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Lifewire / Yoona Wagener
Comes with a ruler/footbar
Media controls included
Full N-key rollover
Two USB passthrough ports
Heavy and large build
The Das Keyboard 4 Professional is a well-made mechanical keyboard that’s suited for precise typing and enjoyable gaming, provided that you like the sound of the robust Cherry MX switches.
If you’re a writer, coder, gamer, all three, or simply like the click-clack of a typewriter, there’s a modern alternative that can satisfy your desire for a musical, tactile and more comfortable typing experience. The Das Keyboard 4 Professional is a mechanical keyboard with a solid and sleek-looking build that offers precision for a full day of typing and a break for gaming too. In addition to a heavy-duty build, this mechanical keyboard features clicky Cherry MX Blue switches and distinctive add-ons including media controls, two USB passthrough ports, and a ruler that dutifully acts like a footbar until you need it. This keyboard also plays quite well with MacBooks too, so it’s not just for Windows users.
It’s not really office-friendly since Cherry MX Blue switches are as loud as they get.
The Das Keyboard 4 Professional has a commanding presence on a desk. This 18-inch, 104-key, full-size computer keyboard includes the numeric keypad beloved by many, features a rugged anodized aluminum cover, and is also outfitted with durable and clicky Cherry MX Blue switches that are constructed with gold plates and are rated for longevity for up to 50 million clicks. The keycaps are also laser-etched for a long-lasting and fade-free appearance. They’re also impervious to smudging.
The length and weight of nearly 3 pounds don’t make this an ultra-portable keyboard to take wherever you go, but there’s plenty of incentive to make room for it on your desk. The long 6.6-foot USB power cord offers plenty of slack when your setup requires it. The large volume dial and other media controls are quickly accessible, and there are two USB ports that support fast USB 3.0 charging for other peripherals or gaming accessories.
The Das Keyboard 4 Professional has a commanding presence on a desk.
There’s also no Windows key; instead, the Das Keyboard logo appears in place of the Windows key/command key on a Mac computer. For this reason, even though there is a specific Mac-ready version of this keyboard, this peripheral plays nicely with macOS right out of the box—except for the function keys.
The one limitation of the 4 Professional’s design is that while this is a sleek and capable keyboard for professionals, it’s not really office-friendly since Cherry MX Blue switches are as loud as they get.
Mechanical keyboards are favored among gamers and typists because of their mechanical switches, which don’t require you to press all the way down in order for the key to activate—like the rubber dome keys you’ll find on most laptop keyboards that bottom out immediately. On the 4 Professional, the Cherry MX Blue mechanical switches are responsible for this pleasant feel. They have an actuation force of 50 grams, which is essentially the force needed to engage a key. That’s less than the effort needed on laptop membrane keyboards, which is typically between 60 grams to 80 grams.
I typed much faster with the 4 Professional and with fewer errors than when typing on MacBook or Windows laptop membrane keyboards. One extra bonus of the 4 Professional is the N-Key rollover that can be activated with a single key combination: hitting shift and the mute key. That means if you hit the wrong key or select multiple keys at once, this keyboard will recognize them all and in the right order.
In my casual gaming testing with puzzle and action-adventure games, I found no issues with key ghosting when pressing multiple keys at once. This will please fans of more intensive FPS or MOBA games when you’ll be pressing more than six keys simultaneously. Some more serious gamers might bemoan the lack of software, RGB lighting, or option to program keybinds. But for gaming basics and a full day with Microsoft Word documents, spreadsheets, or long lines of code, this will keep most clicking happily and comfortably.
For gaming basics and a full day of work, this will keep most clicking happily and comfortably.
A large part of the comfort of using this keyboard relates to the slightly concave shape of the keys and the mechanical switch beneath them. In the world of mechanical keyboards, Cherry MX Blue switches are the clickiest of the bunch and provide what’s considered the most tactile feel. When they’re hit, they have a sort of springy feel, described as a tactile bump, which means you get to enjoy the sound of your key prompt registering without having to click all the way down.
I enjoyed the relief and feedback, a welcome break from flat membrane keyboards that feel stiff. My fingers also felt less fatigued generally. And while there’s no wrist guard, the elevation of the keyboard with the foot bar seemed to provide the right angle and amount of lift for my fingers to float naturally rather than rest heavily the way they do on a flatter laptop keyboard. The 4 Professional also adds an extra-helpful touch for typers who like the bumps on F and J keys for finger placement guidance. These are much more prominent and raised than you’ll find on a membrane-style Windows or Mac keyboard.
The Das Keyboard 4 Professional costs $169. It’s definitely not cheap, but some of the most expensive mechanical keyboards are well over $200—depending on the brand and the switch and how you deck it out. The 4 Professional isn’t exactly a gaming keyboard, but it’s versatile enough to offer some gaming capability second to serving up solid performance during the workday. The quality construction and design and Mac-friendliness also distinguish it from the more expensive competition.
The WASD V3 (see on Amazon) starts at about $5 more than the 4 Professional, but this extra investment includes more customization power. The WASD V3 also uses gold-plated Cherry MX Blue switches and is good for up to 50 million clicks, but it differs by offering macro programming ability and five RGB backlighting settings—no software required.
While you won’t get a ruler or media dial, the WASD V3 is more portable at only 14 inches long, with a detachable USB cord, and half a pound lighter. It doesn’t have USB passthrough for other peripherals or gadgets, but the cable, just shy of 6 feet, can be tamed through the organizers on the bottom of the keyboard. If you care about programming keybinds and the light show, there’s more power to make the WASD V3 your own—including the color of your keycaps, the arrangement of the color design, and even adding on sound dampeners for an extra $25 to keep your deskmates happier.
A high-quality mechanical keyboard for fast typers, casual gamers, and Mac users.
The Das Keyboard 4 Professional strikes an appealing balance for serious typers, Mac users, and occasional gamers looking to venture into the world of mechanical keyboards. If you’d like the accuracy and comfort mechanical switches offer and you don’t mind the noise, this peripheral could be just the investment piece you’ve been looking for to replace your membrane keyboard.