The Ducky One 2 Mini will likely be remembered as one of the most influential keyboards of the decade, popularizing the 60% form factor in a way that no other keyboard or brand could before. With the kind of precedent behind it, any successor will have plenty to live for.
Well, that successor is finally here with the Ducky One 3 lineup. This time, Ducky has rolled out a total of four layouts side by side, including full size, TKL, SF (65%) and Mini (60%) with the only difference being color and layout. The new version puts sound and typing experience first, pushing Ducky closer to a market of custom keyboards whose offerings have become more and more accessible over the past year. Complete with hot-swappable switches, sound-damping silicone, powerful built-in programming tools, and Cherry MX switches now including Cherry MX Clear, is it worth the upgrade?
- Current price: $129 (Mechanical keyboard)
- Item number: DKON2167ST
- Structure: Mechanical Structure
- Trigger switch: Cherry MX . mechanical switch
- LED: RGB
- Connection interface: USB 2.0
- Keycap material: PBT
- Number of output keys: USB N-Key Rollover
- Printing technology: Double-shot
- Dimensions: 335x110x40 mm
- Weight: 627g
Ducky One 3 SF – Mechanics QUACK
The Ducky One 3 SF is a worthy successor to the Ducky One 2 series. It brings fan-favorite features like thick doubleshot PBT keycaps and bright RGB backlighting and builds on them. The standout upgrades this time come in the form of what Ducky calls Quack Mechanics.
Before we break those down, let’s take a look at the wider keyboard. The One 3 lineup includes full-size, TKL, 65% and 60% models at launch. The SF is the 65% version, showing that it’s only 65% the size of the full-size keyboard. The compactness comes from the lack of a Function Row, Numpad, and a central navigation and editing cluster. Unlike the 60 percent scale, the SF includes dedicated arrow keys and a shortened column of navigation buttons, including Page Up, Page Down, and Delete. The missing keys are mostly found on the second and third layers, accessible with the Function button.
The One 3 SF is a small keyboard but it is a highly functional one. Unlike many competing keyboards, Ducky has completely removed the extra functions and programmability of the keyboard without any software. While it would be nice to have optional software, especially for light remapping, you can record macros, remap keys, create custom lighting schemes, and build up to five profiles. Custom shapes to switch between different games and apps. The layout itself is also more functional for work and gaming thanks to those arrow keys and navigation.
All of this holds true for the original Ducky One 2 keyboard, which is where the new Quack Mechanics come in. The One 3 is more focused on providing a customized typing experience that matches the acoustic characteristics of typing on the keyboard. It accomplishes this in a few ways that each enhance the user experience.
The first is that the keyboard now supports hot-swappable switches – and that coincides with the addition of a Cherry MX Clear switch to the lineup. More on that later. Hot-swappable switches are a godsend in this day and age when new switches are always released and can completely change (and enhance) your typing experience. I pulled the stock switches out of the keyboard and replaced them with lubricated Gateron Yellows. Next week, I might change them again to NovelKeys Silks. No soldering required, just the simple act of plugging and unplugging the switches.
The next high point is that Ducky has decorated the keyboard with a custom silicone pad underneath, sandwiched between it and the PCB. This adds a mute effect to the switches, which reduces typing noise and reduces some of the high-pitched switch noise that exists on the Ducky One 2 SF. Beneath the PCB is another layer of EVA foam to fill the case and remove and empty what might be emitted in its plastic case.
The stabilizers have also been improved. Like last time, they are plate rack type, but higher quality, less noise and rattle. They’re also modifiable thanks to the hot-swappable switches, so I took them out and added a little extra lubricant to tweak them to my taste. Ducky has also used a claw-free stabilizer, which silences the bottoms a bit more.
Like other Ducky keyboards, the keycaps are outstanding. They are Doublehot PBT, so the legends will never fade. There is a light texture on their surface and also feels nice under the fingers. The update here is that the keycaps are no longer backlit, allowing the keycaps to better match the color scheme of the case.
