A cloud-connected Keyboard? No Thanks

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 4, 2016
Updated • Jul 4, 2016

The Das Keyboard 5Q is a cloud-connected computer keyboard that is designed as a notification device as much as it is a keyboard.

Das Keyboard is one of the most popular mechanical keyboard brands. I have one (with characters printed on the keys), and love it. You can read my review of Das Keyboard Model S here. I bought the keyboard back in 2012 and have been using it ever since.

Das Keyboard 5Q is a different kind of keyboard even though it shares characteristics with previous keyboard models.

First, it is pushed on Kickstarter, and the campaign seems to be going well. The project sits at $275k already which is $175k more than the required amount of $100k.

Second, and probably more important, it is cloud-connected and capable of displaying notifications by changing key colors on the keyboard.

Das Keyboard 5Q

das keyboard 5q

So what is the Das Keyboard 5Q exactly, and how does it differ from traditional keyboards?

Das Keyboard 5Q is a cloud-connected, open API RGB mechanical keyboard that allows each key to be color-controlled over the Internet.

Basically, what it does is act as another means of receiving notifications from the Internet. Each RGB LED can be color-controlled remotely to highlight information to the user sitting in front of the keyboard.

The notification system is powered by [Q]app, a desktop program that is connected to the cloud. The cloud part of the service taps into the first party service [Q]cloud and third-party services like IFTTT or Zapier.

You can map keys to notifications, and there is virtually no limit to what you can do. Push email notifications to the E-key, highlight the build status of projects on the B-key, or use the auction tracker to get notifications when you are outbid.

My Take

I have to admit that I'm not the target audience for the keyboard. I prefer to work without being interrupted by notifications, and imagine that a (blinking) mess of colors on the keyboard would be quite distracting.

My main issue with the new keyboard is that it is of little use to me, and likely to the bulk of desktop users out there.

While it may be less distracting to get some notifications on the keyboard instead of a phone or desktop notifications, it might even be more distracting once you start adding more than a handful.

If you configure a lot of notifications for use with the keyboard, you may end up with a blinking nightmare that prevents you from working effectively.

I imagine there is an option to flip the notification system off completely, but could not find the information on the Kickstarter page. The only information provided is that you can use the keyboard without cloud connection to use it as a regular keyboard.

I also could not find information about privacy and security. Cloud-services may open up the gate for attacks or at least privacy issues.

Also, you run the [Q]app on the desktop all the time as it powers the functionality, and it remains to be seen how secure and effective it really is.

Ultimately, I cannot see this being much more efficient than using desktop notifications for important notifications, or even checking your phone occasionally.

While I'm not entirely sure if possible, what I like about it is that it allows me to map different colors to different keys on the keyboard.

Closing Words

The Das Keyboard 5Q project is funded already which indicates that there is demand for such a keyboard. It certainly has a wow-factor associated with it. I'd buy one probably if it came without cloud-connection as I can see uses for displaying keys in different colors.

Now You: What's your take on a cloud-connected keyboard?

A cloud-connected Keyboard? No Thanks
Article Name
A cloud-connected Keyboard? No Thanks
The Das Keyboard 5Q is a cloud-connected computer keyboard that is designed as a notification device as much as it is a keyboard.
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  1. Baba Vanga said on July 7, 2016 at 5:25 pm

    In 2018, there will be nothing more to hide on your PC.

  2. decha said on July 5, 2016 at 8:59 pm


    Sorry for that comment. I apologize for it. I jumped straight to conclusion after seeing your first comment and not bothering to read subsequent comments. My mistake. Have a good day! ;)

    1. Chaos said on July 6, 2016 at 11:44 am

      @decha it’s alright, happens to all of us. I also take back what i said. ;)

  3. Earl said on July 5, 2016 at 7:27 pm

    Apparently, this topic was all about chaos. tl;dr

    As for keyboards, the only lights I want are the backlights–color irrelevant.

    1. Tom Hawack said on July 5, 2016 at 7:42 pm

      Same here, and I’ll have to change my white on black old Logitech keyboard for one with at least backlights because at night I hardly see the keys and I don’t type as a secretary but rather as a police officer when he registers complaints, two fingers or four after twenty years of contribution to security :)

      BTW, that would be a splendid name for a new OS, the K-OS.

