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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Consumer Hardware & Components > Does anybody still make a good keyboard?

Does anybody still make a good keyboard?
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seanyepez
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Mar 20, 2007, 01:44 PM
 
About twenty years ago, IBM produced a brilliant keyboard called the Model M. It "clicked" and "clacked" when you hit the keys, and it never seemed to wear out. It is probably the most satisfying keyboard model that I have ever typed on. The keys used metal springs instead of plastic dome mechanisms such as the ones used on keyboards today. I still have one hooked up to my Windows PC.

I can't find a keyboard that I like. I still have a few Model M's, but they only work on PC's with a PS/2 connector. The Apple Keyboard is initially a great unit, but it seems to wear out very quickly. After about a year of use, the key faces become shiny and worn and the mechanisms become soft and unresponsive. Do you guys have any suggestions for Mac-compatible keyboards that can be compared to the keyboards of decades ago?

Thanks!
     
imitchellg5
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Mar 20, 2007, 02:38 PM
 
Are you talking about the black Apple keyboard? Cause my 3 year old white keyboard isn't shiny at all. It's still textured, although the click is almost gone, which is nice because you can type silently IMO.
     
seanyepez  (op)
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Mar 20, 2007, 03:28 PM
 
Originally Posted by imitchellg5 View Post
Are you talking about the black Apple keyboard? Cause my 3 year old white keyboard isn't shiny at all. It's still textured, although the click is almost gone, which is nice because you can type silently IMO.
No, I am talking about the latest-generation Apple Keyboard that ships with the iMac.
     
hookem2oo7
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Mar 20, 2007, 03:31 PM
 
I have a black pro kb and a new apple BT kb and they feel exactly the same to me...
     
Atheist
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Mar 20, 2007, 03:46 PM
 
Originally Posted by seanyepez View Post
I can't find a keyboard that I like. I still have a few Model M's, but they only work on PC's with a PS/2 connector.
Have you tried a PS/2 -> USB adapter? I've used an old PS/2 mouse on my MacBook (don't ask why) with an adapter and it works fine.
     
seanyepez  (op)
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Mar 20, 2007, 04:01 PM
 
Originally Posted by Atheist View Post
Have you tried a PS/2 -> USB adapter? I've used an old PS/2 mouse on my MacBook (don't ask why) with an adapter and it works fine.
I've considered it, but the old Model M keyboards don't have "option" keys. I am looking for a modern, Mac-specific keyboard that has high-quality key mechanisms.

Thanks for the suggestion.
     
larrinski
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Mar 20, 2007, 06:13 PM
 
Here are the newest IBM clicky keyboards. This company makes them now... They also make 104/105 key layouts that you can remap. pckeyboard.com
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StarCross
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Mar 20, 2007, 07:57 PM
 
Matias makes one. Expensive though.
Matias Tactile Pro 2.0 Keyboard
     
seanyepez  (op)
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Mar 21, 2007, 01:25 AM
 
Originally Posted by StarCross View Post
Matias makes one. Expensive though.
Matias Tactile Pro 2.0 Keyboard
Thanks. The Matias Tactile Pro 2.0 looks very interesting.
     
IceEnclosure
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Mar 21, 2007, 12:55 PM
 
really kinda disappointed in you sean, the matias is all the rage. everybody registered from 1999 has known about it for a while.

(I understand it to be exactly what a clicky-keyboard lover would want)
ice
     
firefly
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Mar 23, 2007, 06:29 PM
 
Poor-man solution would be to get an Apple Extended Keyboard II and a Griffin iMate (ADB-USB adapter) off eBay.
     
OreoCookie
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Mar 24, 2007, 10:00 AM
 
I have a first-gen Tactile Pro, it's a great keyboard. My list of all-time favorites:

(1) IBM Model M keyboard. Indestructible and great `feel'. Best. Keyboard. Ever.
(2) NeXT keyboard. Almost as good as the IBM, just an epsilon away.
(3) Tactile Pro. Not as good as the Model M, but definitely the best `modern' keyboard on the market.
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
larrinski
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Mar 24, 2007, 10:20 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
I have a first-gen Tactile Pro, it's a great keyboard. My list of all-time favorites:

(1) IBM Model M keyboard. Indestructible and great `feel'. Best. Keyboard. Ever.
(2) NeXT keyboard. Almost as good as the IBM, just an epsilon away.
(3) Tactile Pro. Not as good as the Model M, but definitely the best `modern' keyboard on the market.
Sorry to sound like a broken record, but Unicomp makes the buckling spring keyboards now, and they are modern. USB, 104/105 keys etc... They just aren't Mac keyboards, but either was the Model M.
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OreoCookie
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Mar 24, 2007, 11:09 AM
 
Originally Posted by larrinski View Post
Sorry to sound like a broken record, but Unicomp makes the buckling spring keyboards now, and they are modern. USB, 104/105 keys etc... They just aren't Mac keyboards, but either was the Model M.
Sure, there's also the Happy Hacker keyboard which also uses mechanical key switches. So my list was just a personal top list of keyboards I've used. Some older Apple and Sun keyboards were supposed to be just as good. But since I haven't used them, I can't include them in my illustrious list
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Fdanna
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Apr 6, 2007, 01:51 PM
 
The keyboards at pckeyboard.com ROCK big time.

