Ducky One 2 Keyboard Review

Tested using Methodology v1.0
Updated Apr 06, 2021 at 02:08 pm
Ducky One 2 Picture
7.3
Gaming
2.8
Mobile/Tablet
8.0
Office
7.1
Programming
3.4
Entertainment / HTPC
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 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

7.3 Gaming

The Ducky One 2 is a decent gaming keyboard. It scores lower because our unit doesn't have backlighting, although there are variants available with it, 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. However, its latency is a bit higher than other gaming keyboards, and it also doesn't have dedicated software.

Pros
  • Excellent build quality.
  • Available in wide variety of Cherry MX switches.
  • Great latency.
Cons
  • No dedicated software.
  • No wrist rest.
2.8 Mobile/Tablet

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

8.0 Office

The Ducky One 2 is great for office use. It's very well-built and has doubleshot PBT keycaps that feel nice to touch. The Cherry MX Brown switches on our unit provide an outstanding typing experience, and even though the keyboard doesn't have a wrist rest, typing on it still feels comfortable. 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.
  • Quiet typing noise.
Cons
  • No wrist rest.
7.1 Programming

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

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

The Ducky One 2 is a bad choice to use with a home theater PC. It's a wired-only keyboard with a full-sized layout that takes a lot of space. Also, it doesn't have a trackpad, which means you need a dedicated mouse to move the cursor. Our unit lacks backlighting, making it harder to use it in the dark, though it's possible to get a variant with full RGB backlighting.

Pros
  • Excellent build quality.
Cons
  • No wrist rest.
  • No wireless connectivity.
  • No trackpad.
  • 7.3 Gaming
  • 2.8 Mobile/Tablet
  • 8.0 Office
  • 7.1 Programming
  • 3.4 Entertainment / HTPC
  1. Updated Mar 23, 2021: Converted to Test Bench 1.0.
  2. Updated Aug 27, 2020: Review published.
  3. Updated Aug 17, 2020: Early access published.

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)
Depth With Wrist Rest
N/A
Weight
2.39 lbs (1.083 kg)

This is a full-sized 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, the Ducky One 2 RGB TKL, and 60%, the Ducky One 2 Mini V1.

8.0
Design
Build Quality
Keycap Material PBT

The Ducky One 2 has great 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
Minimum Incline
Medium Incline
Maximum Incline
11°
Wrist Rest No

The Ducky One 2's ergonomics are okay. 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
Individually Backlit Keys
No
Color Mixing
No Backlighting
Effects
No
Programmable
No

The Ducky One 2 we tested 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 & Connector
Detachable
Yes (Wired Only Keyboard)
Length 5.8 ft (1.8 m)
Connector (Keyboard side)
USB type-C

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

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

The Ducky One 2 is wired-only and can't be used wirelessly. If you want a full-size mechanical wireless keyboard, then check out the Keychron K10.

Design
Extra Features
Media Keys
Hot Keys
Macro Programmable Keys
All
Trackpad / Trackball No
Wheel No
USB Passthrough
No
Numpad Yes
Windows Key Lock
Yes
Lock Indicator Caps, Scroll & Num lock

The Ducky One 2 has a ton of features. You can set macros to any key, though it has to be 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 V1, 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 to USB-A 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 V1. 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
Operating Force
54 gf
Actuation Force
42 gf
Pre-Travel
2.1 mm
Total Travel
4.1 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 V2. They provide good tactile feedback and require just a bit of force to actuate.

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 doesn't get too fatiguing over time. Note that this keyboard is available in a wide variety of Cherry MX switches, and all of them may result in different typing quality.

Typing Experience
Typing Noise
Noise
Quiet

The Cherry MX Brown switches on our unit are quiet and shouldn't bother people around you. However, typing noise could change if using other types of Cherry MX switches.

8.0
Typing Experience
Latency
Latency Wired
8.2 ms
Latency Receiver
N/A
Latency Bluetooth
N/A

The Ducky One 2's latency is a bit higher than other gaming keyboards, but most people shouldn't notice any delay when gaming.

Software and Operating System
6.6
Software and Operating System
Software & Programming
Software Name No Software
Account Required
No Software
Profiles
6+
Onboard Memory
Yes
Cloud Sync
No
Macro Programming
Onboard
Ease Of Use
Okay
Software Windows Compatible
No
Software macOS Compatible
No

Unlike the Ducky Shine 7, this keyboard doesn't have dedicated software, so all macro programming has to be done directly on the keyboard. On the plus side, 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

The Ducky One 2 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, and it has dedicated software for customization. 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. If you plan on gaming, the Shine 7 has lower latency.

Varmilo VA87M

The Ducky One 2 and the Varmilo VA87M are quite different. While the Varmilo is a TKL keyboard, our unit of the Ducky is full-size, though there are smaller versions available as well. Also, even though the Varmilo scores higher for gaming, the Ducky actually performs better because it has lower latency. The Ducky has macro-programmable keys and lets you create custom profiles and store them on its onboard memory. Both keyboards are available in various switch options. The Ducky that we tested doesn't have backlighting, but there are variants that do.

Glorious GMMK

The Glorious GMMK and the Ducky One 2 are two highly customizable keyboards. Both are available in different sizes. The Glorious has a hot-swap board so that you can change the switches without soldering, while the Ducky is available in various switch options. The Ducky has better latency for gaming, but it lacks software for customization, which the Glorious has. Although we tested a variant of the Ducky that doesn't have backlighting, you can get one that does.

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, is better-built, and has a detachable USB-C cable. However, the Corsair has dedicated software and comes with a wrist rest.

Leopold FC900R

The Ducky One 2 is better overall than the Leopold FC900R, but they're similar keyboards that are each available in a variety of switches. The Ducky has macro-programmable keys and some variants have backlighting, but the one we tested doesn't. Both keyboards have excellent build quality and outstanding typing quality.

Ducky One 2 RGB TKL

The Ducky One 2 RGB TKL and the Ducky One 2 are practically the same keyboards, but the One 2 RGB TKL has an 80% TenKeyLess layout and full RGB backlighting. It also comes with Ducky RGB companion software, which allows you to program the backlighting. That said, the full-sized One 2 we tested has dedicated hotkeys for media control and a Numpad. It's also possible to get it in smaller sizes or with full RGB backlighting, though our unit didn't have it.

Keychron K1

The Keychron K1 and the Ducky One 2 are two very different keyboards. The Keychron has a smaller, TenKeyLess layout and can be used wired or wirelessly via Bluetooth. You can connect it with up to three different devices at the same time, making it more versatile. It also has slightly better build quality and ergonomics and comes with full RGB backlighting. On the other hand, the Ducky is available in many different variants, with different colors, different backlighting options, and a wide variety of Cherry MX switches. It also has macro-programmable keys and better latency, which some people may prefer over Keychron's versatility. 

Keychron C2

The Keychron C2 and Ducky One 2 are two somewhat different, wired mechanical keyboards. The Keychron is a decent entry-level office keyboard that comes with Gateron Red, Blue, or Brown switches, as well as a hot-swappable version. On the other hand, the Ducky is a very good all-around keyboard designed for gaming use. It's available in multiple colors and backlighting options and comes in a wide range of MX Cherry switches. Unfortunately, both keyboards lack companion software, but the Ducky supports macro programming directly on the keyboard.

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.

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. It also has onboard memory, so you can save up to six profiles on the keyboard and access them when you switch computers. However, the Drop feels better-built and has full RGB backlighting.

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, comes with onboard memory, and is available in a much wider range of Cherry MX switches. That said, the Das is fully compatible with Linux and has a USB passthrough.

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