Das Keyboard 5Q: cloud-connected, open API RGB - Gamma Zulu switches

space

04 Jul 2016, 19:11

Just noticed it on Kickstarter:
Das Keyboard 5Q is a cloud-connected, open API RGB mechanical keyboard that allows each key to be color-controlled over the Internet. It is built with ground-breaking electronics that provide superior RGB LED brightness and unsurpassed response time. Along with the Das Keyboard Q application, the Das Keyboard 5Q makes you more productive by streaming information directly to your keyboard.
Gamma Zulu switch made by Omron

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The Gamma Zulu switch sports its LED pipe in its center. Combined with groundbreaking electronics, it makes the RGB LEDs many times brighter than any other RGB keyboard currently on the market. RGB+ Electronics (that's its code name) increase LED efficiency to blinding levels. Furthermore, we use high quality surface-mount (SMT) LEDs, coupled with a diffracting lens and an ultra-clear light guide.

Image

Das Keyboard 5Q Technical Specifications

Hardware
  • Das Keyboard mechanical switches withstanding 100M actuations - made by Omron, Japan.
  • Centered SMT RGB Leds
  • Q button - dual purpose with volume
  • 3 light pipes: 2 on the sides, and 1 around the Q button
  • Double-shot key caps for 104-key layout for US
  • Laser-etched key caps for 105-key layout for UK, NO, and DE
  • Tactile bump on F, J, and numeric keypad 5 keys.
  • Extra-long 6.5 ft (201 cm) braided USB cable with single USB type-A connector
  • Full-time NKRO over USB for fast typists and gamers
  • Top and bottom enclosure made of ABS
  • Detachable palm-rest
  • Compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux
Software
  • User upgradable firmware (over the Internet with the Q app)
  • Native support for Dvorak and Colemak and key remapping (E.g. CapsLock becomes CRTL)
  • Desktop REST Api
  • Q desktop application
  • Q cloud software
  • Q software compatible with Windows, macOS and Linux
More info https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/12 ... escription

Edit: added image of Gamma Zulu switch made by Omron
Last edited by space on 04 Jul 2016, 19:38, edited 1 time in total.

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Stabilized

04 Jul 2016, 19:15

So are the switches for this similar to the Omron switches found in the Logitech G keyboards? Are these ones designed more with typing in mind with a longer travel and more pronounced tactile bump?

I like the idea of an open api keyboard to allow reprogramming, but a concern would be if it had to be online all the time, will that be an option?

space

04 Jul 2016, 19:42

Stabilized wrote: I like the idea of an open api keyboard to allow reprogramming, but a concern would be if it had to be online all the time, will that be an option?
According to the FAQ "Can the Das Keyboard 5Q work without cloud connection?" Yes. Das Keyboard 5Q does not need Internet connectivity to be able to function - https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/12 ... faq_176892

I inserted the image from their page of the Gamma Zulu switch, does look similar to wiki/Logitech_Romer-G

Findecanor

04 Jul 2016, 21:07

Stabilized wrote: So are the switches for this similar to the Omron switches found in the Logitech G keyboards? Are these ones designed more with typing in mind with a longer travel and more pronounced tactile bump?
The figures are there on the Kickstarter page. It has been advertised as having 3.5 mm key travel as opposed to 3.0 mm for the Romer-G.

It looks like the pretravel (1.5mm), actuation force (45 cN) and peak bump (55 cN) are be about the same, but with a higher peak force at the bottom (80 cN instead of 60 cN) - which does not scale linearly and indicates that the spring would be stiffer.
The tactile bump in the force graph on the page is sharper than in Logitech's official graph for the Romer-G, but it does not look to scale, so I dunno...

I tested a Romer-G keyboard in a store a couple of days ago, and it felt somewhere in-between a Cherry MX brown and orange Alps but with too little key travel. However, it also felt more tactile on the rebound than on the press.
3.5 mm key travel is the same as Alps SKCL/SKCM, and combined with a stiffer spring, I think I would personally enjoy the "Gamma Zulu" more.

