Review of the Ducky One III SF keyboard: Everything was yellow

Review of the Ducky One III SF keyboard: Everything was yellow

Although Ducky may seem like a corny brand name, keyboard enthusiasts take this seriously. For over 15 years, this small Taiwanese manufacturer has been producing high-end mechanical boards. It is considered a dependable source of pre-built boards that can compete with boutique builders. I naturally accepted their offer of a review unit and then instructed them to “send the yellow one.”

Ducky’s main keyboard design, the somewhat confusing One III, is available in full-size, TKL, “mini” 60 percent, or the more approachable 65 percent seen on this “SF” edition. Apart from its bright and angular look, it’s an outstanding and compact box filled with high-quality components and sparkling LEDs.

However, this otherwise fantastic keyboard is let down by two things: the software (which is nothing at all) and the switches (ordinary Cherry MX Browns).

Design and features of the Ducky One III SF

The One SF III, or this one in particular, immediately stands out to you because of its striking yellow color. You can get this board in a variety of colors, along with some amazing special editions like Doom and Fallout, along with its other sizes, so don’t worry.

The quality of those PBT keycaps with double-shot legends means they feel fantastic on your fingers and will never wear out, so their attractiveness goes beyond appearances. It should be noted that Ducky added a stabilizer to the reduced right Shift key, which is a little unusual choice. That could complicate the already difficult task of locating compatible new keycaps—finding them with the relatively unusual 65 percent layout—even further.

I was shocked to see a few extra keycaps in the package, giving you some variation with a pop of red and white. Along with the matching yellow braided cable and distinctive branded keycap puller, the round Ducky logo cap is a great touch. The yellow foam under the metal deck and the yellow stabilizers are also a stylish touch.

How’s your performance at games and typing?

Neither the switches nor the typing experience are especially noteworthy. The great and attractively textured keycaps are let down by the switches that are located underneath them.

For this iteration of the One III, Ducky opted for tactile Cherry MX Brown switches—a tiny bump rather than a click. The available switch selections include Black, Blue, Red, Speed Silver, and Silent Red; however, these are all somewhat outdated Cherry options. All are functional, but that’s all. Given that the brown switches have a tactile hump that makes them a little slower to pull, gamers would likely prefer linear switches (red or silver).

To be honest, there are much better switches out there that can be included in a high-end keyboard—or even one that costs around this much. The competition has raised the standard much above this point, but the switches themselves are perfectly fine. Small businesses like Keydous offer unique switches straight from the factory, while Razer and Corsair offer factory-tuned and lubricated switches. Smoother and better even are the Kailh BOX switches used on the sub-$50 G.Skill KM250 and the 8BitDo Retro Keyboard.

Ducky One III SF keyboard

Should you buy the Ducky One III SF?

I wanted the Ducky One III so much. My first impressions were of excellent craftsmanship and distinctive color selections. In a sea of black and white, a yellow keyboard (one of many options!) was so welcome, and I adore the added visual cues and alt-caps.

But with better options available even on cheap boards these days, basic Cherry MX Brown switches just don’t cut it. I was also deeply dissatisfied by the absence of software and the complicated (and maybe non-working) programming possibilities.

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