  4. MrHandsome said on July 5, 2016 at 6:31 pm

    Rather work without all the notifications and whatnot… Sure I’d want some to be collectivively all communications and just notify me on whats new, but with so many providers and programs its near impossible. People use whatsapp, telegram, discord (yeah, got 2 friends who only want to use that… urgh)

    Just plain annoying. But I only want to be “interupted” when I’m actually LOOKING for it. not when I’m busy with things.

  5. Robert said on July 5, 2016 at 5:07 pm

    Hackers will have heyday with this. Who knows how many back doors are setup with the key board being connected to the cloud for surveillance. Not secure at all.

  6. kalmly said on July 5, 2016 at 2:53 pm

    Interesting. All this Chaos over an article about a keyboard. :)

    I don’t like notifications popping up and interrupting my work. I sure wouldn’t want them lighting up my keyboard. A little sticky note covers the num lock light on my own keyboard because it’s too bright for my sensitive eyes. I shudder to imagine all those letters and numbers blasting me at once. I read Martin’s review because I wanted to know what he thought of it, and why anyone would want to live with such a thing. He told me. I’m happy.

    1. Tom Hawack said on July 5, 2016 at 4:01 pm

      You never know, the chaos could be but that of a lizard, one of those social engineering experiments…
      I won’t detail my analysis but two points seem odd to in this odyssey :)

      Whatever, you’re getting back to the point, kalmly, that of the article, and that’s just fine.

  7. decha said on July 5, 2016 at 11:36 am


    If you don’t like the article then why the hell you even here? It’s martin blog. You are probably a depressed troll. Get the xxxx out!

    1. Tom Hawack said on July 5, 2016 at 2:34 pm

      decha, you should read the full story :)

    2. Chaos said on July 5, 2016 at 2:19 pm

      oh man! here’s another one butting her nose in. depressed troll wow. fuck off bitch

      1. Chaos said on July 5, 2016 at 3:01 pm

        @Tom Hawack
        well she did read my first comment though
        but yea I’m cool ;)

      2. Tom Hawack said on July 5, 2016 at 2:34 pm

        Cool, man! decha obviously skipped the comments :)

  8. dwarf_t0ssn said on July 5, 2016 at 4:17 am

    A cloud connected keyboard? What could possibly go wrong? Is the actual keyboard itself connected to a router/modem directly? Or does the Q app act as the gateway to online resources? I’d want to be aware of these things if I chose to buy one.

    The cloud aspect seems to add Steam Workshop-like functionality, allowing people to download other 5Q user’s scripts. I can see keyboard wonks loving it, but standard monitor notifications work fine for me, so meh.

  9. W said on July 5, 2016 at 1:20 am

    Just get a cloud connected keyboard and if the “L” starts blinking red don’t press any submit button.

  10. Nitram said on July 5, 2016 at 12:31 am


    Fore everybody’s sake, here’s what you should do: Shut up and leave.

    Make sure you don’t come back.

    Good riddance AFAIC…

    1. Tom Hawack said on July 5, 2016 at 10:20 am

      Nitram, I disagree with you on this point.

      I remember a word written at the entrance of a youth hostel in A’dam : “We love everyone, some because they arrive, others because they leave” and I’ve always disagreed with such cynicism.

      I remember what my mom told me of her first impressions when we arrived in New York : “They say “Give the guy another chance” and I find that very positive” … Yeps, I love that as well in American culture.

      What I hear, see, read nowadays seems violent, not only on the part of “war starters” (those who come into a group with aggressiveness) but also in the very reaction of the so-called “good guys” when too often IMO they 1- over-react and 2- seem to take advantage of a situation where their status of “good guy” would allow them to over-react with moreover a substantial dose of hatred. Hating hatred has never been a solution, it only carries on a mistake.

      Once the mistake has been acknowledged, why perpetuate a sentence? Philosophically speaking we could mention the temptation to use virtue as the bouncer of vice : this is what is happening with wars officially motivated by religion when in fact the Good is not served but used.

      We aren’t concerned by Chaos’ first comment, Martin is and Martin answered (Chaos : you could have provided a true e-mail by the way). We like Ghacks and we like Martin so we defend both : OK. But let’s not be more god than God, for goodness’ sake :)

      1. ARandomUser said on July 6, 2016 at 12:22 am

        Interesting reply Tom and thanks for giving me something to think about.You get your point across very well. Makes me want to engage my brain a bit more in future . I appreciate your comment

    2. Chaos said on July 5, 2016 at 6:50 am


      and who the fuck are you, to tell me what should I do?
      I visit here a lot and I like stuff posted here, not that there aren’t many things here that I disagree with.
      & maybe I was too harsh but I already said what I needed to say to correct that. If anyone accepts or not, not my problem really, as no one of us really know each other & never gonna come across IRL, so it doesn’t matter..

