Das Keyboard announced the 5Q, a smart mechanical keyboard, through a Kickstarter campaign a few months ago, and here at CES 2017 we were able to try out a working prototype of the cloud-connected keyboard.
The 5Q’s big differentiator from other keyboards is a connection to the internet, allowing it to light up specific keys to reflect certain triggers or notifications. The demo I saw had integrations like the “T” key lighting up blue when Donald Trump tweeted; a function key lighting up green to indicate that a smart lock-equipped door was open; or in the example seen above, converting the number pad into a real-time stock tracker.
The keyboard is configurable with triggers from Zapier and IFTTT to show information from almost any connected source. The company also has plans to support other APIs for adding notifications sources. An oversized volume dial can also be pressed for quick access to Das Keyboard’s [Q] app, which offers a quick reference to what your individual keys refer to.
When it comes to the keyboard part of the Das Keyboard 5Q, it uses mechanical keys with specially designed Gamma-Zulu RGB switches, which the company says are comparable to Cherry MX Browns. For non-keyboard nerds, the Cherry MX Brown switches offer a tactile indication that a key has been pressed and take a comparatively light amount of force to activate, which seems about in line with my experience of typing on the Das Keyboard 5Q when I was able to try it out.
The Das Keyboard 5Q will cost $229 when it launches sometime at either the end of Q1 or beginning of Q2 later this year.