Ducky Shine 5

2015-11-12 16.16.46

So while doing research for my future desktop PC, I found myself looking for peripherals. I was using a random Apple keyboard for my Mac currently, and I thought a nice mechanical keyboard would make for a great upgrade when the time came for me to build my new PC.

Given that I am a bit of a hedonist, I really wanted an RGB backlit keyboard. Obviously I was going to go for the well-known Cherry MX switches, and I decided on Browns because they seemed like the best compromise of tactile feel and noise. And what do you know, 2015 is like the year of RGB, with nearly every mechanical keyboard company releasing RGB versions of their keyboards.

But it was a pretty easy decision in the end. Corsair makes some great keyboards, but I heard terrible stories about their Corsair Utility Engine. Also, I’m still on my Mac, which will have compatibility issues. Ducky keyboards don’t rely on software for their lighting effects though, and they have a stellar reputation for build quality. Plus, Ducky is far more conservative with its design; while that’s a bit weird when you consider that RGB lighting is probably the furthest thing from conservative, it does mean the keyboard won’t look out of place in an office if I just turn off the LEDs.

Lo and behold, the Ducky Shine 5 with full RGB lighting is out this year! And my luck continued, as the first stocks of the Shine 5 were only Browns. It’s a pity the stocks for the Ducky Secret mouse hadn’t arrived yet, or I would have bought those along with the Shine 5. As it is, I’m still ridiculously happy with my purchase.

It’s a solid keyboard, with a lot of heft to it. But given I’m not a keyboard enthusiast, I’m not really too bothered by all the marketing about dual PCBs and stuff. The removable feet are fine if a bit annoying if you’re the type of person to constantly change the height of the keyboard. The micro-USB cable looks a little strained, but hopefully it’ll hold up. I trust that Ducky’s reputation is well-earned, and that its stuff will last for years to come. I do expect the RGB LEDs to start failing on me eventually though, but that’s the price I have to pay for hedonism.

I love the various lighting effects that Ducky have, and their colour choosing palette is just ingenious. The lighting effects are aplenty, and while probably not as amazing as what you can do with Corsair’s CUE, it’s more than enough for me. Of course, the main point is the typing, and it’s been a blast so far (even if I have to get used to it). The noise is so very nostalgic, although I do hope I’m not disturbing my family too much with the clicking.

Other than RGB, they also included things like macros which I probably won’t ever use unless I go back into MMOs. And hell, if I wanted macros, I would have bought a keyboard with dedicated macro keys instead. There are also other things like custom lighting profiles, but as a non-gamer these days, it’s not really my thing. I will play around with it though, because I’m a boy with a new toy and I can’t resist.

Given I use a Mac, I swapped the Windows and Alt keys on the keyboard and did the same software-side, so the Windows key can be my Command key instead. It’s a minor issue, along with some keys not really working. I do miss my media play/pause key, but otherwise the Mac compatibility is not a huge problem. I’ll get used to it eventually.

My main issue is the keyboard’s inability to change brightness, which I thought was possible. I might have to investigate that one further. My other issue is that I thought I would be getting a metal key-puller. Instead I got a plastic one. It’s a bit of a mess to use, and it’s not the most reliable or secure of key-pullers, but it’ll suffice for now. I do like the inclusion of the Year of the Goat space-bar, but I might switch it back to the default once the novelty has worn off.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go back to molesting my Ducky Shine 5 thoroughly.

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3 comments

  1. Quick question, how were you able to swap the windows and alt keys for use w/ OSX? Was it a DIP switch, and if so, which one? Having a hard time interpreting the user manual’s instructions…

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    1. Ah, as far as I know, the dip switches can’t change the windows and alt keys. You can swap the keys on the software side. Go to System Preferences, Keyboard, Modifier Keys. Select the correct keyboard (mine shows up as USB-HID keyboard) and you can swap Alt and Cmd there. If you want to assign other functions like play/pause, you can try USB Overdrive.

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      1. Ah yeah hadn’t even thought of that, got hung up on the DIP switch functionality. That worked though! Thanks!

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