In my previous post on mechanical keyboards, I sang the praises of the Filco Majestouch 2, and listed some reasons why I chose that keyboard above all others. I’ve been using the Majestouch 2 happily for 3 years now; however…while putting that post together I discovered a newer keyboard from Das which grabbed my attention.
Das Keyboard 4…the new hotness
3 years ago, when I was shopping around for a mechanical keyboard, the Das Keyboard Model S was on my radar, but I wasn’t too keen on its mirror-like plastic finish. Users of that keyboard often complained about how easy it was to soil and scratch its pretty plastic finish.
Fast-forward a few years and Das now has another model in its lineup: the Das Keyboard 4. The Das Keyboard 4 not only adds a new textured matte finish aluminum top panel, which solves the fussy finish issues of the model S, but it also has some fancy multimedia controls. Another feature I love on the Das Keyboards is the addition of 2 pass through USB 3.0 ports.
Must have…Das Keyboard 4…
Although the Filco had been a joy to use, I was too enchanted by the added features of the Das Keyboard 4. I had to buy one.
Let me tell you . . . the Das Keyboard 4 is one seriously badass keyboard.
I am VERY happy with this purchase. Here are a few pics of this beauty…
Again, I opted for the MX Brown switches. I’ve tried out the black, blue and brown switch types, and I prefer the sound and the feel of the soft tactile brown switches.
The Das Keyboard 4 is available with either Cherry MX Brown or MX Blue switches, but not MX Black.
The feel of the blue switches is really cool, but the sound is a little too bright for my tastes. In addition, I’m not a touch typist, and I actually prefer the slightly more deliberate actuation of the brown switches. In the right hands, the Blues are amazing, but for a hunting typist like me, I think the Brown switches are a better fit.
Cherry MX Brown vs Cherry MX Blue
To further demonstrate the difference between the 2 switch types that Das offers, check out the sound examples below.
Cherry MX Brown Switch
Cherry MX Brown switches have a soft tactile feel. They are quieter and less clicky than the MX Blue switches. A good all-around switch, Cherry MX Browns are a popular choice for gaming and typing.
Cherry MX Brown Typing Sound
Cherry MX Blue Switch
Cherry MX Blue switches are clicky and sensitive. They have an actuation point which is very early in the key press. Cherry MX Blue switches are generally the preferred switch type for speedy touch typists.
Cherry MX Blue Typing Sound
The Das 4 oozes quality
Whether you go for the brown or the blue, the Das Keyboard 4 is a fine piece of German craftsmanship. The switches are gold-plated and rated for 50 million keystrokes…What..?!
The keycaps themselves have a new redesigned font which looks very clean, and the caps are laser etched to prevent fading. The keys are a breeze to type on and feel very high quality.
Multimedia Controls & 2 USB 3.0 Ports are totally worth it!
The gold-plated switches, aluminum top panel and premier build quality are all much appreciated, but what prompted me to pull the trigger on this purchase were the additional features.
The Das Keyboard 4 comes with 2 USB 3.0 ports, which is fantastic! I had run out of ports on my iMac and was faced with having to hook up a USB hub, but not now!
The volume knob and multimedia controls are extremely convenient, and I also like having the handy sleep button right there as well.
Plug and play
Take this thing out of the box, plug it in and you’re done. As a Mac user, this was much appreciated. No drivers to install, no control panel to fiddle with…just plug and play. Immediately after hooking it up I had volume control, mute, play, pause, track advance, etc… with no fuss.
Das Keyboard 4 Video Overview
Here’s a short video you can check out which goes over the features and design of the Das Keyboard 4. If you’re like me, you’ll want to buy one after watching this.
Okay…so now that I have both the Das and the Filco in my possession, how do they stack up against one another..?
Das Keyboard 4 vs Filco Majestouch 2: Head to Head Comparison
Both keyboards have the exact same switch type, but the Das is slightly more muted than the Filco. The typing experience is a draw, but I do prefer the sound of the Das over the Filco.
Winner: Das Keyboard 4
This is a tough one to call. The Das has the fancy aluminum top, but the quality of the plastic used on the Filco is stellar. The Filco also has a bit more heft and feels like it could survive a drop off a 2 story building. Both keyboards are extremely high quality, but I think the Filco has a very slight edge here, albeit a very teensy tiny one.
Winner: Filco by a hair
Both of these keyboards are very nice looking. The overhead view shows a more svelte package in the Filco, but the Das is a bit thinner and lower profile. Although the Das is a bit larger, the extra size is due to the added bells and whistles. All in all, the Das Keyboard 4 is a sleeker, more modern looking keyboard.
Winner: Das Keyboard 4
The Filco Majestouch 2 is a no-nonsense typing machine, but then again so is the Das Keyboard 4. With the 2 USB 3.0 ports, volume knob and multimedia controls, the Das blows doors on the Filco in the features department.
The Das has a nifty feature in that the keyboard has a magnetically attachable ruler instead of feet. The ruler is actually really good quality and it easily attaches and detaches, but only if you want it to. Not sure I’ll ever need to use it, but I’m happy that it’s there!
Winner: Das Keyboard 4 by a mile
Das Keyboard 4 vs Filco Majestouch 2: Side by Side Photo Gallery
I really don’t think you can go wrong with either keyboard, but considering the extra features you get with the Das, for about the same price…it’s hard to make a strong argument for the Filco (…unless you’re looking for a super sexy tenkeyless).
Anyway…here’s a look at these 2 fine keyboards side by side.
If you’re looking for a full-featured mechanical keyboard, get the Das Keyboard 4!
In the sub $200 price range, I believe that the Das Keyboard 4 is the finest mechanical keyboard available. I highly recommend this keyboard if you’re looking for a serious typing and/or gaming experience.
6 thoughts on “Das Keyboard 4: A Review”
What do you think about the Das Keyboard 4C Ultimate?
That keyboard is sexy as hell; however, I do quite like having the multimedia controls of the Das Keyboard 4 right at my fingertips. Also, I noticed that the 4c comes with USB 2.0 ports, which seems odd. Either they skimped on that or the Das website is wrong.
As far as looks go…I’d say that is about one of the best looking mechanical keyboards available, but you get a lot more value from the Das 4, not to mention it’s about $20 cheaper.
A solid set of PBT keycaps made my das4 that much better. The ABS keycaps that come with the das suck. Do you switch out the keycaps or stay default Craig?
I’m still using the default keycaps. I hadn’t really considered them before, but I might say that the kaycaps are another thing the Filco does just a bit better. After having the Das for about a month, I started noticing that the keycaps were developing a sheen, and that a few of my oft-used keys (shift, a,s,e) were already wearing off. These key caps, while not horrible to me, do seem a bit cheaper.
Hey Craig, thanks for the cool review. I’m thinking of buying a mechanical keyboard in the range of 150-200$ and I really can’t decide between the das 4 and the filco. I see you’ve tried both and since it’s been more than a year that you bought the das, I’m wondering, would you still recommend it over the filco? I got a bit disappointed reading here and there about the key-caps wearing off. Is that really so? I don’t care that much about the USB ports, I just want to buy a solid quality product that will last long and provide the best typing experience (mostly for typing). I don’t want to think of buying extra caps or thinking about the extra noise that the shift or space button make due to different stabilizers : ). That being said, any additional feedback you could give or any new model suggestions? Thanks so much in advance
Super bump! Did you decide on a KB and which one?