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IMHO, It's Either a Das or a Matais If You Want a Mechical Keyboard
on October 18, 2015
Computer users searching for the next best thing in mechanical keyboards will undoubtedly take a gander at models made by Das and Matais, two top makers. I have keyboards of each brand, both selling for about $125. There's this one, for my Mac Pro (with Cherry MX Blue keyswitches) and the Matais Tactile Pro 4 (with Alps keyswitches) for my PC. I bought the Matais several months back and liked it so much, that I set out to buy the equivalent model for my Mac, Pro with the Mac-specific keys. However, I didn't like the look of the Matais Tactile Pro in Apple-style white. All the keys were cluttered with two or three icons or letters and the whole thing just looked too messy. I guess the Steve Jobs design ethos has worn off on me. I'll add Matais says its Mac keyboard is very similar to the famed Apple extended keyboard from years back. If you remember and like that keyboard, you'll probably like the Tactile Pro. I'd read good things about the Das, so I decided to try it. My verdict? I give the Matais a slight edge, based on personal preference for the feel of the switches and not the features or quality of the keyboard, which are first rate. These are solidly built keyboards and I think most typists would be happy with either brand. I was as a journalist for more than 30 years and I know a good keyboard when I pound on one. I used to love the fat chunky keyboard that came with my earliest Mac, IBM's early keyboard and the Atex newspaper publishing system keyboards, but I'm getting off track. As noted, the Das uses Cherry MX switches and the Matais uses Alps switches. You'll have to do your own research to learn about the nitty-gritty differences among switches, but here's what I noticed: The Matais is more "clicky." You have to give the keys a good poke to trigger a response. The Das keyboard action is slightly softer and you don't have to tickle the keys with the same commitment because they're not as springy and don't travel quite as far as the Matais, from what I can tell. The difference in keystroking is noticeable but not dramatically so. If you like to bang away on a keyboard and you enjoy the clackety-clack sound it makes, you'll like the Matais Alps switches. Don't get me wrong, the Das Cherry switch also has a nice feel and I guess that's what most mech keyboard buyers go for. And it's a wee bit quieter so you might prefer that if you're in an open office where noise levels might be an issue. The Das has two USB ports on the side and a cable with two USB plugs on the end, so keep that in mind if you're low on USB ports. It also might make a difference to some people: The letters on the Das are all lower case. I like the crisp unknown-to-me font the maker uses on the keys. All in all, I'm tempted to send this one back and try the Tactile Pro 4, despite its ugly looks.