[REVIEW] Ducky Shine 5 Backlit Mechanical Keyboard (Nature White Cherry MX)

For anyone that is looking for the perfect mechanical keyboard, especially for command heavy titles like ARMA 3 or Star Citizen, I have been doing a ton of research and I have come across a real winner. 

I am writing this article/review/resource simply because I wasn't able to find much information about this particular keyboard save for a few choice YouTube videos. It makes perfect sense though because this keyboard is new to the market and it's not your typical Logitech, Corsair, SteelSeries, or Razer that can be found on Newegg. This mechanical keyboard is from a little known Taiwan based company with a huge fan following; a company called Ducky. 

Before I continue with this detailed and lengthy review, I want to be perfectly transparent and state that I acquired this keyboard with personal funds and that the product was not provided to me for a favorable review. I am merely writing this review to help others reach an informed decision and to help spread good word about the joys of using a mechanical keyboard.

Introducing the Ducky Shine 5

 The Ducky Shine 5 comes with an optional "Year of the Goat" spacebar, I love it!

The Ducky Shine 5 comes with an optional "Year of the Goat" spacebar, I love it!

The Ducky Shine 5 is an ANSI standard keyboard with individually back-lit keys that doesn't require the use of any custom software and has the exclusive to the brand new Cherry MX RGB Nature White switches. 

The individually back-lit keys can be custom mapped to match the control scheme of your favorite games. The Shine 5 provides up to 16 color profiles at a time (7 single color LED modes, 7 RGB LED blending modes, and 2 LED Zone customization modes), I'll talk more on this a bit later.

Without the need for custom software, everything from custom colors and macros can be configured on the fly all without having to ALT+TAB in and out of a game, to configure control software. This also means that you can finally look at the control setup in-game and map colors to corresponding keys at the same time, a feature that currently no other keyboard offers that I am aware of. This also allows the keyboard to go from home, to work, to the laptop without having to install and maintain software on each one as the settings are saved in the keyboard. 

There are many additional details worth mentioning but first let me talk about the exclusive Cherry MX RGB switches that are used on the Ducky Shine 5.

A new kind of linear, introducing the Cherry MX RGB Nature White.

In 2015, Cherry, famous for the MX switches used in gaming keyboards everywhere, announced the release of a new MX switch to their RGB line-up. Called the Cherry MX RGB Nature White, this new switch is use exclusively by DuckyChannel on the Ducky Shine 5 and the upcoming tenkeyless Vortex POK3R.

 The 2015 Cherry MX RGB Nature White switch.

The 2015 Cherry MX RGB Nature White switch.

1. They are linear switches just like the Cherry MX Black and MX Red switches but slot somewhere right in middle in terms of pressure. The MX Black requires 60g of force, the MX Red requires 45g, but the MX RGB Nature White requires 55g of force. This means that they are a perfect compromise between being fast to go up (higher spring pressure) and fast to go down (lower spring pressure).

2. The MX RGB Nature white adds to the Cherry's existing MX RGB profiles (red, brown, blue). Each individual switch contains a lens and a large scattering surface to allow uniform illumination of each switch on the keyboard.

Packaging and contents.

The packaging is nothing to rave home about, everything is pretty much standard affair here.
There is no fancy magnetic flip-up cover with a clear window.
There is no cutout to test the feel of the keys.
There is no glossy interior box that screams "1337 G4M3R"
There is no faux velvet keyboard bag.
There are no stickers, case badges, or promotional material.

With Ducky, it's all business and the Shine 5 does very little to build excitement as you open the package. To be perfectly honest, I didn't buy this keyboard for the packaging but it's something that I have always appreciated with companies like Fanatec.

Contents:
- 108 key Ducky Shine 5 Mechanical Keyboard with double-shot keycaps.
- Optional "Year of the Goat" spacebar.
- Optional "Menu" key.
- 4' USB to mini-USB cable
- Custom Ducky keypuller
- High quality 14 page color manual (not some flimsy folded paper with poor printing).
- Warranty/ Registration slip.

The custom Ducky keypuller that is included is not nearly as good as the standard keypuller in my opinion, but it gets the job done. The arms that reach around the keys are really thick and require more force than necessary to get the arms pressed around the base of the key. This is problematic because it also has to press down on the surrounding two keys with a lot of force. The problem is that certain keys like the UP arrow are more difficult to extract than they should be due to the bezel.

