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Das Keyboard 4 Professional vs. root edition - Mechanical Keyboard Shootout

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Updated on: 08 March, 2021
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Das Keyboard 4 Professional vs. root edition - Mechanical Keyboard Shootout
Image by Myriam Zilles from Pixabay (Source: Pixabay)

The Das keyboard 4 Professional and root edition keyboards look almost identical and have essentially the same features. With such little differences, is the Professional worth $20 more than the root edition?


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Das Keyboard 4 Professional Summary

Das Keyboard 4 Professional

A high quality mechanical keyboard with a solid set of features for general or office use. Available with either Cherry MX Brown or Blue switches. Shame no backlight.

80.3%

Criteria

Features
72.0%
Build Quality
90.0%
Typing Experience
94.0%
Value
65.0%

Usage

General
75%
Gaming
65%
Office
85%
Mobile/Portable
0%

  • Fantastic build quality.
  • Choice of either Cherry MX Brown or Blue switches.
  • Mac model available with included Mac keycaps and full macOS support.
  • Lack of backlight is disappointing.
  • No wireless support.
  • Expensive.
  • Only available in full size.
Check Prices...
Das Keyboard

Das Keyboard 4 root edition Summary

Das Keyboard 4 root edition

A high quality mechanical keyboard with a solid set of features for general or office use. If you do need the USB 3.0 hub of the Professional model, the root edition is a better buy. Available with either Cherry MX Brown or Blue switches. Shame no backlight.

81.0%

Criteria

Features
70.0%
Build Quality
90.0%
Typing Experience
94.0%
Value
70.0%

Usage

General
75%
Gaming
65%
Office
85%
Mobile/Portable
0%

  • Fantastic build quality.
  • Choice of either Cherry MX Brown or Blue switches.
  • Replaces the USB 3.0 hub of the Professional model with USB 2.0.
  • Lack of backlight is disappointing.
  • No wireless support.
  • Expensive.
  • Only available in full size.
Check Prices...


At first glance, the Das Keyboard 4 Professional and root edition keyboards look almost identical. Even after a second or third look, you would be hard-pressed to see any differences. However, the root edition is $20 cheaper than the Professional and on paper is a better value for money.

Das Keyboard 4 Professional

The Das Keyboard 4 Professional is one of my favourite mechanical keyboards. It offers solid and robust construction, a full size layout and a great reputation. Whilst it is not a cheap keyboard, it will outlast your PC and potentially your next one as well. For Mac users, Das offers a model that fully supports macOS including custom keycaps and full function key support. It is hard to find a high-quality mechanical keyboard that fully supports macOS, so hats off to Das for making a specific model.

Das Keyboard 4 Professional Top View

Das Keyboard 4 Professional Top View (Source: Das Keyboard)

A mechanical keyboard offers a more tactile and responsive typing experience and is preferred by typists, programmers and gamers. A mechanical keyboard is also typically more durable and offers a choice of different key switches, each providing a different typing feel. This level of customisation and choice is one significant advantage over other keyboard types, such as the typical membrane keyboard. One nice feature of the Das is the ability to choose between 2 different types of key switches, either the clicky typist friendly Cherry MX Blue or the more versatile and tactile Cherry MX Brown. I have a preference for the MX Browns due to their quietness and tactile feel; however, for those not in an open office or pretty more keyboard feedback, the MX Blues offer a great typing experience. Cherry switches are very popular key switches, and whilst there are several high-quality alternatives, such as from Kailh or Gateron, you cannot go wrong with those from Cherry and are rated at 50 million keypresses.

The only real negative for the Das is the lack of backlighting. Many of the keyboards I use and review include a backlight, many with multi-colour RGB lighting. I have become accustomed to a keyboard with a backlight, and the lack of a backlight in the Das was noticeable and caused some miss-keys and fumbling at night.

The keyboard is only available in full size, which might disappoint those looking for a more compact keyboard. If you are looking for a more compact version, the Das Keyboard 4C TKL is available with Cherry MX Brown switches. But still no backlighting!

Looking at other Das keyboards, I prefer this keyboard over the cheaper Das Keyboard Model S Professional. That model only comes with the Cherry MX blue switches and has a plastic top panel construction over the aluminium top panel of the Das Keyboard 4 Professional. However, if you prefer the Cherry MX Blue switches and are not fussed about the case being made from plastic, the Das Model S Professional is quite a bit cheaper and does represent great value for money.

