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Monday, February 19, 2024

Ducky One 3 Fuji

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Ducky has one helluva reputation in the mechanical gaming keyboard world. Even in an age of dazzling keyboards plastered in flashing lights, it’s kept up its no nonsense design philosophy (which it calls “Quack Mechanics”—no joke). But even dear ol’ Ducky is also leaning into the weird and wonderful a little more; the Ducky One 3 Fuji is prime example of a more stylised and vibrant Ducky at its best.

Look no further than the One 3’s wonderfully colourful design for proof. This is Ducky’s latest flagship keyboard and it comes in many different colours and styles, but this one is called Fuji. Every key you see in my images of the One 3 is included in the standard Fuji design, which makes it feel like I’ve received a keyboard with a custom keycap set pre-installed for $124/£143.

Doesn’t it just look fantastic? The legend on each and every key is matched to the colour of the key itself and to one another. Take for example the large ISO Enter key. It matches the legends on the letter and number keys, while its smaller Enter legend matches the surrounding blue special keys. If you don’t like that exact colourway, Ducky also includes 11 spare keys in an alternative finish.

Every keycap on the Ducky is made from strong PBT plastic. Unlike ABS plastic, PBT tends to last a little longer, reject stains, and keep its colour-matched legends from rubbing away. These are double-shot so there actually shouldn’t be much of a risk of rubbing the legends off at all. They also feel great to type on, so that’s a plus.

One 3 specs

Size: Full-size (TKL and Mini also available)
Connection: USB Type-C
Switches: Cherry MX Speed Silver (other MX keys available)
Switch type: hot-swappable
Backlight: None
Rollover: N-key (6-key option)
Keycaps: PBT
Dimensions: 450 x 140 x 40mm
Weight: 43oz (1.23kg)
Warranty: 1 year
Price: $124/£143

If you’re a particularly heavy typer you shouldn’t find it quite so easy to smash these keycaps to pieces, either. No promises, though. I have seen someone do the professional writer equivalent of Hulk smash a PBT keycap in two. Just try to take care of your things and they’ll take care of you.

From the superb quality keycaps to the rest of the board the Ducky continues to impress. The surrounding plastic case is a match for the colour of the keycaps with a sleek two-tone finish in pink and blue, and that attention to detail continues down to the adjustable feet. Yes, even the feet are a matching hue, not that you’ll see much of them. They certainly do their job well, anyways; there’s absolutely no wobble to this board on a flat surface.

The blue underbelly of the Ducky contains cable runs for the included (and removable) braided USB Type-C to Type-A cable. The cable on the One 3 Fuji is a perfectly matched shade of pink to the rest of it, of course. There are also four DIP switches that offer a couple of hard-coded shortcuts for various keyboard modes, however, I couldn’t get them to work. I tried unplugging and waiting a little while before trying again, but couldn’t get them to do anything at all.

You won’t find full media controls on the Ducky One 3, either, but there are volume up, volume down, and mute keys in the upper row. There’s also the all-important calculator shortcut, which does what it says on the tin and opens the calculator in Windows when pressed. 

What can I say about the calculator switch: I didn’t think I needed it, but I’ll miss it when I move on to the next keyboard for review.

The One 3 is primarily made out of plastic, although I’ve never seen that as much of a downside with a Ducky. It’s built like a tank and there’s absolutely no flex to it whatsoever. Perhaps it wouldn’t love a drop from a high place, but I don’t dare to try it with this gorgeous review unit.

I will, however, paw under the keycaps at the switches below. I opted for Cherry MX Speed Silver switches, which are some of Cherry’s finest for gaming. They offer a smooth press with only 1.2mm of travel before actuation and a total distance of 3.4mm. The swift actuation helps with the sort of snappy response I want while gaming, while the linear press without a tactile bump or click makes for moderately low-noise operation. I will admit they’re not the quietest switches but they far from the loudest (clicky blues with rattly stabilisers).

The Ducky barely rattles whatsoever as I’m tapping away at its positively pink caps. The spacebar and enter keys have a certain tell-tale thud to them, but beyond that the switches, including those with stabilisers, are impressively uniform in sound. There’s a whole lot of sound dampening going on with the Ducky under the surface, and that satisfying mechanical thud as a result is amicable to my ears for a day’s worth of constant typing, or gaming with a microphone nearby. That might not be the case with every key switch you can have installed on the One 3, but it is likely the case with all the linear options.

The One 3 is available with Cherry MX switches of various colour and tactility so you have a few to choose from. I believe you can also find boards with Cherry MX Silent switches if noise is a cause for concern.

But I haven’t mentioned the best bit yet: the Ducky One 3 is hot-swappable. A key switch breaks? Swap it out for another. You bought some new key switches online because they looked nice even thought you’ll never really see them once they’re installed? Just pull the old ones out and slot the new ones in. The keyboard comes with a metal keycap plucker included, so you’re sorted for all the tools you need. It really is a simple procedure.

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Plenty of gaming keyboards are hot-swappable nowadays, but this particular inclusion with the Ducky One 3 really feels like icing on an already extremely tasty cake.

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There’s a confident simplicity to the Ducky One 3. Ducky has made small but calculated adjustments with the One 3 over the Ducky One 2 instead of reinventing the wheel. Nor did it need to. I adored the Ducky One 2 as my go-to office board in my previous haunt—I couldn’t name all that much wrong with it. The newer One 3 largely keeps what worked and improves on a small number of things, namely the hot-swappable keys and some new vibrant styles. It’s a neater looking package, too.

Importantly the fundamental tell-tale Ducky features have been left as is with the One 3, and that’s really reflected in the quality of the build here. I’m convinced this new Ducky would still be intact and beautiful as ever if you found it scrabbling through the dirt outside New Vegas. That’s “Quack Mechanics” for you, I suppose.

You may have to leave RGB lighting on the table with this particular model, but I’m not torn up about it. There is a Ducky One 3 with RGB LEDs, sure, but you would forgo the more interesting designs on offer to have them. For me, it’s that blend of looks and brawn that really make this Ducky One 3 the whole package.

The Verdict


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Ducky One 3

The Ducky One 3 sets a high standard for gaming keyboards. It looks great, feels great, and is built to survive the apocalypse. Plus it comes in cheaper than some premium keyboards today.

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