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Ducky One 2 Keyboard Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Reviewed Aug 27, 2020 at 08:10 am
Ducky One 2 Picture
7.2
Mixed usage
7.3
Gaming
1.0
Mobile/Tablet
7.8
Office
7.1
Programming
Connectivity Wired
Size
Full-size (100%)
Mechanical
Yes

The Ducky One 2 is a versatile keyboard that's available in different sizes and with a wide variety of Cherry MX switches, including Brown, Red, Blue, White, etc. You can also purchase it in different colors, including with white and RGB backlighting, although the Horizon variant we tested doesn't have backlighting. Every key is macro-programmable, but sadly, it doesn't have dedicated software, so all programming is done directly on the keyboard. Our unit has Cherry MX Brown switches that have an outstanding typing quality and offer good tactile feedback. Even though the keyboard doesn't have a wrist rest, it's still comfortable to type on and doesn't get tiring over time.

Our Verdict

7.2 Mixed usage

The Ducky One 2 is a good overall keyboard. It's mainly designed to be a gaming keyboard and even though our unit doesn't have any backlighting, there are variants with full RGB backlighting. It's available in a wide variety of switches, and the Cherry MX Brown switches offer good tactile feedback. All keys are macro-programmable, but sadly, it doesn't have dedicated software. It doesn't have a wrist rest, but on the upside, it doesn't get too tiring typing on this keyboard.

Pros
  • Cherry MX Brown switches offer outstanding typing quality.
  • Every key is macro-programmable.
  • Excellent build quality.
Cons
  • No dedicated software.
  • No wrist rest.
7.3 Gaming

The Ducky One 2 is a good gaming keyboard. It scores lower because our unit doesn't have backlighting, although there are variants available with backlighting, which would likely score much better. It's available in a variety of Cherry MX switches, every key is macro-programmable, and the PBT keycaps feel great. Sadly, it doesn't have dedicated software.

Pros
  • Every key is macro-programmable.
  • Excellent build quality.
  • Available in wide variety of Cherry MX switches.
Cons
  • No dedicated software.
  • No wrist rest.
1.0 Mobile/Tablet

The Ducky One 2 is a wired keyboard that isn't designed to be used with mobile devices.

7.8 Office

The Ducky One 2 is good for office use. The Cherry MX Brown switches on our unit provide outstanding typing quality, and even though it doesn't have a wrist rest, typing on this keyboard still feels comfortable. It's a well-built keyboard. It's fully compatible with Windows, and only a few non-alphanumeric keys don't work on macOS.

Pros
  • Cherry MX Brown switches offer outstanding typing quality.
  • Excellent build quality.
Cons
  • No wrist rest.
7.1 Programming

The Ducky One 2 is good for programming. It scores lower because it doesn't have any backlighting, but you can get variants with full RGB backlighting. Every key is macro-programmable, and you have to set macros directly on the keyboard itself. It doesn't have a wrist rest but the Cherry MX Brown switches on our unit offer outstanding typing quality and it doesn't get too tiring typing on this keyboard.

Pros
  • Cherry MX Brown switches offer outstanding typing quality.
  • Every key is macro-programmable.
  • Excellent build quality.
Cons
  • No dedicated software.
  • No wrist rest.
  • 7.2 Mixed usage
  • 7.3 Gaming
  • 1.0 Mobile/Tablet
  • 7.8 Office
  • 7.1 Programming

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Dimensions
Height
1.5" (3.8 cm)
Width 17.5" (44.5 cm)
Depth 5.3" (13.4 cm)
Weight 2.4 lbs (1.1 kg)

This is a full-size keyboard that takes up a good amount of space on a desk. If you want something smaller, it's also available in a TKL size and 60%, the Ducky One 2 Mini.

8.5
Design
Build Quality

Excellent build quality. Its body is made out of solid plastic that doesn't flex all that much. The doubleshot PBT keycaps are of good quality and feel nice to touch, and even though there's a slight wobble to the keys when typing, it's not very noticeable. The feet are solid, and the keyboard doesn't slide around easily. Sadly, the included cable feels cheap and generic, much like other Ducky keyboards we've reviewed. There's a track underneath the keyboard for cable routing that allows you to choose which side of the keyboard the cable comes out.

6.5
Design
Ergonomics
Board Design
Straight
Incline Settings
2
Wrist Rest No

Okay ergonomics. There are two incline settings, but there's no included wrist rest. However, typing on this keyboard doesn't cause too much fatigue. If you want a keyboard that's more comfortable to type on, check out the Corsair K60 RGB PRO Low Profile.

