When comparing CODE Keyboard vs Ducky Shine 5, the Slant community recommends CODE Keyboard for most people. In the question“What are the best mechanical keyboards?” CODE Keyboard is ranked 4th while Ducky Shine 5 is ranked 7th. The most important reason people chose CODE Keyboard is:
The CODE keyboard uses Cherry MX mechanical key switches, regarded as top-quality switches. They have impressive levels of durability and consistently pass, with high marks, all the performance tests they are subjected to. There are 4 kinds to choose from: Blue, Brown, Green or Clear. The MX Blues are the most common kind. They are responsive, but soft, and quite noisy. The MX Browns feel similar to the Blues, but slightly less noisy. The MX Greens are often described as heavy Blue switches. They still make the click sound and offer tactile feedback, however the activation force is 80g (for the Blue switches, it's 50g). The MX Clear switches have medium stiffness and a tactile response but are non-clicky (similar to Brown switches but heavier and with a greater tactile feedback). It's characteristics make it fantastic for general typing in office environments.
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Pro Available with 4 different kinds of Cherry MX switches
The CODE keyboard uses Cherry MX mechanical key switches, regarded as top-quality switches. They have impressive levels of durability and consistently pass, with high marks, all the performance tests they are subjected to.
There are 4 kinds to choose from: Blue, Brown, Green or Clear. The MX Blues are the most common kind. They are responsive, but soft, and quite noisy. The MX Browns feel similar to the Blues, but slightly less noisy. The MX Greens are often described as heavy Blue switches. They still make the click sound and offer tactile feedback, however the activation force is 80g (for the Blue switches, it's 50g). The MX Clear switches have medium stiffness and a tactile response but are non-clicky (similar to Brown switches but heavier and with a greater tactile feedback). It's characteristics make it fantastic for general typing in office environments.
Pro Solid construction
This keyboard is built solidly, using sturdy parts made of robust materials. It's mounted on a solid steel backplate, weighs over 2 pounds and has a dual layer PCB board. In this aspect, it’s comparable to other keyboards renowned for their build quality, such as those from the Ducky series.
Pro Full white backlighting
The CODE keyboard comes with backlighting that feels similar to the one found on Apple products. You can pick from seven brightness levels and the onboard memory saves your lighting preferences. They also have gone to a lot of trouble getting the backlighting even by painting the backplate white and positioning the key symbols just right.
Pro Minimalistic design
The CODE keyboard has a textured finish that resists fingerprints and scratches. It has no stickers or logos and the back-lighting is very clean and elegant.
Pro Available with or without a numeric keypad
Users can choose between versions that have and don't have a numeric keypad.
Pro Removable/replaceable USB cable
Many keyboards come with a permanently attached cable, meaning that if it gets damaged, you need to get it fixed or replace the whole board. CODE keyboards come with removable cables, which means they're easy to replace if broken. This also has the added benefit of allowing for more customization options: braided cables, different coloured cables, or longer/shorter cables for different setups without having excess cables hanging around.
Pro Highly configurable
DIP-switches on the back of the keyboard can be used to disable the Windows key, switch Caps Lock with Ctrl, swap Alt with Command (if you're on macOS), and change to QWERTY, Dvorak, or Colemak layouts.
Pro Media control
Even though there aren't any dedicated media keys, the navigation cluster has secondary media control functions. To access these functions, the keys should be pressed in combination with the Fn key.
Pro Saves time with complex key combos
Key combos can be configured, supporting combinations of up to six keys. However, Ctrl, Alt and Shift don't count to this total. As a result, using these keys actually increases the combo key limit to nine.
Pro Consistent design
FN labels are on the front of the keycaps (i.e. media labels). This improves the user experience.
A consistent design is an outstanding aspect in this keyboard.
Pro Very portable
This keyboard’s detachable cable, dimensions, and weight make it extremely easy to carry around.
