Division Zero X40 review
Division Zero X40
- Alpha-Zulu Switches feel solid
- Three pass-through ports
- Removable aluminum top panel
- Dedicated macro keys
- Solid build quality with good LED backlighting
- Large bezels and footprint
- High price point
- No tools to remove top panel
- Some people don't like the look of exposed screws
Division Zero X40 Feature Overview
- Alpha-Zulu Linear (Olive) mechanical switches.
- Red backlit keys.
- Media control hotkeys.
- Swappable aluminum top panel.
- Braided USB cable.
- USB 2.0, audio, and mic pass-through ports
- N-key rollover.
- Gaming mode disables the Windows key.
The Division Zero X40 mechanical keyboard is a brand new gaming mechanical keyboard from the Division Zero product line of Das Keyboard. Its new Alpha-Zulu switches are comparable to Cherry MX Reds. We’ll get more into how they stack up later.
Division Zero X40 Unboxing
The Division Zero X40 comes in a bright red box, and indicates the switch style on the side.
Here’s all the components of the box unpacked –
- Division Zero X40 mechanical keyboard.
- Cable Velcro.
- X40 Product Sheet.
- Plastic keycap puller.
- Division Zero sticker.
Similar to the Das Keyboard line of products, the keys have a very flat side profile. I love the ergonomics of a flat keyboard.
On the bottom of the keyboard, there’s two kick-out legs to add some incline to the keyboard if that’s your style. There’s also two pretty serious rubber pads near the bottom of the keyboard to prevent slipping. This is a huge improvement over the Das Keyboard 4 Pro’s detachable ruler on the bottom of the keyboard.
Above the numpad, you’ll find the USB 2.0 port and mic/audio jack pass-throughs. You need to plug in an additional cable to your PC for each pass-through port.
Division Zero X40 Keys and Alpha-Zulu Switches
The Division Zero X40 has pretty standard keyscaps. The lettering is laser etched, so it won’t wear off over time. One thing you’ll notice is this keyboard has 5 dedicated macro keys on the left side of the keyboard.
Here’s a shot of the Alpha-Zulu Linear switches, which come in an Olive color. The switches are actually manufactured by Greetech, a Chinese switch company. These switches have been modified to different from Cherry MX switches by having the travel distance shortened from around 2mm to 1.7mm.
Supposedly, this will decrease your reaction time while gaming, allowing you to perform better. In practice, I doubt you’ll see a noticeable benefit. Razer also created a line of custom gaming switches that were shortened to 1.9mm, as seen in our Razer BlackWidow Chroma review.
Overall, these switches felt very comparable to Cherry MX Reds. These are the best feeling Cherry MX clones I’ve ever tried, and a lot of it may have to do with the high build quality of the X40. There’s definitely an adjustment period to getting used to the shorter actuation point on the Alpha-Zulu switches, and I was much more prone to typos until I got more time with the keyboard.
Division Zero X40 Backlighting
Operating the backlighting is simple enough. You can just hold the Fn key and press F1 or F2 to lower or raise the brightness of the red LED backlights. There’s 5 levels of brightness, as well as “Off”.
The backlighting looked great, and the color filled the keyboard evenly which is always nice. The max brightness was very bright, and the lowest level was perfect for when you just want some backlight in the dark without burning your eyes.
This is the first backlit keyboard from Das Keyboard, so it will be interesting to see if they introduce it to their Das Keyboard line of products in the future.
Division Zero X40 Aluminum Top Panel
One of the cool things about the X40 that’s a first I’ve seen in the mechanical keyboard industry is the ability to remove the top panel to swap out for a different one. You can find 4 different color schemes of the top panels available on the Division Zero Shop, and they’re currently $40 a piece. I’m sure they have plans to release more panel designs in the future, possibly some themed for certain games like League of Legends or Counter Strike: Go.
Above is what the keyboard looks like with the top panel off. One thing I didn’t like about the X40 is it didn’t come with a hex wrench or any tool to help you remove the screws on the X40. It would be easy to damage or strip the screws without a tool that fits just right, so I see this being a major pain for people in the future. It would have been nice for them to have used a standard Phillips or Flatehead screw if they didn’t plan on including a tool in the box.
Here’s a closer shot of the screws that hold on the aluminum top panel.
Compared to the Das Keyboard 4 Pro
With the two mechanical keyboards set next to eachother, you can see they’re both very similar is style and overall shape. The X40 has a bit of a more aggressive feel to it with more angles and the graphic on the top panel. It’s also a bit wider to accommodate the 5 macro buttons. Check out our Das Keyboard 4 Pro review to learn more about that keyboards.
Overall, the Das Keyboard 4 Pro is better for everyday PC use due to the dedicated media buttons, and two USB 3.0 ports. The X40 is the gamers choice, due to the macro keys and mic/audio passthroughs.
Division Zero X40 Overall Verdict
Overall, the Division Zero X40 is an excellent gaming mechanical keyboard, perfect for the gamer who loves their macros. The major selling points are the 5 dedicated macro keys, and the 3 pass-through ports (USB, mic, and audio). The price is pretty steep at ~$150.
We would suggest compare the X40 to the Corsair STRAFE RGB, which has RGB backlighting, Cherry MX switches, and a detachable wristrest for $10 cheaper, but lacks the 5 macro keys and audio/mic passthrough. Either of these keyboards make great gaming peripherals, it’s just a matter of what suits your tastes better.