The Taiwanese company Ducky Channel International was founded back in 1998. However, it gained wide popularity in the narrow circles of lovers of mechanical keyboards only in 2008, after creating its own brand. Unlike other firms that were focused on a wide range of «gaming products», Ducky initially set itself with one single goal — to produce high-quality professional mechanical keyboards. As far as she succeeded in this in general, it is still difficult to judge, since her products are practically not represented on our market. But we may well examine and evaluate a copy of the keyboard, kindly provided by the company to us for testing. This device belongs to the One 2 series, is a shortened keyboard without a numeric keypad (TKL) and has a single-color white backlight. Now let’s study it in detail.
|Model||Ducky Channel One 2 Backlit TKL|
|Polling frequency, Hz||1000|
|Number of keys||87|
|Keystroke resource, mln.||50|
|Switch type||Cherry MX Red|
|Changing the angle of the body||+|
|Built-in memory, KB||+ (Five profiles)|
|Ability to record macros||+|
|Handling rollovers||6KRO / NKRO|
|USB cable length, m||1,55|
|Braid material||No tangles|
|Removable palm rest||–|
|Dimensions (L x W x H), mm||365 x 135 x 40|
|OS Compatibility||Windows OS|
|Peculiarities||Detachable USB cord, cable management, cap removal key, nine interchangeable button caps|
|Average cost, $||110|
Contents of delivery
The packaging of the keyboard, although it is colored with color printing, in general looks quite simple, without pretensions to being exclusive. It is assumed that the buyer already knows what he is taking, and it is not required to attract him with an additional box. From useful information here you can find an indication of the type of switches and lights used, the name of the product, its size and weight. Also a warning that spilling any liquids on this keyboard is a very bad idea. The side sticker with a barcode accurately indicates the specific model of the device: DKON1887S-RUSPDAZW1. Well, a minimum of marketing is good and very unusual in today’s market.
There is no special protection against damage during transport inside. Small cardboard inserts and a plastic bag, that’s all you can find here.
But the delivery set looks more interesting. The keyboard has an overlay made of transparent plastic, which can be covered and protected from dust during long periods of inactivity. The instruction is written in Chinese and English and describes the features of using all the current Ducky One series keyboards at once. There is also a wire wrench for dismantling keycaps, a removable USB cable, a set of ten replacement keycaps and a warranty card.
The design of the Ducky Channel One 2 keyboard is simple, strict and classic at the same time. The body is made of matte dirt-resistant plastic in the usual way (yes, this is not a fashionable skeleton nowadays), with minimal bezels on the sides. The top panel is black, rounded on the sides. The only thing that catches your eye is the red Enter key, which is installed here by default (however, there is also a regular black one in the kit, it is not difficult to replace it back).
The keyboard comes with ten replacement keycaps and a handy wire wrench to remove them. Among the single buttons are Esc, four arrows, a button with a company logo image (probably a good fit instead of Fn), and a hieroglyph key. Triple buttons — Backspace, vertical and horizontal Enter. All caps are made using double molding technology from PBT plastic.
The printed block is made according to the ANSI standard and has 87 buttons. Both Shift are long, Enter is single-row, the F1 button is located exactly above the number «2». English and Russian engravings are laser engraved on the top of the cap, on the left and right, respectively. Both types of characters are well read with the backlight on, but are rather poorly visible without it. In addition, the font in some letters has a «stencil» style of writing, which is not very familiar at first. The Fn key takes the place of the menu key, to the right of the spacebar. However, its place can be reassigned, but more on that later. And nowhere are the symbols of additional functions marked. Therefore, the combinations will either have to be remembered, or the instructions should be kept at hand.
On the right, everything is standard — the arrows and editorial buttons are in their usual place, Lock-indicators are disguised between the two top rows of keys. They are white (and the brightness is adjusted in the latest firmware update). From left to right, there are LEDs indicating Caps Lock (C), Scroll Lock (S), Mouse (M). Yes, the last indicator means that the keyboard mouse control mode is enabled. But about him, too, a little later. I also could not understand for a long time what exactly confuses me here in the position of the keys, until I tried to record a macro. It turned out that the Scroll Lock and Pause caps were initially mixed up in places, although functionally the switches performed standard commands.
