Matias Tactile Pro Mac Keyboard Review


Product Requirements:
Mac OS X computer or laptop with a free USB port, Windows PC or laptop with a free USB port

Do high schools still teach touch typing these days? I don’t think I’ll ever forget Typing 101 with Mr. Owens. With his salt and pepper afro and the way he’d say gobblygook and apple pie order, I hated that class. But all these years later, I’m glad I took it and learned to type. Hunt and pecking is fine for most folks, but I spend my entire day in front of a keyboard. Having the ability to type up to 70 WPM allows me to answer help desk tickets quicker (day job), or compose a review faster (gadgeteer job).

As a touch typist, I know what I like and don’t like when it comes to keyboards. I definitely prefer a desktop keyboard to a laptop keyboard if only due to their overall size. I can’t stand my hands being cramped when I’m trying to type. Then there is key pitch and travel. The pitch is the distance between keys, and the travel is the distance that a key moves when you press it down. While I like the keyboard on my PowerBook, it’s very flat and the key travel is shallow. That’s fine when I’m on the road, but when I’m at home, in my computer room, I want to be as comfortable as possible. That’s why I knew I had to try out the Matias Tactile Pro Mac keyboard when I happened upon it during a google search.

The Tactile Pro is a full-sized 108 key USB keyboard that has a lot going for it. Besides looking pretty spiffy with it’s clear plastic shell, it has special Mac keys such as CD eject, volume up/down/mute, control, option, and a shutdown/restart/sleep button. All these special button features are plug and play if you are running OS X 10.3 or later. Earlier versions of the OS will require the installation of an included driver.

In addition to the familiar English lettering on the key caps, there are also special characters and symbols available when you press the keys in combination with the option or shift-option keys. This really saves time when you need to type things like: ¢π©™ because you don’t need to launch a symbol picker to find them.

The keys themselves have superb tactile feedback… hence the name Tactile Pro. This feedback is made possible due to the use of high quality Alps mechanical key switches. Although I have no prior experience with Apple keyboards, the Tactile Pro is supposed to be as great as the original Apple Extended Keyboards. All I can say is that this keyboard feels great to touch type on. It reminds me of the old IBM keyboards in the computer lab when I was in college. I actually feel like I’m typing faster and more accurately when I’m here at home than when I’m at work using my IBM Intellistation keyboard. There’s definitely a crisper and more precise feel to it.

But this increased tactile feedback, comes at a price. The price is paid in clicks and clacks. Typing with this keyboard may annoy you, or those around you. If you happen to have your computer setup in a bedroom, your significant other may throw a pillow at you if you try to work when they might be trying to sleep. When I first started using the Tactile Pro, I was very much aware of the noise it produced. But like many things, you get used to it over time. Now I don’t notice it much at all and I might even say that I like the noise as it seems like I’m sort of making music while I type. I get into a rhythm of clicks and clacks that gives me momentum to continue typing. Yeah, I’m weird…

Like most keyboards, this one has two pop out stands that allow you to incline the keyboard into a comfortable typing angle.

There’s also the built-in 2 port USB hub. There is one port on either side of the keyboard. This is a great feature as I am able to plug in a USB mouse into the right port, and leave the left port for a PDA sync cable, or flash card reader. The only little gripe that I have is the fact that they are only USB 1.1 ports and not 2.0. Oh well…

I’ve been using this keyboard for several weeks and I have to tell you that I absolutely love it. I wish I had on at work too. My day job computer is a Windows PC and although this keyboard will work with a PC, the F13, F14, F15 keys are different from the usual PC keys in
that location, and the Alt/Win keys are swapped. I’m also not so sure that the the eject, volume buttons will work… Matias is working on a PC version of this keyboard, but a release date is not available yet.

My wish list for the next version of the Tactile Pro is pretty short. It would be great if it was wireless and had USB 2.0 ports. It would also be nice if the price was a little cheaper. But you have to understand that this isn’t a $9.99 keyboard that you can pick up from Walmart or OfficeMax. This is a professional grade input device that any touch typist would love to get their hands on.


Price: $99.95

Great tactile feedback
2 USB ports

Special Mac keys
Great look




Product Information

Manufacturer:Matias Corporation
  • Great tactile feedback
  • 2 USB ports
  • Special Mac keys
  • Great look
  • Noisy
  • Expensive
Posted in: Computer Gear
{ 16 comments… add one }
  • Julie July 27, 2004, 3:22 am

    Post your comments here on the Matias Tactile Pro Mac Keyboard review.

    Just click the POST REPLY button on this page.

  • eichin July 27, 2004, 7:46 am

    I’ve had one of these for a month or two now, and like it very much (then again, I keep around a set of old IBM “clicky” (lexmark) keyboards for my PC hardware, too. The next thing I’d like to see is one of these without the numeric keypad – there’s a corresponding IBM one, same layout of the main keys, it’s just not so wide, making it more usable on a lap or keyboard tray. Even better would be to include an “eraserhead” trackpoint-stick, also common on IBMs of that era (and modern thinkpads.)

    The other thing I want to see is for a future version to take advantage of the clear plastic and have some internal lighting 🙂 Completely gratuitous, but it would look funky…

  • Julie July 27, 2004, 12:24 pm

    I was going to mention lighting too, but thought it might sound a little too cheesy 😉

  • questionfear July 27, 2004, 2:11 pm

    a couple of questions/comments:
    1) the link to comments at the bottom of the review links to
    2) Have you had any experience with either the apple pro keyboard or the apple pro wireless keyboard? If so, do you think this one matched or surpassed them?
    3) Did you get a pillow thrown at your head for being too noisy?


