't bottom out the keys, you will just press them halfway down until you feel the tactile bump letting you know the key press has been read, and then lift your finger back up again, this allows you to type with much less effort and mess less noise. If you are gaming you will probably find yourself bottoming out the keys more frequently, so the noise levels will be equivalent to those of a standard rubber dome keyboard (e.g. Logitech G15).

This keyboard comes with a USB to PS2 adapter so that you can avoid the limitations of the USB interface, where you are limitted to 6-key rollover (meaning if you press more than 6 keys at once whilst typing furiously or more commonly, gaming, it will only register the first 6 keys depressed.) If however, you are using the included PS2 adapter, it supports full N-key rollover (NKRO).
With NKRO support, you can press all 104 keys simultaneously and it will register all of them. This is very helpful once you start breaking 100 WPM or if you are a serious gamer playing RTS or FPS games like Starcraft 2 where miss clicks/types are very unforgiving.

This keyboard is your standard mechanical keyboard with all of the expected features (NKRO, good tactile feedback, standard layout, and gold connectors).
It doesn't glow in the dark, it doesn't have an LCD screen, and it lacks macro features or media controls, however it does what keyboards were designed to do: allow you to input data in a reliable and fast manner.
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The manufacturer commented on the review below
on January 30, 2013
I bought the Das Keyboard I'm currently using to write this post with high hopes and hopes that were largely based in strong reviews. Generally, people seem to be quite happy with the keyboard (from the reviews on this site and the somewhat deeper reviews elsewhere). Unfortunately, these reviews are now dated and you should remember two important things when you decide whether or not to buy this keyboard:

1. This new model uses a brand new construction with new, significantly worse manufacturers. You see this manifested in a construction that is significantly less robust than previously reviewed das keyboards. You are not buying the same keyboard that was being sold a few months ago. It's a shame.

2. In my case, after just about a month of using this keyboard (and thinking this keyboard was fantastic when I first purchased it), the spacebar now fails to work effectively. The spacebar remains depressed ~33% of the time after I push it down -- you can imagine this makes typing something like this review (or anything for that matter) particularly hard. And for those of you that love the refreshing sound the keys make: consider that sound dead when the keys start sticking.

Don't just take my word for it. You should seriously consider searching the internet for stuck key problems. And look carefully into the discussions about manufacturers. There are real reasons why the latest version of this keyboard is a dangerous buy. There are better alternatives!
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The manufacturer commented on this review (What's this?)
We're sorry you didn't have a satisfactory experience, and we would like to fix that. Please contact us directly so we can resolve your issue with the space bar. We can be reached at www.daskeyboard.com/support/

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