85 of 86 people found the following review helpful
on May 27, 2010
I am impressed enough by this keyboard to write a brief review, but first and foremost, this is a keyboard for those who type a lot, or who type professionally, and it is not cheap. But you get what you pay for and in my opinion, this is very good value for money.
For a decade or so I have used an Avant Stellar which I absolutely love, like the TactilePro is has the Alps key-switches, and the version of the switch that gives both audible and tactile feed-back - it is noisy. The keys on the TactilePro, like the Avant, have full travel and have just enough push-back to be convincing yet not tiring. The Avant is a heavy duty keyboard, no squeaks or rattles and it is VERY well made. The trouble with my Avant is that it is BIG as it has an extra set of function keys down the left side, and it loses its marbles about once a day; it will suddenly send oddball characters and I need to unplug it and replug it to clear it up. It needs a PS/2 to USB converter, it does not have the Mac keytops, it has PC, but it is fully programmable, so one can exchange key-codes and it works fine, but for years there was no other keyboard that came close in touch and feel, so I continued to use it.
I have been eyeing the TactilePro for a year or two but the trouble was it got mediocre reviews. Then out came version 3 and it seemed all the complaints had been addressed, so I bought one, and it is all I had hoped for. The TactilePro has n-key rollover so you can type as fast as maybe and not lose any characters, a problem with many lesser keyboards. It is solid enough that typing feels secure, certainly as good as the Avant. It is a USB hub with three ports and I really like the fact that all Option and Shift-Option characters are imprinted on the top right of each key. The shift light is on the Caps-Lock key, a far better place than up in the top right hand corner of the keyboard, it has volume controls which is useful, and it has no frills other than that! It is a keyboard, a Mac keyboard, not a cheap one, but a very, very good one.
If you type a lot, professionally, all day, and you are a good typist, this is a must-have in my opinion. I shall be buying another one for home, and dump that utterly terrible skinny aluminum keyboard my iMac came with. I can type faster and easier on the TactilePro - by far - than on the skinny aluminum thing. Apple used to have the very best keyboards, I find the new batch of skinny things to hurt and be hard to type on, the TactilePro is an essential part of my desktop. Recommended.
59 of 59 people found the following review helpful
on November 12, 2010
For those of you who started using keyboards in the last fifteen years, that's what you will say when you hear someone typing away on the Matias Tactile Pro 3 Keyboard. At least, that's what my 17 year old son immediately said when he walked past my desk on the first day I tried out this amazingly retro new keyboard for Macs: "What the heck is that?" You can't miss the sound--click, clack, click. So then, I beckoned for him to sit down, open Word, and try it himself. He sat down, started typing full speed, and his face lit up, he started laughing! Okay, was he laughing AT me for buying such a crazy keyboard, or was he laughing from sheer joy of the almost steam punk mechanical sound and feel of the keyboard? Probably a little bit of both. But for me, a guy who bought his first Apple computer in 1985, I feel I have come home. I love this keyboard and the era it evokes. Maybe I should quit my job as a real estate investor and take up writing pulp fiction full time just to enjoy the sensation this keyboard affords. On the other hand, maybe I should just write long-winded reviews on amazon.com. Either way, this keyboard is fantastic. Maybe not in a crowded office, maybe not in the echoic marble reception area of a funeral home, but for a 47 year old dude in the privacy of his own home, it's MUSIC.
Objectively, the keyboard layout is IDENTICAL to the keyboard that came with my 2003 iMac (keyboard model M7803). It is the same size, exact same number of keys, same color, etc. No, as previous reviewers have noted, it does not have markings for expose, but then again the Mac keyboard which it emulates does not have these marking either. Installation was simple, perfectly compatible w/ OS 10.5.8 that I am running.
But the keyboard has a fantastically welcome feature I wasn't expecting: a long cord! No, it's not wireless, it's better...it has a long cord. The Mac keyboard whose layout it emulates has a cord length of 33 inches, but the Matias Tactile has a cord length more than twice as long at 72 inches. For someone who leans back and chills in front of the screen keyboard in lap, this extra length is very freeing, comfortable.
