There's never been a better time to be in the market for a keyboard. On the lower end of the pricing spectrum, OCZ recently announced its Elixir, an über affordable keyboard as part of the company's Alchemy line aimed at gamers on a budget. And for those running out of Swish bank accounts to store obscene amounts of of cash, Art Lebedev Studios' OLED Optimus Maximus has finally emerged from the depths of vaporware to become a shipping product.
In between both extremes, many still consider Metadot Corporation's Das Keyboard the tour de force of keyboard construction, which Maximum PC awarded a 9/Kick Ass verdict back in 2005. The original plank broke the mold by blanking out the keys rather than saddling them with peksy labels, and now three years later, Metadot looks to jump back in the peripheral market with a pair of updated models.
Das Keyboard Professional
Not without controversy, astute readers were quick to point out a striking resemblance between the original Das Keyboard and a much less expensive Keytronics model. This time around, Metadot promises the Professional "has been totally redesigned, inside and out." Key clicks come courtesy of mechanical gold-plated key switches said to offer tactile and audible feedback, along with a "modern glossy look." An n-key rollover function allows up to 12 keys to be pressed simultaneously, and a generous 6.6ft USB cable should ensure you'll have room to practice your cabling kung-fu. A USB hub, blue LEDs, and labeled keys round out the list of features included with the $129 plank.
Das Keyboard Ultimate
No, the Ultimate version doesn't bring Windows Media Center, BitLocker, Remote Desktop, and other Vista-centric features to the table, but it does throw away labeled keys just like the original. In every other respect, the Ultimate is identical to the Professional, right down to the price tag.
Does either model offer enough to win enthusiasts over from the competition, including Logitech's highly popular G15?