By default, the double-shot ABS spacebar that comes with the Shine 5 is very subtle with the Ducky logo in the bottom right with a few translucent dots that allow the color to shine through. I welcome the understated look but personally I chose the "Year of the Goat" spacebar for it's uniqueness.

A welcome addition to the Shine 5's list of accessories is the optional MENU key. I know a lot of users have scoured the mechanical keyboard market looking everywhere for an individually backlit keyboard that offers a menu button and here it is! If you desire to replace the FN button to the right of the right Windows key, you can do it with the Shine 5.

The Shine 5

I come from a 2008 Steelseries 7G mechanical keyboard with Cherry MX Black switches that weighed a 'staggering' 2lbs 8oz (1.134kg) and I was quite impressed to see that the Shine 5, with all its features, weighs in at just 2lbs 9oz (1.162kg). With two double-layer printed circuit boards resting atop a steel backplate, a white acrylic key-mounting layer, an ARM M3 micro-controller, 108 double-shot ABS keycaps, and larger than industry standard LEDs, the Ducky Shine 5 is a very impressive piece of hardware.

2 layers.png

The keyboard itself shares the same unique shape and size as the Ducky Shine 4. I know a lot of Ducky fans prefer the simple rectangular housing that was used with the Shine 1, 2, and 3, but I really like the sophisticated look and shape of their new housing.  

Keyboard length: 17.92" (45.51cm)

Keyboard width: 6.10" (15.49cm)

The plastic housing has a nice luxurious looking hairline finish to it that helps to prevent fingerprints but do not let the word 'plastic' dissuade you here, this is not a bad thing. The plastic used on all Ducky keyboards have a nice heft to them and it's clear they are built to handle many years worth of abuse. My only nitpick here is that the surrounding bezel of the keyboard is needlessly more wide than it needs to be. Ducky specifically markets other keyboards with thin bezels so I found this to be a surprising omission on the Shine 5.

 Keyboard bezel width: .45" (1.15cm)

Keyboard bezel width: .45" (1.15cm)

I've also seen a few posts where users had hoped that the body of the Shine 5 would be made out of aluminum but I am really glad that it isn't. I feel that if the housing were actually made of aluminum, the keyboard would be cold to the touch and perhaps a tad bit overbearing. As it stands, it looks and feels very premium under my hands and I can easily see it lasting well into the next decade. 

It's also worth noting that I tend to avoid anodized aluminum products that see a lot of constant hand use. Back in the day my wife had the highly sought after Moshi Celesta keyboard and while the keyboard was decent, the black anodizing eventually started to rub away, making the keyboard look beat.

As for the typical concerns on keyboard flex, with the Shine 5 you would have to intentionally pick it up and bend it with a lot of opposing force on each end, before seeing any minor keyboard flex. Remember, there is a solid steel backplate in there.

A first for Ducky, the Shine 5 comes with high quality double-shot ABS keycaps (previously laser etched standard ABS keycaps on the Shine 4). This is a very important distinction to make from standard ABS keycaps as the lettering is actually injected through the keycap, to the surface of each key. This allows the lettering to look extremely crisp and precise, along with providing evenly backlit characters. Another added benefit is that because the inside mold travels to the surface of the key, you never have to worry about the lettering fading over time or browning from grime. Double-shot keycaps are the most durable of any type. 

The keys used on the Shine 5 are of the OEM profile so switching to custom Cherry keycaps will not be an issue. They are matte black in color and highly resistant to fingerprints. After attempting to "crush key like tiny sparrow egg", I've confirmed that they are extremely rigid. Every key, except for the optional Year of the Goat spacebar also has an nice 'grainy' texture that's reminiscent of a PBT keycap. 

Left: Doubleshot ABS. Right: ABS

Left: Ducky Shine 5, Right: Steelseries 7G

To help measure the quality of a double-shot keycap on the Shine 5, I decided to check the thickness of a key's wall using my digital caliper. For comparison results, I used a standard ABS keycap from my Steelseries 7G (bottom right). As it turns out, the wall of a double-shot keycap is .27mm more thick than a standard ABS keycap. Even without the scientific results presented before you, I could tell the difference by the way each key rolled around in my palm.

