Behold, in all it’s glory, the Matias Tactile Pro keyboard for PC. If it looks familiar, it’s because it was inspired by the (now discontinued, but not forgotten) Apple Pro Keyboard:
Of course, the Matias Tactile Pro PC is for, PC, and doesn’t feature the Apple keymaps. That doesn’t mean the Tactile Pro isn’t channeling the ancients. In the short time I’ve owned the Tactile Pro, it has provided one of the best, if not THE best typing experience I’ve had the pleasure of enduring in many years.
As it happens, I’m an analyst by trade and spend a lot of my time at a keyboard for work, as well as pleasure. Before purchasing the Tactile Pro I was using a Microsoft Sculpt Desktop and was generally pleased with the keyboard, quite pleased with the mouse. There were a few issues, though. For example, the keyboard couldn’t keep up with my typing speed, and often missed letters; “ghosting” they call it. Additionally, the split caused my right wrist to be sore some days, especially after long hours in spreadsheets. This was due to the hyper-extending of 2 fingers on the right hand, since I have small fingers.
A long day coming arrived, and I had to shop for another keyboard.
Many of my co-workers use mechanical keyboards, but mostly traditional keyboards reigned supreme. I knew I didn’t want to go back to your average Logitech or Microsoft keyboard, nothing personal guys! However, the keyboards my co-workers referred me to were gaming keyboards, SteelSeries, Razer, and such. They’re quite nice, many of them have backlit keyboards in a variety of colors, multiple USB 3 ports, and key mapping software for those critical hits in WoW, LoL, and Eve. But, I don’t play video games. Seriously, Mahjongg is the extent of my gaming. I wanted a keyboard designed first and foremost for typing, not gaming.
I thought about it for a while and told myself, “Man, I still wish Apple made the Pro Keyboard”. Searching eBay and the web for “modern versions” I found the Matias Tactile Pro keyboard – PC edition. Before finding this keyboard, I already lined the following keyboards to try:
- Das Keyboard 4 Professional Clicky
- CODE 104-Key Illuminated Mechanical Keyboard with White LED Backlighting – Cherry MX Clear
- Filco Majestouch-2, NKR, Tactile Action, USA Keyboard FKBN104M/EB2
Three excellent, highly rated mechanical keyboards. The Code keyboard is backlit, and the Filco and Das keyboard are from renowned manufacturers. Of course, they carry a steep price. But, did you know das Keyboard gives discounts for students? Neither did I until I searched their website and found this little gem. Keep that in mind if you’re reading this wondering the same question I was – what keyboard to get!
But this post isn’t about what could have been. It’s about the Matias Tactile Pro keyboard for PC! I didn’t order the others, even though das Keyboard did offer a nice student discount, and instead ordered the Matias Tactile Pro for PC via Amazon. Let’s take a look at some of it’s features, and a look at the keyboard in the real world…
Matias advertises, quite bluntly, the keyboard is designed for typing – not gaming. I’m not sure why it won’t work for gamers, but since I’m not one, I don’t really care. Typing on this keyboard evokes it’s inspiration – the original Apple Pro keyboard. The first mechanical keyboard I ever used. In fact, the switches used on the Matias Tactile Pro are very similar to the ones in the Apple Pro Keyboard- ALPS switches.
The ALPS switches give off the perfect amount of feedback, tactile and auditory. When I type, I can feel the keys bottom out, raise up, and hear the click. It’s satisfying. The best comparison I can make is when you get a new electronic device with a screen…. and you peel the screen protector off… Imagine that kind of satisfaction with every keystroke. The only downside (which isn’t applicable for me) is the sound.
Matias has also added a few other features you may not think you needed, until you use them. I mentioned earlier I’m a data analyst, I work with spreadsheets. Matias has added a tab key to the upper left corner of the 10-key, so you can enter data efficiently and quickly, with one hand. Also, another little thing is the rounded key tops with laser sculpted lettering/numbering. No fading! And the curve keeps your fingers in the right place.
The keyboard is heavy, and feels high quality. I’m sure it would be useful in a Zombie Armageddon. The bottom of the keyboard also has some of the sturdiest keyboard feet I’ve ever seen.
As for some things I don’t like… there aren’t many. The designers at Matias have decided to replace the Windows Context key, aka the key which brings up the right click menu, with a Fn key, for the upper keyboard functions, fast-forward, rewind, play/pause. I don’t use these features, but do appreciate them being there. For now, I’ve had to live without a context key. I would like to find a way to bring that key back, as it was easy to rename lots of files, one after the other, without using the mouse.
In real world use, my WPM has gone up by 20-30%, at least. There’s something about the keyboard and it’s tactile feel, enhancing my typing speed. It’s quite satisfying actually, and possibly why this blog post is so long. Someone could give me the phone book and I’d have no complaints typing it up on this keyboard. It’s a dream, for me, and a highly recommended product for anyone who makes their living at the keyboard.
Also, a note about their customer service. Matias is a Canadian operation, and in the few times I’ve had to contact them, they have been responsive and courteous. Something any one who reads my blog will know as a plus in my book!
I look forward to what Matias brings in the future for upgrades and model changes, but hope they stick to their roots – the ALPS switches are better than any Cherry or spring switch I’ve typed on.
Below, a gallery of the Matias Tactile Pro keyboard (cat not included with purchase of keyboard)