Mechanical keyboard specialist Das Keyboard has announced the launch of the Model S Professional Quiet, which ditches the company's iconic clicky experience for a more office-friendly near-silent switch type.
Das Keyboard made a name for itself by being one of the first keyboard manufacturers to release a model which has completely blank keycaps - making typing an act of memorisation, and foiling hunt-and-peck types. Also available with more traditional printed keycaps, Das Keyboard's mechanicals use - what else - Cherry MX switches to provide that satisfying clicky feel that membrane-type keyboards simply cannot offer.
The finger-feel comes at a cost, however: noise. When Das Keyboard describes its primary product as 'the mechanical keyboard that clicks
,' it isn't merely referring to how the keyboard feels during use but to the clattering noise that each switch makes as it is depressed and released. For a fast typist, a clicky keyboard can rapidly turn into a torrent of noise like hail on a tin roof - something that makes them ill-suited for use in an office environment.
Das Keyboard's answer, like so many other mechanical keyboard creators before it, is a switch of keys: while the previous Model S Professional uses either Cherry MX Blue - audible click, firm resistance - or Cherry MX Brown - somewhat less audible click, soft resistance - microswitches, the new Model S Professional Quiet opts for Cherry MX Red switches. Designed for near-silent use, the MX Red switches provide much of the finger-feel of their clicky equivalents but at a significantly reduced volume.
Aside from the microswitch swap-out, the Model S Professional Quiet retains the features of its noisier predecessors: use of the bundled PS/2 adapter provides full N-key rollover, dropping to six-key rollover via USB, while media controls and an integrated USB 2.0 hub provide a bit of extra convenience to the design.
Sadly for those who prefer the blank keycaps of the Model S Ultimate, Das Keyboard has yet to bring the Cherry MX Red switches across to its flagship device which remains available exclusively with Cherry MX Blue or MX Brown microswitches. Quite why that might be isn't clear: the physical design of the Model S Professional and Ultimate is identical, differing only in the presence or absence of laser-cut printing on the keycaps.
The switch to Cherry MX Red also comes at a literal cost: while the printed Model S Professional and blank Model S Ultimate both cost $139 when ordered direct from Das Keyboard, the Quiet model costs an extra $10 at $149