The Das Keyboard Model S for the Mac is not a thing of beauty. It’s huge and ungainly in the Mac world of ‘smaller is better.’ It makes lots of noise, takes a bit of getting used to and is wider than my 17-inch Macbook Pro. It’s also the best keyboard I’ve ever used on a computer.
Das Keyboard Model S Professional for the Mac
Everything Old is New Again
To an extent, it’s a throwback to the world of the IBM Selectric M typewriter which had a satisfying tactile feel to it and an even more satisfying click sound whenever a key was pressed. It’s the most un-Mac thing attached to my iMac. In a quiet office environment, it would quickly be shown the door since the noise, which I consider a major benefit, won’t play well with others. It uses Cherry MX blue keys and is higher than most other keyboards which puts a strain on your wrist as you get used to it. But after a day of use, it was no problem at all as my hands repositioned themselves to type downward.
My typing speed increased by about a third after two or three days, since there is no question whether a key was hit or not. You hear it and feel it, and it feels really good. It’s built like a tank and will last for many years. At a price of US$133.00 I guess you get what you pay for. It also weighs three pounds and is as substantial as that weight would presage.
The Return of the 10 Key Pad
There is a ten key pad, along with page up and down keys as well as home and end keys, these are keys that I sorely missed. The letters are etched and won’t easily scratch off. If you have never typed on a key-switch type keyboard there’s really no fair way of describing the feeling of satisfaction that just doesn’t come any of the current Mac keyboards. It may be a matter of taste thing, and you may hate the difference — but to me, there is just no going back. I love this big lug.
Some keys are mapped a bit differently than on the usual Mac keyboard. The CD eject key above the ‘del’ key to the left of the 10 key pad, and underneath that are the four arrow keys. The ten key pad comes complete with keys marked: ‘clear’, ‘Enter’ and the four math functions. The ‘Function’ key is oddly placed to the right of the spacebar between the ‘Option’ and ‘Control’ keys. A few of the top row key work differently than on Apple keyboards. For example, the volume up and down and mute keys are F11, F10, and F9, and to invoke the volume controls you need to depress the ‘Function’ key. The same is true for the stop/pause, previous track and next track keys. Brightness and dimness have their own marked keys on the top row and Expose is F9, not the Apple F3. The differences are easy to get used to and won’t be a problem after a few minutes of use. One nice extra is that the F1 key can act as a sleep key if the ‘Function’ key is depressed. Having the ability to put my iMac to sleep from the keyboard is handy.
It Takes Two USB Ports
One thing that might be a problem is that this is not a Bluetooth keyboard. It uses two USB 2.0 ports, one for the keyboard and another for the hub function. On the right of the keyboard are two USB ports, so, in effect, you’re not losing anything. If you don’t want to use the two port hub that’s fine too since there is a two meter USB cable hardwired to the keyboard terminating with two USB male plugs. One has a picture of a keyboard and the word “hub” is on the other. You’re not forced to plug both into your Mac. Not that it’s a major selling point, but in this world of Bluetooth peripherals, I always keep a wired keyboard at home just in case I run into a Bluetooth problem. Doing so has gotten me out more than a few scrapes.
Would I Recommend It?
Definitely. I love this keyboard and I intend to use it for the next forever. But a tactile key-switch keyboard might not be for everyone. I’d try it out first, or buy from somewhere with a good return policy if it’s not for you.