0
Design
Backlighting
Backlighting No
Color No Backlighting
Brightness Settings
No
Individually Backlit Keys
No

This variant doesn't have backlighting, but there are variants of this keyboard with full RGB and white backlighting. If you'd prefer something with backlighting, check out the Drop ENTR.

Design
Cable
Detachable
Yes (Wired Only Keyboard)
Length 5.8 ft (1.8 m)
Connector (Keyboard side) USB type-C

The included USB-C cable feels cheap and kinks rather easily. Luckily, it's detachable and you can replace it with a cable you prefer.

0
Design
Wireless Versatility
Bluetooth
No
Proprietary Receiver
No
Multi-Device Pairing
No
Battery Type
No Batteries

This keyboard is wired-only and can't be used wirelessly.

Design
Extra Features
Media Keys
Hot Keys
Macro Programmable Keys
All
Extra Controls
No
USB Passthrough
No
Numpad Yes
Windows Key Lock
Yes

This keyboard has a ton of features. You can set macros to any key and recording is done directly on the keyboard since there's no dedicated software. Instructions on how to record macros are in the manual, which is available online. Like the Ducky One 2 Mini, there are DIP switches located underneath the keyboard to remap the location of the Windows Key, Caps Lock, Fn key, etc. There's also a layer of media hotkeys you can access by pressing the Fn and Windows keys.

Design
In The Box

  • Ducky One 2 Horizon keyboard
  • USB-C cable
  • Orange Enter, Backspace, Escape keycaps
  • 1x black Enter keycap
  • 4x orange arrow keycaps
  • 2x branded orange keycaps
  • Keycap removal tool
  • Quick start guide

Note that our unit didn't come with an instruction manual. We don't know if this is common or a problem with our unit alone because we received a manual with the Ducky One 2 Mini. Luckily, if you don't receive a manual, it's available for download online.

Typing Experience
Typing Experience
Keystrokes
Key Switches
Cherry MX Brown
Feel
Tactile
Actuation Force
42.1 gf
Pre-Travel
2.20 mm
Total Travel
4.18 mm

The unit we tested has Cherry MX Brown switches, but this keyboard is available in a wide variety of Cherry MX switches, so you can get the ones you prefer. They perform very similarly to other Ducky keyboards we've tested that have Brown switches, such as the Ducky Mecha Mini. They provide good tactile feedback and require some force to actuate, but not a whole lot.

9.0
Typing Experience
Typing Quality

The Cherry MX Brown switches on our unit offer an outstanding typing quality. The PBT keycaps feel nice to the touch and the Brown switches provide enough tactile feedback so you know when you actuate a key. The keys are well-spaced out, which helps reduce typos. Even though it doesn't have a wrist rest, typing on this keyboard still feels comfortable and it doesn't get too fatiguing over time.

Note that this keyboard is available in a wide variety of Cherry MX switches, so each switch provides a different typing quality.

Typing Experience
Typing Noise
Noise
Quiet

The Cherry MX Brown switches on our unit are quiet and won't bother others around you. However, if you get this with Cherry MX Blue switches, they're loud and may bother others in an open-office environment.

Software and Operating System
4.7
Software and Operating System
Software
Software No Software
Account Required
No Software
Profiles
6+
Onboard Memory
Yes
Cloud Sync
No
Backlight Programming
No
Macro Programming
Yes
Software Windows Compatible
No
Software macOS Compatible
No

Unlike the Ducky Shine 7, this keyboard doesn't have dedicated software. All macro programming is done directly on the keyboard and it has onboard memory, so you can use your macros on another computer. You can download the instruction manual online to see how to record macros on the keyboard. If you'd like companion software to customize the backlight, consider the Ducky One 2 RGB TKL.

7.2
Software and Operating System
Keyboard Compatibility
Windows Full
macOS Partial
Linux Partial
Android No
iOS No
iPadOS No

This keyboard has decent compatibility. It's fully compatible with Windows and only the 'Calculator' hotkey doesn't work on Linux. On macOS, the 'Print Screen', 'Pause/Break', and 'Calculator' hotkeys don't work. If you want a keyboard that's fully compatible with Linux, consider the Das Keyboard Model S Professional.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

We reviewed the Ducky One 2 Horizon keyboard. It's available in different styles and sizes, which you can see in the table below. Note that the 60% size keyboards are known as 'Mini'. For the most part, we expect our results to be valid for the other full-sized variants, except for backlighting and keystrokes. You can purchase each variant with a wide variety of Cherry MX switches.