The switches in the keyboard are classic Cherry MX Red linear mechanisms in a black case with a rounded LED built into the top. The activation force is 45 grams, 2 mm before actuation, and a full stroke of 4 mm. The switches are installed in a metal base plate, the stabilizer rods pass behind it, so nothing interferes with the dismantling of the buttons. All rods are well lubricated, so long buttons go without unnecessary sounds. And they are stabilized in the horizontal plane very well. The keycaps are made of high quality using double injection molding technology from PBT plastic. Everything is in order with durability, and with the quality of the backlight.
In profile side view, it is noticeable that the top three rows of keys are slightly tilted forward, and the bottom three rows back. And the body itself, even with the legs folded, always tilts forward. The most optimal in terms of ease of printing can be called the middle position, when the small legs are raised (the height of the back row is 45 mm). When the high legs are deployed, the height grows to 53 mm, and this will be convenient only if the seat is very low relative to the level of the table.
The keyboard has no additional external ports. The back panel is white, on the right it has the company logo and the model name. Detachable cable goes under the keyboard. The wire can be brought out from the back in the middle, or through a special channel to the right or left side.
The base of the keyboard is completely white and even, with a semicircular thickening in the back. In the center in front of the case is a metal plate with the name of the model and its serial number. Four rubber feet in the form of narrow strips are glued on the corners.
Detachable USB Type C cable connects in the middle back, in a small notch. It can be gently folded and laid into the channels to bring it to the left or right side.
The total length of the detachable USB cable is 1.55 meters, there is no braid or ferrite ring on it. But there is Velcro to adjust the length. The wire itself is harsh, it simply remembers the given shape.
There are rubber stickers on two folding legs of different heights so as not to scratch the surface of the table. In the right front corner, there is a microswitch with four toggle switches, which is responsible for the position of the Fn button in the bottom row of keys and switching the anti-ghosting mode of NKRO and 6KRO. You can switch its levers only when the device is turned off from the power supply.
The white LED lighting looks great. When it is enabled, all characters are easy to read, have a contrasting and clear appearance. There are seven levels of brightness and full off. Information LEDs are also white and are also adjustable in brightness in seven levels — from dim to blinding. True, behind the keys they are visible only if you look from top to bottom. In addition, the glow of each button can be adjusted individually and there are several lighting effects in addition. The One 2 series of keyboards is available in the market in four variants: non-backlit, blue or white backlit, or RGB backlit.
All functions of the Ducky Channel One 2 Backlit TKL are hardware-configurable via keyboard shortcuts with the Fn button. There is no separate software for it. Settings are stored in six on-board memory profiles — one default and five programmable. Since the instruction is written in English, we took the liberty of translating the meaning of all functions and indicating combinations for their activation. The result is presented in the form of a pivot table.
|Fn+Esc||Function mode enabled/disabled (Hold for 3 seconds)|
|Fn+F1||USB port polling delay by 1x (default)|
|Fn+F2||USB port polling delay by 2x|
|Fn+F3||USB port polling delay by 4x|
|Fn+F4||USB port polling delay by 8x|
|Fn+F5||Character repeat rate at 1x (default)|
|Fn+F6||Character repeat rate by 2x|
|Fn+F7||Character repeat rate at 4x|
|Fn+F8||Character repeat rate at 8x|
|Fn+F10||Cycling backlight effects: 1) constant; 2) breathing; 3) wave; 4) running lane; 5) raindrops; 6) traces; 7) splash; 8) strip from the pressed button; 9) the backlight is off. Holding the combination for 3 seconds turns off all lighting, including custom lighting schemes|
|Fn+ ← / →||Changing the playback speed of a lighting effect|
|Fn+ ↑ / ↓||Changing the brightness of the backlight|
|Fn+F11||Cycling custom light pattern 1: On / On in breathing mode / Off|
