The Das Keyboard Model S series was forged in the fires of the original IBM Model M keyboards that shipped with all IBM-branded computers back in the 1980s. Highly regarded for their durability and clicky tactile feedback thanks to mechanical switches embedded underneath each key, the Model Ms have since gone out of production, but Das Keyboard picks up where IBM left off with the Model S. We recommend it to anyone willing to pay slightly more for a nerdy niche input device.
Das Keyboard offers a Professional and an Ultimate version of the Model S keyboard, but the only difference the Ultimate bears no cap labels on any of the keys--the entire board is blank, ensuring that only the most hard-core (read: arrogant, obnoxious) keyboard elitists will find it appealing. Full disclosure: I'm unapologetically one of them, and am currently typing this blog on a Model S Ultimate. The learning curve isn't severe if you're a touch typist anyway, and the symbol keys on the number row are the only ones that that gave me trouble. That, and brackets.
We should warn you, however, that using these keyboards in a quiet environment (like a cube farm) can quickly result in an office freakout. The mechanical switches underneath the keys provide just the right amount of resistance and springboard action that almost makes it feel like they're launching your fingers from one key to the next, but they also generate a click-clack noise that's both satisfying for you and miserable for everyone else.
I spent a week testing all four models, and in that time I had no fewer than four neighbors drop by to track down the source of the noise. Das Keyboard does offer a Professional Silent and an Ultimate Silent version that adequately suppresses the "clicks" to a more muted "clack," but the sound is still louder than your standard Logitech or Microsoft keyboard; watch the YouTube video below for audible samples of the Professional and Ultimate Silent.
Loud noises notwithstanding, we thoroughly enjoyed our time with the Das Keyboard. They're all aesthetically minimal and designed for the true keyboard purist, and while casual users will balk at the $129 and $135 prices, power typists will find comfort, utility, and nostalgia in the Das Keyboard Model S series.
For more details, check out the following full-length reviews:
Das Keyboard Model S Professional (Inscribed keys, "Click" sound)
Das Keyboard Model S Ultimate (Blank keys, "Click" sound)
Das Keyboard Model S Professional Silent (Inscribed keys, soft sound)
Das Keyboard Model S Ultimate Silent (Blank keys, soft sound)