Model Sizes Color  Backlighting Notes
Blue LED TKL, Full Black Blue  
Bon Voyage TKL, Full White/Blue -  
Bright Lilac Full Lilac -  
Good in Blue 60%, Full Blue -  
Horizon 60%, TKL, Full Blue -  
Midnight TKL, Full Black -  
RGB 60%, 65%, TKL, Full Black RGB  
RGB Razer Edition Full Black RGB Collaboration with Razer
Skyline 60%, TKL, Full Gray -  
Tuxedo Full White/Black -  
White Edition  TKL, Full White White  
White LED  TKL, Full Black White  

If someone notices that their unit doesn't correspond to our review, please let us know in the discussions and we'll update the review.

Compared To Other Keyboards

The Ducky One 2 is a mechanical keyboard available in different sizes that you can get with different Cherry MX switches. You can also get it with or without backlighting. Not many keyboards we've tested are available in different variants like this one, and even though it doesn't have dedicated software like the Razer BlackWidow or the Corsair K70 RAPIDFIRE, most gamers should still be happy with this keyboard. Also see our recommendations for the best mechanical keyboards, the best gaming keyboards, and the best keyboards for programming.

Ducky Shine 7

The Ducky Shine 7 is better than the Ducky One 2 for the most part. The Shine 7 is better-built because it has a metal frame. It also has dedicated software. Both keyboards are available in a wide variety of Cherry MX switches, and even though our unit of the One 2 doesn't have backlighting, it's also available with full RGB backlighting.

Varmilo VA87M

The Ducky One 2 SF is a better wired keyboard than the Varmilo VA87M. The Ducky has full RGB backlighting, macro-programmable keys, and two incline settings. That said, the Varmilo with Cherry MX Red switches is much quieter and doesn't require quite as much force to actuate the keys.

Glorious GMMK

The Glorious GMMK and the Ducky One 2 are two highly-customizable keyboards. Each are available in different sizes and you can use whichever switches you prefer. The Cherry MX Brown switches on the Ducky offer better typing quality than the Gateron Brown switches on the Glorious. The Glorious also has dedicated software, which the Ducky doesn't have.

HyperX Alloy FPS Pro

The Ducky One 2 performs better overall than the HyperX Alloy FPS Pro. The Ducky is available in different variants, including one with full RGB backlighting, and you can get it with a wider variety of switches. All keys are macro-programmable on the Ducky and it offers better typing quality. However, the HyperX is fully compatible with Linux and since it's a TKL keyboard, it's easier to carry around.

Razer BlackWidow

The Ducky One 2 is better overall than the Razer BlackWidow, mainly because the Ducky is more customizable since you can get it in a wide variety of Cherry MX switches. The Razer has dedicated software, and the proprietary Razer Green switches have a slightly lower pre-travel distance than the Cherry MX Brown switches we tested on the Ducky.

Corsair K70 RAPIDFIRE

The Ducky One 2 is better than Corsair K70 RAPIDFIRE for the most part. The Ducky is available in a variety of switches and with full RGB backlighting, it's better-built, and it has a detachable USB-C cable. However, the Corsair has dedicated software and it comes with a wrist rest.

Keychron K1

The Keychron K1 is a slightly better keyboard than the Ducky One 2. The Keychron has a lower profile, wireless capabilities, and RGB backlighting. That said, the Ducky has macro-programmable keys and onboard memory.

Das Keyboard Model S Professional

The Ducky One 2 is a better keyboard than the Das Keyboard Model S Professional. The Ducky has a better build quality, onboard memory, and offers a better typing experience with Cherry MX Brown switches. That said, the Model S is fully compatible with Linux and has USB passthrough.

Ducky One 2 RGB TKL

The Ducky One 2 RGB TKL is a better keyboard than the Ducky One 2. The One 2 TKL has full RGB backlighting and companion software to customize it. That said, the full-sized One 2 has dedicated hotkeys and a Numpad.

Drop ENTR

The Ducky One 2 is a slightly better keyboard than the Drop ENTR. The Ducky has one more incline setting and all of its keys are macro-programmable. Also, its actuation force is much lighter than the Drop's Halo True switch on our unit. It also has onboard memory, so you can save up to 6 profiles on the keyboard and access them when you switch computers. However, the Drop feels better-built and has backlighting, while the Ducky has none.

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