Another distinguishable difference was the way one keyboard sounded compared to the other.
Immediately, I could tell that the Shine 5 was far more quiet than my Steelseries 7G ever was. This can be attributed to a number of different things from the double-shot keycaps, to the modern switch design, or even all the way down to those 2 double layer PCBs. Please bear in mind that this isn't a matter of me showcasing how amazingly 'quiet' the keyboard is, it's just me sharing comparison results to my previous mechanical keyboard, the Steelseries 7G.

To better illustrate the difference in audible noise, I set my Audio-Technica AT2020 condenser microphone 12" away to the right of my seating position and recorded the same sentence being typed on both keyboards. I apologize in advance for the occasional puppy snore.

Settings used to record the following two audio samples: AAC, 256 kbps, 48 kHZ, Stereo

I have to say, I am very pleased to have a mechanical keyboard that isn't so jarringly loud. It's not like the noise ever bothered me at any point within the last 8 years of ownership, it's just that the new 'klack' is so much more satisfying than the old 'klack'.

While it may sound like all praise here, I do have a few small gripes to get out of the way.

I would have preferred to see Ducky take the extra step to use the more durable PBT+POM Double-shot keycaps like Vortex (unfortunately as you can see from the video, the numbers aren't backlit).

PBT is a much harder plastic than ABS and as a result PBT keycaps don't wear down to a sheen over time like ABS does.
POM is just another term for delrin, an extremely resilient type of plastic commonly used in the automotive and medical industry for it's high strength and resistance to abrasion.

PBT keycaps provide a more satisfying 'thud' upon each keypress instead of the more hollow sound of ABS. To me, it doesn't matter so much that PBT is also resistant to chemicals and heat because that's not the kind of abuse that I plan to subject to my keyboard to, but is it too much to ask for a keyboard of this caliber to look the same, year after year? I don't think so. I personally believe that the quality of PBT keycaps are justified at this price.

Another small gripe is that the optional spacebar is not textured the same as all the other keys. It's also not double-shot like the default Ducky spacebar so there is a slightly less appealing sound to it but it certainly looks cool.

While I am on the subject of the spacebar, a good seating position is absolutely required in order to prevent the LEDs from burning directly into your retinas. I've not had an issue personally(sit+stand) but I can see how it could be an issue for some. I've seen the same issue mentioned with the Shine 4 and typically users just cover up a small portion of the diode with some black masking tape and call it a day.

My last gripe about this keyboard is that the "+" key and "ENTER" key on the numpad are left justified for some weird reason. I'm not so overly particular that this will drive me nuts, but it's something that I would like to see fixed in the future.

Moving on, the sprue on each keycap is located at top of each key facing away from the user. It is a result of the molding process that would cost far too much to cleanup manually. While the location of the sprue is standard to most keycaps, there are certain plastic manufactures that do it on the front of each key to cut costs and it can really cheapen the way a keyboard looks. When covering all the details of a mechanical keyboard in this price-range, I felt that this was a pretty important detail to note. Definitely no complaints here.

A welcome feature to this keyboard are the vibration dampening removable feet. If you like an angled keyboard great, if not, they are easily removable. They may look soft like a rubber eraser but they are pretty sturdy.

On the backside of the keyboard we see the signature Ducky logo embossed into the plastic. Next to the logo is a laser etched aluminum sticker that has the model and serial number. Aww yiss, peel off that plastic! MMMmmm.

Another nice touch with the Shine 5 is the angled mini-USB connection. This allows users to switch to their own shorter or a longer cable depending on how far away the computer is from their seating position. I praise their design choice here because it's near impossible to accidentally unplug even if you tug on it. I would have preferred to see the USB cable sleeved in paracord personally but because it doesn't move around like a mouse cable, I won't be too picky. I'll probably end up sleeving it myself or perhaps I'll buy a nice Pexon cable instead.

Like most high-end gaming keyboards on the market, the Shine 5 has a 1000Hz USB polling rate. This means that 1000 times a second, the keyboard is sending its input signal(s) to your PC. Some would argue that sending information to the PC every 1ms is pointless when the Cherry MX switches have an anti-bouncing detection delay of ~5ms but that's completely irrelevant in this context. Truth be told, measuring the input every 1ms is crucial to gamers. The best example I saw around the net was playing a game of Super Meat Boy. If Meat Boy has to travel 2000 pixels across the screen in a single second, the press of your spacebar could make Meat Boy jump anywhere along the way, every 2 pixels. For comparison, that same experience on a standard keyboard that reports at just 125Hz per second, would allow you to make Meat Boy jump every 16 pixels. That's a huge difference when it comes to precision.

