Das Keyboard 4 Professional: Reviewed

The gold standard for mechanical keyboards.. or all keyboards?
By Ben Jackson   February 9, 2018 3:31 pm UTC

Overview

For those of us who spend the majority of their days sitting in front of a computer monitor, the keyboard is one of your most essential tools.

If you’re someone using a desktop.. or more likely, you’re a “docker” (as it seems most of us have become), think for just a moment how much daily use your keyboard gets. Let’s say for an average 8-hour work day, you’re in meetings for 3 hours, and you take an hour for lunch. That leaves you at your desk for 4 hours, meaning you’re definitely using your keyboard for several hours each day. Point being: for something that gets as much use (arguably) as anything save your smartphone and television, you might want to consider making an investment in that piece of equipment right? Think about it: if you enjoyed playing golf every single day of your life, would you play with just “okay” clubs? Or the clubs that just so happened to be at the golf course when you showed up? No, you wouldn’t.

End rant. Point being, the keyboard is an underrated aspect of your daily life, and it’s something you should spend more than few minutes thinking about when it comes to making a purchase. Consider making an investment in your fingers, because we’re sure you can do better than your current set-up.

Oh, and you don’t have to be a gamer to appreciate the fine craftsmanship that went into the Das Keyboard 4 Professional. Let’s take a look at one of the most-loved keyboards on the market.

Packaging

As you’d expect, Das Keyboard doesn’t mess around when it comes to the packaging and presentation of one of their most successful keyboards. There’s not much else to say here, other than if you care about the packaging (nerd), you won’t be disappointed.

Product Specifications

  • German-engineered MX blue mechanical key switches
  • Dedicated media controls
  • Two-port SuperSpeed USB 3.0 hub
  • Extra-long 6.6 ft. (2m) cable
  • Detachable footbar ruler
  • Full N-key rollover

What comes in the box?

You’ll open up the package and find the following on the inside:

  • The Keyboard (naturally)
  • The detachable footbar ruler

What’s the deal with Mechanical Keyboards?

Mechanical keyboards are simply put, a better way to type. If you’ve never used one, you’re missing out. It’s not cliché to say that mech keyboards offer a better typing experience as a whole. They’re more accurate, and there’s more of a spring-loaded feel to the keys.. which provides feedback (or kickback) that you won’t get from the one your desktop came with.

If you do end up purchasing a mechanical keyboard, chances are you won’t go back. Spend more than a few minutes typing on one, get used to the precision feedback you receive.. and you’ll quickly realize that a good keyboard does make a difference. There’s a certain level of satisfaction you’ll get out of typing on a mechanical keyboard that just isn’t there with a laptop keyboard, or the basic keyboard your IT department proudly gave you on your first day.

How loud is the 4 Professional? Depends on your MX keys

Since humans are picky, the 4 Professional comes in two different styles – the Clicky, and the Silent. In short – this comes down to one simple fact. The MX Blue (aka the Clicky) is louder. MX Brown (aka the Silent) is quieter. I’m sure keyboard nerds could delve into great detail about the slight variation of the spring mechanisms and the very technical differences between the MX blue and MX brown, but I’m telling you that the only thing you need to worry about is how loud you want the keys to be.

So then.. MX Blue or MX Brown?

The version I reviewed was the MX Blue, which certainly makes a statement. If you think your current keyboard makes a lot of noise when you type, trust me.. it’s got nothing on the 4 Professional with MX Blue keys. It’s impressive, actually. For me personally, I can’t imagine choosing the quieter version because what’s the fun in that?

That being said – is the 4 Professional Clicky loud enough to bother your co-workers.. if you’re in a cubicle or open-office environment? That’s a good question actually. Not entirely sure; I suppose it’s possible. But should you care if it does bother them? Absolutely not.

Typing Experience

The first thing you’ll notice about the 4 Professional is the “clickiness”. Seriously though. Especially if you’re coming from something like an awful Logitech or Dell keyboard (prayers up for you), you’ll feel the responsiveness and feedback from each key stroke. It’s maybe best described as a slight force of resistance when you push down.

If like me, you don’t mind a little noise, you sprung for the Clicky DK Pro 4 with MX Blue keys. Be forewarned though, if the keyboard you’re currently using (or the keyboard on your laptop) doesn’t create a chorus of noise when you type, then you’re in for a totally different experience. For those speed-typers out there, the 4 Professional can come off as a little.. intense. The first time I started typing I actually stopped for a second to process what was happening. I’m pretty sure I then just started aggressively typing as fast as I possibly could to produce a ridiculous amount of noise, which the keyboard kindly assisted with. It’s both annoyingly loud, and supremely fun.

Thus, this keyboard could certainly be classified as noisy.. it’s almost comically loud. Of course, if you’re buying a mechanical keyboard, should you really be surprised? Nope. Our view is that if you’re not making a ton of noise with your keyboard, then you’re not doing it right.

Overall though, typing on the 4 Professional feels crispy, and precise. It might take you a few days to get used to it if transitioning from a standard keyboard, but once you get past the initial learning curve – you won’t want to type on anything else.

The Ruler

Here’s something you didn’t know you needed — and yet, it makes so much sense. Anyone who does even an occasional amount of design work on their computer can appreciate that sometimes, you just need to measure stuff. Because you know, precision. Measure twice and cut once? Right. Anyways, if you can successfully explain to me why you wouldn’t want a ruler on the bottom of your keyboard.. well I’m pretty sure you’ll just be wrong anyways — so why are you still asking, “Why a ruler though?” Just because. Stop.

The ruler itself is quite sturdy – and like a magic trick, it magnetically attaches neatly to the back of the keyboard. Which, turns out is also the only way you can modify, or raise the elevation of the 4 Professional. Henry Ford famously said, “You can have any choice of color car – as long as its black.” Das Keyboard seems to have adopted that motto as well for the 4 Professional, by deciding that you can either rest the keyboard completely flat, or slightly elevate the back (as I personally prefer). Flat, or slightly elevated – there is no additional way to adjust how the keyboard rests on the table. You’ll be fine, I promise.

The Volume Control Knob

What’s the point of having an amazing keyboard if you don’t have an oversized volume control knob? This keyboard assumes you place a pretty significant amount of importance on the sounds coming out of your computer. For gamers, it’s quickly ratcheting up the volume of your RPG. For others, it’s the annoying dings that seem to come out of every Microsoft application.

Either way, the control knob is super smooth and visually speaking, is one of the most significant design features on the keyboard itself. As opposed to depressing a tiny click button like seen in most keyboards, the volume control knob on the 4 Professional is actually enjoyable to use. Conveniently, the mute button is right next to it, in addition to your other standard audio controls.

What’s next from Das Keyboard?

If like me, you care about your keyboard and know what’s up.. you’ve certainly heard about the Das Keyboard 5Q Cloud-connected keyboard – a fully mechanical keyboard that happens to be connected to the cloud. What does that mean? It means that you can program certain keys to light up when something happens.. like when you receive a new email for example. The future man, it’s here.

Final Thoughts

There’s a reason why the 4 Professional remains one of the most well-reviewed keyboards on the market. Das Keyboard might truly have built the best keyboard ever here, with a minimalist design and focus on the actual typing experience.

It’s also just fun to say Das Keyboard. Since you’re an expert in German, you of course realize that Das Keyboard translates to “The Keyboard”, which makes sense. Because this is “the” keyboard that you should care about.

The Das Keyboard 4 Professional is still the gold standard when it comes to mechanical keyboards. Plain and simple.

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