Das Keyboard 4 Root Edition

The Das Keyboard 4 root edition is described as a minimalist or essential version of the 4 Professional. However, only the USB hub has changed, downgrading from USB 3.0 to 2.0. This is the only difference I found, having the same high-quality aluminium top panel, Cherry MX key switches and full size key layout.

Das Keyboard 4 root edition Top View

Das Keyboard 4 root edition Top View (Source: Das Keyboard)

At $20 cheaper, unless you need a USB hub on your keyboard, I see little reason to not choose the cheaper model. I cannot remember the last time I used a keyboard with a USB hub, and do not think it is something I would need. The only use case I can see is for laptop users where the number of USB ports is limited, or only includes USB-C ports and you need to use legacy USB devices.

What is the Same?

Build Quality

The Das Keyboard 4 Professional and root edition both feature similar high-quality construction. Both feel very solid, and even has the same aluminium top panel of the Professional. The enclosure also includes damping to stop any resonance due to the key presses.

Choice of Cherry MX Switches

The Das Keyboard 4 Professional and root edition both offer the choice of Cherry MX Brown or MX Blue key switches. The choice of the switch is down to personal preference, each offering a different feel and sound. Whilst there are other switch types available, for typing the Brown and Blue switches are the most popular. All Cherry MX switches are gold plated and have a 50 million key press lifespan.

  • The Cherry MX Brown switches offer a good balance between tactile response and noise, making it a good all-round choice.
  • The Cherry MX Blue switches offer a tactile response with a noticeable audible click. Perfect for the typist that prefers a typewriter feel.

Media Controls

The Das Keyboard 4 Professional and root edition both include a large volume knob and dedicated media controls. For Mac users, the media controls also work with the respective Mac functions.

There is also a dedicated sleep button that will sleep your PC.

Das Keyboard 4 Professional Rear View

Das Keyboard 4 Professional Rear View (Source: Das Keyboard)

Extra Long Cable

The Das Keyboard 4 Professional and root edition both include a long 2-meter cable. The Professional model is made from ABS, where the root edition cable is braided. I personally like the braided cable that has a softer feel.

Full N-Key Rollover

Rollover is the ability of a computer keyboard to correctly handle several simultaneous keystrokes. With a Full N-Key Rollover (NKRO) keyboard, you can press as many keys as you want and the keyboard will register all of them.

Das Keyboard 4 Professional Side View

Das Keyboard 4 Professional Side View (Source: Das Keyboard)

Both gamers and fast typists will benefit from NKRO. Many games require fast and simultaneous keypresses, and missed keys will impact gameplay. Fast typists will be able to achieve greater accuracy and WPM if the keyboard can register all keypresses. NKRO can be turned off, but I have not had a reason to disable it.

Included Ruler!

Okay, perhaps not a market differentiator, but interesting none the less. The magnetically detachable Das Keyboard footbar raises the keyboard up by 4-degrees. Once removed, it can be used as a 16-inch ruler, with markings on both sides.

What is Different?

Not a lot. Honestly, these keyboards are so similar it is a bit confusing why they bother to offer both.

USB Hub

Whilst the Professional model includes a 2-port USB 3.0 hub on the rear of the keyboard, the root edition is only USB 2.0.

Das Keyboard 4 root edition USB Hub

Das Keyboard 4 root edition USB Hub (Source: Das Keyboard)

Final Thoughts

The Das Keyboard 4 root edition Mechanical Keyboard retails for $20 less than the Professional model, whilst only downgrading the USB Hub from 3.0 to 2.0. I personally have never used the USB hub on any keyboard, so this offers a great saving.

If you are looking for a high quality mechanical keyboard, you cannot go past the Das Keyboard 4 root edition Mechanical Keyboard. Highly recommended.

Specifications

Specification Comparison
Das Keyboard 4 Professional
Das Keyboard 4 root edition
Physical Specifications
Width:
45.72 cm
45.72 cm
Depth:
17.272 cm
17.272 cm
Height:
2.032 cm
2.032 cm
Weight:
1.3 kg
1.3 kg
Keyboard Features
N-Key Rollover:
Full
Full
Media Controls:
Yes
Yes
USB Hub:
2 x USB 3.0
2 x USB 2.0
Mechanical Key Switches
Tactile:
Cherry MX Brown
Cherry MX Brown
Clicky:
Cherry MX Blue
Cherry MX Blue
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