Also, unlike your everyday standard keyboard that supports just a few keys being pressed at a time, the Shine 5 supports an infinite number of keys. This function is known as N-Key Rollover , or NKRO for short, because each key can be detected independently, all at the same time. To help understand why this is, most affordable keyboards use a simple matrix circuit to reduce cost and design complexity and as a result only 2, 3, 4, or 6 keys can be registered at a time. If your keyboard cannot recognize more than 2, 3, 4, or 6 keys, any additional key-presses will be "ghosted" i.e. dropped (this is called Ghosting). 
If you have ever played an intense FPS title on a cheap keyboard, you have most likely experienced the frustration caused when additional key-presses are being ghosted.

The Ducky Shine 5 has 100% anti-ghosting with full NKRO over USB, a standard feature among quality keyboard manufactures.
For comparison:
- The best Razer keyboards only support 10 key rollover over USB.
- The new Steelseries APEX M800 support 100% anti-ghosting with full NKRO over USB.
- The new Corsair K95, K70, K65 support 100% anti-ghosting with full NKRO over USB.
- The new Logitech Orion Spark supports 100% anti-ghosting with full NKRO over USB.

The easiest way to test N-key rollover on your current keyboard is to hold down both the left and right SHIFT keys and attempt to type "the quick brown fox jumps right over the lazy dog"
Most keyboards will type something like "TE UIC RWN JUS VER TE LAY DG"  but if you have a decent keyboard, it will look like "THE QUICK BROWN FOX JUMPS OVER THE LAZY DOG"

To see what your keyboard is truly capable of, you can test your keyboards NKRO by clicking on the image below and pressing down on as many keys as possible. 

 This is a picture of my palm pressing down on as many keys as I could. How does yours look?

This is a picture of my palm pressing down on as many keys as I could. How does yours look?

On normal keyboards, when the Num lock, Scroll lock, or Caps locks key is toggled, a green led, somewhere on the keyboard will turn on or off. With the Shine 5, Ducky didn't bother to include some awkwardly placed LEDs far away from the context of each key. Instead, when a key is toggled, the light behind that keycap will turn on/off with it. Simple, effective, and brilliant!

While were are on the subject of backlighting, with a keycap removed, you can see that the MX RGB Nature White housing is perfectly clear. This does an excellent job scattering the light as you can see below.

The width of all letters on the keyboard are 3.5mm wide. Not super tiny and not in your face like you're as blind as a bat.

Onto the cool stuff; Lighting Modes!

The Shine 5 supports several really unique lighting presets by using FN+F9 or FN+10. Some people love lighting modes, some people hate them but in the end, it's ultimately about giving users a lot of choices.

FN+F9 controls Single-color lighting modes.
1. 100% Full Backlight mode.
2. Breathing mode.
3. Wave mode.
4. Snake Marquee mode.
5. Reactive mode.
6. Ripple mode.
7. Aurora mode.
8. Backlighting off

The colors of each mode are really simple to change.
FN+F5 controls the brightness of the color Red.
FN+F6 controls the brightness of the color Green.
FN+F7 controls the brightness of the color Blue.
FN+F8 Erases the current color choices.

With each color, there are 7 levels of brightness and any combination of them will result in a different mix of those colors. To adjust the brightness of that color, simple press that same key again, up to 7 times. So if you want a deep purple,  FN+(F5)x7 (bright red) combined with FN+(F7)x7 (bright blue) will result in a deep purple. If you do FN+(F5)x7 (bright red) combined with FN+(F6)x5 (somewhat bright green), you get the glorious orange that I have been using in this review.

Update: /u/falkentyne on Reddit has informed me that there is also an undocumented direct PWM cycling mode that can be accessed by holding FN+(any combination of F5/F6/F7). This function will quickly scroll through the color palette but it allows for 64 levels of a color's brightness as opposed to just 7.
Holding FN+F5 scrolls through several brightness levels of the color Red.
Holding FN+F6 scrolls through several brightness levels of the color Green.
Holding FN+F7 scrolls through several brightness levels of the color Blue.
Holding FN+(F5+F6) controls the color palette between a combination of Red and Green.
Holding FN+(F6+F7) controls the color palette between a combination of Green and Blue.
Holding FN+(F5+F7) controls the color palette between a combination of Red and Blue.