|Fn+F12||Cycling custom light pattern 2: On / On in breathing mode / Off|
|Fn+PrtSc||Custom light pattern recording mode 1 (press the desired keys in sequence to turn on or turn off the backlight on them)|
|Fn+Pause||Custom light pattern recording mode 2 (successively press the desired keys to turn on or turn off the backlight on them)|
|Caps Lock+ ↑ / ↓||Change the brightness of the keys in the active recording mode of the custom light scheme. The Caps Lock button LED indicates the brightness level, press the desired buttons which will accept the demonstrated brightness level|
|Caps Lock+Scroll Lock||Finish recording the current custom light scheme and save it|
|Left Ctrl+Shift+Caps Lock||Demo mode. If you hold this combination before turning on the keyboard in the port, it goes offline and does not send any commands to the system. The ability to customize the backlight remains. To switch to normal operation, you need to reconnect the keyboard to the power|
|Fn+Alt+Ctrl||Turns on / off the backlight demonstration mode, with a cyclic successive change of effects|
|Left Win+Right Win||Resetting the keyboard to factory settings. Hold the key combination for three seconds|
|Fn+ Alt+Win||Lock/unlock Win keys. Hold the combination for 3 seconds. The backlight blinks three times to confirm the operation.|
|Fn+ Scroll Lock||Enable/disable mouse control from the keyboard. When the mode is on, the M indicator will light. The key assignment changes: PrtSc — scroll down, Pause — scroll up, Ins — left mouse button, Home — cursor up, PgUp — right mouse button, Del — cursor left, End — cursor down, PgDn — cursor right|
|Fn + 1/2/3/4/5/6||Switching to one of six side profiles|
|Fn+Ctrl||Hold for three seconds to enter the macro recording mode, press once to exit the mode. When the mode is active, the three Lock indicators and the Caps-Lock key will blink slowly. Macro recording is not possible in profile #1|
|Fn+Alt||Continue recording next macro (in macro recording mode)|
|Fn+Q||Activate a condition for a macro. Play once when button is pressed (in macro recording mode)|
|Fn+W||Activate a condition for a macro. Start macro playback after pressing the button, stop after pressing again (in macro recording mode)|
|Fn+E||Activate a condition for a macro. Play macro while button is held down, stop when button is released (in macro recording mode)|
|Fn + 1/2/3/4/5/6||In macro recording mode, set a fixed delay of 0.02 / 0.1 / 0.2 / 0.4 / 0.8 / 1 second|
|Win+Space||Hold for 3 seconds to reset all macros in the current profile|
|Fn+Alt+ ↑ / ↓||Adjusting the brightness of the Lock LEDs|
The order of recording a simple macro (activation by pressing a key): switch to any profile, except for the first one, by pressing Fn + 2/3/4/5/6. Hold Fn + Ctrl for 3 seconds to enter macro recording mode. The three Lock LEDs and the Caps Lock will blink slowly. Press the key to be recorded. It will glow, and the Lock-LEDs and Caps Lock will blink rapidly. Type the desired keyboard shortcut (after that, you can specify the time delay “Fn + 1/2/3/4/5/6” and the playback method “Fn + Q / W / E”) and press Fn + Ctrl to close the macro mode, or Fn +Alt to select the next key to record. All buttons are available for recording except Fn. By default, delays between commands are equal to their typing speed.
The order of recording an Fn macro (activation with the Fn key): switch to any profile except the first one with the combination Fn + 2/3/4/5/6. Hold Fn + Ctrl for 3 seconds to enter macro recording mode. The three Lock LEDs and the Caps Lock will blink slowly. Hold Fn and press the key you want to record. It will glow, and the Lock-LEDs and Caps Lock will blink rapidly. Type the desired keyboard shortcut (after that, you can specify the time delay “Fn + 1/2/3/4/5/6” and the playback method “Fn + Q / W / E”) and press Fn + Ctrl to close the macro mode, or Fn +Alt to select the next key to record. All buttons are available for recording, except for those marked in dark in the picture below. The macro is launched by pressing the Fn+key with the macro.
Special teams. The keyboard supports writing special commands to keys in macro mode. To do this, instead of writing a command when all the indicators are blinking, you need to press the combination Fn + Win + (the specified key). The list of available keys is shown in the picture below.
