Filco FKBN87M/EB Tenkeyless & Das Keyboard III
Overview & Features:
These two keyboards boast Cherry corperation MX key switches which are high quality and promise a long life
for your keyboard. Each board uses a different kind of Cherry MX switch. The Filco uses a Cherry MX Brown key switch which is
tactile but non-clicky, and the Das has the peppy Cherry MX blue switches which are tactile and clicky.
The Filco Tenkeyless is a 87 key reduced footprint keyboard, so it lacks the keys that would normally be the number pad for right
handed typers. Being a space saver does not mean that this keyboard is to be taken lightly- it weighs a little more than 7 lbs
or 3.2 kg. The finish of the keyboard is a smooth matte black and the key symbols are applied by a silk screen process.
Filco would not formally comment as to how they applied the key symbols, but it's obvious how the ink was applied. Aside from
the asthetics the Filco is a USB|PS/2 keyboard. While the USB is easier to use with a notebook computer the PS/2 adds one feature
gamers and typists alike would absolutely love. I'm speaking of n-key rollover. The Filco Tenkeyless offers full n-key rollover
with the use of the PS/2 adapter, which means the price tag is well earned as even the best mechanical keyboards like the ABS M1
lack this feature even remotely. Without the PS/2 adapter a maximum of any 6 keys pressed simultaniously will register. This is
simply because USB bandwidth will only recognize 6 keys at a time. It's not that the USB port can not detect more, but USB drivers
are designed with that limitation to restrict how much of the CPU is used by peripherals.
For an example I'm going to lay my arm on the keyboard around the WADS: 234qerwt 1cbgfnaxsdvh
My arm did hit some things like space bar and control, and once my arm settled into place it hit more buttons. If this were to
be done with just about any other keyboard a maximum of 6 characters would register or it would block every keystroke all together
and return a null value.
Das Keyboard III happens to be a new generation of Das Keyboard. The first Das Keyboard and Das Keyboard II were both blank
keyboards. This means that there were no symbols printed on the keys which makes things difficult for the visual typist. Of course a
few years ago the idea of mechanical key switches had not been very popular so the keyboard was designed with the typing
enthusiast/hacker at heart. Very few models ever made it out of Germany, and even today Das Keyboard I & II are hard to find.
The past is the past, and the review must go on. Catching up to today- Das Keyboard III is a glossy finish keyboard body with
matte finish keyboard keys. This strange mix might seem like a fingerprint magnet to anyone familiar with reflective finishes,
but I assure you it is not always the interest of the typist to touch the body of the keyboard. This asthetic is a complete win
for Das Keyboard III over it's uniform matte finish predecessors (Das I & II). Moving on, Das Keyboard III weighs 10 lbs or
just under 4.6 kg. This is heavier than the Filco keyboard, but not by much considering the Das III is a full sized 104 key
keyboard with an extended body which houses two, yes two, USB ports for extra peripherals such as the mouse, a game pad, or USB
headphones. The Das Keyboard III has 16 key rollover with the use of a PS/2 adapter and 6 key rollover without. It seems that
Das Keyboard III uses a different method than the Das I & II to prevent ghosting or blocking which does not use diodes. To be
short diodes are what allow the Filco Tenkeyless to register as many keystrokes simultaniously as there are keys on the keyboard.
The method used by Das Keyboard III is most likely a new type of keyboard firmware, but hardly justifies the cost which should
include diodes. If it isn't broke, don't fix it.
Earlier last week I wrote a review for the ABS M1 Mechanical keyboard, and not much can beat opening a
true mechanical keyboard for the first time. Das Keyboard, the Filco Tenkeyless, and the ABS M1 all basically came in the
same kind of standard keyboard box, but there were some note-worthy differences from the Filco model packing over the ABS and
Das Keyboard III. Filco keyboards are unique to Japan. There is not a large distributor of these keyboards in the USA. The
Only methods to aquire a Filco keyboard is to come across one in trade, go to japan, or order from Brian @
. The box is riddled with japanese characters, but the english is simple enough to understand.
Big bold font selling points like: Windows XP/Vista support and ASCII layout are all over this box. In fact it reminds me of
rather dated PC peripheral box art. Inside the box is layed out much the same as other standard keyboard boxes. The cord
of the keyboard is separated by cardboard, and this divider keeps the keyboard from moving around in any way. Instead of
being wrapped in a thin packing foam, the Filco Tenkeyless came complete with a full plastic key cover which is very handy in
keeping dust out of the keyboard when not in use. This is also a dated touch, but something that definitely did not need to be
lost in time. As for Das Keyboard III, there is not much to tell. The box art is simply a white to black gradiant texture,
a picture of they keyboard, and a clean font that says: Das Keyboard III the keyboard that clicks. This approach is clean and
boring. Well Das III is Das III and not a box, right? The standard keyboard box insides were all there. Das Keyboard cord
was separated by cardboard, and Das Keyboard was wrapped in thin packing foam all held snugly in place by said cardboard.
