Hands-on: Ducky Shine 5 RGB keyboard and gaming mouse

Ducky Shine 5

Among the most dedicated mechanical keyboard enthusiasts, few brands carry the same respect and love as Ducky. Ducky is a small company compared to keyboard competitors like Corsair, but it’s easy to tell why fans are so dedicated. Ducky uses plain, traditional keyboard layouts with no “gamer” aesthetic design attached, no extra buttons or features, and instead focuses on build quality and materials. That attention to detail and simplicity was evident in the Ducky keyboards I checked out at the company’s Computex booth—and in Ducky’s new mouse, its first departure from the realm of typing.

Ducky’s big new keyboard for Computex 2015 is the Shine 5, a long-awaited full RGB LED model. I talked to Ducky designer Stanley Lai about the RGB lighting and the reason for the delay, and he explained that Ducky designed the keyboard with two PCBs instead of one, with the LEDs sandwiched in between. It’s a more expensive design than most RGB keyboards use, but for Ducky, it’s worth the cost: the more durable approach means the LEDs are less likely to break, and that saves Ducky money on returns. Shipping a keyboard back to Taiwan for repairs, where Ducky is based and does its manufacturing, isn’t cheap.

One of the things that sets Ducky’s keyboards apart is the plastics they use, and the Shine 5 is no exception. The Shine 5 will be available with both ABS and double-shot (dual-injection) molding, which has a great texture and should never fade or stain, even after years of collecting finger oil. The RGB lighting is programmable with the usual waves, pulsing, etc., but it’s all done through hardware commands—no driver software for customization with Ducky’s hardware. Each key on the keyboard also corresponds to a specific color, which makes it easy to set, but there’s no individual per-key color mapping that I saw. You can watch some videos of the RGB customization on Ducky's Youtube channel.

Ducky One Series

The Ducky One series, which was also new at Computex, is a simpler keyboard than the Shine 5. The One Series uses a single backlight color instead of RGB backlighting, but comes in a variety of color options. Both keyboards, as expected, come with a variety of Cherry switches.

What I’m most interested in, though, is Ducky’s new mouse, currently dubbed the Secret. It is definitely a mouse and not a keyboard. You cannot type with it. And touching it is absolutely sublime.

The Secret seriously feels better in my hand than almost any mouse I’ve ever used, but not because of any outstanding ergonomic design. It’s thanks to the uncommon PBT plastic Ducky used for the body, which is much more difficult to mold than ABS but manages to feel more solid, more durable, smoother, and more textured all at once. Yes, I know that’s contradictory. But that’s what it’s like to hold the Secret.

It’s a pretty straightforward mouse with no driver software and some simple hardware button combinations for adjusting DPI (400, 800, 1200, 1600, 2400, 3200, 5000) of the Pixart PWM3310DH sensor, report rate (125 - 1000 Hz), and lift-off distance. The mouse also has a surface tuning feature to detect and optimize its tracking and lift-off to your mousepad, also activated by a button command.

Ducky Secret Mouse

The Secret uses Omron switches for its buttons, including the side buttons. The prototype model I put my hands on had a nice solid left- and right-click, but the side buttons were far too soft and mushy. Ducky’s Stanley Lai said that was definitely a prototype issue they’d be fixing with the final model. As with Ducky’s keyboards, Lai says they’re not specifically targeting gamers with this mouse, but I think it’ll be interesting to see how the gaming mouse community reacts to the Secret’s PBT body.

The Ducky Secret, or whatever it ends up being called, should be available sometime in Q3 of this year. Lai said to expect the Shine 5 keyboard in early August, with the One Series being available sometime in the same month.

Want more on Ducky's keyboards? My colleague Jimmy Thang of Maximum PC shot a booth tour at Computex. Check it out below.

Wes Fenlon
Senior Editor

Wes has been covering games and hardware for more than 10 years, first at tech sites like The Wirecutter and Tested before joining the PC Gamer team in 2014. Wes plays a little bit of everything, but he'll always jump at the chance to cover emulation and Japanese games.

When he's not obsessively optimizing and re-optimizing a tangle of conveyor belts in Satisfactory (it's really becoming a problem), he's probably playing a 20-year-old Final Fantasy or some opaque ASCII roguelike. With a focus on writing and editing features, he seeks out personal stories and in-depth histories from the corners of PC gaming and its niche communities. 50% pizza by volume (deep dish, to be specific).