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Ed Grochowski

Ducky Zero DK2108 Mechanical Keyboard Review

Ed Grochowski

Posted 4-23-2013
Updated 11-27-2013

ducky1

Introduction

I recently upgraded a seemingly unlikely part of my computer - the keyboard.

You're probably wondering "Aren't all computer keyboards the same?"

Most are. The vast majority of computer keyboards use rubber dome keyswitches. This is the cheapest method of building a keyboard.


Ducky DK2108

The Ducky DK2108 is one of a rare breed of keyboards built with mechanical keyswitches. These feature metal springs and contacts that close at precisely the midpoint of travel. This is how computer keyboards were constructed up until the mid-1980s, before rubber domes became prevalent.

Mechanical keyswitches offer a degree of precision that rubber dome keyswitches are simply incapable of. The former present a precise amount of resistance, a tight tolerance as to when the contacts close, and a hard click when the bottom of travel is reached.

The second distinguishing feature of the Ducky DK2108 is N-key rollover - the ability to record more simultaneous key presses than one has fingers. Implementing N-key rollover requires a diode in series with each keyswitch, so this feature too was long ago cost-reduced out of most keyboards in favor of 2-key rollover.


Does keyboard technology matter?

You bet it does.

If you have ever wondered why it is so hard to type on most computer keyboards, the reason is the mushy and vague rubber domes beneath the keys. The feel becomes progressively worse as the rubber domes wear out.

In contrast, the Ducky DK2108 is pleasant to type on. It reminds me of the computer keyboards that I once used in the pre-PC era, even before the clicky IBM keyboards.


A Fast Keyboard

My sample of the Ducky DK2108 has Cherry MX red switches, which offer a light amount of resistance and no tactile bump. This model is marketed for gamers who need to hit keys very rapidly and are willing to shell out $80 for a keyboard that facilitates speed.

I find that I can type considerably faster on this keyboard due to its repeatability (one learns exactly how far each key must be pressed in order for it to register), and absence of a tactile bump (the keys feel like they have very little inertia).


Noise

I was pleasantly surprised by how quiet the Ducky's red switches are. They become loud only when pressed too hard, providing instant feedback not to mash the keys.


Appearance

Despite the gamer focus, the Ducky DK2108 does not look out-of-place on a workstation. There are only two silly duck logos: one on the spacebar, and another on the key that normally has the equally-silly Windows logo. At least the LEDs don't blink.

Kudos to Ducky for creating a computer product for gamers that doesn't look like an alien invasion.


Conclusion

I'm very happy with this old-school keyboard.

The next time you're thinking about what part of the computer to upgrade to get things done faster, you may want to consider the keyboard.


November 2013 Update

Half a year after purchase, the enter key on the numeric keypad failed. Not wanting to ship the keyboard back to Ducky, I replaced the keyswitch myself. This was an easy soldering job using instructions on Youtube. Another strength of the mechanical keyboard is that it is repairable.


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