If you would rather save time, there is an even faster method that can be accessed by pressing FN+Spacebar. With that combination pressed, all 108 keys will represent a different color in the spectrum. With a simple press of the desired color, all the keys will automatically change to match.

In Wave mode, pressing FN+(F5)x7, will add a solid band of red that covers the width of a few keys and scroll to the right. If you then press FN+(F6)x7 to add green to the mix, a band of green will appear and there will be a wonderful soft gradient of Yellow and Orange between the band of Red and Green. Then, if you press FN+(F7)x7, Blue will be added, creating the most beautiful scrolling rainbow effect.

With each mode, the speed of the effect can be controlled by pressing FN+Left Arrow (slower) or FN+Right Arrow (faster)

FN+F10 controls Multi-color lighting modes.
1. Color cycling mode.
2. Wave mode.
3. Snake Marquee mode.
4. Raindrop mode.
5. Reactive mode.
6. Ripple mode.
7. Aurora mode.
8. Backlighting off.

Like before, the speed of the effect can be controlled by pressing FN+Left Arrow (slower) or FN+Right Arrow (faster)

Here is a quick video I made to quickly showcase FN+F10 lighting effects.

Customization Modes and Profiles

Beyond those unique lighting modes, the Shine 5 also supports custom individually backlit key presets called 'Customization Modes' that allow you to match certain keys to your favorite control schemes.

Whether you're a Photoshop expert or a hardcore gamer, there are 6 profiles in total and each profile can store 2 CMs. 

To switch from one profile to another simply press FN+(1-6). For example, FN+1 would switch to profile 1 and FN+2 would switch to profile 2.

Once you're in the desired profile, you can create your two custom presets on the fly.
FN+PrtSc will start the recording of 'CM1', Caps Lock + Scroll Lock will end the recording.
FN+Pause will start the recording of 'CM2', Caps Lock + Scroll Lock will end the recording.

Once you have started the recording, you can change the 'paintbrush' color that will be applied to the keys by holding Caps Lock + F5/ F6/ F7 (to control a shade of Red/ Green/ Blue). The color of the Caps Lock will change to your desired color and once you're ready to apply that color to individual keys, simply let go and press down on any keys that you would like to retain your current color. 

Rinse and repeat this process for all the colors that you wish to use and when you're done, press Caps Lock + Scroll Lock to end the recording. 

While it may seem like a lot to take in, it's very intuitive and easy to learn. Here is a video of the procedure.

Using the instructions above, I was able to create two custom presets for Star Citizen quite easily. One of them is for when I am in piloting my Hornet F7C-M and the other is for when I am killing hostiles at Kareah Station. 

This is the setup that I use when I am in flight.

This is the setup that I use when I am on foot.

Switching from one profile to the next is very easy as you can see in this video.

Advanced Features

On the back on the keyboard is a nifty set of 4 small dip switches. 

These dip switches can be set to modify the way the bottom function keys work. It wouldn't make much sense if I were to talk about every combination so I will let this helpful diagram do all the talking for me.

My personal favorite dip switch setting can be found in the 3rd row. This setting allows me to play intense games without having to worry about accidentally pressing the dreaded, "Windows button of death'.

As you might have noticed, the 4th dip switch is missing from that diagram. This is because the 4th dip switch is strictly for controlling N-Key rollover functionality. By default, it's set to "Off" which is N-Key Rollover mode. If you change the switch to the "On" setting, the keyboard will function as 6-Key rollover keyboard. While that may sound strange at first, there are certain KVMs and Linux operating systems that will only function with 6-Key. 

Also, If you're like me and you enjoy spending hours upon hours optimizing or troubleshooting computers through BIOS settings, you may find yourself in a real pickle when using a keyboard without 6-key support. 6-key support might also be needed for "Power on by Keyboard" BIOS options but I have yet to test it. Just keep in mind that the keyboard needs to be unplugged for the switch to be flipped and it has to remain unplugged for an additional 15 seconds before plugging it back in.

USB Repeat Acceleration

This advanced feature allows professional keyboard users to fine tune the delay and repeat of registers that are being received by the keyboard and sent to the computer. 

usb repeat.PNG

I personally won't see much use for this feature but for extremely fast typists or competitive RTS players, I can see how these slight/insane adjustments would come in handy. 

