The Ducky One 3 is the company’s latest main keyboard line-up, coming in all manner of sizes, layouts, colours and hot-swappable switch options. The variant on test is the SF (Sixty Five percent layout), which drops the entire top row of Esc and F keys, the numpad area and most of the Home/End cluster of keys.
However, unlike 60 per cent keyboards, the SF retains dedicated cursor keys and a small cluster of Del, PgUp and PgDn keys, putting that crucial handful of keys at your disposal. The One 3 is also available in 60 per cent, tenkeyless (TKL) and full-sized variants.
The SF format offers a useful compromise between super-compact 60 per cent layouts and larger formats. The addition of cursor keys and a dedicated Del key are very useful for everyday needs, although we would have preferred Home and End keys over the PgUp and PgDn keys. The sheer number of secondary functions (activated by hitting the Fn key along with one or more of the other main keys) can be a bit confusing though – you’ll need to download the manual to get the most from this keyboard.
If our sample’s subtle shade of yellow isn’t to your liking, there are umpteen other colour options too, including black, white, translucent black and several multi-colour options. Along with the standard keycaps, each keyboard also includes several replacement keys. For instance, the black and white versions come with a replacement spacebar with a tiger pattern on it and a purple Enter key.
As well as a full set of yellow keys, our review model includes Enter, cursor, Esc and shift keys that are white with red legends. A keycap puller and key switch puller are also included, along with a matching yellow USB Type-C cable (with the socket on the far-left rear of the unit).
We found the white legends on this yellow model difficult to see in dull lighting conditions, as they’re not translucent to allow the backlighting through the letters. The white and black versions with their translucent legends are preferable in this respect. Another small gripe is that the white plate, which sits under the keycaps and holds the keyswitches, has a hole between the G and H keys, which mars the clean look.
The Ducky One 3 switches are Cherry MX hot-swappable models, so any pin-compatible Cherry MX-style hot-swappable switch can be used. we tested the Cherry MX Red Brown tactile switches and found them to be excellent as ever for typing, though gamers may prefer a linear switch type for faster repeat key response.
Otherwise, the build quality can’t be faulted. This keyboard is weighty and stiff and the extra layer of padding below the PCB helps to deaden rattles – you can hear the signature clatter of your chosen mechanical key switches but without the amplifying effect of the chassis.
The Ducky One 3 keycaps are doubleshot PBT and they feel great, with a rough texture that really grips your fingertips, and the texture and legends won’t wear away as quickly as ABS plastic and printed legends either.
Meanwhile, sturdy, two-level flip-down rear feet keep the keyboard in place, and there’s a four-toggle DIP switch on the underside. These four switches enable or disable the Windows key, switch between N-key rollover and 6-key rollover, switch between a Ducky vendor ID and a user-defined vendor ID, and switch the right Windows key to a menu key.
Ducky One 3 SF pros and cons
- Great overall build quality
- Comparatively quiet
- Hot-swappable switches
- Wide range of sizes and colours
- Yellow colour option lacks key legend backlighting
- No Home or End keys
- Not cheap
Ducky One 3 SF specs
The Ducky One 3 SF specs list is:
|Dimensions (mm)||335 x 110 x 40 (W x D x H)|
|Weight||627g with cable|
|Format||65 per cent – 68 keys|
|Connections||USB Type-C socket with 2m cable|
|Switch type||Hot-swappable Cherry MX|
|Switch life||100 million key presses (depending on switch type)|
|Extras||Doubleshot PBT keycaps, hot-swappable switches, keycap and key switch removal tools, replacement keycaps|
Ducky One 3 SF price
Price: Expect to pay $120 / £120
Ducky One 3 SF review conclusion
This particular yellow SF version of the One 3 has niche appeal thanks to its compact size, bright colour and non-translucent key legends. However, as a representative of the quality of the One 3 range, it’s rather more impressive. It’s a stylish, well-built keyboard that’s quiet and available in all manner of configurations. Find more of our keyboard recommendations in our best gaming keyboard guide.
Ducky One 3 SF rating
A stylish and well-built keyboard, but this yellow colour isn’t our first choice.