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Stabilized

04 Jul 2016, 21:21

For reference here is the force diagram:
Image

The operating point and the tactile point seem to be pretty far off from what I can make of it. That kind of raises red flags for me, also the reports of how unpleasant the Romer G switches are for typing also adds to this.

As with everything Kickstarter related, I would rather wait until I see the product in production and a number of reviews before putting any money down.

Rimrul

04 Jul 2016, 22:37

space wrote: Hardware
  • Centered SMT RGB Leds
  • braided USB cable
  • NKRO over USB
  • Detachable palm-rest
  • Compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux
Software
  • User upgradable firmware
  • Native support for Dvorak and Colemak and key remapping
  • Q software compatible with Windows, macOS and Linux
Quite a few nice features. Not all of them are everybodys cup of tea, but most people here will probably like something they like on that list.
space wrote:
  • Q button - dual purpose with volume
What's the secondary purpose?
space wrote:
  • Das Keyboard mechanical switches withstanding 100M actuations
Now that's just the marketing department trying to one-up Razer.
space wrote:
  • Double-shot key caps for 104-key layout for US
  • Laser-etched key caps for 105-key layout for UK, NO, and DE
This puts them right on the asshole list. Not cool. I could live with laser etched for everyone. Or ANSI US only. Or a slightly higher price for non-ANSI versions. But saying "US customers get the high quality goods, everyone else gets leftovers. MURICA!" is just a really crappy thing to do.

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Laser
emacs -nw

04 Jul 2016, 22:51

... aaand everybody and everything must be now in the cloud, because industry is relentlessly reminding us to like it ...

space

04 Jul 2016, 23:10

Rimrul wrote:
space wrote:
  • Q button - dual purpose with volume
What's the secondary purpose?
A Q button: activates the Das Keyboard Q software when pressed, volume knob when turned.

The entire kickstarter is probably the market depts. idea, doesn't cost them much but like lots of stuff on kickstarter they get a lot of free publicity - at least a lot more as one press release could generate. And it gives them directly some sales when the first keyboards roll of the assembly line.

Findecanor

04 Jul 2016, 23:37

"Cloud" is dated as a buzzword by now ...
And even non-geeks are starting to learn that things that are "in the cloud" could stop working sooner than later.

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cookie

04 Jul 2016, 23:47

Dangerously wrong direction for such low level device like periphery!
I wish I could "Un-Bake" it...

Edit: And Gamma Zulu flips off to anybody who'd like to use their MX caps :/

Hak Foo

05 Jul 2016, 07:42

space wrote:
Rimrul wrote: The entire kickstarter is probably the market depts. idea, doesn't cost them much but like lots of stuff on kickstarter they get a lot of free publicity - at least a lot more as one press release could generate. And it gives them directly some sales when the first keyboards roll of the assembly line.
Because kickstarting a keyboard is working so well for i-Rocks. :)

They're just getting insane with the backlighting BS. In its original concept-- things like the original Data911 cop-car boards, it was meant as "a subtle thing which makes it easier to hit those non-touch-typed keys in the dark". I can modestly see that. Now it's turned into "let's display anime in 60fps on your keyboard" and "our backlight is bright enough to permanently char your retinas" Now, this wouldn't be so bad if it didn't materially impact the keyboard's functionality-- Matias, Gateron, the MX-RGB switches, all provide you that extra backlighting support without compromising keyfeel and while still letting you use at least some off-the-shelf caps. Romer-G and this do not.

Findecanor

05 Jul 2016, 08:56

Let's not judge the switches too harshly before you have tried them The Romer-G switches do handle off-centre key presses quite well and this new switch has proper key travel. Force/travel curve is question of personal preference. (There are even people who actually like Cherry MY ... :roll: )

I have applauded Omron for making a switch with centred backlighting that does not have friggin' light-bleed like backlit "Cherry MX RGB" keyboards have. Cherry MX was never built for backlighting, only for indicator lights on lock keys.
BTW, I think that keyboards with backlighting should have a light sensor in them and with the default mode that they only light up automatically in the dark. And only in eye-friendly colours.
I can see how backlighting could be useful when you are gaming in the dark, your hand is not on the keyboard and you need to find a single key fast.

