Ducky DK9008 Shine 2 Review

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Brand: Ducky
Model: Ducky DK9008 Shine 2
Website: http://www.duckychannel.com.tw/en/DK9008_shine2.html
RRP: £149.99

Introduction

Ducky are a well known brand in the mechanical keyboard market, with a wide range of high quality and customisable keyboards, including full sized boards and TenKeyLess (TKL). They are relatively new to the European peripherals market, making their first appearance in the UK in 2012 and the Nordics this year. The Ducky brand of keyboards are focused on quality over form, providing a wealth of features and functions, which also means they are renowned for not being the cheapest keyboards on the market – perhaps a trade-off for the level of quality you are getting.

The keyboard I have in for review today is Ducky’s current flagship model; the DK9008 Shine 2. At approximately £149.99 it puts the keyboard at the very top end of the mechanical keyboard market, with little, or very few other brands above it. This particular model has Cherry MX Black switches, which are a slightly stiffer version of MX Reds, they are the preferred choice for gamers. The keyboard also features a full compliment of blue LEDs, with numerous lighting options, which I’ll take a closer look at later.

Features

  • PCB two-sided routing, safety guaranteed
  • A removable mini USB connector
  • Illuminated keyboard, charming and fascinating
  • Standard Lighting Modes: Full Backlit, 60% Backlit & Selected Keys Backlit (with 2 Configurable Profiles)
  • Reactive Mode – Keys light up when depressed
  • Laser Printed Keycaps, UV Coated
  • On/Off Dip Switch to define the functions of the keyboard

Specifications

  • Switch Type: Cherry MX series
  • Supporting Interface: USB
  • Supporting Keys:6-Key Rollover or N-Key Rollover
  • Print:Double layer laser, engraved keycaps
  • Levels Of Brightness:6 levels
  • Lighting Modes:Full Backlit, 60% Backlit & Selected Keys Backlit(with 2 Configurable Profiles)
  • Lighting Effects: Pulsing, Reactive & Scrolling text marquee
  • Multimedia Keys:7 keys
  • Able to adjust LED brightness modes:60%、Full Backlit、Reactive、Selected Keys Backlit
  • Unable to adjust LED brightness modes:Pulsing、Scrolling text marquee

As you can see the Shine 2 has a plethora of features, so lets now take a look at the keyboard.

Packaging

The Ducky DK9008 Shine 2 comes in a slim and relatively plain looking box. The front just has the model name and the Ducky logo on a black background and the reverse lists the features of the keyboard. It briefly goes into more detail about the recordable LED patterns with some images of it in action.

Inside the box you have the keyboard, a user manual (not in image) the detachable USB cable, a key cap puller and replacement red key caps for the WASD cluster.

Now I’ll take a closer look at the Shine 2.

Closer Look

From the initial look at the keyboard, you are presented with a plain black, full-sized keyboard with ABS plastic keys and white lettering. Ducky tend to stick to the clean, simple designs, so the Shine 2 design is typical of Ducky.

Across the top of the keyboard are the function keys and their alternative actions. F1 through F7 are media controls. F8 through to the Pause Break key control the LED options – but I’ll take a more in-depth look at this later.

Along the top right of the keyboard are the additional short-cut keys for various programs. These are operational as soon as you plug in the keyboard

The Ducky branding appears three times on the keyboard, where it replaces the windows key and is featured on the front face of the space bar – very clean and minimalistic compared to some other brands.

The base of the Shine 2 isn’t that different from many other keyboards, although it does have a cable channel for the USB cable. The standard model name/number and other details are located on an almost holographic sticker in the centre of the keyboard.

Like most keyboards, the Shine 2 also has some plastic feet that fold out to raise the profile of the back of the keyboard.

Unlike most keyboards, the Shine 2 has a detachable USB cable. The port for the mini USB end is located in the middle of the keyboard, which can be a bit fiddly to connection. You then have the option of using the cable channels to direct the cable to the left, right or centre of the keyboard to help reduce clutter on the desk.

Something we’ve never had the chance to see before are the DIP switches, which you may have noticed on the previous images of the keyboard base. These four switches change various key mappings:

  • Left Ctrl & CapsLock exchange position
  • Left Alt and Left Windows Key exchange position
  • Windows Key Lock
  • USB N-Key Rollover or USB 6-Key Rollover

These could prove useful for some, but the only one I am particularly interested in is the NKRO switch.

The USB cable is a standard USB to USB mini, with no braiding, which is unusual for high end keyboards, although this can be replaced with a custom one if necessary. Each end is gold plated, although this doesn’t make a massive difference and just adds to the luxury image of the keyboard.

 

This particular model of the Shine 2 features Cherry MX black switches, which are plate mounted. These switches also contain a blue LED, which is lit below.

Now usually I’d have some images of the lighting options here, but since they are  pretty extensive on the Shine 2, I’ve decided to include a section just for the different options.

