Das Keyboard 4Q Smart RGB Mechanical Keyboard Review: Best Productivity Keyboard

Today we are reviewing the Das Keyboard 4Q smart RGB mechanical keyboard, one of Das Keyboard’s top models which has a stellar feature set that elevates it into a class of its own. The 4Q combines the unrivaled quality and feel of Cherry MX Brown mechanical switches with RGB backlighting and a unique software which turns RGB lighting from a tired gimmick into an information goldmine!

das keyboard 4q review

Unboxing & Overview

The outside of the box shows a glimpse of the 4Q and its unique, configurable RGB alerts. In the example on the box, Das Keyboard demonstrates RGB lights on and around the numpad to simultaneously indicate the status of a project, email notifications and the weather forecast (more on this and how it works later). The Das Keyboard and 4Q “The Smart RGB Mechanical Keyboard” branding is also present.

das keyboard 4q box front

The bottom of the box has brief feature breakdown in several languages.

das keyboard 4q box bottom

The back of the box has a further breakdown of features which focuses on the smart RGB capabilities, Cherry MX switches, aluminum construction, dual USB ports and media controls.

das keyboard 4q box back

Upon opening the box, we see the 4Q keyboard well protected in a foam wrap. At the top is the “Footbar Ruler” which is a rather interesting ruler which doubles as a means to raise the keyboard in lieu of traditional keyboard feet.

das keyboard 4q unboxing

The Footbar Ruler is well made, with rubber feet on the face side which will prevent the keyboard from slipping. The rear side has two magnets which allow the ruler to attach to the back of the 4Q keyboard. Note: the Footbar Ruler can be used with any of the Das Keyboard 4 products such as the 4Q, 4 Professional, 4 Ultimate and 4 Root.

das keyboard 4q unboxing footbar ruler

The 4Q is well packaged with two foam inserts, one present on each side to provide a snug fit in the box during shipment.

das keyboard 4q packaging

In addition to the 4Q and Footbar Ruler, a quick install guide and product feedback booklet are included.

das keyboard 4q accessories

As far as packaging and included materials go, we appreciate the fact that Das Keyboard includes the essentials and does not bundle in additional keys, a wrist rest or anything else accessory wise that is almost always better purchased separately.

das keyboard 4q quick start guide

A foam sheet fully covers the keyboard, continuing the impressive packaging treatment the 4Q receives.

das keyboard 4q wrapping

Here it is in all its glory, the Das Keyboard 4Q Smart RGB Mechanical keyboard, with Footbar Ruler for scale! The first thing we noticed about the 4Q is its weight. This is a serious keyboard and its anodized aluminum top panel contributes to what we believe is the most well-made keyboard we have ever tested.

das keyboard 4q rgb keyboard

The keys are made with a coating that is soft and smooth yet durable and fingerprint resistant. The coating is really nice, and the keys feel great when typing. Speaking of which, the Das Keyboard 4Q uses Cherry MX Brown switches and they are the best choice when it comes to heavy duty typing. They are quiet but not too quiet. The travel distance is perfect and they just the right amount of clicky feedback. In fact, I’d say it’s almost as if they encourage you to type.

das keyboard 4q mechanical keyboard

The 4Q uses an anodized aluminum top panel which like the keycaps is smooth to the touch and fingerprint resistant. Overall, the 4Q is a keyboard that stays very clean after heavy use.

Aside from the regular QWERTY layout and numpad, there are minimal media controls and extra buttons. From left to right, above the numpad there is a backlight brightness button (with roughly seven brightness levels), a play/pause button and a forward track button. We are enormous advocates for minimalism and this layout is perfect! Above the media controls are a sleep button and a Q button which launches the Das Keyboard Q software.

das keyboard 4q rgb mechanical keyboard

The lack of dedicated macro or gaming keys (which I personally hate), gives the 4Q a rather svelte profile that is lean and efficient.

