Das Keyboard’s Zero Division – Gaming Equipment That Makes Work Fun Too
PC gaming hardware can be fun and even help you be more productive, but it’s rare to find one that’s customizable and high-performance for gaming but equally useful when it’s time to get going. Das Keyboard’s new gaming lineup, Division Zero, does both, but with a few caveats.
Division Zero is Das Keyboard’s first foray into gaming peripherals, a market already saturated with big names and popular brands. That doesn’t mean they didn’t use reliable gear, but it does mean that you have to match it up to some well-known competition. Here is the composition:
- The X40 Pro Gaming Keyboard ($ 149) is a low-rise metal mechanical keyboard equipped withdedicated Alpha-Zulu switches . It features interchangeable aluminum top plates to customize the look of the keyboard, and the red LED backlight behind the keys turns off in standby mode. There is a spare USB 2.0 port and audio pass-through, so you can plug in a microphone and headphones – which means you also have analog audio cables to connect to your computer, but you don’t have to use them.
- The M50 Pro Gaming Mouse ($ 79) features a symmetrical design, a 6400dpi laser sensor, on-the-fly DPI settings and nine programmable macro buttons. It also has built-in memory for memorizing these macros and your profiles for each application (or for each game), as well as a tilt-scroll wheel with multiple degrees of side-to-side movement.
- The 47W Surface is a Das flexible mouse pad designed for use with the M50 and is available in three options: Flex ($ 19), Control ($ 19), and Speed ($ 29). Das sent us a test version and it works great with other mice as well as the M50. This textured mouse pad is thinner than a sheet of paper but even more flexible, with a grippy underside that ensures it won’t move no matter how hard you move your mouse.
Overall, their prices are on par with other PC gaming peripherals: Expensive. If you are rocking the keyboard and mouse that came with your computer, they are not for you. However, if you love features like programmable macro buttons, LED backlighting, customizable profiles, and crisp, enthusiast-focused design, then this is something you’re not used to. If you’re a mechanical keyboard enthusiast, good. You are definitely used to playing the keyboard so much.
Where they excel
After using all three, it’s safe to say that they are great for both gaming and getting work done, which is how I prefer my peripherals. I want them to do double duty on my desk, and for the amount of money you would spend, you probably do too. They’re not perfect, however, and have some glaring flaws that should make you pause before pulling out your wallet. Let’s divide them into three broad categories: build quality, customization, and usability, with a focus on these unusual customizable switches.
Both the X40 and M50 are solid, and it feels like you could handle their long gaming session or hard day at work. This is exactly what I did, since my work and games are in the same physical place. I ended up using the X40 and M50 to work all day and writing and I was switching them over to my gaming PC for a few hours of blissful cathartic destruction, puzzle solving and exploration. The X40’s aluminum construction and heavy body served it slightly better than the mostly plastic (but still heavy) construction of the M50. The braided fabric cables on both cables are great for keeping out dust and preventing tangle, and the cords are nice and long with Velcro straps to avoid sagging.
The M50 is a quality dual-handed gaming mouse, which is great to see. I found the scroll wheel to be really stiff and difficult to use (especially compared to the Logitech MX Master, which I use for work, and the Logitech Proteus Core, which I use for gaming ), but over time, it has loosened (or maybe I’m just used to it). The 47W is grippy and does not move or slide even on a smooth table surface (for example, mine), it is large and pleasantly sized.
Customization and key macros
If you’re going to spend that much on gear, you can make the most of their customization features. Programmable Macro Keys work with third-party tools like AutoHotkey, which, by the way, we showed you how to use with your gaming hardware , as well as the native Das Keyboard software.
On Windows, all you have to do is press Fn + F12 to enable macro recording. Making the dedicated buttons on the X40 and M50 do whatever you want, whether it’s an Excel macro or spell rotation, is easy. If you prefer to use AutoHotKey or another utility, it’s just as easy – just press the button you want to assign the action to, program it and you’re done. You can easily turn the five programmable keys on the left side of the X40 into actions for web browsing or music control (technically there are function keys for that, although I miss the hardware sound controls and volume control of the Das Keyboard 4) and then turn them off. to place weapons in your favorite shooter or rotate attacks in an MMO.
Another important customization feature on the X40 is what costs you money: aluminum top panels for your keyboard . Das sent us to replace the default silver / aluminum color: Mustard Defamer and Red Stryker. Both have slightly different designs, and there is also a Defamer in silver and a Stryker in olive green if you prefer those colors. Each additional panel will set you back $ 39, which is a lot, but if the new top panel gives you a fresh keyboard feel without actually buying a new keyboard, we say go for it and change them when the mood hits.