Reset assigned macros. Deleting all macros in the current profile — hold Win + Space for 3 seconds. To erase one simple macro: hold down the Fn + Ctrl combination for 3 seconds to enter the macro recording mode, then press one of the highlighted keys once to erase the recording from it. To delete an Fn macro: hold down the Fn + Ctrl combination for 3 seconds to enter the macro recording mode, then hold Fn and press one of the highlighted keys once to erase the recording from it. To repeat the erasing of the next command, release and hold Fn again. Press Fn+Ctrl to exit the mode.
Changing the position of the Fn key and switching NKRO / 6KRO. Using a set of switches on the bottom panel of the keyboard, you can set the position of the Fn button in the bottom row of keys as you wish. To do this, the toggle switches should be set to the position indicated in the picture below. Toggle switch No. 4 switches the anti-ghosting mode of the keys: in the Off position, the NKRO mode works, and in the On position, the 6KRO mode. Note: Switching must be done when the keyboard is powered off. Wait at least 15 seconds before reconnecting. Upgrading the keyboard firmware is possible only in NKRO mode.
As mentioned above, the Ducky Channel One 2 keyboard does not come with software. However, there is a firmware updater on the official website that you can download and start the update process. The application showed us that the current version 1.00.06 is used and the installation of a more recent firmware is not required at the moment.
Ergonomics and testing
In use, the Ducky Channel One 2 Backlit TKL is more than a standard mechanical keyboard—square, practical, and good, as the German saying goes. The ergonomics of its body is devoid of any special frills, except for two-level legs. The assembly is not monolithic, but a slight backlash of the panels can only be felt with deliberate diagonal twisting, which no one does in normal use. The rather tall keys hint at the desirability of a palm rest, and the company even makes them, but sells them separately, and they aren’t included with the keyboard. With the stand, no hand fatigue was observed, but without it, tension was felt in the wrists after only two hours of work. The key layout does not take time to get used to, you can type blindly on it right away. Separately, I would like to note the manufacturer’s concern for what is called «typing experience» (typing experience). All keys work very clearly, the long buttons are perfectly stabilized and lubricated, there is no creaking, noise or other sounds in general. In addition, the Cherry MX Red here clearly has reinforced springs, as they do not sag and do not cause phantom actuations if you just put your fingers on them. In addition, the keycaps, made using the double molding technology of PBT plastic, differ in a very positive way from their conventional ABS counterparts. They are much more durable, tactilely pleasant and fully allow you to implement high-quality character illumination. By the way, the white backlight is implemented here better than all the options that I have seen before. Both engraving languages look very juicy and sharp when the backlight is on. The only thing that confuses at first is the stencil style of writing some letters of the font.
Separately, I would like to note the possibility of full hardware customization of the keyboard in terms of adjusting the backlight and recording macros. The user can individually select the brightness of each key, indicate whether it will glow or not, and set different effects for it. Even the brightness of the Lock LEDs is adjusted with the release of the latest firmware update. Macros are also recorded quite simply and intuitively, and switching profiles occurs almost instantly. The lack of software is compensated here at the hardware level completely.
Anti-ghosting in this keyboard is enabled by default in NKRO mode, when all keys can be actuated and read simultaneously. To turn on the 6KRO (a maximum of six keys can work simultaneously), you need to turn off the keyboard, turn the #4 toggle switch on the back to the On position, and turn it back on. This will only be required for some older systems where NKRO could potentially cause a hang at startup.
Ducky Channel One 2 Backlit TKL is a very unusual keyboard for our region, which, unlike other “mechanics”, is positioned not as “gaming”, but as professional. Particular attention is paid to those details that enhance the quality of tactile sensations from typing. Namely, classic mechanical switches, excellent stabilization of long buttons, high-quality material of button caps, excellent backlighting, ease of recording and playing macro commands (imagine, they are needed not only in MMORPGs, but can be very useful in more trivial activities), and even the ability to instantly simulate the operation of a mouse if necessary. In general, there is everything you need and nothing more. That being said, the One Series 2 will be able to meet any demand in terms of exterior design, keyboard size, type of switches used, and backlight options (or lack of it).
Personally, I like almost everything in this series of mechanical keyboards. Except perhaps for their cost and the lack of a palm rest in the package (which would have increased the cost even more). Ducky Channel One 2 is a solid tool. And how the user will apply it is his own business.