Features

Two of our favorite features on the 4Q are its world class volume wheel and the inclusion of two USB ports which are perfectly spaced apart. Starting with the volume wheel, boy did Das Keyboard nail it. It seems like a volume wheel is an automatic inclusion on premium desktop keyboards these days and while many brands come up with a good enough design that is functional, Das Keyboard has set the standard. The top of the wheel uses the same aluminum coating as the keyboard chassis while the side of the wheel has a soft touch rubber. You can feel each click as you turn the wheel and it is a joy to use throughout the day.

das keyboard 4q volume wheel

The USB hub features two USB Type-A ports. Most keyboards that include a USB passthrough have only one port so having two is extremely welcome feature. However, the way that the ports are spaced out makes them even more useful. For example, some USB flash drives are wide and when plugged in to a USB port, block the use of the adjacent port. This is not the case with the 4Q, there’s plenty of room to utilize both ports. the only suggestion we have is to possibly upgrade these ports to USB 3.0 variants. As more devices (hopefully) adopt USB C, perhaps we will see a future model adopt that standard.

das keyboard 4q usb ports

The USB cable is braided, feels very solid and splits off into two USB Type-A connectors, one for the keyboard and one for the USB hub.

das keyboard 4q braided cable

The back of the keyboard has several rubber bumpers that will protect the surface the keyboard is placed on and prevent the keyboard from slipping.

das keyboard 4q back

Instead of traditional keyboard feet, Das Keyboard provides a magnetic ruler called the Footbar ruler for those who desire additional height. The back of the Footbar ruler has a magnet on each side.

das keyboard 4q footbar ruler

It clicks right into place and the magnetic connection is solid. It does not slip out easily. The Footbar ruler has two rubber bumpers, one on each side.

das keyboard 4q footbar ruler attached

The Footbar ruler is an interesting take on raising your keyboard height and in our opinion, it provides just enough lift.

das keyboard 4q footbar ruler magnetic
das keyboard 4q extra height
das keyboard 4q footbar ruler height

Das Keyboard Q Software Review

For those who are wondering why Das Keyboard refers to the 4Q as a smart RGB keyboard, in short, it’s their Q Software and the unique features it enables. Whereas simple breathing or wave patters are enough for most RGB keyboards, Das Keyboard developed several apps which display information from local weather to Twitch stream notifications all in the form of RGB alerts. There’s a ton of these apps, they are surprisingly useful and I wouldn’t want to switch to a keyboard that doesn’t have this functionality after using it for several weeks.

das keyboard q software

First, here a shot of the RGB customization screen. Das Keyboard includes the aforementioned breathe, color cycle, etc. RGB light patterns in addition to a solid color if you prefer. You can also set custom colors for individual keys if you desire.

das keyboard q software rgb settings

Here’s the weather app where you can set specific colors to display your local weather.  

das keyboard q software weather app

The Twitch app will display if one of your favorite streamers is broadcasting live. In addition to the notification, there is also a clickable link to launch the Twitch website and watch.

das keyboard q software twitch app

Like the Twitch app, the GitHub app will alert you, in this case, to unread GitHub notifications. You can launch GitHub to view them.  

das keyboard q software github app

Another popular app, GPU Usage can be configured to display a certain color on a key if your GPU usage exceeds a set percentage.

das keyboard q software gpu usage app

Finally, you can set whether the Q Software app notifies you when a new signal arrives with both popup and sound options or you can disable both and simply use the RGB lights for notifications.

das keyboard q software preferences app

Conclusion

The Das Keyboard 4Q is an exceptional keyboard for productivity minded users such as coders, typists and creative professionals. Most important, it is a joy to type on; the Cherry MX Brown switches are perfect for this type of keyboard and the keycaps feel great. The construction is very high-grade and will likely provide many, many years of stalwart service.

performance computer editors choice award

The smart RGB features were cleverly designed and manage to incorporate the RGB fad in a useful fashion that will make even the most proud gaming keyboard brands jealous of the fact that they didn’t come up with the idea themselves. Our favorite features besides the keys are the volume wheel, media controls and USB hub, all of which were well thought out and implemented. At $199, the Das Keyboard 4Q is a premium priced keyboard but the price is more than justified considering how well-made and ideal the keyboard is for everyday use and abuse in a serious office setting. An Editor’s Choice winner, we believe the Das Keyboard 4Q Smart RGB Keyboard to be the best productivity keyboard and highly recommend it!

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