Lighting

The Ducky DK9008 features many different LED options, all controllable using the Function keys in conjunction with the Fn key. You may have to read the manual to find out how to adjust the settings, but once you have played around a little, it’s easy to use. By default the keyboard is fully illuminated by blue LEDs, although other LED colours are available. The LED options can be cycled through using the F10 key, with the F11 and F12 keys controlling the brightness level for most modes. The modes consist of: fully illuminated, 80%, Scroll, Reactive, Pulse and the two stored modes.

Another LED mode that I haven’t seen before is the reactive LED mode, which means that only when the key is pressed it will illuminate – you can see below when I press the space bar.

Another LED mode that the Shine 2 features is an option that allows you to record and store up to two LED patterns using its on-board memory. By pressing the F8 (CM1) and F9 (CM2) buttons you can switch between the different stored LED patterns. To create your own pattern, you simply press the Prt Sc/SysRq  (REC1) or the Pause/Break (REC2) key to start recording. You then simply select the keys you wish to be illuminated. When you have selected the keys you want lit up, you simply push the REC1/REC2 button again and the pattern is stored. Below is one of the patterns I tried out, just a simple WASD cluster.

Another mode that we were not able to capture unless we had a video camera, is the scroll mode, which illuminates the keys across the top of the keyboard (function keys and additional keys). The LEDs then light up in turn, which then reverses the direction when it reaches the end – not dissimilar to a cylon’s red eye.

The Shine 2 comes with key puller and four red key caps to replace the WASD cluster. These are also backlit compatible and stand out well on the black keyboard.

Well that pretty much concludes the lighting, now I’ll put the keyboard to the test and see how it performs in the real world.

Performance

Typically, it takes us at least a week to fully review a keyboard, mainly due to the fact that rushing a review often leaves stones unturned and benefits or negative points undiscovered. For this review, I used the Shine 2 everyday for 10 days for general use and for gaming. This way I can fully assess the keyboard’s performance.

Installation

The Shine 2 is good to go straight out of the box, I just had to decide which cable channel to put the USB cable and then when connected to the PC, drivers were automatically installed. Upon completion of driver installation the whole keyboard came to life with a blue glow – it was that simple.

Gaming

First up are the gaming tests, so for this I chose a selection of different genres that would best test the abilities of the keyboard. For FPS games (my choice was CS:GO and Battlefield 3) the keyboard performed without flaws. The stiff linear black switches were ideal as I didn’t have to completely bottom out the switch for it to perform the action, resulting in much better reaction times. The NKRO also came in useful, particularly when flying due to the amount of keys pressed down at once: by default, it is 6 Key Roll-over, but with the DIP switch turned on, this becomes NKRO, which is what was used when gaming.

The Shine 2 has no additional macro keys, so if you are a hardcore MMO player or heavy short-cut user then you would miss those keys, fortunately for me, I am not, so the keyboard was great for me when I played some Diablo 3, SW:TOR and SupCom 2. Again the black switches were very useful with their higher resistance, which improved my performance.

General Use

This is the tests where the keyboard didn’t really fair well, but this is just down to the choice of switches. Typically I prefer red, brown or blue switches for typing, as the black switches on this keyboard created a bit of strain in my fingers when doing a lot of typing – although for the short blocks, it wasn’t so bad. The additional buttons located on the top right are convenient for accessing your email, a calculator (surprisingly useful) and other useful programs. The function key’s second use (by holding down the Fn key), also came in handy for changing the volume levels and for changing tracks.

Final Thoughts

I would say I’m a mechanical keyboard enthusiast, having owned  and used many keyboards throughout my time as a reviewer. This Ducky keyboard however, is one of the most prestigious brands I have managed to get my hands on and also one of the more rare brands in the UK. Known for their quality, I had high hopes for the Shine 2, particularly when it is their flagship model.

From the first glance of the keyboard I was impressed. Sure the design is simple, but the quality and features packed into such a clean looking board is immense. The amount of LED options is overwhelming, it took me a while to finally settle on a pattern I liked and I only just touched the surface, as I pretty much left the ‘record your own LED layout’ option alone bar the lighting tests. The additional function keys and options were great for general use and the slightly stiffer black switches made gaming a breeze and a pleasure to use the keyboard with. The option to turn various keys on and off, and swap certain keys with others was a nice touch – and useful to some I’m sure.

We mentioned in the introduction, that Ducky keyboards were not often seen on the cheap side of the mechanical keyboard market and the DK9008 Shine 2 is far from cheap. At £149.99 RRP, it is the most expensive keyboard we have seen at Play3r and the third most expensive I have used. This is down to both the amount of features packed in to the keyboard and the quality of the build – which is superb. Forget taking this keyboard to LANs, the switches are plate mounted, which adds to the already heavy weight of the keyboard. I’m not going to include the switch type as a negative, as the Shine 2 does have different switch options depending on the users preference, but these blacks were great for gaming, less so for lots of typing.

The Ducky DK9008 Shine 2 is perhaps one of the best keyboards I have had the pleasure of using to date. The quality and features are top notch, with great customisability options with the LEDs and key mapping. If price wasn’t an issue, then I would highly recommend checking out the Shine 2, so for these reasons, I am very happy to award the Ducky DK9008 Shine 2 with our most prestigious award:

 

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