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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Consumer Hardware & Components > Matias Tactile Pro 3.0 keyboard - Alps keys: Ordered!

Matias Tactile Pro 3.0 keyboard - Alps keys: Ordered!
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Eug
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Sep 4, 2011, 01:25 AM
 
I'm sick and tired of Apple's terrible aluminum keyboard. I have both the full-sized wired one and the Bluetooth one, and I hate them both. Soft and non-sculpted keys and platform. Looks good but poor overall feel.



So, currently I'm using an old Apple Pro Keyboard. Ironically, it's a better colour match to the iMac Core i7, since it has black keys and a silver bezel.



However, it still feels a bit soft without a super nice click. Furthermore, the action of the key isn't so smooth. More friction than I'd like. I'm not talking about the firm click that keyboard aficionados like, but it feels like the sides rub on their way down, giving it a bit of a gritty frictioned keypress.

I also have the white Apple Pro Keyboard, but the feel is somewhat similar, and it's a major dust catcher.



The Microsoft Wireless Multimedia Keyboard has a much better feel, with a smoother keypress action, yet a more significant stiffer tactile feel where it counts. It's still a bit soft though. Then again, ironically, they have excellent Mac drivers, so it's actually reasonably well suited for use on Macs. Even the multimedia buttons are mapped appropriately with the OS X drivers, including even for iTunes.



I loved the old IBM Model M keyboards but didn't relish trying to use it with a Mac.



There are problems with the old Matias Tactile Pro 2.0, but the Tactile Pro 3.0 is available so I thought I'd give it a whirl.



Hopefully it doesn't suck. Some people didn't like the Tactile Pro 2.0. If the 3.0 does suck, I'll just return it and perhaps get a Customizer. I'll just have to remap the keys to get it to work. It's ugly as sign, but people seem to really like the feel of this keyboard.

( Last edited by Eug; Sep 4, 2011 at 09:33 AM. )
     
OreoCookie
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Sep 4, 2011, 04:40 AM
 
I have a Tactile Pro 1.0 and I'm quite happy with it. The key action is great, but after 4 years or so one of the feet broke off. Plus, I wish the integrated hub were USB 2.0, but Matias has taken care of that in the mean time.
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Big Mac
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Sep 4, 2011, 05:08 AM
 
I'm very happy with my Tactile Pro 3.

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." TJ
     
Spheric Harlot
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Sep 4, 2011, 05:19 AM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
I'm sick and tired of Apple's terrible aluminum keyboard. I have both the full-sized wired one and the Bluetooth one, and I hate them both. Mush mush mush, and non-sculpted keys. Looks good but terrible keypress action and overall feel.
They're SO much better than the white piece of complete garbage that came before!

I'm typing this on the old white 'board right now, and it's inconsistent, travel is sticky — I keep missing letters unless I work really hard, something I don't need to do on the built-in laptop keyboard or the Apple Wireless in the living room. I'll be throwing it out soon, but as long as it worked okay, I couldn't justify trashing it. Now, it's giving me RSI.

And no, it's not a matter of lack of training or strength. Playing various grade of piano keyboard, including grands, doesn't bother my wrist one bit.
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
However, it still feels a bit soft without a super nice click. Furthermore, the action of the key isn't so smooth. More friction than I'd like. I'm not talking about the firm click that keyboard aficionados like, but it feels like the sides rub on their way down, giving it a bit of a gritty frictioned keypress.
That's exactly it.

The "pro" keyboard was okay. The white one with the transparent garbage collector underneath is just shit.
     
reader50
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Sep 4, 2011, 05:27 AM
 
My Tactile Pro 1 is doing fine too.

The pictured Tactile Pro is a v1 -- the new v3 lacks the power button.
     
Eug  (op)
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Sep 4, 2011, 09:17 AM
 
OK great. More people with these keyboards than I'd guessed.

I thought I'd miss those Dashboard and Exposé buttons, etc. but I don't since F9-F13 do the job. Then I realized I actually used the brightness keys on my iMac and started missing those, but then found out they're mapped to F14 and F15. Perfect. I can't wait until this Matias keyboard arrives. I'm not concerned about the noise so much because I have a separate home office.