In conclusion, if you are a typical 25 year old, forget it. Stay away from this keyboard because you are too young and too boring. But if you have click-clacked away on a late 80's vintage PC, or if you learned to type on a mechanical or electric typewriter, you are in for a treat with the Matias Tactile Pro.
42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on October 17, 2010
Given that many people are not familiar with this style of keyboard, I'm going to break this review down into two sections, first about the style of keyboard that this is, with plusses and minuses, and secondly about this particular product from Matias.
The keyboard style:
Like many others, I too missed the clickity-clack of older buckle-spring key switches. I learned to type on a variety of devices ranging from electric and electronic keyboards to computer keyboards including the classic IBM Model M. This keyboard is very close to that one and, supposedly, is very similar to an old Apple keyboard, the Apple Extended Keyboard, which I never had an opportunity to try.
The reason this is called a "Tactile" keyboard is that there is a significant amount of fingertip feedback generated by the individual keys. Modern keyboards tend to forgo individual mechanical switches in favor of membrane-style sensors that are similar to pressing on little sponges. It's both cheaper and quieter, but is not very finger friendly. Additionally, the keys on new keyboards tend to be fairly flat, such that your fingers may be pressing the edge of a key rather than the center and your hands can start to get out of alignment a little more easily.
Keyboards like the Tactile Pro have much more key travel and sensory feedback than the newer keyboards. Your fingers seem to bounce along as you type rather than hammering a flat surface. As a result, your hands don't move as much as the keys absorb the impact of your fingers much better. Additionally, you tend to get a better sense of your typing speed and, typically, find yourself typing much faster and smoother with fewer errors (though this is debatable) as you go along. As someone else said, this is a great keyboard for people who are high-speed touch typists or who work in a field where lots of text output is part of the job (journalist, writer, blogger, etc.).
There will definitely be downsides for some people, though. First, of course, is the noise. This keyboard is great if you're in a room by yourself and are generating a lot of text. However, if you're in a coffee shop, or a classroom, or have a roommate/spouse/etc. in the immediate area, the constant clickity-clack can become annoying to them. I suspect this is the main reason, along with cost, that these sorts of keyboards have fallen out of style. Don't get me wrong, they're not particularly loud, but the constant, repetitive noise can get bothersome, especially if your environment is intended to be quiet (e.g., a library). Of course, this is a big keyboard, so you're not likely to be toting it around with you outside of your home/office anyway, but take this into consideration. For comparison's sake, I would say that this is significantly quieter than an old manual typewriter and somewhat quieter than an electronic typewriter as well. In fact, each click is much quieter than your average ball point pen click. But there will be a lot of them, and if you're cruising along at 100 wpm, that adds up.
Also, as mentioned, this is a full-sized keyboard with number pad. It's not heavy, but it is not stylishly thin and smooth like an Apple keyboard is. These things aren't really meant for portability and are ideally suited to a desktop environment. If you put this in your bag, you're going to hear the keys clicking away as your bag rocks back and forth. This can get old pretty quickly. You'll also notice that there's a little "play" in the keytops. You can rest your fingertips on the surface of the keys and slightly wiggle them back and forth. This is normal for this style of keyboard and shouldn't be taken as a defect. It's simply a product of the longer-than-usual key travel that these keys have and actually seem to serve a purpose as a sort of automatic adjustment to your fingertip angles. For some people used to the membrane-style keyboards, though, this could be disconcerting at first.
Therefore, for anyone who does a lot of typing, you should really consider getting one of the buckle-spring keyboards for your machine. Currently, this one and one other (I'll mention in a moment) exist, to my knowledge.
This specific Matias keyboard:
I think I've soured a little bit on Matias products. This is the third different keyboard I've purchased from them, the other two being folding portables, and they all have problems. I'll start, though, with the positives.
