Update: The Das Keyboard 2 was supposed to go on sale March 27, but the shipments were held up at customs. The new Das (pictured above) will be available starting April 3.
The creator of the all-black, all-blank Das Keyboard claims it will improve your typing 100 percent in a few weeks. As someone who types all day, that's might[y] appealing. So, the makers of Das were kind enough to send me one of their updated goth
$79.95 $90 keyboards to test out. Read on after the jump to find out how the individually weighted mechanical, gold-plated key switches fared in my typing test.
I used TypingTest.com as my constant. The competition was a standard Mac G4 full-size keyboard, and an iBook G4 keyboard with several letters that have rubbed off from use (another year and it will almost be an off-white version of the Das Keyboard). I scored 75 words per minute on the laptop, which I use daily, 74 wpm on the full-size keyboard and 69 wpm on the Das Keyboard 2. But the big surprise is that my typing was more accurate on the Das than the other keyboards—which is counter-intuitive since there are no letters on the keys.
Seasoned typists won't gain much speed from using the Das. But hunt-and-peckers will see huge improvements. Here's why: Anyone who has been typing for a few years has the keyboard memorized but doesn't realize it. It takes a device like the Das Keyboard to force you into keeping your eyes on the screen instead of looking down at the keys. The result of un-learning your reliance on the letters is that you will type much more quickly. I'm lost when it comes to the number and symbol keys on the Das, for example. With a few weeks of use, I'll probably have them memorized, and thus become a better typist overall.
What about the increased accuracy? I suspect the high quality keys are responsible. They require less pressure and offer just the right mix of sensitivity and feedback. The clicking is a bit noisy for my taste, but not annoyingly so. My only complaint is the lack of a USB jack on either side or in back. It's such an easy and convenient add-on, why not put one in?
There are other reasons to like the Das Keyboard 2 as well. It was invented by an open source software programmer. It's got phantom key lockout, which means that gamers can hit three keys simultaneously and not worry about the board jamming up. And it's been stress-tested for a 30 million keystroke life expectancy. And I, for one, would be happy to keep this Das Keyboard around long enough to find out whether or not that claim is true.
Product Page [Das Keyboard 2]