But with the cloud connectivity, this keyboard might have a good chance of becoming a candidate for this year's Ping award. :P

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cookie

05 Jul 2016, 09:56

I still don't get the "Backlit Circlejerk"
It may be useful inside a cops car but it has gone too far for my taste... just ridiculous.
But it's probably just to attract Moths Gamers!

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Elrick

05 Jul 2016, 10:05

cookie wrote: I still don't get the "Backlit Circlejerk"
It may be useful inside a cops car but it has gone too far for my taste... just ridiculous.
But it's probably just to attract Moths Gamers!
Didn't you know by now that every Mouse and every Keyboard is now designed for Gamers ONLY.

Unfortunately we all get ignored here on this site due to our love of older gear, so the new stuff is way over our heads and will never be presented to us as usable technology.

Damn, I feel old these days.......

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cookie

05 Jul 2016, 10:12

Elrick wrote:
cookie wrote: I still don't get the "Backlit Circlejerk"
It may be useful inside a cops car but it has gone too far for my taste... just ridiculous.
But it's probably just to attract Moths Gamers!
Didn't you know by now that every Mouse and every Keyboard is now designed for Gamers ONLY.

Unfortunately we all get ignored here on this site due to our love of older gear, so the new stuff is way over our heads and will never be presented to us as usable technology.

Damn, I feel old these days.......
The audience to whom this is intended for will probably grow up at some point in their lives (except the 30+ Razer lover)
And I strongly believe that backlit will be remembered like we remember a Mullet these days.

I cringe on crappy backlit boards as much as I do on this fella here:
Image

space

05 Jul 2016, 18:51

Hak Foo wrote:
space wrote: Because kickstarting a keyboard is working so well for i-Rocks. :)
I think that one is on indiegogo and the daskeyboard teams is probably a bit better (just look at the difference in the movies for each).

Don't care for the backlighting either, but the notification idea is novel at least but I would be very concerned regarding safety (no doubt some clever bugger will find a way to hack your computer if you're using such a keyboard).

Would like to try these switches though, perhaps when they hit the (local) shops ;)

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chuckdee

05 Jul 2016, 22:25

The cloud bit just seems a bit too gimmicky for me. That slant of the pitch just turned me off, pretty much immediately. DasKeyboard has historically been a good brand. That seems to be going downhill IMO.

JBert

06 Jul 2016, 14:15

chuckdee wrote: DasKeyboard has historically been a good brand. That seems to be going downhill IMO.
Wait, what?

Their first keyboard was a rubberdome with blank keycaps. Their second a rebranded Cherry. The third was a customized design OEMed by Costar, and they did have some of the same quality problems as the Filcos back in the day with regards to polling frequency and out-of-order keypresses (though it was relatively limited to those who would type fast enough).

It's always been a marketing-heavy brand upselling whatever they had for premium prices, and it sold. Can't blame them for trying something new to stand out in the current market of Cherry clones and get selling again, but I wouldn't call them "a good brand".

andrewjoy

06 Jul 2016, 15:19

A cloud connected keyboard ........ thats just going too far , a line needs to be drawn.

Also why do we call stuff " the cloud " now ? In my day we just called it a server.

For example we used an off site backup service in work called backblase.

Its known as a "cloud" backup service but in reality all it does is sync files with there server.

User avatar
cookie

06 Jul 2016, 15:26

@andrewjoy Cloud sounds all nice, harmless and fluffy. Server sounds too professional and potentially dangerous!

In my former company we called our server for all Backend applications "Uranus"... it was impossible to professionally talk about "problems in Uranus". Sometimes there was "Shit happening in Uranus" :D

andrewjoy

06 Jul 2016, 16:03

cookie wrote: @andrewjoy Cloud sounds all nice, harmless and fluffy. Server sounds too professional and potentially dangerous!