  • Error94 July 27, 2004, 3:13 pm

    I would love to try the PC version when it comes out! I am so tired of the $19.99 mushy keyboards I have at work. Yes, (optional) lights would be cool, but only if they make the keys themselves more visible at night. I am a touch-typist, but with the extended character set printed on the keys, it would be nice to be able to see them in the dark (being the cave-dwelling computer programmer that I am).

    I also very much miss the keyboards that were on some of the old Hewlett-Packard terminals on which I used to work. They had a good feel, but the keys themselves were pretty quiet. The cool part was that there was a speaker that you could turn on/off built into the bottom of the keyboard that would mimic IBM-style keystroke sounds. The sound from the speaker was very tactile — a keyboard “subwoofer” so to speak. If someone came out with that concept again, you could have it on during the day, and turn the “click” off at night when your SO is trying to sleep (avoiding the pillow in the face).

  • Julie July 27, 2004, 3:45 pm

    I just fixed the link… thank for the heads up!

    No, I’ve not had any experience with any other Apple keyboards…

    Nope, no pillow in the face. But then, my computer is in the basement and the bedrooms are upstairs 🙂

  • SQLDba July 27, 2004, 4:54 pm

    Just curious how heavy the keyboard is. I have a couple of the old IBM clickity keyboards (love them more than the Natural (split) keyboards even) but the one thing about them is they are heavy. Like 6 – 7 pounds heavy. Really prevents them from coming with the laptop when I travel somewhere that I know I am going to type a lot.

    This might be an option…

  • alex_t_king July 27, 2004, 7:11 pm

    You can get the same keyboard from Kensington for $20 less:

    I ordered the Kensington when the Matias was back-ordered:

  • questionfear July 29, 2004, 9:11 pm

    Originally posted by Julie
    Nope, no pillow in the face. But then, my computer is in the basement and the bedrooms are upstairs 🙂 [/B]

    oh good. well that’s some indicator of how loud/not loud the keyboard is 😉

    you know, noisy electronics is a problem…maybe that should be a new section of the review. on a scale of 1-5 pillows, 5 being the most your s.o. can tolerate before you’re smothered in them, how loud is this gadget?

  • Ben S July 30, 2004, 3:00 pm

    Call me crazy, but this is the best keyboard I’ve ever used. (Note that the $134 price is in Canadian).

    For one thing, it has the same layout as my ThinkPad’s built-in keyboard, which is great because I don’t have any cognitive dissonance when switching from being docked to being mobile. Unlike most laptop keyboards, ThinkPad keyboards don’t feel at all cramped and I can touchtype at full speed on it. The key travel and spacing are both virtually the same as a quality desktop keyboard. If there’s one thing IBM does right, it’s keyboards! (ThinkPads are pretty hot too).

    It also has audio control buttons and a function-key button so I can access the ThinkPad’s laptop-esque functions (like monitor switch, suspend, etc.,) without switching keyboards.

    It has a full-size numeric keypad, trackpad, and NavPoint. I nearly never use my mouse (unless I’m gaming).

    It has two USB (1.1) connectors on the back.

    And finally, it’s so light and thin I can use it virtually anywhere.

    Oh, and there’s no “click & clack” 🙂

  • elvisb September 4, 2004, 2:31 am

    I loved the review on the Matias Tactile Mac Keyboard, a great job. It is everything you say and more. I use the option, option shift functions on the Mac a lot doing engineering work. I used to go to keycaps to find where all those leters and symbols were but now I’m looking at 3 keyboards.
    Here is the good news, Small Dog Electronics sells the keyboard for $79.00 Just go to theoir Web Site,

  • majormauser June 17, 2007, 1:19 pm

    I purchased the MTP Keyboard recently on the impression that I would be getting a Quality Keyboard worth $149. My purchase was based on that it was going to have a “New” Optimize Key on the keyboard that would allow you to assign certain functions to the keyboard like cut and paste to half the keyboard… it was a cool option. But after my order without emailing or telling its pre-orders Matias decided to scrap this option. It was still being advertised on its website… plus the keys were a new design and not the Alps Keys. To Top this off the Website also pictured the F13,F14,F15 Keys as having Lights on them…. they were mysteriously missing from the keyboard I had received.

    My Review before returning it.

    The overall feel of the keyboard is cheap (the plastic just not quality I would expect) and the keyboard risers would probably break if any weight was put on the keyboard. Each Key wiggles slightly before you depress it. It does not have the tight feel of a quality keyboard. The angle of the Keyboard is also weird as well… it sits too high and you can’t rest your wrists on your work surface and type without bending your hands up until its very uncomfortable.

    I was hoping for more and at $149 you should expect it. The misrepresentations of the MTP on Matias’s website are unforgivable.

  • majormauser June 17, 2007, 1:37 pm

    Something I forgot -:confused:

    Also The MTP HAS 2 (Two) USB CABLES hardwired to the left side of keyboard?! One of the reasons I Purchased it was I thought it was a USB 2 Hub…. but in order to use it as a Hub… its 1 (ONE) usb 2 port has to be plugged into a second USB port… on a powerbook or MacBook pro this takes up every port and being a mobile user I cant see myself plugging in both every time… so a hub is still a must for the laptop user.

  • Jake-2 October 21, 2007, 6:18 pm

    Question is, are you guys going to review the MTP 2.0? I tried it and didn’t think much of the experience.

  • Julie October 21, 2007, 7:30 pm


    They haven’t offered and I haven’t requested…

  • Alanisgood November 6, 2007, 7:13 pm

    There need to be approximately 0 flaws in a keyboard to justify paying more than $40 for one.

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