Das Keyboard 4C TKL Review: An Interesting Keyboard with Lots of Utility


The Das Keyboard 4C TKL is a sturdy, well-built tenkeyless keyboard with some unexpected features.

Uniquely built with two USB ports and a detachable ruler/footbed attachment, the Das Keyboard 4C TKL stands out among other tenkeyless models.

Are the included features of the Das Keyboard 4C TKL enough to justify the high price point? Let’s get into what makes this keyboard so functional and interesting.

The Verdict

  • Thick aluminum top plate
  • Built-in USB hub
  • Cherry MX switches
  • PBT keycaps
  • Multi-purpose ruler
  • Non-detachable power cable
  • Low contrast keycaps

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Made from the highest quality materials, the functionality of the Das Keyboard 4C TKL can be observed immediately. PBT keycaps, a nice aluminum top plate, and the always great Cherry MX switches can alone tell you that this keyboard will provide a great typing experience.

But the lack of lighting, Mac compatibility, Bluetooth, and detachable power cable (among other features) are all things that take away from the excellence and user-friendliness of the Das Keyboard 4C TKL.

The tactile experience provided by the Cherry MX Brown switches make this a great keyboard for someone who needs to write/type a lot, but they might not be preferred for a gamer.

This keyboard contains a variety of features; if you value the smaller size a tenkeyless provides while offering USB ports and excellent performance, the Das Keyboard 4C TKL is definitely worth looking into.

If you would like to check out the Das Keyboard 4C TKL, you can find it here on Amazon.


In The Box

Most mechanical keyboards come with a few accessories to make adjustments quickly and easily. In the box with the Das Keyboard you’ll find:

Keycap puller: A necessary keyboard accessory, the Das Keyboard 4C TKL comes with a keycap puller. The one included is made of wire, which does not damage the keycaps during removal.

Footbar/ruler: The Das Keyboard 4C TKL interestingly comes with a removable footbar that doubles as a ruler. It can be attached to the bottom of the keyboard to increase the typing angle; as a ruler, this feature may be helpful to an engineer or student.


Build Quality

With a thick aluminum top plate, the Das Keyboard 4C TKL is really solid and rigid. There is no flex to this keyboard.

The aluminum plating sets this keyboard on the heavier side, but it will ensure that the Das Keyboard 4C TKL will withstand lots of heavy typing.

The Das Keyboard 4C TKL has a bit of a strange shape… the left side juts out a bit where two USB ports reside. Though surprising to see on a TKL keyboard, the USB hub is really useful.

The odd shape doesn’t bother me too much, but it does look less sophisticated than the normal straight edge.

The only colorway available for the Das Keyboard 4C TKL has a black backplate and charcoal colored keycaps.

I find this combination to look sleek, the charcoal keycaps setting this keyboard apart from the common all-black look of many keyboards.

There is a Das Keyboard logo on the part of the plate where the board sticks out, drawing more attention to that area. I prefer minimal branding on keyboards, but the logo is not too overwhelming or ugly.

Without the footbar attachment, the keyboard sits flat. The red ruler/footbar included can attach magnetically to raise the keyboard and give you a little bit of a typing angle. There are rubber pieces on the bottom of the keyboard and on the footbar attachment to secure it in place on a desktop.

The USB-C power cord is located on the left side of the keyboard and is non-detachable, which decreases the portability of the keyboard.

I would have preferred, especially at its price point, for the Das Keyboard 4C TKL cable to be detachable to make transport easier or have the option of using a custom cable.

But I’m not sure if that is possible with the multi-USB hub.

The Keycaps

The keycaps on the Das Keyboard 4C TKL are charcoal colored and made from PBT plastic. Keycaps made from PBT plastic have great durability and maintain their texture (they are less prone to developing a sheen).

One complaint of mine about the keycaps is their poor readability. Since this keyboard doesn’t have RGB lighting or really any backlighting, the keys will not be illuminated.

