Do you want a new way to get notifications? Do you crave an alternative to smartwatch? Does the placement of Chrome notifications at the center of Windows 10 Actions not give you the repair notice you want? Do you want to get notifications somewhere other than on the screen that you spend all day? And are you also in the market for expensive mechanical keyboards?
The keyboard is long awaited, 5Q which is connected to the web is a solid mechanical keyboard with stable software. But we are not sure that the flashing key is the best (or even great) way to get notifications.
If that sounds like you, the keyboard has several clackers that might be worth considering. Both RGB backlighting per-key features and Omron Gamma Zulu tactile soft switches (similar to Cherry MX Brown).
The 5Q we focus on here (above) has $ 249 MSRP and sports a kind of general purpose design with large tactile volume buttons and media buttons, while the X50Q (below) focuses more on games, ditching large buttons and media controls and shaving $ 50 from price ($ 199).
Both are solid keyboards, because it shouldn't be surprising given the fact that the parent company Das Keyboard, Metadot has been issuing premium mechanics since 2005. But the main selling point of these two models is their "connected to the cloud" nature, which allows you to receive notifications almost anything (with the help of IFTTT and some other services) through the main lights flashing, flashing, or changing color.
Is that really a useful way to receive notifications, depending on a certain level, on preferences. But if you are a touch typist who spends most of your time staring at a monitor and not your key, there may be a better way to get alerts. And if you're not too eager to get notifications via a flashing key, there are equally solid keyboards available for less money. Corsair's Strafe RGB MK.2, for example, has bright key lighting (along with accent lighting trips on each side), good software, better media keys, and sells for less than $ 150.
Specifications Keyboard Das 5Q
Experience Hardware and Typing
Let's fix the hardware angle first, because this is quite easy. Both keyboards support full rollover n-keys with 100 percent anti-ghosting. Using this rollover test page, we can pound more than 20 keys in 5Q regardless of the wrong key presses or wrong presses. So gamers with fast and nimble fingers need not worry here.
Both 5Q and X50Q have a black metal base plate and feel very solid. But the X50Q adds some gamer-centric madness with open screws and reflective white surfaces behind the lock. The latter helps the escape of light from under the key for more visible light, while its absence in 5Q means that light really only shines through key letters. This is bad because this makes the notifications assigned to your keys (all of these keyboard points, really) hard to see unless you sit right in front of the keyboard. However, RGB backlights have 10 different levels (plus die) and are bright enough that they are easily seen in our sunlit office.
Adjusting the brightness on 5Q is done via a square button above the number keys, where you will also find the play / pause button and the advance button for media playback.
While these keys are slightly concave, which helps you distinguish them from feelings, we hope they are bigger and more tactile, like those found on various Corsair keyboards.
The volume knob to the right of the media control is large enough with a ratcheting touch that is soft but attractive when you adjust it, and the stick comes out from the top right side of the keyboard, so you can adjust it from the side. This button also doubles as a "Q Button", which is how you access the key distinguishing features of the keyboard
When pressed, this button launches the company's [Q] software, which you will use to prepare and investigate notifications, and adjust settings and modes for RGB lighting. More about this later.
Both keyboards are also equipped with armrests, and while the 5Q attaches easily with the help of magnets and feels good thanks to some textured plastic, soft touch, the X50Q wrist strap is fastened via a plastic tab and feels cheap - especially for something shipped with a $ 200 keyboard.
Both keyboards have a 6.5 foot braided USB cable. But there is no pass-through for USB or audio. On the top side, that means there is one USB connector to connect when you reach around the back of your PC to install it rather than a double plug that is found with a lot of mechanics.
The Gamma Zulu switch (exclusive for the Keyboard) feels pretty good if you like the feel of Brown's Cherry MX switches, and they are rated 100 million keystrokes. Note, though, that switches use non-standard anchors for buttons. So don't expect to be able to replace the key with a third party alternative. The gaming-centric X50Q model at least comes with a set of silver plastic WASD keys.
Zulu Gamma switches are advertised as having a short trip, 1.5mm, which the company claims produces faster in the spring. But if the difference in one or two millimeters of travel makes a serious difference in your game performance, you are a better gamer than us.
