With the Ducky One 3, the manufacturer of the same name has a series of high-priced keyboards in its range. MeinMMO editor Benedikt Schlotmann was able to test the Ducky One 3 TKL and explains how the gaming keyboard performed in the test.
The essentials in brief:
Which keyboard is it? With the Ducky One 3, the manufacturer of the same name offers a whole range of keyboards. With the One 3 TKL I was able to test the small TKL version of the Ducky One 3. My copy uses RGB lighting and “Baby Kangaroo” switches from Gateron.
In my test you can read how Ducky’s keyboard performs in everyday life and whether I can recommend the TKL keyboard. Finally, I will introduce you to a few alternatives.
Features and technical details
What does the scope of delivery look like? In addition to the keyboard, the box contains a set of interchangeable keys, such as two additional Enter keys, different colored arrow keys and special keys with the Ducky symbol. In addition to the cable for the keyboard, there are also tools in the box that you can use to change the keycaps and switches.
How is the keyboard structured? The keyboard comes in an 80% design, also known as Tenkeyless (TKL). The keyboard ends on the right side behind the special keys and the arrow keys. There is therefore no number pad.
The keyboard cable is attached to the back, but this can also be removed. However, the keyboard cannot be used wirelessly.
What does the keyboard look like? My keyboard comes in a simple black. Ducky also offers a number of other color variations, such as green, a pretty blue or yellow. In some cases, other switches are also used under the keys.
Otherwise, Ducky uses semi-transparent pudding keycaps made of polycarbonate (PC) for its model. The bottom half of the keycaps is transparent and only the top part is closed. The disadvantage of this is that the letters themselves do not light up and are therefore difficult to read in dark rooms.
The keyboard is based on a partially transparent plastic body. This looks pretty stylish, but not as valuable as other manufacturers who use an aluminum plate in their surface. For example Roccat in its Vulcan series.
One positive thing to mention is that the keyboard cable can be removed and replaced with any USB-C cable. Less optimal: If you want to route the cable into the cable channel of the keyboard, you have to bend the USB cable a lot. This doesn’t really make sense for the cable, nor does it hold the cable really well.
Another plus point: The Ducky One 3 uses so-called hotswap switches. So you can remove all switches from the board without soldering and replace them with others.
Basically you can disassemble the entire keyboard and use your own components:
Everything is problem-free and easy to replace. At a price of 180 euros, I don’t think it makes much sense to dismantle the keyboard and equip it with new components. Then I would go straight for a Barbone instead. Barbones are boards without keycaps and switches.
Ducky has chosen polycarbonate (PC) instead of PBT keycaps for the keycaps. These are manufactured using the double-shot process. However, compared to PBT keycaps, PC keycaps are more susceptible to wear and tear and may lose their strength and color over time.
However, I did not observe any significant wear during my testing period. The keys still look good even after a few days and are not greasy and shiny like simple ABS keycaps without the double shot process.
There is no software with the Ducky One 3. And that’s quite a shame in my opinion. If you want to make settings, you have to make them directly using the keyboard. You can use the FN button to set certain lighting modes and also record them.
On top of that, there are DIP switches on the bottom of the keyboard. This allows you to turn certain functions of the keyboard on or off, such as deactivating the Windows key. Disadvantage: I have to turn the keyboard over every time to use it. This could certainly have been solved more elegantly.
In addition, certain keys have multimedia functions. For example, if you hold down FN, the Windows key and A, your sound will be turned off. The idea behind it is good, but it quickly turns into a game of patience if you really want to remember all the keys and the associated macros. You can find all macros and settings directly in the manual (via duckychannel.com).
On the next page I’ll go into the ergonomics and keys of the gaming keyboard. In the final conclusion, I explain for whom the keyboard could be worthwhile and what alternatives there are.