The buckle-spring mechanism on the keys is classic and exactly as I recall the old IBM Model M keyboards behaving. Of course, that was 20 years ago, so I could be off by a little, but regardless, this keyboard is very nice to type on. It's making me wonder why I didn't do the switch years ago. The angle at which the keyboard sits (adjustable slightly with the built in feet), is also conducive to rapid typing with the wrists up off the table in proper, just-like-I-was-taught-in-school position. That should help with repetitive motion injuries some as well. Also, something I haven't had before is a USB port on the keyboard itself. Two of them, in fact. I think this will come in handy for things like USB thumb drives and whatnot given that the iMac USB ports are way around back and hard to reach. I like the idea, in concept, and I'm sure I'll make use of it a lot.
Now, for the downsides.
The whole keyboard feels cheap. The old Model M keyboards to which I am comparing this to were built like tanks. You got the sense that they could take a .45 round in the back and still keep typing away. They were also heavy, much heavier than this keyboard, which also gave you a sense of durability. This, on the other hand, is very plasticky. The keys themselves are fine, but the surrounding material makes the whole keyboard feel like a $20 keyboard rather than one well over $100.
I've also noticed that at least one key, the number pad's "0" key, is much harder to press than all the other keys on the keyboard, including the space bar. When your fingers get accustomed to pressing only so hard to type a key and then have to press twice as hard to belt out a zero, something's wrong. I haven't "tested" every other key on the keyboard, but so far, that's the only one with a problem out of 90+ keys I have used.
Lastly, as mentioned by another reviewer, the function keys are labelled only with the F1-F15 numbers. No idea what they do otherwise. There's no marks for Expose or any of the other default Mac shortcuts. I'm not even exactly sure how to make them do their alternate function as there is no function key on the keyboard. The manual that came with the keyboard is endearingly short (basically, "to install keyboard, plug it in" and that's it), but not very helpful in this regard. Thankfully, the volume controls and eject key ARE labelled and sit just over the number pad. That's the main thing you need, and you can easily switch your keymappings in OS X to be whatever you want, but it would be nice for them to label these keys as well if they're going to go so far as to label the copyright and trademark symbols on the other keys.
Oh, and about that installation thing. OS X doesn't recognize this as a Mac keyboard per se. In fact, it asks that you press a couple of keys on the keyboard and identify the layout of the shift-return-backslash keys on the right. This is common with third party keyboards, but I've had several keyboards just be recognized automatically by OS X and was surprised when this one wasn't. Not a deal breaker, just strange.
Overall, this is the best typing experience I've had on a Mac since I became a convert. This also beats all the PC keyboards I've tried back to the older IBM keyboards about 20 years ago. That alone earned it 4 stars. I had to deduct some for the cheapness of the experience, however, and the faulty 0 key on the numberpad. I may call customer service and see what they can do about that.
Oh, and by the way, the other buckle-spring keyboard I know of available for purchase is the "Das Keyboard." It's a PC keyboard but can be had with key swap-outs for Mac keys (or Linux) so you can replace the Windows keys with Mac keys. It looks to be better built than this for about the same money, and I may have to try it, now that I've fallen back in love with the buckle-spring. We'll see. I do believe there are some smaller manufacturers out there as well who either make or convert these style keyboards, but I don't have any names for you.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
In the early days of Macintosh computing, the displays were black and white, the systems booted off a floppy, and the keyboards were noisy. That familiar "clickety-clack" of someone typing was as familiar as the whirring of the 3.5 inch floppy. Today we have displays with rich vibrant colors, drives operate off solid-state devices, and keyboards are silent. However for some of us, the keyboards are one giant step backwards and the Matias Tactile Pro keyboard is a giant step back in time that moves serious typists forward.
The TactilePro compares itself to the last great keyboard made by Apple, the Apple Extended II. The premium keyswitch used in the TactilePro is noisy because it's a mechanical switch. Serious typists prefer a mechanical switch because it gives strong auditory and physical feedback when you press a key. Apple's current keyboard requires an extremely light touch of the keys and feels "mushy." Over the years my words per minute seriously declined because my hands would get tired after a long typing session and I'd often miss keys because I was trying to be too light and pulled up to soon on the keys. On the Tactile Pro, the keycaps are sculpted so that you can easily feel the difference and spaces between the keys. Your finger can clearly find the edges and return to the proper concave position in the middle of the key. The keys are also laser etched so the paint won't wear off over time. I hate how all my keyboards certain letters have completely worn off. While I'm a touch typist I hate how ugly the keys look. This is a problem with the TactilePro.
