Das Keyboard Prime 13
‘BASIC’ IS SOMETIMES BETTER.
WE’VE REVIEWED A few of these pro-oriented, mechanical keyboards from Texas-based company Das Keyboard over the course of 2017, and the Prime 13 is definitely our favourite. While Das’ boards are all quite similar, small differences can ultimately add up to quite different usage experiences — and this ‘board is a perfect example of that.
The ‘Prime’ in this board’s name is meant to imply that it focuses on delivering good solid basics rather than integrating fancy extras. First and foremost among those is, as you’d expect, a great typing experience, with Cherry MX Brown mechanical switches delivering reliable performance with subtle resistance, so you know when you’ve pressed a key without it having to hit bottom.
This more basic board has ditched both the bank of media controls and the built-in two-port USB 3.0 hub offered in the Prime’s cousin, the 4 Professional — though you do still get USB passthrough, which requires plugging in a second USB cable.
Otherwise they are both pretty similar boards when it comes to shape, size and weight — the Prime is still near 1.3kg, meaning this beast won’t shift on your desk unless you’re deliberately trying to move it. The Prime does have one not-inconsequential advantage over the Professional — its keys are backlit by white LEDs, meaning it’s much easier to use in the dark, and therefore a better choice for gamers (or coders) who favour a dimmer environment.
We also prefer the Prime’s braided USB cable (the Professional’s is an ugly rubbery plastic) and the fact that it uses standard fold-out feet to tilt the back of the board up, rather than the weird “shove a plastic ruler” affair used by the Professional. The Prime’s feet also give it a slightly steeper incline, which we’re all in favour of — the Professional’s angle was to shallow, to be honest. The fact that the Prime 13 is a good $70 cheaper, dropping down from $250 to a more reasonable $180, doesn’t hurt its appeal either.