      But then there are people like you, who are just gonna butt in anyway.
      It would def be way better it would got rid of you !

  11. Ross Presser said on July 4, 2016 at 10:21 pm


    This is Martin’s blog. It obviously will feature articles that Martin has written, on topics he finds interesting.

    Your emotional comments exhorting Martin to stop writing about topics of interest to him is not going to change his mind.

    1. Chaos said on July 4, 2016 at 10:28 pm

      @Ross Presser
      When did I ever say that martin can’t or should not write articles about his interests? exhorting? berating? man just stfu

      and everyone else read my reply above to @Tom Havack
      and be done with it.

      @Martin I would like you to delete all my comments from this article please, if its possible. Thanks

  12. intelligencia said on July 4, 2016 at 7:02 pm

    STAY CLASSY . . . Mr. Brinkmann!!!

    No need to reply to someone like Chaos above!

    Let US handle him for ya.


    1. Chaos said on July 4, 2016 at 9:27 pm

      ya listen to this wise and ‘intelligencia’ guy huh! lol

  13. oz said on July 4, 2016 at 6:40 pm

    Thanks for the article, Martin.

    I’m in full agreement with you so cloud keyboards aren’t for me, either. Like Soy mentioned above, I hardly ever see my keyboard although my hands are in touch with it quite often. I suppose vibrating notifications might actually work better for touch typists, but then I’d have no interest in that either. I’ll likely continue to get any notifications I need by screen or speaker.

  14. Soy said on July 4, 2016 at 5:43 pm

    I never see my keyboard, people I know also typing without seeing keyboards. I wonder who’s the target audience…

  15. Chaos said on July 4, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    So the keyboard has no use for you, you got privacy concerns. You always got your tin foil hat on huh. You don’t like colors but others may. Other people may not care so much about privacy.
    how about not writing an article about something, you are never gonna give a chance to begin with.
    Do you think everybody thinks like you? I’m not trying to say that your concerns don’t have a point, but I’m just tired of reading these opinionated articles here.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on July 5, 2016 at 6:31 am

      Believe it or not, I value the core of your opinion. I tried sending an email to you but it bounced.

      Since there is no other means of communication, here it is

      Hi Chaos,

      I usually don’t reply to comments that attack me directly. Your comment is on the light side when it comes to that, and if you would have worded it in a different way, would not have received nearly as much negative feedback as it did.

      I get the core of what you are trying to say. Yes, I may be a bit negative sometimes.

      I wrote the news post because I like the company. I use their product and love it. I also stated that there is demand for it, and that I like the idea of changing colors on keys. Also, it is a new kind of product.

      I also wrote it because there is a need for all kinds of opinions as long as they are weighted. Good and positive, neutral, bad or negative, those are all valid, and help everyone form an opinion.

      If I would post only about things I like and use on Ghacks, and if anyone would do the same, you’d lose out a lot. I’d put a positive filter bubble around Ghacks just like Google, Facebook and many sites out there.

      Also, I’d probably receive requests from readers who want to know my opinion on something.

      Hope you understand,

      1. Chaos said on July 5, 2016 at 2:15 pm

        obviously it bounced, email was fake. Almost never give away my real name, email etc on public forums. I care about privacy a lot in my own way, whatever the hell ‘Dave’ thinks :P

        well, firstly for the harsh & personal tone of my comment, I apologize again. I was just trying to get my point across, got carried away though (def. don’t ask why).

        secondly, I totally get that some products you would like & some don’t. But here’s the thing, see this article was about keyboard with cloud features, but just looking at article headline, I already know what is the content & verdict going to be like, basically -ve and of little value for most other than really privacy conscious community maybe. Same goes for about any article on password managers, or Google Chrome or whatever else (privacy related), like I mentioned before.

        I would prefer if authors kept an open mind about new technology products and not reach a conclusion based on their biases, before even trying the said product. Specially nowadays when everything is moving to cloud. Some you can ignore sure (lastpass) but others not so much (win10, xbox, android – almost everything privacy invasive in a way).

        And btw you said people may ask for your opinion about products, I’m sure they will, but in this case you already made your opinion without even giving the device a chance and you will definitely be shaping people’s perception about the product to some extent. no? Instead I would like if you post about the products after trying them as a review, what you like, what you didn’t, how did the device work. You can still say you don’t prefer privacy invasive products. That’s just my point of view and you def don’t have to give it much thought.