The lack of lighting coupled with the low contrast between black font and charcoal keycaps makes it difficult to distinguish the keys. This would especially be problematic for working in a dark or poorly lit room.

I like the appearance of the charcoal keycaps and black font, but it is not the most effective pairing when it comes to actual usability.

The Switches

Das Keyboard chose to go with the tried and true Cherry MX brown switches on the 4C TKL.

A favorite switch choice, Cherry MX Browns have a tactile bump and would be great for someone who types a lot (for work, writing, programming, etc).

For a tactile switch, Cherry MX Browns are on the quieter side. They do have some sound, but they aren’t clicky like Cherry MX Blues.

Unfortunately, if you prefer a different switch feel, there aren’t any other options available for this keyboard. It would have been nice to see a couple of other color options given different preferences among consumers.

The Stabilizers

The stabilizers on the Das Keyboard 4C TKL are little on the rattily side, but overall they aren’t bad.

The stabilizers on the spacebar and a few other large keys come already lubed from the factory. In general, the Das Keyboard 4C TKL provides a satisfying typing experience.

USB Hub

The USB hub is one of the features that separates the Das Keyboard 4C TKL from other tenkeyless keyboards. You aren’t likely to find two USB ports on other keyboards of the same size.

The USB ports are handy for charging your phone or other devices.

I wish the USB hub was integrated into the normal rectangular keyboard shape rather than the extension, but I still think it is an incredibly useful feature.


Alternatives to the Product

The Das Keyboard 4C TKL is built extremely well, but there are some aspects that may not justify the price point to some. Here are a few tenkeyless alternatives that may fit what you are looking for:

Drevo Blademaster TE

A super affordable option, the Drevo Blademaster TE has many features the Das Keyboard 4C TKL lacks. With RGB lighting, a variety of Cherry MX and Gateron switch options, software, and compatibility with Mac, Windows, Linus, and Unix, this keyboard is suitable for a wider range of uses (would be great for gaming). Some drawbacks to the Drevo Blademaster TE are a non-detachable cord and ABS keycaps.

Logitech G915 TKL

Coming in at a higher price point than the Das Keyboard 4C TKL, the Logitech G915 TKL is super thin and sleek.

It has low profile Logitech switches (three options: GL Reds, Browns, or Blues) and a gunmetal top plate. Other features include programmable RGB lighting, wireless, dedicated media controls, and adjustable kickstands.

Unfortunately, this keyboard has ABS keycaps, I would expect PBT at this price point. I do think this keyboard is worth looking into if you are set on the tenkeyless size but want a variety of features.

Check out our article where we ranked the Best Tenkeyless Mechanical Keyboards with Dedicated Media Keys for more information on the Drevo Blademaster TE, Logitech G915 TKL, and others.


Conclusion

  • Thick aluminum top plate
  • Built-in USB hub
  • Cherry MX switches
  • PBT keycaps
  • Multi-purpose ruler
  • Non-detachable power cable
  • Low contrast keycaps

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Das Keyboard 4C TKL truly provides a no-fuss experience; it would be an excellent choice for a student, engineer, or programmer. The ruler feature is interesting and may be helpful for some.

The USB hub is not very common to see a keyboard and makes it extra convenient to use with other devices. Not to mention the integrated ruler kickstand is quite novel and useful.

All of the basic components are top-notch, but this keyboard lacks some capabilities I would expect to find at this price point.

The legends can be difficult to read on this keyboard, especially in poor lighting. The absence of a detachable USB-C cable is the main shortfall, but I would have also liked to see more advanced attributes (Bluetooth, RGB lighting, more compatibility, among others).

But overall, the keyboard gets the job done well, and has some really helpful and unique features.

You can find the Das Keyboard 4C TKL on Amazon if you want to look into it more.

Happy typing!

Jake Harrington

Jake has been an avid mechanical keyboard user for the past six years. He has a background in Mechanical Engineering and wants to apply his expertise to break down how mechanical keyboards and other tech work to show the world all of the cool aspects of the hobby.

Recent Content