As usual, Ducky will deliver this keyboard with genuine Cherry MX key switches. Available options include Cherry MX Black, Brown, Blue, and Red. For an additional $5, you can choose Silver, Silent, or the new addition, Cherry MX Clear. The Clears are an interesting switch: they’re tactile like the Cherry MX Browns, but heavier, 65g impact-resistant compared to the Brown’s 55g. I also find them quite pingy like other Cherry switches but benefit from lubrication.
For this review, I was sent the Daybreak version. This version blends blues, deep purples, and neon yellow-green. The case has a blue top, gray bottom, and neon green yellow side panels. It looks great, though really limits the potential for proper aftermarket keycaps.
Since the included covers are so good, there’s really no reason to upgrade. The wiser decision is to simply buy the palette you like best to get started. In addition to Daybreak, the One 3 is available in three other colorways: Matcha, Yellow, and Fuji. Of these, Fuji will be the easiest to match with aftermarket sets.
All in all, the Ducky One 3 SF is a solid all-round upgrade that really puts Ducky ahead of the times. However, this really becomes apparent in the typing experience.
Ducky One 3 SF – Performance
The point where Ducky One 3 SF really shines is in the typing and gaming experience. The important thing during this time is much better than the One 2 series. The silicone and foam dampers underneath the PCB do a great job of reducing switch noise and removing any harshness from the bottom up. I was also surprised to find that the deck also had good flexibility. It’s not at the level of a fully padded keyboard, but it’s still pretty good.
The sound is also much quieter and fuller. With Gateron’s clang, you can be forgiven for thinking you’re on a silent keyboard. It is really impactful. The pre-lubed stabilizers are also largely shake-free (but I’d still recommend modifying for yourself). Compared to the previous generation Ducky One 2 SF, that’s a huge improvement that’s immediately noticeable.
I wish Ducky had made some choices that weren’t Cherry. The ping of the Cherry switch without the lubed actually works against the company’s sonic goals. Honestly, the Chery MX Clears doesn’t deliver the best in a keyboard. If you like linear switching, I highly recommend pairing this keyboard with Cherry Reds or Blacks. Even without, you’ll still find this keyboard offers a huge improvement in sound over the One 2 SF.
Programming and lighting are absolute points of this keyboard, just like in the One 2. The ability to map macros and start using sans software right away, is amazing. However, if you crave the ease of software-programmability, you’ll still be in luck in this round. Hopefully, Ducky releases a package for gamers who want to download the software and make the process a little faster.
However, there are many options. You can map Windows shortcuts, remap keys, swap positions of keys (like Caps Lock and Function to keep your hands on the Primary Row when accessing secondary layers). The lighting is also incredibly customizable. There are a wide variety of preset options, most of which can be color-customizable with the built-in RGB mixer attached to the Z, X, and C keys. If you want to choose from a palette of colors, press Function and Spacebar turns the keyboard into a rainbow, allowing you to simply tap the color you want. It’s creative and works well.
Keycaps, on the other hand, can be a bit more divisive. They are of extraordinary quality. They’re thick and both feel and sound great to tap, to say nothing of their improved durability. However, since they are not backlit, light cannot penetrate the legends. I don’t mind this, but for users who like to play games in the dark, it can be a deal breaker. It’s a worthy trade-off for the improved color combination in my opinion, but it’s definitely a personal appeal.
However, the Ducky One 3 SF is a solid evolution of the Ducky One 2. The market has evolved since that keyboard was released, and the features here are unlikely to revolutionize the desk industry. keys in the same way. Still, it’s a solid board with a ton of features, good sound, a light and snappy typing experience, and a brand new tactile Cherry switch (with Ducky) to try. If you’re considering a Ducky, the One 3 series is definitely worth buying.The product described in this article is provided by the manufacturer for evaluation purposes.
https://www.mmorpg.com/hardware-reviews/ducky-one-3-sf-daybreak-mechanical-keyboard-review-2000123805 Ducky One 3 SF Daybreak mechanical keyboard review