Let’s be honest – the genuine Cherry MX switches have been around for years, and they’re experts when it comes to these mechanical keyboard switches. That said, these switches aren’t cheap at all – even when they are a lot of copycats out there. Enter the Ducky One – Ducky’s very own low-priced mechanical keyboard with 100% genuine Cherry MX switches. In this particular review is the Ducky One TKL with blue LED backlight, which is known as the DKON1687S.
[alert type=”info” icon-size=”normal”]We’ve also reviewed the Ducky One with PBT Dye-Sub keycaps (DKON1508) (click here) and the Ducky One TKL RGB (click here). Check them out, and let me know which one is your favourite down in the comments below![/alert]
Nothing fancy on the box itself though, as the box only says it’s a Ducky One with minimal fancy-looking graphics.
At the side of the box is all the other necessary information of the content itself, ranging from the colour of the switch that the keyboard has, the backlighting (if there is any), and finally the case colour. These are particularly important, as you really don’t want to pick up the wrong keyboard.
Opening the box reveals the Ducky One that’s snugly covered with a plastic cover, and a Ducky logo-shaped keycap puller. As far as I know there’s another extra Menu keycap to swap out the Fn key, since there’s a DIP switch at the bottom of the keyboard to fundamentally change the function of the Ducky One itself.
Digging under the Ducky One keyboard itself is the usual documentation alongside with a warranty card, and a nicely tied up micro USB cable that is gold-plated on both ends.
The Ducky One TKL itself is by no exception to the usual Ducky build quality – solid construction all around with minimal to no flex at all. I personally have to bend it quite a lot to create a tiny little flex.
The Ducky One TKL itself is a little thinner than the usual mechanical keyboards, as I can still type with much comfortably on the keyboard with no wrist rest – that’s because the Ducky One TKL itself has a total of 3 elevation. First one being completely flat, second one that rises up a little with the tiny feet, and the third which rises up the bigger feet. No matter what elevation you’re using though, all of those feet are rubberized.
That being said, the Ducky One TKL itself isn’t as grippy as the ASUS GK2000 , but the Ducky One TKL is heavy enough to stay on its position. The enclosure of the entire Ducky One TKL is solid as heck, and really is a thick and high quality piece of plastic. Other than that, there isn’t anything to talk about.
At the back of the Ducky One TKL is where the other part of the magic happens. Firstly at the top of the keyboard is a cable management route. I don’t particularly look forward to using the cable in any directions other than straight. I think the picture explains why, and I definitely don’t feel good about doing this. However, the micro USB cable that Ducky provided is a very thick and solid cable, but hen again bending at such a sharp angle at the header itself will potentially damage the port itself too. After plugging it in this manner for about 5 minutes, I found out that the cable was tugged snugly there and wasn’t moving at all. Even the cable itself was difficult to be removed from the drain itself!
Secondly is the DIP switch found behind the Ducky One TKL. This switch is one of the main reasons why I personally prefer a Ducky keyboard to begin with. More on this later though.
[nextpage title=”Typing experience”]The Ducky One TKL is an amazing keyboard to begin with. I don’t really mind the LEDs here since I personally find them distracting and unnecessary, the genuine Cherry MX switches used here is a blessing since there are many other types of switches out there that feels totally sub-par in comparison, yet priced ridiculously high.
It was a pleasant surprise to know that the Ducky One TKL’s top notch build quality means absolutely solid typing experience with no flexing or creaking at all even when bashed with quite a large amount of force on a single key.
I do feel that the Shift and spacebar keys are a little too tough to press. So to satisfy my curiosity on why this happened, I dug out the keycap puller to reveal what’s underneath.
There it is – the Cherry stabilizers. The internet did have a big argument in the past on which stabilizer is better, is it Costar or Cherry? It’s up to your very own preference of course, and for me personally, I they both feel pretty much the same for me.
The difference I realized is how stable the spacebar keycap is balanced. With that length, the entire spacebar key is kept flat on rest and has minimal rocking effect when played around both edges of the spacebar key. Same goes for the Shift key.
There’s a bunch of functions on the Ducky One TKL itself, particularly on how seriously complex it can get, and the Ducky One TKL can do that entire without the need of a software to control everything. You are going to need the manual to do these, so keep that manual somewhere handy!
There are certain settings that you can configure other than the preset FN+F1 to F12 and FN+arrow keys functions, like the USB acceleration rate, cycle through the 6 different backlight mode (in this case, this keyboard does have backlight) while varying the brightness and speed independently. Another very speacial but complicated feature is the recording of customized LED zones, so everyone can manipulate the backlight to however you like it personally. I do wish that Ducky provided a separate software to control the backlighting of the Ducky One TKL using a computer instead of being 100% independent, since a graphical user interface can simplify things a whole lot more.
The DIP switches as mentioned before are pretty important for me on a mechanical keyboard, as there are many keyboards that neglects important keys – like the Menu key (holds true for Keyboard Master Race people) – which I use a lot while typing or general navigation through the computer.
The DIP switch on the Ducky One TKL is a funny one – at first when I got it, none of the settings worked. To my surprise, the first result when I Googled into this matter was a link to Ducky Channel’s list of software updates (which I think is crucial for peripherals these days) for their various keyboards. I quickly downloaded the firmware updater for the specific Ducky One TKL model and BAM!!! – the DIP switches worked perfectly.
The configuration that I have the Ducky One TKL set on is rather inconvenient for some, but I like it. I got my FN key changed to the Menu key by default, but whenever I want to tweak the lighting effect, I have to modify the DIP switch to do that. A little hassle, but I never actually fiddled around with the lighting mode again after tweaking the brightness level twice.
One last feature that I find rather funny but ended up using quite a bit is the mouse function. On this Ducky One TKL keyboard, hitting FN+Scroll Lock will change the navigation keys (the 6 keys above the arrow keys) to mimic a mouse’s movements and clicks, with scroll wheel up and down being mimicked by Pause Break and Print Screen keys respectively. Very nice feature, especially for those who want to scroll through pages and pages of documents with speed, and using a keyboard only.
The Ducky One TKL is one helluva keyboard. I love the materials chose for this keyboard, and I really like how Ducky constructed the entire keyboard, other than the cable management drain at the back, which was a little unsettling at first. Other than that, Ducky Channel really need to think of a more efficient way to use the functions built into the keyboard itself, if they are to stay independent from pairing with a GUI software on a PC.
I even love the price of this keyboard – which Ducky Channel Malaysia announced on their Facebook Page.
Give them some love – but first I’m gonna get myself a Ducky One TKL non-backlit version with Cherry MX Brown.