You know where you stand with the Das Keyboard 5QS, as this comes from one of the most reliable manufacturers in the business – and it's likely to come up in any conversation that you have about the best mechanical keyboard or the best gaming keyboard you can buy.
Like the Das Keyboard 5QS, this model has a party trick, in that the RGB lighting can also be used as a sort of coded signal to alert you to everything from a stormy weather forecast to an overloaded CPU. But that's just part of the story when it comes to this keyboard.
In our detailed Das Keyboard 5QS review, we'll outline everything you need to know about the peripheral to help you decide whether or not it's the one for you, including every key spec. We've also written plenty about the other best keyboards on the market as well.
Das Keyboard 5QS review: design and setup
The Das Keyboard 5QS doesn't stray too far from the angular, bold design choices on show on previous Das Keyboard models, and while we like it, it's not going to appeal to everyone. It's also worth noting that this full size keyboard (number pad and all) stays relatively flat, even with the rear stands flipped open. It's a large-ish keyboard too, measuring 457 mm x 152 mm x 36 mm, with an attached USB-A cable that's a generous 2 metres in length, so you have plenty of flexibility in terms of where to place it.
That large size means there's room for dedicated media playback keys and a chunky volume dial that can also be used to preview notifications on your computer. The anodised black aluminium top panel adds a touch of class to the keyboard, and the Das Keyboard 5QS looks and feels like a device that's going to last you - it definitely has the sort of premium aesthetic that you would expect from a mechanical keyboard costing this much.
That premium aesthetic is helped by the large Das Keyboard logo etched on the underside of the device – a nice touch that most keyboard makers wouldn't bother with. These touches can be found all over the device, from the rubber linings to the feet that keep it solidly in place while you're using it, to the quiet clicking sound that's just about audible as you turn the volume dial. You also get a wrist rest that attaches magnetically.
Setting up the keyboard is as simple as plugging in the USB-A cable. The free configuration software download from the Das Keyboard website is quite a hefty one, but we're pleased to see that the program is available for macOS and Ubuntu as well as Windows – not something you can say about many mechanical keyboards or gaming keyboards. You can then change the default colour profile, set up smart keyboard functions, and more.
Das Keyboard 5QS review: features and performance
The Das Keyboard 5QS makes use of proprietary Gamma Zulu switches, which Das Keyboard says will last for 100 million presses, if you want to put them to the test. They're tactile, which means they don't need a full press to register, and we were able to get through some speedy typing using this device – and we also found the keyboard very responsive when it came to gaming too.
Other specs that you need to know about are full NKRO (n-key rollover) support, so every key gets registered no matter how many you press simultaneously – which again helps with gaming – and the ability to record and playback macros to save you fingers with repetitive tasks, showing the keyboard's prowess as an all-rounder as well.
The per-key RGB lighting that the device brings with it definitely looks impressive, as you would expect from Das Keyboard. There's nothing in the way of light bleed here, and the two illumination panels on either edge of the keyboard add an extra touch of flair, if you want to make use of them. Of course it's up to you how all of this lighting is configured, so you can go as subtle and minimal or as loud and flashy as you like.
As for the smart features on the keyboard – using colours on specific keys to show weather conditions, or new email alerts, or CPU load, or whatever it is – this is all easily handled through the supplied software that we mentioned earlier. We're not sure exactly how useful these smart functions actually are, considering how many other ways there are to get notifications these days, but they certainly help the Das Keyboard 5QS stand out.
Das Keyboard 5QS review: price and verdict
If you're after a high-quality mechanical keyboard with a wide range of RGB lighting effects then the Das Keyboard 5QS has to be right up there as one of the best keyboards in the category. Not every keyboard lets you set up multiple lighting profiles to suit different scenarios, as well as having dedicated profiles for particular applications and games (everything from Photoshop to Counter-Strike is covered).
As we've said, the smart lighting features help to set this keyboard apart from the rest as well, though it's not something that we imagine a lot of people are going to end up relying on. There's certainly nothing to complain about when it comes to the typing and gaming experience, with the excellent build quality and Gamma Zulu switches ensuring the keyboard feels great and responds to your every touch instantly.
We can't think of many reasons why you wouldn't consider buying the Das Keyboard 5QS if you're in the market for a mechanical keyboard or a gaming keyboard. The design and low profile of the keyboard perhaps won't appeal to everyone, and the font used on the keys is something of an acquired taste too. Everyone's different when it comes to the hardware designs that they prefer, and that's going to apply here.
The Das Keyboard 5QS is also on the expensive side, relatively speaking, and you can certainly pick up mechanical keyboards for less. However, considering the wealth of options and features you get with this model, and the quality of the user experience, we think that the device justifies its cost – particularly if you're going to make use of the smart notification features and the RGB colour profiles.