BTW, that Eject key (which is on the Tactile too) is useless to me, since I use an external DVD drive with my iMac. I wish it could remap it. However, it's not really a big deal, since if you turn on the menubar Eject icon, it lists all the other optical drives. They should put that in the System Preferences.




Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
They're SO much better than the white piece of complete garbage that came before!

I'm typing this on the old white 'board right now, and it's inconsistent, travel is sticky — I keep missing letters unless I work really hard, something I don't need to do on the built-in laptop keyboard or the Apple Wireless in the living room.
Yeah, maybe I was being a bit harsh and inaccurate with my assessment of the aluminum keyboard. I'm going back and forth just for testing (and because I own a MacBook Pro), and in retrospect, the travel and click on the thing isn't terrible. I think my bigger dislikes with it are that it has no form to it so it's just a flat slab and that the keys are not contoured. Minimalistic to the point of loss of function. I find it's extremely easy to lose my place on that keyboard, and with that and the added travel issues (albeit less severe than I originally implied), it's easy to grow to really dislike the keyboard. Nonetheless, I have now edited the original post.

Curiously though, I find I lose my place a bit less often on the MacBook Pro than with the iMac's keyboard, despite the fact both have similar keyboards. I suspect it may have to do with the integrated palmrests. I'm still not a fan of the keyboard on the MBP, but it's still better than most laptop keyboards out there so I'm not complaining. The vast majority of laptop keyboards are utter crap IMO.

P.S. It's amazing how many keyboards I have collected over the years, that are not being used. I have a few of those older silver or white Apple Pro Keyboards, a newer white duct collector Apple Pro Keyboard, and a wireless aluminum and a wired aluminum keyboard.

I bought my iMac with the wired aluminum one, but then my iMac started to die and Apple replaced it… with a completely new iMac-in-a-box, complete with new wireless keyboard and Magic Mouse even though I didn't give them my old keyboard and mouse. They even gave me 2x4 GB RAM even though I had 4 x 2 GB RAM, and they gave me the 2 TB hard drive back from the original iMac. Bonus.
( Last edited by Eug; Sep 4, 2011 at 09:32 AM. )
     
reader50
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Sep 4, 2011, 02:13 PM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
BTW, that Eject key (which is on the Tactile too) is useless to me, since I use an external DVD drive with my iMac. I wish it could remap it. However, it's not really a big deal, since if you turn on the menubar Eject icon, it lists all the other optical drives.
Have you tried Option-Eject for the 2nd optical drive?
     
Eug  (op)
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Sep 4, 2011, 03:25 PM
 
Option-Eject doesn't do anything on my machine. Neither does Command-Eject.

And I just learned that Command-Option-Eject puts the iMac to sleep, and Control-Eject brings up the Restart-Sleep-Shutdown dialogue box. Control-Shift-Eject also puts the iMac to sleep.
     
Spheric Harlot
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Sep 4, 2011, 03:29 PM
 
Cmd-Option-Control-Eject will shut it down.
     
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Sep 5, 2011, 06:51 AM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
If the 3.0 does suck, I'll just return it and perhaps get a Customizer. I'll just have to remap the keys to get it to work. It's ugly as sign, but people seem to really like the feel of this keyboard.

They’ve introduced a version of the keyboard for the Mac

SpaceSaver M (Mac or Apple)
     
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Sep 5, 2011, 06:57 AM
 
Personally I really like the newest Apple keyboards, but YMMV and all that. The black keyboard was OK, the white one was terrible because it got so dirty. The blue one that came with the G3 iMac was sorta OK after a while, but it took some getting used to. I know a lot of old Mac hands still use the Apple Extended Keyboard II with a USB-to-ADB adapter, but I was never in to that.

For some reason, Option-Eject will only eject an external DVD if there is an internal DVD in place to begin with. If someone has a way to fix this so either Eject or Option-Eject will work on an external DVD, I'm all ears.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
Eug  (op)
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Sep 7, 2011, 12:05 PM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
Personally I really like the newest Apple keyboards, but YMMV and all that. The black keyboard was OK, the white one was terrible because it got so dirty. The blue one that came with the G3 iMac was sorta OK after a while, but it took some getting used to. I know a lot of old Mac hands still use the Apple Extended Keyboard II with a USB-to-ADB adapter, but I was never in to that.