Here are a few pictures I took of the Filco box, the Filco Tenkeyless, an extra key that comes with the Tenkeyless, and
Das Keyboard III. I couldn't get a picture of Das Keyboard III in the box or of the box art, and the excuse isn't too
exciting. It's my friend's keyboard, and he throws his boxes away.
Cherry MX switches and the keyboard construction are what's going to make the difference between the two review
keyboards. How a key switch is mounted to the back plate can determine a lot. When I reviewed the ABS M1 Mechanical keyboard
it was obvious that the keys were mounted to the backplate in a way I would consider poor. The keys made a LOUD clack
which is not the fault of the switches used in the keyboard. Alps Black switches are, on paper, a lot like the Cherry MX browns
used in the Filco FKBN87M/EB Tenkeyless in this review, so when using the keyboard these keys should be very quiet and give me
a tactile response when the keystroke is registered before bottoming out. This fact of the Cherry MX browns threw me for a loop,
and I almost didn't like it. The truth is I'm still not used to it after having the ABS M1 for a week as my daily typer. The
keys are obviously softer to the touch, which means there is less force required to put the key into travel. There is about 10 g
less force required to travel the Cherry MX Brown switches than the Alps Black switches in the ABS. Already I could feel the
difference in switch. Both keys felt similar with respect to the tactile response from each keystroke, but the Filco keyboard
lacks a sort of hollow feeling I get when pressing the ABS M1 keys. This makes up easily for the lack of key weight by giving
more value to the individual key stroke. The last point about the Filco Keyboard is simple. It is very quiet. There's no
real click sound given off when typing. In all the Filco FKBN87M/EB Tenkeyless is a quality build which leaves the mechanical
Cherry MX brown switches to define the feel of the keyboard which is tactile and non-clicky. Cherry MX blue switches are what
give Das Keyboard III the right to slap the title of a keyboard that clicks
on it's box in a big professional font. Like the
Filco there is a body to the key unlike the hollow feeling ABS, and the key switches are mounted firmly in place which would
place the feel of Das Keyboard III entirely up to the Cherry MX Blue switches. The keys have a bit more weight than the Cherry MX
Browns, and I feel it's about 5g more weight to activate travel. I tested by stacking nickels on a key, and I was right. It took
one more nickel to cause key travel than on the Cherry MX Brown switches in the Filco. Cherry MX Blue are also advertised as
having tactile feedback and a click when pressed. As stated the construction of Das Keyboard III fully exemplifies the tactile
and clicky nature of Cherry MX blue key switches. This combination made the feedback of each keystroke feeling slightly more
tactile only because of the extra crisp click. When I used ear plugs the tactile response of the Cherry MX browns vs blues didn't
seem to exist in contrast to when I could hear the clicking sound.
The Filco FKBN87M/EB Tenkeyless and Das Keyboard III mechanical keyboards are definitely solid. A combination of overall
weight with durable grippy rubber feet kept the board from moving around on just about any surface I tested (wood, aluminum, glass, and
plastic). Like the ABS M1, both Filco and Das Keyboard cured an annoyance I had when I would type with my previous keyboard. With the
Saitek Eclipse II I would make a keystroke it would slightly rock my table, causing my mouse to move if I took my hands off of it. This
was probably because I thought I had to use a lot more effort to register a keystroke. There was no sensation when the keyboard would
register a key and only the character appearing on the screen would tell me that I could move to the next. In that time I had already
bottomed out the key with the full weight of my finger. Using the Filco FKBN87M/EB Tenkeyless or Das Keyboard III as a daily typer is
something I will enjoy.
If anyone wishes their keyboard had a little more tension in the keys, but would allow for less overall force to type should look into
the mechanical keyboards. Most mechanical keyboards have an average footprint and standard keyboard layout is a quality I look for rather
than excessive buttons or strange ergonomic shapes. The practicality of these keyboards are easily put into a catagory of excellence
since the typing experience has become more enjoyable after repeated days of use. After using three different types of mechanical key
switch keyboards I doubt I will be buying another standard membrane keyboard, but technology grows. I might end up getting surprised
BiNGE recommends the Filco FKBN87M/EB Tenkeyless and Das Keyboard III to typists and enthusiasts alike! 10/10