Remember when keyboards were only expected to click, clack and communicate keystrokes to a PC? Us neither. Many keyboards are now expected to offer RGB lighting--especially if they're marketed to gamers--and boast advanced features that have little to do with typing. Das Keyboard's new 4Q, which debuteed this week, embraces that trend by combining the company's internet-connected RGB lighting and notification system with Cherry MX switches.
With the 4Q, Das Keyboard essentially just updated its existing Das Keyboard 4 Professional offering with RGB lighting and the Q smart software, which lets you program specific keys to light up for different notifications, including about weather and CPU activity, for example. Dedicated buttons can be used to put the keyboard to sleep, while a Q button activates the Q software. It also offers full n-key rollover and a 6.5-foot (2m) braided cable.
Most of those features are identical to the Das Keyboard 4 Professional; the 4Q merely trades a mute button for the Q button in the top-right corner. Aside from that, it should be the keyboard many people have already become familiar with, just with RGB lighting and the Q notification system. Those additions carry a premium--the 4Q is currently available for $199 in the U.S. and will be made available in Europe for €199 (£173.29), compared to the Das Keyboard 4 Professional's $169.
Das Keyboard's first attempt to popularize a cloud-based RGB keyboard notification system came earlier this year in the 5Q. Its software communicates with Zapier, IFTTT and other systems to enable notifications for everything from incoming messages, to stock price changes. In our review of the keyboard, we found the system interesting but far from necessary.