IBM bundled its Model M keyboard with the original IBM computers of the 1980s and quickly rose to cult status among purists who prefer its buckling spring action and clacky tactile response to the low-profile, scissor-switch keyboards that have become the standard on modern laptops today. The Das Keyboard Model S Ultimate Silent brings back the same mechanical key switches, but suppresses the clacking noise of its louder cousin. This model is aimed at the typing elite; Das has also removed the key cap inscriptions for extra style points, ensuring that only the most avid typing enthusiasts will find this keyboard appealing. Though most people will balk at its $135 price tag, the Das Keyboard Model S Ultimate Silent fills a void previously occupied by the IBM Model M, and we recommend it if you're willing to pay more for a premium device that won't drive your neighbors click-clack crazy.
The Model S Ultimate Silent keyboard is aesthetically similar to the Das Professional we reviewed two years ago, with the same glossy black finish and matte keys, although the "Ultimate" removes the key cap labels to give you masochistic bragging rights within certain nerdy circles.
You can also go for the Model S Professional Silent if you really can't do without the markers, but we had little trouble adjusting to the stealth design despite the initial bottleneck with the symbols on top of the number keys. The keyboard's frame is made with a sturdy, durable plastic and at 3 pounds, it's significantly heavier than most keyboards are.
In contrast to "deluxe" keyboards from Logitech and Razer that offer extras like built-in LCD screens, Bluetooth connectivity, and media-controlling keys, the Model S Professional Silent only gives you a pair of USB ports on the top of the right side; the keyboard gets power via its 6.6-foot wired, dual-USB connection. There are also two plastic feet that pop out of the bottom that raise the keys up at an angle, if you prefer. The keyboard connects easily with any Windows, Mac, or Linux computer without the need for external software drivers, and Mac users can swap the Command, Control, and Option keys in the Mac OS keyboard control panel with little hassle.