        I’m glad that you at-least saw some point in my argument. I may still have not worded this properly but I hope I got my point across.

        p.s. one good thing I noticed is that you let me and all others post whatever the hell we wanted in comments without censoring/removing anything. This isn’t usually the case nowadays. So thanks, appreciate it!
        Best Regards

    2. Chaos said on July 4, 2016 at 10:05 pm

      @Tom Hawack

      well yes you’re right, now that I look at that comment again. I did make it personal even though I had no intention of doing that. and for that I would like to apologize to Martin. But even now I don’t see the point of this kind of news articles. Guess I will just shut up now & ignore articles like these whenever I come across them anywhere.

      1. Tom Hawack said on July 4, 2016 at 10:40 pm

        Critics can be good as they can be bad. In all areas, be it literature, movies, art in general … politics, everything! It’s our right, no? We like something we say it, we dislike we say it as well. But whatever I guess what we all disapprove is not a word opposed to ours (a debate is healthy) but when the arguments are absent and replaced with a comment on the very person with whom we disagree. We all know that. And sometimes we may be in a bad mood and circumvent an argument to go directly to aggressiveness. It happens to all of us (me too? Yeps!).

        Let’s keep it cool, this is a nice place, open to debates, no secularism nor ideology here.
        No drama, all this is not very important IMO, disagreeable but no more.
        See you later :)

    3. Microceph 10 said on July 4, 2016 at 8:30 pm

      I don’t see what the point of this thing is.

    4. Corky said on July 4, 2016 at 8:17 pm

      @Chaos, “Do you think everybody thinks like you?”
      No but apparently you do and you’re comfortable berating anyone who doesn’t.

      1. Chaos said on July 6, 2016 at 11:46 am

        @corky whatever, I’m so done with this shit.

      2. Corky said on July 5, 2016 at 8:41 am

        @Chaos, yes “berating”
        Or don’t you think your post came across as being critical, as being angry?

      3. kane said on July 4, 2016 at 9:53 pm

        @chaos wow relax mate. you got your point across fine. Everyone has right to express there opinion. If anyone is looking for a review, there will be a few good technical unbiased ones posted somewhere, when the product is released. and those who are interested in this, already know what they want in the device and know where to get info about it, no point arguing.

      4. Chaos said on July 4, 2016 at 9:24 pm

        berating? really?
        did you even read?
        what is even the point of this article, he’s not gonna use it, you are not gonna use it because of its cloud features, so called privacy conscious people. But clearly, you are not the target audience, quiet a few people want it (they are funding it!). Isn’t this ‘BERATING?’ a product based on your perspective. And btw this is not only product, same thing happens here for lastpass, cloud storages like dropbox etc. You prefer keypass, we know! you have said it thousand times. You don’t wanna use lastpass then don’t, you wanna use a cumbersome password manager, your choice. You don’t wanna use cloud keyboard, your choice. But why try to publish your views about something when its gonna be negative anyways?

    5. Dave said on July 4, 2016 at 4:05 pm

      I would like to encourage Chaos – who does not care about privacy – to continue not caring. Natural selection will sort this out.

      I would also like to suggest to Chaos that he/she is under no obligation to read these articles and could stop at any time. To do this, simply type in “teletubbies.com” instead of “ghacks.net” after starting the web browser.

      1. Dany said on July 4, 2016 at 9:38 pm

        @M lmao! pwned! :)

      2. M said on July 4, 2016 at 9:12 pm

        and i would like encourage Dave who cares about privacy, wears his tinfoil hat all the time, to not come online, not use internet and stay in his mom’s basement.

      3. Tom Hawack said on July 4, 2016 at 6:16 pm

        Looks like Chaos is making it rather personal than objective. Anyone is entitled to express his thoughts, bloggers included, moreover when arguments are of the lot, as always here, a place free of demagogy.

        It is as well not quite respectful to implicitly consider users as blind followers of what they read. Let it be : an opinion is published and readers may — and they do without tearing the author apart — agree or not. It’s called a dialog and if there is one intellectual honesty on the Web it certainly is Martin.

        You’ve missed an opportunity to avoid saying nonsense, Chaos.

  16. Tim said on July 4, 2016 at 1:55 pm

    The DAS Keyboard Model S link in the article is broken (leads to a WP admin page).

    Should be this link maybe?

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