Das Keyboard Ultimate 4 Review

The Das Keyboard 4 Ultimate is a minimalist keyboard that'll fit in home offices and LAN parties alike

Verdict

The Das Keyboard 4 Ultimate is an incredibly stylish and sleek keyboard that offers an unparalleled typing experience

Pros

  • Satisfying tactile feel to keys
  • Sleek, minimalist design
  • 2 USB 3.0 ports

Cons

  • Touch typing requirement may alienate some users

Key Features

  • Review Price: £139.99
  • Cherry MX Switches
  • 2 x USB 3.0 Ports
  • European Key Layout

Words by Jamie Wallace

What is the Das Keyboard 4 Ultimate?

The world of mechanical keyboards is a vast one, so you’d be forgiven for not instantly knowing the ‘Das’ brand of keyboards. The company launched all the way back in 2005 with a range of basic-but-effective mechanical keyboards that have grown more and more feature-heavy and desirable over time.

The Das Keyboard 4 Ultimate is a minimalist keyboard that aims to offer users a smooth, satisfying typing experience in a good looking board blissfully free flashy lights and superfluous attachments you’ll find on many gaming keyboards.

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Das Keyboard  4 Ultimate – Design and build

There is a real beauty in how simple this board is, design-wise. At its very core, the Das Keyboard 4 Ultimate is a full-size mechanical keyboard equipped with a set of media keys and a volume dial on its far right-hand side, alongside two USB 3.0 ports. The whole board is weighty to hold (2.9lbs) and feels practically unbreakable. The top plate is aluminium covered in a matt black lacquer paint, which helps to highlight the boldest design choice this board offers – a full set of entirely blank keycaps.

The all-black keys, lacking any kind of markings or key legend, really set the Das Keyboard 4 Ultimate apart from practically any other gaming keyboard on the market right now and offers a sleek, minimalistic look that’s hard to rival. Plus, you’ll get all the bragging rights about your touch typing skills if that’s your thing.

As you might expect from an entirely blank keyboard, being a touch typist is practically a requirement. The home-row keys still feature ridges on the F and J keys, but in terms of navigation, that’s all the hand holding you get.

One extra little feature that sets the Das Keyboard 4 Ultimate apart from other boards out there – instead of having height-adjustable feet or kickstands, under the frame, you’ll find a magnetic footbar that spans the entire length of the board. Curiously, this footbar also functions as a ruler, just in case you find yourself in need of one. There is, unfortunately, no detachable cable on the board itself – instead, only a fairly thick single cable hardwired into the back.

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Das Keyboard 4 Ultimate

Das Keyboard 4 Ultimate – Performance

The Das Keyboard 4 Ultimate comes equipped with the still industry standard Cherry MX Brown or Blue switches – the model tested came with Browns – which make the whole thing a real treat to type with. Each key feels weighted and responsive, with none of the key wobble or sway that you might find with cheaper boards.

Choosing Brown switches over Blue ones will give you a tactile clack when you hit keys, as opposed to the sharp ‘click’ sound found with Blue switches. Each keystroke on the Das Keyboard 4 sees the key snapping back into place with a satisfying speed, allowing for a huge amount of momentum to be built when on a typing spree.

For gaming, the superb feel and responsiveness of the Das Keyboard 4 Ultimate’s keys carry over to create a wholly satisfying experience. Through my testing, I took this board into a variety of game types, from Dishonored 2 and XCOM 2 to Forza Horizon 4 and Two Point Hospital. While this keyboard isn’t looking to gain any extra brownie points with gamers necessarily, it’s such a joy to use, with every keystroke feeling instant and snappy, it’s certainly not one to scoff at.

For what it’s worth, Das Keyboard is quick to point out that this model also features NKRO over USB, which means that every keypress will be correctly detected no matter how many other keys are pressed down at a time. As well as letting you type more quickly and with greater accuracy, this also makes sure that gamers won’t run into any problems when scrambling through different key combos in an attempt to survive.

The Das Keyboard 4 Ultimate boasts two full-speed USB 3.0 ports on its top side, which is far more convenient than I thought it would be when I first discovered it, and I’ve been making good use of both ports pretty much from day one of testing.

The media keys over on the far right of the board are comprised of ‘Back’, ‘Play’, ‘Forward’ and ‘Mute’ keys, alongside a volume roller wheel and a dedicated ‘Sleep’ key to instantly put your system into hibernation mode. These keys continue the all-black motif of the board as a whole but function exactly as you’d want them to. Somehow, the oversized volume wheel doesn’t look out of place, either, despite hosting the one and only bit of colour on this board in its red trim.

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Das Keyboard 4 Ultimate

Why buy the Das Keyboard Ultimate?

The Das Keyboard 4 Ultimate is an absolute dream for touch typists, not only in the responsiveness of the keys but in its build and overall feel. This is absolutely a keyboard for those that appreciate the minimalist design it offers and has perhaps grown tired of all that RGB lighting and edgy colour schemes found in gaming boards in recent years.

If you’ve happened to like everything about this board so far except for the all-black keycaps, Das Keyboard also offers a ‘Professional’ variant of this board which is identical in all ways except for the keys, which feature the markings you’d expect on any regular board.

Verdict

A great looking mechanical keyboard ideal for gaming and typing alike.

Score