Ducky Channel are, although slightly strangely named for those of us who naturally speak English, a company that have only been around for a few years and put all their focus into high-quality mechanical keyboards. Whereas a lot of peripheral manufacturers have a whole range of products enabling users to stick to a single brand, Ducky Channel just make hardcore keyboards stuffed full of the very best switches.
From their large range we are taking a look at the DK9008 Shine 2. This is available in a range of lighting colours; Blue, Red, Green, Yellow, White or Pink. Although it would make a nice change to look at one of the more unlikely chromatic options, we have the blue model on hand. Unquestionably this is likely to be the biggest selling of the six colours available, such is the overwhelming prevalence of blue lighting.
Rather than focus upon a myriad of macro options, the customisation for the Shine 2 comes in the lighting department which has more options than we can recall ever seeing before. So does, as the Ducky Channel website claims, the Shine 2 enable us to "enjoy the functions and texture as the nobles do"? Let's find out.
Although it's not always the case, a general rule of thumb is that the more minimalist the packaging, the higher the quality of the product within. If that's true then the DK9008 should be an absolute star. The box has nothing but the model name on top. No logos. No pictures of fire-breathing dragons.
Inside things are equally sparse. Four coloured WASD keys, along with a key remover, a moulded dust cover, a small piece of documentation, and the USB cable are all we have. Although we can't think of much extra we'd need.
At first glance the Shine 2 appears the same as just about every other mechanical keyboard that has crossed our desk in the OC3D offices. Of course there isn't much you can do to alter the 104 key layout that we're all so familiar with.
Underneath we have two very grippy rubber feet to keep the keyboard in place, two to jack the rear up to aid with typing comfort, and the USB connector for the cable tucked away in the middle.
As you'd expect there are some extra modifiers above the function keys. We have, from F1 to F7, mute, volume up, volume down, play/pause, stop, track skip back and forward.
The lighting modes dominate the remaining keys. F8 (above) selects custom mode 1, the custom 2, lighting mode cycle, brightness up and down and the recording functions. Finally above the numpad are some shortcuts to Calculator, My Computer, eMail and browser.
On the underside are four dipswitches that adjust two useful things and two rather odd ones. From left to right they; swap left Control and Capslock, swap left Alt and left Windows Key, disable the Windows key and switch between 6 key rollover and infinite rollover. Finally beneath each key is the true heart of the DK9008, the Cherry Red switches. If you know your keyboards you'll be nodding appreciatively and if you don't then these are the McLaren of the mechanical switch world.
So what does the F10 mode actually cycle between? The default state is all lighting off. The first press illuminates the main keyboard, leaving the Function keys dark.
The second press lights up all the keys at 60% brightness (adjustable with F11/F12). The third mode is a breathing mode, which is nice if the keyboard is static but a little distracting, in our opinion, for regular use.
The fourth mode is the coolest. It has the whole keyboard darkened and the keys light up when you press them. The fifth mode is impossible to photograph and about as useful. The whole keyboard is black except the F-Keys light up one at a time from left to right and back, akin to either the front of KITT or a Cyclon depending upon which 80s TV show you watched.
Finally we have two custom modes. Out of the box this lights up the WASD keys on mode 1 and the cursors on mode 2. But with the record mode activated you can manually choose which keys are lit up. Obviously we use it to just light up OC3D, but you can do anything you wish, from checkerboard alternate keys, to just the ones for your particular game.
So often when we're reviewing keyboard we have to spend an age going over the many macro recording options as that seems to be the big area of focus, and thus difference, between the keyboards available.
The Ducky Channel DK9008 Shine 2 takes a very different approach, dispensing with any macro options at all and focussing upon giving you complete control over the lighting options. Indeed when we look at all the possible customisation options on keyboards this is probably second only to the ultra-expensive OLED things, like the eternally vaporware/no-really-we're-making-it Optimus range.
The packaging gives you a good indicator of what to expect from the keyboard. In the same way that the truly posh have battered clothes and old cars but the nouveau riche want gold-plated Bentleys, when you've got enough confidence in your quality you don't need to shout about it and the Shine 2 definitely doesn't shout.
At its most basic level you have some features we've seen before. The lighting can be on or off, in varying intensities of brightness. The next most common lighting is just having the WASD or cursor keys lit up. But once you move to the custom mode things can really make you grin. Although there are only two possible custom modes, the ability to make your keyboard only light up exactly as you desire is fun to play with. You can have everything from only a single key illuminated to everything but a single key illuminated. Or, of course, anything inbetween.
Beneath those blue keys lay the heart of the DK9008, the ultra reliable Cherry Red switches. These have the lowest actuation weight of any of the switches in the Cherry range, and give as gentle and smooth a typing experience as you can get from a mechanical keyboard. Because of that softness of touch the loudness that everyone expects from a mechanical keyboard is absent. There is nice tactile feedback, but it's no louder than the average laptop style keys.
Of course not everything is roses. Unquestionably the biggest drawback for the DK9008 Shine 2 is the eye-watering price. We know that mechanical keyboards are more expensive than membrane or scissor models. Those Cherry switches aren't cheap and will last you a lifetime, but come with a suitable price-tag. However, even with that in mind the £150 asking price for the Shine 2 is much higher than many other similarly specced keyboards we've reviewed. This is even more of a downfall when you note that there are no macro options available. Lighting is nice to play with, but we've become so accustomed to being able to configure the keyboards that having nothing available to us is definitely a feature missing, rather than something you expect to lose to retain value.
So all in all you're getting the brilliance of the Cherry Red switches, the fun of the lighting, but paying a heavy price and missing any macro ability. For those reasons we can only award it Bronze.
Thanks to Ducky Channel for supplying the DX9008 Shine 2 for review. Discuss our findings in the OC3D Forums.