Last year, after we visited Ducky at Computex, we wrote what is still one of our favorite headlines: “Ducky Shine 6 RGB, Year Of The Monkey, Pocket.” Another Computex has come and gone since then, but Ducky once again showed off a variety of keyboard products with fun names, complex back stories, and enticing options for consumers.
These include the Year Of The Rooster, which Ducky designed and built in conjunction with a gifted ceramics artist. Yes, for real. More on that in a bit.
Last Year’s Gear
First, some business: The Shine 6, which we first saw last year, is now out. It has the snazzy side LED strip, the optional mouse bungee, the removable rubber feet, and PBT doubleshot or laser engraved keycaps. It also relies on the Ducky “software controller” for lighting controls.
The Shine 6 supposedly uses Cherry MX RGB switches, but the the listings we’ve spotted on Amazon and MechanicalKeyboards.com show standard MX switches (with LEDs). You can pick one up for between $159-170.
|Ducky Shine 6|
|Switches||Cherry MX RGB (colors unspecified, availability appears to be standard MX switches)|
|Lighting||RGB, including sides|
|Interface||Micro USB to USB|
|Keycaps||PBT, doubleshot or ABS, laser engraved|
|Software||Ducky Software Controller|
|Dimensions||450 x 155 x 45mm|
You can now also put the Pocket in your pocket. The standalone numpad is $70, which is...not cheap. However, it's as tricked out as a standalone numpad could be. It has RGB backlighting with multiple modes (such as breathing, color cycling, wave, rain drop, and so on), and a monochrome LCD screen (for calculator mode). The keycaps are PBT doubleshot and sit atop Cherry MX RGB switches. There’s a foot bar that lets you prop the Pocket up at two different angles, too.
It uses a detachable USB cable, but it can also run disconnected, in battery mode. On battery power, the backlighting gets switched off, and you can use only the calculator and LCD screen.
Most importantly, the Pocket is eminently programmable thanks to Ducky Pocket Macro V1.0. You can toggle between Calc, PC1, and PC2 profiles, and it appears that you can make individual key assignments (the description says it “provides replacement of keycode, multimedia function keys and special function key features”), but in any case, you can assign macros to the keys to your heart’s content.
This is paramount, because if a standalone numpad can’t be programmed, it’s useless to gamers who aren’t accountants by day. (That is, you can use your TKL keyboard to game and pull in the standalone numpad for work purposes.)
Ducky reps told us that the Pocket uses Cherry MX “Pure White” switches that are exclusive to the company.
|Type||23-key (standalone numpad)|
|Switches||Cherry MX RGB|
|Lighting||RGB, with effects|
|Keycaps||PBT doubleshot, R5 profile|
|Software||Ducky Pocket Macro V1.0|
|Dimensions||162 x 95 x 41mm|
|Misc.||Battery: CR2032 (additional purchase)|
Monochrome LCD panel
The One (711) Limited Edition
Ducky has lent the “One” moniker to multiple keyboard variations, and the latest is the Ducky One 711 Limited Edition.
The name sounds like a lot of marketing blah blah blah, but every word matters. First of all, by “Limited Edition,” Ducky means that it will make only 1,999 of these. The “7” and “11” also have meaning. The keyboard has seven LEDs (Blue, White, Yellow, Orange, Pink, Red, and Green) and features--wait for it--11 different types of switches (Black, Blue, Brown, Clear, Green, Grey (Tactile), Red, Silent Black, Silent Red, Silver [Speed], and White).
That’s 11 different types of switches all together on one keyboard. This is what it looks like:
Ducky pitches the One 711 Limited Edition as the “ultimate switch tester”--a bit tongue in cheek, we think.
The idea is that the various key areas get exactly the right type of switch. For example, there are Speed (linear, short travel, early actuation) switches on the main key area but Blue (clicky) switches on the numpad.
It’s all programmable, too. The chassis is black, and the keycaps are PBT doubleshot. You can pick one up (while supplies last) from MechanicalKeyboards.com for $140.
The successor to the Ducky One is, humorously, the Ducky One-2. Ducky isn’t doing too much to improve on the original, but there will be more color options for the chassis and switches. Most importantly, though, the RGB models are also getting onboard custom controls. A Ducky rep replied to our request for more information by stating, in part: “Without the need for custom software, everything from custom colors and macros can be configured on the fly all without [the need] to ALT+TAB in and out of a game, to configure control software.”
This second generation of the One will land in September, just after the Year Of The Rooster.
The Year Of The Rooster
Yes, the Year Of The Rooster. Ducky creates an annual keyboard to celebrate that year’s animal, per the Chinese zodiac. For example, last year it produced the Year Of The Monkey keyboard; this time around, it’s the Year Of The Rooster (YOTR).
Like the One 711 Limited Edition, there won’t be many YOTR keyboards; Ducky is making just 2,017 of them (no, that’s not a coincidence). They cost $220, which is a bit much for a good mechanical keyboard, but each one includes a handmade ceramic plate embedded on the upper right corner.
That’s because Ducky partnered with a Chinese ceramics artist on the YOTR series. But he’s not just some kid off the street; this master, Wu Lang, demands high prices for his work. For example, this jug (pictured below) that he made? It costs $35,000 USD. (When a Ducky rep casually mentioned the price tag, we backed away slowly.)
So then, a guy whose best work costs tens of thousands of dollars handmade the plates for each of the 2,017 YOTR keyboards. The plates are in one of five colors, which represent the switch color on that keyboard (sort of). You can choose from red, black, green, gray, and brown colors; the corresponding switch options, per listings on MechanicalKeyboards.com, are Red, Black, Blue, Silver, and Brown.
The whole idea, according to Ducky, is to honor and highlight Chinese culture. Even the beautiful, metallic-looking box is peppered with the names of important Chinese families. The image of the rooster turning its head is supposed to remind you to think before you make decisions, and the sun is there to evoke the fact that you type on your keyboard while the sun is out (which is kind of a bummer of a message). In short, Ducky put quite a bit of meaning into these limited edition keyboards.
Note that although the list price is $220, MechanicalKeyboards.com has them for $199. The retailer is accepting pre-orders now, and they should be arriving on buyers’ doorsteps by August 30.
|Ducky Year Of The Rooster|
|Switches||Cherry MX Red, Black, Blue, Silver, Brown|
|Keycaps||PBT, doubleshot (black)|
|Dimensions||17.32 x 5.51 x 1.61 inches|
|Misc.||Handmade ceramic inlay at top|