A computer keyboard, apart from being a place to keep your food crumbs, its primary function is to allow you to input text or commands into the computer.
Our keyboard “guest” today would be something that rarely known by commoners out there, a brief history should keep those question marks away from their head.
There was two types of keyboards when computer keyboard was introduced back in 80s – one is mechanical keyboard and the other one is membrane keyboard. Mechanical keyboard produces loud “clack clack” sound when you type and is superbly good to use but expensive to produce, while membrane keyboard is totally opposite. Sooner or later, rubber dome keyboards was invented, because of lower cost to produce along with good usability, quickly, it became more popular than its older brothers. Despite rubber dome keyboards dominated the market, membrane keyboards are still being used on low cost systems, and mechanical keyboards are still being used by several industries and among enthusiast users.
Why mechanical keyboard? This leaves everything to the user’s preference. I would generally divide them into 3 groups of different thoughts:
- The first group thinks that all the keyboards are the same, one does not need to pay extra for flashy gaming keyboard or mechanical keyboard. They would feel satisfied with their RM20 keyboard as long as the keyboard works flawlessly.
- The second group thinks that keyboards only worth to pay for the premium price if it comes with unique features such as LED lights, macro keys, media control, *coughgamingfeaturecough* and etc.
- Lastly, the third group thinks interacting with a computer is a critical procedure and the keyboard must be of best of the best, no matter the build quality or feature in order to deliver maximum user experience.
The mechanical keyboards are for the folks in group 3.
Today, we’re featuring a “duck” in our quick review – Ducky DK9008S Shine mechanical keyboard.
- PCB two-sided routing, safety guaranteed
- Separated wiring, easy to carry
- Illuminated keyboard, charming and fascinating
- Dual coted keycaps, subtle feelings of touch, delicate work
- On/Off Dip Switch to define the functions of the keyboard
- Automatically adjust the entering repeated speed
- Supporting Interface: USB & PS/2
- Supporting N-Key Rollover (PS/2),USB any 6 Keys
- Five levels of Light Adjustment function
- Three different LED lighting areas switching function
- Whole keyboard LED backlit breathing mode
- Specially processed dual coated keycaps allow the visibility of LED backlit
- Supporting multi-media shortcut keys
- Adopting Cherry MX series key switches
- Four functional shortcut keys
- Four buttons On/Off Dip Switch
Source: Ducky Channel *(Ducky Channel is a Taiwan company and their English site just launched not long ago… well Engrishy)
Glossy box with a picture of the keyboard and some engrishy description of the keyboard.
Back of the box with multiple languages of product description. Nothing fancy, just white text on black.
Open box, there are paddings around the box. The card box padding is not as sturdy as it might seems, just look at the right side’s padding is already being crushed due to the keyboard’s weight.
Taking everything out of the box. The keyboard is sleeved in the black keyboard sleeve. The sleeve is made of some sort of microfibre cloth and it attracts dust and hairs.
But still, the sleeve is something you don’t normally get when you buy a keyboard.
What you get:
- USB cable
- USB to PS/2 adapter
- Red WASD key caps
- Ring key cap puller (not recommended)
- Clear plastic keyboard cover
- Microfibre cloth keyboard sleeve
Look, Feel, Usability
“Isn’t it looks exactly like any regular RM20 keyboard? Why so expensive? Looks so outdated without any special design, except the blings.”
You probably won’t see the difference from its appearance, but once you type on it, you’ll understand what is the meaning of “typing”.
This keyboard is HEAVY and sturdy. You can use it as your personal shield/weapon. It will survive after you used it to block a knife or smack a thief’s head.
There’s 4 extra short cut keys – calculator, my computer, email and homepage.
The extra x1-x4 row is used to increase the repeat rate of the key press. Practically useless, unless you plan to spam a certain key.
The four rubber feet is quite thick and holds the keyboard in position. There’s a “birth certificate” which lasered onto a thin piece of pseudo-aluminium sticker.
The cable routing could be seen at the top part of the keyboard. The design of the cable routing slot is off, you have to bend your cable in order to route them to the left or right side.
Elevation feet. There is no rubber feet on it and the angle of elevation is low. You won’t even notice if you have the elevation feet deployed or not.
4 Dip switches to turn on/off several functions such as Windows keys, Caps Lock – Left CTRL swap, Windows – ALT swap.
The fourth switch has no function.
6KRO can be achieved via USB interface, else you could achieve NKRO via USB to PS/2 adapter.
*PS – KRO = key-roll-over, means how many keys will be registered if pressed together. 6KRO means, maximum 6 keys will register if pressed simultaneously. NKRO – means ALL.
The included red WASD key caps and the ring key puller.
Avoid using the ring key puller as it would scratch the side of the key cap. Better to use a metal wire key puller.
The all glorious Cherry MX Brown switch, coupled with blue LED lights.
Installed the red key caps on it. After using it for a while, probably due to the different texture feel or what, it was a bit awkward and I changed it back to black key caps.
Below is a video on different LED modes & brightness.
- Above average build quality – Solid
- Aluminium plate mounted – Not as solid as steel plate, but good enough
- Cherry MX switches – High quality and durable
- 6KRO over USB; NKRO over PS/2
- Detachable cable
- Coated key caps – longer lasting
- Full LED backlight (108 individual LEDs, including spacebar)
- Special function – adjustable lighting mode and brightness
- Multimedia control
- 4 extra function keys
- Accessories – WASD key caps, keyboard sleeve, free wrist rest
- Heavy weight – stability VS portability
- Cherry MX Brown switch (Tactile, non-clicky)
- LED backlight – personal preference, hard to find replacement translucent key caps
- Plate mounted
- Physical switches for key configuration – troublesome to configure
- Cherry stabilizers
- Premium price – this costs me RM400++++++++++
- ABS illuminated key caps – looks horrible when the coating wears off
- Limited customizability – illuminated key caps are rare (limited customization)
- Short cable
- Short elevation
- Ring key puller
Since it is my very first mechanical keyboard, so I opted for a Cherry MX Brown. Too bad that white LED one is sold out so I have to take the blue LED one. The board is extremely solid and fun to type on it. Typing on a Cherry MX switch is totally different from the regular rubber dome boards. Typing on mushy rubber domes will not give you that certain feedback, unlike mechanical keyboard, it gives a kind of feedback that makes you feel you’ve accomplished something. This is because each key has a mechanical switch underneath it. You’re basically actuating each and every characters when typing. Does it worth the money? Hell yeah!!
Don’t be fooled by the “Ducky” name, it may sound funny but they produce high quality keyboards. Famous brand doesn’t mean they have the best products, unknown brand doesn’t mean they have lousy products. If you type a lot and enjoy using your computer in a way that you think a set of proper computing equipment is very important, I bet you’ll fall in love with mechanical keyboard once you type on it. The keyboard feels superbly good to type on and I’m not going back to rubber dome keyboard. If you have doubt in what I’m saying, mark my words, once you try it you’ll know what’s so special about them. I can introduce you shops that stock mechanical keyboards that has test units for you to play with. If you can’t tell what’s the difference, you better off staying with your current rubber dome keyboard which is more cheap, otherwise –
Getting involved with mechanical keyboards is like on drugs/sex, you just can’t stop.
Good news is that several famous rubber dome keyboard producers have introduced their very first mechanical gaming keyboard to the market which then followed by other makers as well as other new brands under the marketing scheme of “gaming keyboard”. Sad to know that mechanical keyboard has to be resurrected in such a hideous way.