Do you need a $199 mechanical keyboard? Probably not. But should you buy a $199 keyboard? If you’re looking to upgrade your typing experience, the Das Keyboard 6 Professional should be on your radar—as long as you care more about nailing the basics than a laundry list of features.
That is to say: the 6 Pro is more classy than flashy. I mean that quite literally considering the lack of RGB lighting, but the keyboard also lacks wireless connectivity, macros, emoji buttons, or much in the way of differentiating features. A couple of USB-C ports and an instant sleep button are Das Keyboard’s most daring additions.
Still, as far as this reviewer is concerned, the 6 Pro’s spartan approach is a good thing. There are plenty more extravagant keyboards on the market—including from Das Keyboard itself—so it’s refreshing to see a product that chooses instead to hone in on the essentials.
An Understated Design
- Dimensions: 17.5 x 5.31 x 1.17in (444.5 x 135.5 x 29.8mm)
- Weight: 2.89lb (1.31kg)
- Key switch type: Cherry MX Brown (tested), Cherry MX Blue
- Available layouts: 104 US, 105 UK, 105 DE, 105 NO
- Keycaps: Double shot ABS
I’ll admit that the Das Keyboard 6 Pro didn’t initially catch my eye. Sure, I appreciated that the keyboard wasn’t as loud as the myriad gaming keyboards out there, but the protruding section around the volume knob meant it also wasn’t quite as minimalist as I’d like. Once I actually received the keyboard, however, its build quality and attention helped it stand out.
For one, the keyboard feels hefty at 2.9lb (1.31kg) thanks to its aluminum top plate. The tilting mechanism is unusually sturdy, with a pair of brass screw-on feet instead of the usual little plastic kickstands. Meanwhile, the Cherry MX Brown key switches on my review unit are known for their durability, and solid feedback (more on this later).
The keyboard’s lighting gives it an edge over some competition as well. Cheap mechanical keyboards—even those with good switches—often have uneven lighting due to cheap keycaps. No such issue here; the double shot keys allow the white LED lighting to shine uniformly through the translucent keycap fonts.
In case you’re wondering why one wouldn’t just buy an RGB keyboard and set the backlight color to white: it’s been my experience that doing so rarely leads to the uniform illumination of pure white LEDs. Often times individual keys will have a slight hue shift, and they may drift further away from each other over time. Besides, it eliminates the risk of being in a meeting and accidentally activating an RGB keyboard’s rave mode (yes, this has happened to me).
I have just 2 gripes about the 6 Pro’s design.
First: the USB-C cable is not detachable. The cable is thicker than most, so I don’t expect it to get damaged easily, but I see no good reason why we’re dealing with fixed cables in 2022. And durability aside, some people might just want to use a different cable for aesthetics or cable management. It can be annoying to wrangle a 6.6ft (2m) cable if you primarily intend to connect the keyboard to a laptop, for instance.
My second gripe is the keyboard is only offered in a full 104-key size. I virtually never use the NumPad, so I’d rather drop it for a tenkeyless (TKL) design that saves substantial desk real estate. It’s also worth noting the keyboard does not come with a palm rest, although that’s not something I personally care about.
The Das Keyboard 6 Pro’s most distinctive feature is its massive volume knob. It’s far from the first keyboard to offer rotary volume control, but I’m glad it’s there; it’s nice to be able to adjust your volume in precise increments without having to furiously tap at a key. Meanwhile, pressing down on the knob will mute/unmute your PC.
Knobs aside, the keyboard has just 4 buttons beyond the standard set of 104 keys:
- Skip track
- Backlight adjustment
- Instant sleep
That last one can come in handy when you need to step away from your computer quickly and don’t want anyone snooping around, but I would’ve liked to see a key for going back to the previous track as well.
It’s worth noting that the right Windows (Win) key (which sports the Das Keyboard logo rather than the Windows one) can act as an Fn button to access additional functionality, but Das Keyboard says this feature will be enabled at a future date.
But the most practical feature might be the two USB-C ports just above the volume knob. These can transmit high-speed data, just keep in mind they won’t be able to quick-charge your devices.
An Immensely Satisfying Typing Experience
If the Das Keyboard 6 Pro ends up being your first mechanical keyboard, you’re in for a treat.
For those new to the world of fancy keyboards, the Cherry MX switches used in this model are the de facto industry standard. Diehard mechanical keyboard enthusiasts will debate endlessly over which manufacturer’s key switches are actually the best (Gateron and Topre also come to mind), but the German company has been making keyboard switches since the 70s for a reason.
The Das Keyboard 6 Pro is available with either Cherry MX Brown or Cherry MX Blue switches. These are both ‘tactile’ switches, meaning you will feel a bump letting you know the key has been actuated before bottoming out. These are contrasted with ‘linear’ switches like the Cherry MX Red and Black, which don’t have a tactile bump, but the 6 Pro isn’t available with those switches.
The difference between the MX Brown and Blue is that this bump is much more prominent on the latter, both physically and audibly. The MX Browns happen to be some of my favorite switches, as they are substantially quieter than the Blues, but you still get more feedback than you do with linear switches.
While the switches make up the bulk of a keyboard’s feel, the entire construction factors into the overall typing experience. Some keyboards with good switches might feel hollow or rickety if they have a cheap base, while others have lackluster keycaps. In this regard, the Das Keyboard 6 Pro offers a more pleasant experience than most keyboards I’ve tried.
Some users might complain that the 6 Pro uses ABS instead PBT plastic for its keycaps; the latter are often seen as a more premium plastic and do tend to last longer before wearing out. Personally, I find the quality of the individual keycaps matters more than the material. In any case, Das Keyboard does sell a set of PBT keycaps for $59 if your mind is set on the fancier plastic.
The last thing to note is the Das Keyboard 6 Pro offers something called Full N-Key Rollover, which allows you to press multiple keys at once and have them all register as inputs. This isn’t exactly uncommon among mechanical keyboards, but it’s great to have if you’re a gamer or an atypically fast typist.
Should You Buy the Das Keyboard 6 Pro?
The Das Keyboard 6 Pro isn’t a keyboard you buy if you want the best value or the most features. It’s not going to satisfy gamers who want to match their keyboard to their RGB PC case, nor is it offered with the widest variety of switch options or sizes.
Instead, it’s aimed at those who prioritize the fundamentals of a good typing experience over gimmicks. I wish Das Keyboard offered a TKL layout, and I’d prefer a detachable cable, but I’m happy to recommend the 6 Pro to serious typists looking for an upgrade.
Das Keyboard 6 Professional
$199 $229 Save $30
- Excellent typing experience
- Solid build quality
- Understated design
- Useful volume knob
- 2x USB-C hub
- Non-detachable USB-C cable
- No tenkeyless version
- Pricey for the feature list
- No wrist rest included