Ducky Shine 5 Review

Ducky is a Chinese company with a high reputation for quality, and the Shine 5 shows why. It’s built like a brick and the feet and cable are detachable to minimise potential breakages. The dedicated volume and calculator keys in the top right add no bulk and the bezel around the keys is thin. Meanwhile, a lovely brushed-metal effect provides a smart appearance that will suit any environment.

The Cherry MX RGB Brown switches in our sample were great for both typing and gaming, but three other types are available. The keyboard is a joy to use, though there’s no wrist rest, and the keycaps strike a good balance between grip and smoothness. There are four switches on the underside. By varying the position of the first three, you can change the position of the FN key to any of the bottom modifier keys (Ctrl, Alt and so on) – a really neat touch, while the fourth switch toggles between n-key and 6-key rollover. A key puller and replacement spacebar are also included, and you can even purchase spacebars with different city skyline imagery.
The Shine 5 is fully plug and play but the number of jobs you can get it to perform rivals and even exceeds many keyboards with software packages. It has six on- board profiles, including a default one where keys can’t be customised. Changing profiles with FN and the 1-6 keys gives you instant LED feedback, and you can set a custom repeat rate and repeat delay settings for each one.
Of course, the key feature is the RGB backlighting. Like the MasterKeys Pro S, you can flick between the keyboard’s numerous single and multi-colour lighting modes and control their RGB properties with three of the F-keys. One really neat feature is that hitting FN-spacebar lights up all the keys in several different colours, allowing you to select the colour you want with a single key tap. You can adjust the speed of any modes that feature movement too, and you can even set two customised zones to static or breathing lights, which will be unaffected by the background mode. Basically, you can create a multi-layered lighting effect without resorting to software.
The Shine 5 also uses two double-layer PCBs, enabling Ducky to mount a larger SMD LED than usual with the Cherry switches. The effect speaks for itself – it’s the  highestquality backlight on test, being bright, vibrant and showing convincing whites too.
Reprogramming virtually every key is also possible and, better yet, you can assign each key two custom functions if you wish. Much like Roccat’s EasyShift+ feature, the FN key triggers a second function layer when held down. Macros can be recorded with delays in real time, or the delay can be set manually down to a minimum of 0.02 seconds, and there’s a variety of playback options too. You can even choose from a host of preset custom functions, such as media control, mouse commands and Windows shortcuts.
The downside is that the keycaps give no indication of their special functions, so you need to spend a fair bit of time with the manual. Cooler Master’s plug and play design may be less sophisticated, but its additional keycap symbols and LED indicators make it much easier to understand.
There’s no other plug and play keyboard that can match the features of the Shine 5. The lower barrier to entry and cost sees Cooler Master nab our recommendation, but if you can afford the price, and you’re prepared to put in the work to get used to it, the Shine 5 remains a fantastic keyboard.
VERDICTA well made and highly functional keyboard with gorgeous RGB lighting, although it’s costly.
SPECIFICATIONSConnection Wired, USBCable 1.5, rubber, detachableMaterial PlasticSwitch type Cherry MX RGB Brown (Black, Blue and Red available)Backlighting RGB, per-keyExtras Programmable keys, n-key rollover, media keys, dedicated volume keys, key removal tool, repeat rate/delay adjustment, replacement spacebar.

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