Das Key­board Prime 13

‘BA­SIC’ IS SOME­TIMES BET­TER.

TechLife Australia - - WELCOME - [ DAN GAR­DINER ]

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.

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