In my former company we called our server for all Backend applications "Uranus"... it was impossible to professionally talk about "problems in Uranus". Sometimes there was "Shit happening in Uranus" :D
Thats so strange our internal web server is called uranus
Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 15.02.23.png
Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 15.02.23.png (57.42 KiB) Viewed 5195 times

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cookie

06 Jul 2016, 16:18

I hope it's all fine with uranus :D

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XMIT
[ XMIT ]

06 Jul 2016, 16:20

As a result of a recent keyboard meetup in Austin I'm sort of friendly with the Das Keyboard folks. I already had prior plans to visit the office to say hello in about an hour. I'll re-read the above thread entries before I head down. Are there any more questions anyone has?

andrewjoy

06 Jul 2016, 16:50

XMIT wrote: As a result of a recent keyboard meetup in Austin I'm sort of friendly with the Das Keyboard folks. I already had prior plans to visit the office to say hello in about an hour. I'll re-read the above thread entries before I head down. Are there any more questions anyone has?

keycap material

Will alternatives be available ?
cookie wrote: I hope it's all fine with uranus :D
Check that uptime ! And they say you should not host a server on a rolling release distro :P

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chuckdee

06 Jul 2016, 17:52

JBert wrote:
chuckdee wrote: DasKeyboard has historically been a good brand. That seems to be going downhill IMO.
Wait, what?

Their first keyboard was a rubberdome with blank keycaps. Their second a rebranded Cherry. The third was a customized design OEMed by Costar, and they did have some of the same quality problems as the Filcos back in the day with regards to polling frequency and out-of-order keypresses (though it was relatively limited to those who would type fast enough).

It's always been a marketing-heavy brand upselling whatever they had for premium prices, and it sold. Can't blame them for trying something new to stand out in the current market of Cherry clones and get selling again, but I wouldn't call them "a good brand".
Differing opinions, I suppose.

The mechanical keyboards that I've had from DasKeyboard, and the ones I've tried in other places have been solid.

Rimrul

06 Jul 2016, 18:41

andrewjoy wrote:
cookie wrote: I hope it's all fine with uranus :D
Check that uptime ! And they say you should not host a server on a rolling release distro :P
That's not even near an impressive uptime for a unixoid prod system. It's less than half a year. For a Windows system that would almost be impressive, though.

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XMIT
[ XMIT ]

06 Jul 2016, 22:02

I visited the Das Keyboard folks. I was asked not to divulge information on pre-release products. The 5q is in development. They do seem to be listening to feedback through Kickstarter and through other channels. They are looking to build a quality product.

Internet connectivity will not be required to use the keyboard. It will appear as a USB HID and they plan to make the API to program it public.

I was pretty pleased with the Omron switches. They are tactile, somewhat more so than Cherry MX Brown but less so than Cherry MX Clear, and a little heavier than MX Brown (supposedly 55g). For the target market of gamers I think they will do nicely (though I wonder if they could be modified to be linear).

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chuckdee

06 Jul 2016, 23:21

^ Thanks for letting us know what you could. :)

Findecanor

06 Jul 2016, 23:25

Cool. What did you think of the key travel and force after the bump?

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XMIT
[ XMIT ]

06 Jul 2016, 23:41

Findecanor wrote: What did you think of the key travel and force after the bump?
The key actuation was indeed pretty high. It's Alps like, not Cherry like. There is plenty of key travel, indeed a full 4mm.

The force after the bump was moderate. Again, this is in between MX Brown and MX Clear. It is possible to bottom out but I think with some training it is easy enough to avoid it.

The switch itself was pretty decent - not super smooth like a well worn vintage MX Black or a lubed Gateron, but not scratchy like a brand new MX Brown either. Somewhere in between.

Once desoldered, the switch comes apart easily enough. Spring mods and lubrication will be very easy. One thing that is kind of neat is that the switches have two set of crosspoints for increased reliability (though still only one pair of contacts). Tactility is achieved with a little follower on the leaves that runs along a runner on the key cap slider. So, with little effort, these could probably be modified to be linear as well.

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