This switch is also similar to the one we use on Logitech keyboards, which should not be surprising considering Omron made the Romer G switch from Logitech and Gamma Zulus in this Keyboard.
Notification and Software: Keyboard [Q]
Free [Q] Das Keyboard software (Windows only, at least for now) is where you configure lighting and notifications for 5Q and X50Q. Although the design is not too complicated, the design is quite intuitive. And in our tests, it's as stable as granite.
We have never seen crashes or events where the application failed to do what we said. That very often does not occur when companies that are known for hardware produce software. But the parent company Das Keyboard, Metadot, also has several software-based brands, so maybe this solid software shouldn't be surprising. One thing we want to see in software that we didn't design is the back button.
When you first enter your keyboard and launch the application, you will be presented with a short video that explains possible notifications with [Q], which is rather extensive because the software works with the popular IFTTT platforms, as well as Zapier and other unnamed ones. "Open API." With IFTTT specifically, you can make notifications for almost anything that interferes with the internet. But first, let's talk about lighting configuration options.
Like notification options, which we will soon get, there are several RGB lighting profiles, from rainbows and solid colors to layouts for popular software such as AutoCad and Photoshop, as well as games like League of Legends and Counterstrike.
You can also create your own presets and choose colors and / or effects for each key. There is no level of adjustment and sharaebility capabilities that you can find with Corsair keyboard software, but the Keyboard Das is more than just covering the basics here - especially if your interests are more towards productivity than detailed game adjustments or complicated animations. [Q] software takes on a function-over-flash approach that has also characterized the company's keyboard hardware for more than a decade.
In front of the notice, when we wrote this, there were nearly 75 presets available in the Signal Center section of the application, from the Nest Cam motion detection warning to, oddly enough, track whether your BMW is at home or in a particular area. There is also one for coffee, but of course you need a coffee machine connected to interact with the software and warn you when your caffeine buzz is ready and waiting.
You can, of course, make your own notifications using a number of services and APIs, even though the software defaults to IFTTT. And when we discuss the lighting section, you can set any notification to the standard keyboard keys and choose colors and lighting effects (blink, breathe, or color cycle) for your notifications.
When you get one of these notifications, the key you set will light up, change the color and / or flash the way you program it. If notifications are related to content on the web (for example, a new YouTube video from the channel you are following, Twitch stream, or news), you can pound the large volume / Q button on the top right of the keyboard to open the Signal Center for further details or links.
Do You Need Keyboard Notification?
The company even offers video tutorials to help users make notifications using IFTTT and Zapier. There is a surprising amount of polish here for an ecosystem designed around a pair of keyboards.
We can't help but keep returning to the idea that many (if not most) notifications bring you back to your monitor for more details. Most people also spend more time staring at their monitors and smartphones than their keyboard keys. And the screen is just a place that is basically better for getting notifications than on the keyboard keys.
Another example given by Das Keyboard for potentially useful notifications is weather warnings (which basically involve setting different keys for each type of general weather), or tracking whether certain stocks are up or down. But the simple fact is that many things you might want to know are more complicated than one key can convey. That's why notifications on cellphones and PCs usually involve text.
You can of course argue that notifications in your browser and cellphone are easy to be extraordinary, and getting a few notifications on your keyboard can be a way to break the noise of notifications. But that can also be accomplished by taking the time to deactivate many notices that you might collect for months and years that you no longer need or never really want.
If you set multiple notifications on Das Das Keyboard that is activated, you can also end with the same excessive situation from too many flashing notifications, color-cycling keys. Some of them (especially notifications that don't happen often) You might not even remember the meaning without digging into the details in the software [Q]. And that software, again, on the screen that you will almost certainly spend more time looking at than your keyboard.
The alert system works very well, and if there are special reasons you need to get this notification on your keyboard, Das Keyboard 5Q might be of value to you. This is of course a very solid (if expensive) keyboard, and the software used to make notifications turns out to be very intuitive and stable. If you just want a high-quality gaming keyboard with a nice feel that doesn't offer a warning, consider Corsair Strafe RGB MK.2. However, if you are able to pay premium and are excited about the possibility of keyboard-based notifications, Das Keyboard 5Q offers a truly unique experience.