Besides the mechanical keyswitch, the TactilePro has other serious enhancements professional Mac users will appreciate. The keyboard has a large footprint to ensure your hands don't feel cramped and you have plenty of room to rest your hands comfortably. Personally, when I type on my Macbook keyboard my big hands constantly cramp because my fingers are simply too close together. The TactilePro allows my hands to spread out.
Similar to other Apple keyboards, the TactilePro provides volume control and eject keys that don't require drivers and the control, option and command keys are clearly marked without the annoying Windows counterpart. Two USB ports on either side allows attachments of peripherals just like most other keyboards. The white color doesn't match the current aluminum scheme of Mac's design but it doesn't contrast with it either. White is always in fashion.
This quality and comfort comes at a comparatively steep price of $150 retail. While Apple includes a keyboard free with most Macs or charges $50 to buy it separately, the Apple Extended II was $163 back in the early 1990s. A serious typist will find the TactilePro quite a bargain when they factor in the increased productivity and decreased fatigue this outstanding keyboard provides. I can't believe I lived without this keyboard for so long.
Pros: Tactile feedback from a mechanical switch, laser etched keys
Cons: Cost, color choices
10 out of 10
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on March 29, 2011
This is a satisfying and fantastic mechanical keyboard experience for the Mac. I had read all of the reviews here on Amazon before buying it, and I wanted to address some of the criticisms that I saw. I've previously used the DAS Keyboard Model S Professional with my Mac. It works fine, but the layout is designed for Windows PCs. The Matias Tactile Pro uses a "true" Apple layout, where in particular, the Command key is where the Alt key would be on a Windows keyboard. This is one difference between Apple and Windows keyboards that always trips me up when I try to use a Windows keyboard with my Mac. Keeping the Apple layout is an important feature to me. Other Apple keys include F1 - F15 (F9-F12 triggers exposé). There are also keys for volume up/down/mute and optical drive eject.
The next important feature is the feel of the keys. While it provides the satisfying feel of a true mechanical keyboard, it's different from some others I have used. It's not as "clicky" (in both sound and feel) as the Das Keyboard. I would describe the sound as "hollow clacky." It's loud, but not LOUD (I always thought buckling spring keyboards like the old Model M were a bit louder). As other reviewers have noted, a few of the keys have no click sound or "tactile bump". On my keyboard, the Caps Lock and the Numeric Keypad's Clear button have a linear feel (no click and no bump, they just bottom out). Fortunately, these two keys aren't ones that I frequently use enough in daily typing to even notice. The Matias uses White Alps Strongman switches. It requires a bit more force to activate than the Das Keyboard (which uses Cherry MX Blues). As such, I would give the Das Keyboard a slight edge for rapid touch typing, but it is very close. However, the Matias is closer to my (distant) memory of what it was like to type on an old IBM Model M, clackiness and all.
Most negative reviews seemed to take issue with the quality of their Matias keyboard. I am happy to report that there is little wrong with my Matias Tactile Pro 3, just that one of the feet under the keyboard was 1mm shorter than the others, causing the keyboard to rattle on the shorter leg. Annoying, because all of my cheaper rubber dome keyboards have perfectly aligned feet, even the one that cost $19. Really, a keyboard this expensive should be more precisely made. If you are used to an IBM Model M, then this is going to feel as light and plasticky as any other modern keyboard (regardless of what type of switch it uses). Simply put, nobody (except maybe Unicomp?) makes heavy steel keyboards like the Model M any more. Another reviewer said the keys "rattle" when you type, but I don't find this to be the case. The keys are certainly clacky, but I wouldn't characterize it a "rattle." None of the keys are sticking or hard to press, but your mileage may vary.