To alter these settings, just hold down FN+ESC for 3 seconds.
When altering the repeat delay, FN+(F1/F2/F3/F4) will move around a RED color.
FN+F4 is the most aggressive setting:
"This is a test" becomes "tttthhiiisss s   iiiss    aaa    tttteeesssttt"

When altering the repeat rate, FN+ALT+(F1/F2/F3/F4) will move around a GREEN color.
FN+ALT+F4 is the most aggressive setting.
Holding down t for 1 second "ttt" becomes "ttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt"

Perhaps this feature would come in handy if I were one of the worlds fastest typists or I was a professional Starcraft player. Also, if someone were to play a game where spamming a certain key over and over again yields better results; this could be setup like a turbo button (cheater!).

Macro Recording options

At this point in my review, you're probably pretty disappointed that the Ducky Shine 5 does absolutely everything but make toast. Well get ready to flip that frown upside-down because I am happy to tell you that it can in fact make toast.

You see, the Shine 5 supports custom Macro recording in Profile modes 2 through 6. The default profile (profile 1) will forever remain void of custom macros giving you ability to do some really unique things on the fly without screwing anything up.

To create a macro, simply switch to any profile besides Profile #1 (default).
Then, press FN followed by the CTRL key(very important) and hold both keys down for 3 seconds.
Once the Caps Lock starts to blink, let go and press any key that you would like to save a macro to.
Then, type out the word "Toast" and press FN followed by the CTRL key to save that Macro.
Now, you too can make Toast (<- Typed using a macro in Profile 3) <- Typed using Profile 1.

What's really cool about this macro function is that it records exactly what you type, with the same delays between each keypress. So if you're a big MMORPG player, looking to make your very own spellweaver, now you can. There is even a way to add additional delays without having to wait. See the manual for more information or check out the screencap below.

Media Keys

The Shine 5 offers a list of 24(!) media keys. These functions are disabled by default so interested users have to follow the instructions below in order to set them up.

Outside of that, there are 4 additional keys in the top right for more commonly used functions.

The "Cal" key opens Calculator which is a surprisingly welcome feature. Next it are the standard 3 volume keys; mute, volume down, and volume up.

 Ducky Shine 5 volume

Conclusion

The Ducky Shine 5 is an amazingly well thought out piece of hardware that is designed to please the needs of any and all computer enthusiasts. From work to play, this is the perfect zero-compromise keyboard that is built to handle any task you throw at it. Compared to other 'similar' products on the market, the Ducky Shine 5 offers a really appealing pricepoint at just $165. 

While, some membrane user's eyes just popped out of their skull, this is actually an extremely generous price for a top-of-the-line mechanical keyboard that is jam-packed with features. To top it all off, the Shine 5 doesn't require any additional software. This allows the keyboard to save all your favorite settings and still function on a tablet, laptop, or desktop (Mac/Linux/BIOS/KVM support too!). 

The new Cherry MX RGB Nature White switches feel fantastic to use. I absolutely loved my old MX Blacks but these switches are the perfect balance that I have been waiting a very long time for (the MX Reds were always too soft for me)

Sure, I had some extremely small gripes to make but in the end, those don't detract much from the overall experience and I personally feel that this is the best full-size keyboard that money can buy.

Should you get this keyboard?
- If you're a membrane user, this would be a substantial upgrade for you!
- If you're a Razer user, this would be a sizable upgrade.
- If you want a tenkeyless keyboard, these are not the keyboards you're looking for.
- If you already have a Shine 3 or a Shine 4, it may not be worth the cost to upgrade as Ducky has essentially taken the same formula that made the Shine 3 and Shine 4 so great and added just a little icing to the top. I'll leave that between you and your wallet to decide though.

Pros:
- Excellent build quality.
- Doesn't look like an abomination.
- ANSI standard layout w/ MENU button support.
- Standard size, not XXL to accommodate separate macro keys.
- No software needed for lighting/ N-key rollover support.
- Apple/Linux support (dip switch can force 6 key rollover).
- Works on tablets and Microsoft Surface.
- Thoughtful design choices.
- Extremely bright and even backlighting on every key.
- The new Cherry MX RGB Nature White switches feel great.
- Double-shot ABS keycaps are rock solid.
- USB cable is detachable.
- Easy to configure custom colors.
- Easy to configure Macros.
- Easy to read instructions.