For some reason, Option-Eject will only eject an external DVD if there is an internal DVD in place to begin with. If someone has a way to fix this so either Eject or Option-Eject will work on an external DVD, I'm all ears.
I have an internal optical drive, but Option-Eject still doesn't work.

Originally Posted by angelmb View Post
They’ve introduced a version of the keyboard for the Mac

SpaceSaver M (Mac or Apple)
Oh I see. Still as ugly as ever I see though. I am totally on board with the desire to keep the old-school feel of the keys, but they should at least try to improve the aesthetics. That's even uglier than the original Model M, which was ugly to begin with. And it's uglier than the PC version too.

The other thing is that the PC version has that full-sized + key which I like. (I don't use the = key on the keypad.) I don't really like the normal sized + key on the Apple keyboards (and the SpaceSaver and the Tactile Pro 3), but it's not a huge deal I suppose.
     
Eug  (op)
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Sep 7, 2011, 09:03 PM
 
I'm definitely liking the keyboard. Yes it's loud, but it's not quite as loud as I was thinking it was going to be.

The feel of the click really does feel like those old 80s keyboards, and there is not so much side friction like the old Apple Pro Keyboard. The travel seems to be deeper than the current Apple chicklet keyboard. I'm not sure if it's truly a deeper travel, or if it just seems that way because of the solid click present. The resistance is more than most non-mechanical keyboards I've come across and so far I think it's fine, but I haven't used it for hours on end yet. I could see some people finding it a bit tiring though, but usually I'm not typing like a secretary so I'm hoping the increased resistance isn't going to be an issue in terms of fatigue, since I definitely prefer the feel. I'm no pianist but I liken the difference to almost something like a low end synth keyboard (Apple chicklet keyboard) vs. a mid-end one with weighted keys (Tactile Pro).

I like the sculpted feel of the keys. It's really easy to feel your way around the keyboard, but then again that's usually the case for any keyboard with a sculpted key design.

This keyboard just says Tactile Pro on it, so I don't know for sure what version it is but I'm thinking it must be the version 3.0 because it has no power button, and it does have the caps-lock that lights up. I haven't noticed any ghost characters yet either.

All the keys have the alternate characters listed on them. So now I know how to type TV, 25ºC, and π = 3.14. Furthermore, it is a US/Canada type keyboard, not those stupid international keyboards with the shortened shift buttons. I guess that makes sense as it turns out the company is located just outside of Toronto (although the keyboard is made in Taiwan).

The function keys work as expected, although I had to learn the hard way that a clean install of Lion designates Mission Control and Applications keys as Ctrl-Up and Ctrl-Down. I switched them back to F9 and F10 and all is well. F14 and F15 control brightness as usual, and the normal audio keys are present. The Eject button works for the internal drive as expected, but again, Option-Eject does absolutely nothing. Or rather, it ejects only discs from the internal drive, just like Eject alone.
     
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Sep 8, 2011, 01:32 AM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
Personally I really like the newest Apple keyboards, but YMMV and all that. The black keyboard was OK, the white one was terrible because it got so dirty.
The white keyboards have something that no other Apple keyboard model has, though — a full-size Bluetooth version. That's why I'm sticking with my white Apple garbage collector.

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Eug  (op)
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Sep 8, 2011, 09:07 AM
 
I had some significant problems with the Bluetooth on that white garbage collector, if I used rechargeables. Name brand alkalines were fine though. However like you I don't like those reduced size keyboards, so my wireless aluminum sits in the closet.

However, I don't mind having a wired keyboard at all. I don't like wired mice at all though.

BTW, I have golfer's elbow, and I've noticed a very slight twinge just now using this keyboard. I don't know if it's the keyboard or something else because it comes and goes, but if this keeps up, I won't be able to continue using it. But then again, I tried switching to the Microsoft keyboard briefly just now and it still persisted. We shall see. I will be using the Microsoft one all day at work.
( Last edited by Eug; Sep 8, 2011 at 05:18 PM. Reason: Typo: I meant I don't like wired mice, not wireless.)
     
reader50
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Sep 8, 2011, 02:52 PM
 
It sounds like that muscle problem is more related to keyboard height / wrist rests than to a specific keyboard design. You might adjust your chair / desk height to solve it, or add a wrist rest.
     