Pro Quality mechanical switches
The Ducky Shine 5 comes with Cherry MX mechanical switches. You can choose between the Brown, Red or Black varieties, according to your preferences.
Pro No software needed
The Shine 5 has all the backlighting effects built into it. To alter the RGB lighting, there are keyboard combinations that can be used to quickly switch between modes.
Pro Lots of lighting modes
There are 14 pre-programmed lighting modes available, as well as 2 customizable modes (which you can blend together). To access the first 7 pre-programmed modes, press Fn+F9 - these are the more basic patterns with fewer colors (Solid, Single Color Breathing, Solid Color Change, Red/Green Waves, Snake, Single Color and Single Key Reactive, Radiant Reactive, and Linear Reactive). Pressing Fn+F10 toggles through Solid Color Change, Colorful Waterfall, Color Changing Snake, Color Raindrop, Colorful Single Key Reactive, Colorful Radiant Reactive, and Colorful Linear Reactive. The 2 custom modes can be activated through Fn+F11/F12. On these modes, you can set per-key colors and brightness, and pressing the same button combination will make those keys breathe.
Pro Great build quality
The Ducky Shine 5 has a dual layer PCB, plate mounted switches, laser printed and UV Coated keycaps.
Pro USB cable is detachable and replaceable
You can easily replace the cable with one of a different color or different length.
Pro Wide choice of keycaps
Given the popularity of Cherry MX switches, there are many customized keycap options to choose from.
Pro ABS Double-shot keycap
There are two layers of plastic in the Shine 5's keys - the print is part of the underlayer of the keycap, which means it won't wear out and allows light to shine through the printed area.
Pro Unique symbol on the spacebar, to celebrate Chinese year
The default spacebar logo is a simple one, however a replacement spacebar is included, with a symbol that corresponds to the current Chinese year. This adds an optional design flare to an otherwise simple and professional looking keyboard.
Pro On board memory for profile/settings storage
The Ducky will remember all your backlighting customization settings snd other profile settings, even if you turn it off or use it on another computer.
Con Sculpted keys make switching to Dvorak difficult
Dvorak is a keyboard layout that's an alternative to the commonly used QWERTY layout. While QWERTY was designed in the early days of typing, Dvorak is a more comfortable, modern layout which is technically superior. It is designed to have more flow than QWERTY, where the left hand does most of the work. Here, keys are strategically placed to spread the typing out more evenly. This creates better flow (left hand types a letter, then the right hand, then back to left and so on). In this keyboad, the keycaps are sculpted for the QWERTY layout, which means that, when you switch the keys around, each of the keys is at a slightly different angle than the one next to it.
Compared to alternatives which offer RGB lighting, USB passthrough or other features, this keyboard is pretty expensive.
Con Spare parts and keycap sets can only be obtained from third parties
The manufacturer doesn’t sell spare parts or keycap sets, so if users want to change the layout, they have to get these components from a third party.
Con Too small for some, particularly those with big hands
This keyboard's small size may prove difficult for some people to get accustomed to.
Con Lacks numpad
This is a tenkeyless keyboard which means that it doesn't have the numpad.
Con It's hard to source the MX Clear version
The version of the CODE keyboard that comes with the MX Clear switches is constantly out of stock.
Con No wireless connection
CODE keyboards connect via USB. No Bluetooth or any other form of wireless connection is available.
Con No software available
Setting up custom lighting can be a real hassle because there is no software available to assist you. You'll need to manually set the RGB value (from 0-7) to pick the right color/brightness, then tap each key you wish to set that color for. Then switch the color, and tap more keys. Repeat until you are satisfied. In addition, further future tweaking of the layout is another pain, as there is no easy way to copy the color already on the keyboard. You will need to go through a trial and error process to match the color you want.
Con Many features are missing
The Ducky Shine 5 is a great, high-quality keyboard, but it misses some nice features, like USB passthrough, a wrist wrest, cable management features, or media control keys.