A few other pluses: the keycaps have the option-key and shift-option-key symbols printed right on them, which comes in handy. The aesthetics are close to Apple's "translucent white" look of the 2nd-gen iBook, early iPods, or iMac G5. While it doesn't match Apple's current aluminum design language, it looks right at home next to the current Apple Magic Mouse. The caps lock key has a white LED on it.
True Apple Mac layout
Apple-compatible aesthetics (if a bit dated)
6-key rollover, good enough for fast typing, gaming
3 USB ports (left, right, back)
Feels close to classic buckling spring switch, lighter touch
Clacky loud, like buckling-spring keyboards
Uneven foot pads, some quality problems noted by others
20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on August 13, 2010
PRO: built like a tank. Much more accurate than the Apple keyboard for rapid typists. Special characters right on the keys with easy access (no having to pull open another drop down menu or refer to a list of special characters). Great tactile response while typing, hence the name. Three full USB ports, REALLY handy for iMac users who must otherwise reach around the back of the machine to install a thumb drive.
CON: Awfully goddamned loud. You loose some functionality from the "F" keys. Not as cool looking as the Apple keyboard, printing the aforementioned special characters on the keys themselves makes for an overall cluttered appearance.
Bottom line, if you do a lot of typing and you find you are all over the Apple supplied keyboard, the Tactile Pro is a worthwhile investment.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on September 18, 2010
After reading an article in Mac Life about the new Matias Tactile Pro 3 keyboard, I decided to give it a try. My order arrived as expected and installation was as easy as the instructions stated. The I-Mac, after a few keystrokes, recognized the keyboard and I began to use it. I love the way you can "hear" the key strokes almost like an old fashioned typewriter ( a mechanical device used by your parents, needed no electricity with early models). You can really punch the keys and for me, the steady consistent "sound" of typing something has a certain relaxing quality. That may not be appropriate for a large office with a lot of people.
However, the I-Mac begin to look for a "bluetooth" mouse on start up, as I had used one of the 3 USB ports to connect my mouse too, and this was becoming a problem. I also wasn't able to use the "F" keys. I sent an email to Matias customer support and within a day their customer support had replied asking a few questions. After those answers, their IT department came to the conclusion that it was a defective keyboard and told me they would ship a new one to me right away.
The new one arrived within two days and has been great with everything working as promised. As a courtesy, and for their excellant way in which this matter was handled, I used the new box to ship the defective one back. Hopefully it will help them.
In this day of "lost emails" within customer service departments it was refreshing to see mine taken seriously and having the problem worked on and solved by people who sincerly seemed to want a happy and satisfied customer, which is what they have.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on March 12, 2013
I just received the Matias Tactile Pro Keyboard and have been using it a few hours. When I ordered it, I was a little confused because some of the reviews seemed to directly contradict each other, and some of the comments that the keyboard is loud seemed odd. It's mechanical, right? Isn't that expected?
Well, now I understand what they meant.
First things first. They keyboard arrived in a nice little cardboard box with a handle on it that looks like it could be handy in the future. The keyboard itself was wrapped in some bubble wrap and a thin styrophomish bag. The instructions are fairly minimal; there is a card that tells how to access the special symbols on the keys like beta and TM, how to use the function keys, etc. Basically I just plugged the keyboard in, and everything worked perfectly.
The keyboard has a weight to it, which makes it feel somewhat expensive and robust holding it (hence the comments that it is high quality). Yet, at the same time, the keys feel kind of like legos, and there is a lot of horizontal play to them which perhaps contributes to them feeling cheap (hence the contrary comments that it feels cheap and plasticy). The USB cable looks sturdy, but strange. It is clear plastic, so you can see the shielding, and this seems like an odd pairing for the keyboard with sleek shiny white plastic. It almost has a "home made" look to it. It is long, though.
