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Thread: Ducky DK2108 Zero Mechanical Keyboard

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    Thumbs up Ducky DK2108 Zero Mechanical Keyboard

    I used to own the Ducky DK9008 Shine 2, and whilst I loved the sleek, minimalist design and finish, I felt that some of the lighting modes were a touch gimmicky, and the eye-watering price would be a big turn off for most consumers. I sold it on after a few months largely because backlighting isn't actually a requirement for me.

    This high price was undoubtedly the result of a relatively small manufacturer having to source the individual components at a lower volume than the bigger players like CM Storm and Logitech, combined with the complexities of designing and assembling the keyboard to a high standard. However, Ducky have also been listening to their customers, and now offer an excellent non-backlit mechanical keyboard, the DK2108 Zero, at a very reasonable RSP of £70. This is less than half of the cost of it's more expensive stablemate, but is it only half as good?

    Much like the Shine 2, the Zero uses a fairly standard layout (available in both ISO and ANSI layouts), along with the very same Cherry MX switches. I went for Cherry MX blue switches which are clicky and provide a pleasing tactile bump, but all four of the main Cherry MX variants (Red, Black, Brown and Blue) are available as options. As ever, this choice is entirely subjective, so I would recommend trying out a few different options before buying if practical to do so.

    At first glance the only obvious points of differentiation are the lack of LED backlighting and a fixed USB cable. The dimensions and weight of the keyboard are very similar, so you might be forgiven for asking why you should be expected to pay £80 more for what is basically the same keyboard with fancy lights. How have Ducky achieved such a competitive price point?

    Well firstly the obvious, they have outsourced the manufacturing of the keyboard from Taiwan to mainland China. Taiwan is where Ducky's headquarters and manufacturing facilities are based, and many high end keyboards are manufactured there. The move to China has slashed the production costs of the Zero. The good news is that the quality of the product does not really seem to have changed. When compared side by side to the Shine 2 it becomes clear that the finish on the plastics is marginally inferior on the Zero, but in isolation it is unlikely that you would ever notice this. The only slight downgrade on the quality front is that they keycaps on the Zero are not UV coated like they are on higher-end Ducky keyboards, so after some time using them the legends will start to discolour a bit. However, this is a problem on much more expensive options (such as Filco for example) so can't really be considered a major handicap.

    What the Zero does offer are individually backlit lock keys, as well as the F10 and F12 keys which when combined with the function key double up as Windows key lock and an key rollover toggle. The former is particularly useful when gaming as you will know if you've ever hit the Windows key during a game and been unceremoniously dumped back to the desktop! The latter allows you to switch between 6-key rollover (which allows Windows to register six simultaneous keypresses) to allowing N-key rollover meaning that any number of simultaneous keypresses to be registered simultaneously. Unless you are a competitive Starcraft player it is unlikely that you will ever need to use this option, but it's there nonetheless.

    The Ducky DK2108 Zero is an excellent mechanical keyboard at an extremely competitive price. Whist it lacks any fancy backlighting or macro/media keys other than volume controls, it offers everything you would expect from a standard layout keyboard, with the added sweetness of Cherry MX switches. These are rated for a lifetime of 50 million keystrokes, meaning that this keyboard should last you through years and years of regular, heavy use. Plus you can buy compatible aftermarket keycaps in a vast array of designs if you should so desire.

    Unless you really need backlighting and additional macro keys then it would be nonsensical to spend upwards of £100 on any keyboard. Whilst mechanical keyboards might not be for everyone, the Ducky DK2108 Zero offers all of the benefits of a mechanical keyboard with a very sensible entry level price tag. A such I can heartily recommend it as the new de-facto standard in full-size mechanical keyboards. However, I will come clean and that admit that since I wrote the bulk of thisreview, I have actually sold the Zero and upgraded to a Ducky G2 Pro, which is a tenkeyless model with white PBT keycaps and is of substantially higher quality. I often rave about Ducky on the other forums I am a member of, and this is simply because their products have impressed me - I have no affilitation with them and have owned/loved many other keyboards from a variety of other manufacturers too.

    Shirty out.

  2. Received thanks from:

    Pleiades (03-06-2013),Willzzz (01-06-2013)

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    Thumbs up Re: Ducky DK2108 Zero Mechanical Keyboard

    Comprehensive review, thanks!
    ------------------

    Valar Morghulis

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    Re: Ducky DK2108 Zero Mechanical Keyboard

    Agreed, thank you.

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