Metadot helped usher in the idea of mechanical keyboards with its Das Keyboard line, the first of which came out in 2005. Now more than a decade later, Metadot is introducing a new key switch and cloud notification system on its two newest Das Keyboard models, the 5Q and X50Q.
These are the introductory SKUs in the company's "groundbreaking" Q series designed to stream information from the cloud to the keyboard. How they do this is by connecting to IFTTT and Zapier. These services wrangle notifications from various devices, and the 5Q and X50Q then send color-coded alerts, as determined by the user.
This is all determined by the user. For example, you could program the "B" key to light up a certain color when there's an email from your boss, or alert you when there's a Steam sale. In short, Metadot is leveraging RGB lighting for what it perceives to be a functional purpose.
Whether users will actually find these kinds of alerts remains to be seen. You probably don't look at your keyboard all that often when typing, though Metadot contends this works in favor of the 5Q and X50Q—since the lighted keys appear in a user's peripheral vision, they can stay focused on the task at hand, Metadot says.
"Since the Das Keyboard 5Q and X50Q are cloud-connected, users are able to do things they’ve never been able to do with a traditional input-only keyboard," said Daniel Guermeur, founder and CEO of Das Keyboard. "Receiving streaming information right there at their fingertips means individuals are able to be more productive whenever they’re at their computers—whether a professional navigating the workday, or a gamer dominating their opponents."
Both models support this feature, and both use new Gamma Zulu key switches made by Omron. These switches, which are similar to Cherry MX Browns, have a 1.5mm actuation point, 3.5mm total travel, and are rated for 100 million key presses.
The 5Q is mostly geared towards productivity chores, while the X50Q is an "edgy crossover keyboard designed to appeal to gamers and professionals alike." The latter has a smaller volume knob and a swappable top plate. It also comes with a set of textured WASD keys.
Functionally, the two keyboards appear to be mostly the same, save for a "Real-time One" (RTO) feature that is exclusive to the 5Q. RTO is described as an analog technology that "detects key presses in 0.4 milliseconds and reports it to the computer within 1 millisecond—up to 45 times faster than other keyboards."
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