Eug  (op)
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Sep 8, 2011, 05:17 PM
 
Actually, in my case it's mainly from climbing.

The most commonly known layperson name for medial epicondylitis is Golfers' Elbow, but it is also known as Climbers' Elbow. My solution was to severely reduce the amount of climbing I did, and stop using the mouse with that arm. I am right handed, but actually use my left hand for the Magic Mouse. However, it still recurs every once in a while.

It could just be coincidental that it came back last night, esp. since it usually supposedly isn't worsened by a one-time injury, but it's possible it was not coincidental because the Tactile Pro does have somewhat higher resistance to the keypress.
     
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Sep 8, 2011, 10:43 PM
 
You do have a point though, reader50. Going back and forth, I note that with the Matias I don't actually rest my wrists on the table, whereas with the Apple aluminum keyboard I have my wrists on the table. That way when I type the wrist angle with both keyboards is actually the same. So unconsciously I am holding up my forearm slightly above the table with the Matias, but with the Apple keyboard they just sit flat on the table.

This makes sense, because the keys at the TOP of the Apple keyboard are lower than the keys at the BOTTOM of the Matias keyboard. The top surface of the keys at the bottom of the Apple keyboard is 0.8 cm off the table. In fact, the Apple keyboard is the perfect design as a wrist rest for the Matias.

For the Matias the lower keys' height is 3.1 cm of the table, or maybe closer to 2.9 to 3.0 cm if you account for the concavity of the keys. Wowsers, that's over a 2 cm difference in height. In comparison, the heights of the highest Apple non-function keys is about 1.7 cm off the table, so still much lower.

However, I will note that the height of the lower keys on this Matias keyboard is pretty much exactly the same as on my Microsoft keyboard. Theirs are also 3.1 cm off the table at the bottom, so it's not as if I'm not used to the height. I've been using the Microsoft keyboard all year.
     
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Sep 9, 2011, 12:58 AM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
I had some significant problems with the Bluetooth on that white garbage collector, if I used rechargeables. Name brand alkalines were fine though. However like you I don't like those reduced size keyboards, so my wireless aluminum sits in the closet.
What brand of batteries were you using? I haven't noticed any significant Bluetooth-related problems with my garbage collector.

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Eug  (op)
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Sep 9, 2011, 07:53 AM
 
I was using Olympus branded rechargeable batteries. They were the ones that came with my Olympus point and shoot camera.

Periodically, I'd lose the connection when it was at say medium charge, but it wouldn't reliably reconnect. However, the power would be listed at maybe 2 or 3 bars. With name brand alkalines I wouldn't have this problem usually, even when the batteries were nearly exhausted. I'd get the low battery warning, and then eventually it would just disconnect and stay that way. So, with those rechargeables it'd go from working perfectly to working unreliably, whereas with the alkalines it'd go from working perfectly to battery death.

Very odd.
     
CharlesS
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Sep 9, 2011, 06:18 PM
 
I use these; they seem to work pretty well.

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shabbasuraj
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Sep 17, 2011, 12:11 PM
 
Eug have you tried a Macally icekey?

slightly sculpted and scissor keys.
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CharlesS
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Sep 17, 2011, 03:18 PM
 
I tried some of their keyboards years ago and wasn't too impressed. Have they improved since then? How do the current Macally keyboards compare to the Apple aluminum and white garbage collector keyboards in terms of feel?

Also, how's the battery life on those? The BTKey seems to take only two AAA batteries as opposed to the 4 AAs that the white garbage collector uses.

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shabbasuraj
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Sep 17, 2011, 09:39 PM
 
I really like my wired macally icekey.

I like it because it is the closest in feel/key travel/sound/key size/key switch to the previous gen MacBook Pros i.e., silver keyboard (which I consider my personal 'reference standard' for keyboards.).

I always wished Apple would have made a standalone keyboard based on that family of notebooks.

I have not tried any of the other wireless ones.
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