All the keys are labeled in the Apple way, including screen brightness, volume control, exposé, etc., and so far everything worked as expected on my laptop running OS X 10.8.2. The keyboard also labels all the option and shift-option character on the keys. As someone who writes quite a bit, and occasionally relies on greek symbols, etc., I really like this feature. One reviewer commented that this made the keys too busy, but if you are a touch typist you don't generally look at the keys anyway. If you aren't a touch typist, then you shouldn't bother with a high end keyboard like this. My typing rate and accuracy are both improved with this keyboard compared to an Apple keyboard. It is definitely more fun to type on.
It is loud, though.
I have used a number of mechanical keyboards in the past so I thought I knew what to expect, but this is the loudest keyboard I have ever used. When the keys land, there is a sound like plastic-hitting-plastic, which is sort of echoed a bit (perhaps in the hollow of the keys?). It is not a super pleasant sound, and it is quite distinct from the mechanical click of the key. Because they happen at almost the same time, though, the nice little mechanical click of the key is masked by the harsh sound of plastic slamming together. A simple rubber mat between the keys and whatever they are striking against would make the quality of this keyboard seem much higher. The keys don't require much pressure, which makes typing feel a little easier.
If you are Apple user, and you are looking for something better than the chicklet keyboards from Apple (remember when those used to be the dregs of keyboards, and now they are fashionable?) you should consider the Matias Tactile Pro. It's definitely an improvement, and something to consider as an option.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on June 10, 2010
I recently bought a Mac Pro for my office and wanted to buy the best keyboard available. I have an Imac at home with the wireless keyboard and magic mouse and just couldn't imagine typing all day on an Mac/Apple keyboard. The Apple (or is it Mac) keyboard looks nice but for heavy typing I find that my hands get tired on Mac/Apple keyboards. The larger wired Mac/Apple keyboard that comes with the Mac Pro, I thought would help but having just spent $2500.00 on a computer I figured what the hey buy the best available. Did a little research and ended up buying this keyboard. So after two weeks what do I think. Remember the way keyboards used to be (are you that old like me). The keyboard reminds me of the old IBM keyboard I got with my first IBM PC XT in 1985. Yes the one with dual floppies and 640k that cost almost $4000.00. It feels and sounds just like it and it clicks just like it as well. It has good to great feel but is not as heavy duty as the first IBM keyboards that were very much like the old IBM typewriters. At least as best as I can remember as this is over 20 years ago. I have gotten very used to it as I loved the feel of the old IBM keyboards and it works very well as a keyboard. I am happy with my purchase but you could argue that the keyboard is a little overpriced. It continues to grow on me and in a month I may think it is the best keyboard ever made but I am not there yet. I think it has improved my typing speed just a little.
That said if you are new on the block (i.e. were not buying computers in 1985 to say 1990) and don't remember the old keyboards then this keyboard may seem old fashioned. A throwback and you may not like it. It has a longer throw than the newer keyboards, that is you have to press the keys just a little further than the newer keyboards. It connects with a wire! It also makes noise, it clicks when you key strike (not that loudly but you can hear it in the hall next to my office) and may be slightly annoying to an officemate, roommate or spouse if they sit and listen to you type. If you like the fell of the wired Mac/Apple keyboard and/or the feel of the wireless Mac/Apple keyboard you may not like this keyboard. I like it better that the Mac/Apple keyboard hands down but prior to buying Macs I had a very nice Logitech wireless keyboard and Revolution wireless mouse set that cost just over $100.00. The Logitech keyboard was also a good keyboard and my opinion certainly not a better keyboard but definitively not much worse and it didn't have any wires.
If you know what you are buying then you will be happy with your purchase. However its not the perfect keyboard for everyone but still its a very good keyboard and I recommend it.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on September 28, 2010
I love this keyboard. It is the exact opposite of the little tiny bluetooth guy you can get from Apple. It is screaming fast, and obnoxiously loud. The feel is amazing like the old IBM M keyboards. Cranking out code with this bad boy is awesome and takes me way back to the old days. It is loud, but if you had an M or an older Apple II Extended back in the day and know about that beautiful rhythm these keyboards make when you are going fast, this one is for you.