The convenience of use
Speaking of the keys on the X40, we discuss those newAlpha-Zulu mechanical switches that Das is so proud of. Switches come in “linear” and “tactile”, both offer the same 1.7mm travel distance and 45g actuation force, but the difference is how they feel . Line switches aren’t tactile or clicky, and tactile switches still don’t click, but they require a little extra force to engage a key halfway through the travel distance. What this all means to you is that “tactile” is for gamers who are accustomed to half-pressing keys and then fully engaging them at the right time, and linear are for people who hold those keys and rely on them for a long time. -press. Tested linear switches.
Switches are good, but not perfect. They are quiet but satisfying, and give you the depth and agility you want from a mechanic, without the audible “click” that often comes along. However, if you are a Cherry MX lover and love that audible click , you will miss it. If you are using a linear model and don’t feel the trigger point, you will miss it too.
When I switched between the X40 and my trusty Corsair K70 with Cherry MX Red keys, I definitely lacked the sound, but even after a few days I was more than used to the quieter profile. (Which was especially nice since the Line Switches are like MX Red.) They won’t drive you crazy or anyone else in the vicinity while you’re working, and they’re still fun to play.
Where they fail
The Division Zero line has its strengths, but there are also downsides. We wouldn’t write about it if we thought it sucked, but there are some things to look out for if you are thinking of buying.
- The LED backlight is weak, and not only in terms of brightness . The mouse LED is bright and powerful, but the keyboard LED is dimmer and nothing special. It’s decent, but it’s all red, and in the era of RGB keyboards, it’s a bit of a shame that you can’t tweak colors (especially at this price). Also, it’s not backlighting for every key, so keep that in mind. It looks good behind aluminum backs, though, but keep in mind that you can get more customization, colors, and brighter LEDs for less money.
- Price . The Das’ Division Zero line is new, and like all PC peripherals, it’s more expensive today than ever. The X40 is $ 149, the M50 is $ 79, and the custom bezels are $ 39 each. That’s a lot of money, especially considering that most of the keyboards the X40 competes with, such as the Razer Deathstalker, Rosewill RK-9000 and some other entry-level mechanical devices, are getting closer to $ 99. M50-like mice, such as the Logitech Proteus Core and Razer Deathadder, are slightly cheaper at around $ 70. It’s a tough sale, but expect prices to drop as Amazon and other retailers get their hands on it and start competing for the business.
- Single USB 2.0 keyboard port and additional cables . This is a bit of a nitpick for me, but since I usually don’t use a loop-through audio cable on my keyboard, the analog audio cables on the X40 were just a waste of space, Velcro-fastened together over my desk. It’s a nice feature, but I just don’t know many people buying a keyboard who would like to connect their headset to it. I’d rather have a second USB port next to it, get hardware volume and volume controls, or use that USB 3.0 port instead of 2.0.
These disadvantages can be a hindrance for some of you, especially the price. If you don’t mind spending money, or will use yours for gaming and work, then these can be a good buy, especially when compared to more popular – and in some cases more affordable – competitors.
Bottom line: expensive but durable, sharp and fun to use
So the big question is: Should you buy them? Well, we can definitely recommend the 47W mouse pad and X40 keyboard. The M50 is a little harder to tell you to buy.
The mouse pad is huge and comfortable, and will probably stay on my desk long after the M50 ditches in favor of the less symmetrical but more comfortable Proteus Core, which is still my favorite gaming mouse to this day, and I Perhaps I will continue to use my MX Master for work. In short, the M50 is great and great for lefties or people who just prefer a two-handed mouse, but it’s tough, a little heavy, and while it glides around your desk quite easily and has all the DPI settings right, I still felt the Proteus Core button layout is missing, and if I had to run out and select one of the store shelves, the Proteus Core is cheaper.
Back to the 47W control panel, however, you will need to choose the surface that you think works best for you. I really liked the control surface, and the price is about right for a “gaming” mouse pad, if that’s what you want. If you don’t, then it’s easy to miss.
However, the X40 is a bigger deal. I liked it enough to nudge my Corsair K70 occasionally. I love the idea of interchangeable top plates, but I’m also a fan of this kind of customization. Small ways to make something new are a great way to spend a little where you might be spending a lot. However, the X40 definitely lacks what I am missing from other keyboards. And like others here, it’s expensive. Still, it’s fun to use, enjoyable to type and play, and it’s the first keyboard I’ve enjoyed writing on as much as I loved playing games. If you can try this before buying, definitely do it and make your own decision, but I don’t think you will be disappointed.