- Calculator button is surprisingly welcome.
Optional Firmware updates in the future.
- Highly competitive price-point.
- It makes toast!

Cons:
- ABS Keycaps. Would have preferred the use of PBT and/or POM.
- Left justified "+" and "Enter" keys on the numpad look out of place.

Other thoughts/ general nitpicking:

- Keypuller is less than desirable
- Boring packaging.
- No additional USB ports. 
- No additional media keys (just volume control and a dedicated calculator button).
- Poor seating position puts spacebar LEDs right into line of sight.
- USB cable is not sleeved.
- The surrounding edge the keyboard could be thinner.
- Optional YOTG spacebar has a different texture and is not made of double-shot ABS.

The official tally

Performance: 10
Aesthetics: 9.9
Functionality: 10
Construction: 9.8
Value: 9.8

Reihen's Rating: 9.9/10


At time of writing, the Ducky Shine 5 with Cherry MX RGB Nature White switches can be purchased at mechanicalkeyboards.com for $165 w/ free shipping. You can also order the Shine 5 with Cherry MX Red, MX Black, MX Brown, or MX Blue switches here.

I would also like to give a huge thanks to the extremely talented pixel artist jb1830 over at Geekhack for making Ducky Shine 5 pixelart at my request. It seemed like a tall request at first but he managed to pull it off. Spectacular!

Shine 5 - Year of the Goat

Shine 5 - Default spacebar

Ducky Shine 5 Firmware Update Procedure

Update 2/4/2016: /u/Falkentyne on Reddit has kindly informed me of three very small almost insignificant issues that exist with the Ducky Shine 5 that can be solved with a firmware update.

"BTW update the firmware if you haven't already, though I'm pretty sure it probably comes with 1.07, but that has dip switches that don't work originally on powering on (always acts like they're set to all off)."

Luckily, my Shine 5 came with firmware version 1.04 and it didn't have any issues with the dip switches from my testing. If you have any issues with your dip switches, it's quite possible your Shine 5 is on firmware version 1.07. Then Falkentyne proceeded to tell me about two more small issues.

"Every version of the shine 5 before 1.07 has the FN spacebar palette repeat bug where you activate the palette, select a color, then press spacebar and the spacebar gets stuck and repeats. You can try that for yourself. 1.07 and 1.08 fix that."

Sure enough, pressing FN+Spacebar, selecting a color, and pressing spacebar again caused the spacebar to continuously send a signal to the PC until I pressed another key. Firmware updates version 1.07 and 1.08 fix that issue but as Falkentyne mentioned before, firmware version 1.07 introduced an issue with the dip switch functionality.

"Reactive mode advanced would eventually "drop" a color channel completely until all three colors drop and the key remains black (1.03 YOTG and 1.07 Shine 5 fixed that). That's not something anyone would catch right away. This bug was present on the Shine 4 and Shine 2108 S2 RGB and carried over to the Shine 5"

Now there is something I would have never noticed! 

To solve these small issues, Ducky offers a firmware update AP_159US.1.08 (1.84mb)

It's a single lightweight file that will open up a small Window like the one you see below. To perform the firmware update, simply click on the button labelled "OK"

If you experience any issues launching Ducky's Firmware Update Utility from your computer, it might be due to Windows Smartscreen. Please disable it to continue and be sure to select the option 'Don’t do anything (turn off Windows SmartScreen)' before clicking 'OK'.

If you experience an issue with the Firmware Update Utility hanging or becoming unresponsive after clicking on the 'OK' button there is no need to worry, the utility hasn't actually done anything and it won't brick your keyboard. This is likely due to one of two possible issues caused by Windows 10. First, you can try setting the compatibility mode to Windows 8 and if that doesn't do the trick, just unplug the keyboard and plug it into a different USB port. I happened to switch from USB 3.0 to USB 2.0 and it worked for me but I don't believe USB 3.0 was the issue.

Overall, the firmware update process took no more than 5 seconds to complete and the best part is that none of my profiles or customization modes were erased from memory during the procedure.


If I have made any factual errors in this article, or if you have any additional suggestions, please feel free to let me know in the comments section below.

If you enjoyed the read, please be sure to share this review with your friends and feel free to donate so that I can keep writing detailed articles like this one. 

Thank you for all your support,
Drew
Owner of Virtus Gaming