The matias keyboard doesn't use the same technology.. that have alps switches.. they click, but for me they're second rate. Buckling spring all the way...

I use a USB to PS/2 adapter ... my apple keyboard is still sitting in the box, untouched (and will remain that way).

Hmm... looks like they have them in USB now too!! I may have to update mine :-P
     
Jim_G
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Apr 18, 2007, 11:12 AM
 
Hi,

Do you need to do any remapping to use the Unicomp (pckeyboard.com) keyboards (with OS X 10.4.9)? I've got an IBM Model M and a Belkin PS/2 to USB converter but it's a bit of a pain because I've had to remap Caps Lock to the Command key, and I do miss Caps Lock. Do the Windows keys on the Unicomp keyboards automatically become Command keys?

I've had a look at the Matias web site, but apart from the price (!) I'm not convinced by the "Optimizer Technology" on the Tactile Pro 2.0, and the Tactile Pro has been discontinued :-(
     
Fdanna
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Apr 18, 2007, 11:20 AM
 
Originally Posted by Jim_G View Post
Hi,

Do you need to do any remapping to use the Unicomp (pckeyboard.com) keyboards (with OS X 10.4.9)? I've got an IBM Model M and a Belkin PS/2 to USB converter but it's a bit of a pain because I've had to remap Caps Lock to the Command key, and I do miss Caps Lock. Do the Windows keys on the Unicomp keyboards automatically become Command keys?

I've had a look at the Matias web site, but apart from the price (!) I'm not convinced by the "Optimizer Technology" on the Tactile Pro 2.0, and the Tactile Pro has been discontinued :-(
Since you can buy the Model M-style keyboards WITH a Windows (that key between ctrl and alt) the only remapping you have to do is swapping windows and alt, but this is all handled within OS X System Prefs... no third party app required and your caps lock key remains untouched. If you buy the USB model then you can toss your converter too, but you will still have to swap those two keys. Apple added this utility right after they introduced the Mac Mini, presumably so people good hook up their keyboards with the Windows key and remap it to act as Option.

Originally I had a Model-M keyboard, but I had to give it up because that missing key was crucial. The unicomp keyboard is a god-send.

P.S. The Matias stuff is NO SUBSTITUTE FOR A MODEL M. If you're a stickler and you want the buckling spring technology, the Unicomp is the only way out. Matias uses ALPS switches... they're clicky but not the same at all.

PPS. I realized in my exuberance to respond I didn't directly answer your question.

Summary: Is the windows key automatically remapped: NO. Is it easily remapped in OS X: YES.
No other keys are effected.
     
Jim_G
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Apr 18, 2007, 12:35 PM
 
Thanks Fdanna! I'll see how long it takes for the missing Caps Lock to drive me mad....

And another thing - with my Model M the numeric keypad seems to be stuck in Num Lock, and the Num Lock key has no effect. This doesn't really bother me as I always have Num Lock on anyway, but is it the normal behaviour for Model M keyboards?

Jim
     
olePigeon
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Apr 18, 2007, 01:19 PM
 
Originally Posted by StarCross View Post
Matias makes one. Expensive though.
Matias Tactile Pro 2.0 Keyboard
That is one sweet keyboard. They even have IJKL.

$150, though. Darn.
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larrinski
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Apr 18, 2007, 03:19 PM
 
I just got my unicomp spacesaver a couple of days ago and I remapped it very easily in the keyboard settings under the "modifier keys" button. The keyboard rocks! Unicomp even sent me some laser etched "command" keys so that I could take off the Windows keys! They were pleasant to deal with and Applifying(a new word I think) the keyboard was really nice.
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ginoledesma
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Apr 18, 2007, 10:23 PM
 
Not sure if this is your type, but the Kinesis Countoured keyboards are the best I've used. They're very pricey, but after using these for a week, I didn't want to go back to any other keyboard anymore. They have the clicky-feel to them, not exactly the same as the IBM Model M keyboards, but overall keyboard feel (both on fingers and wrist) is perfect.
     
mkerr64
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Apr 19, 2007, 12:17 AM
 
optomus premius !!!
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Cadaver
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Apr 21, 2007, 04:33 PM
 
I have a Matias Tactile Pro (rev. 1) and like it very much.
I also have an Apple Extended Keyboard II and an ADB-to-USB adapter. It works quite nicely
Now that's a nice keyboard.
     
mfbernstein
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Apr 22, 2007, 10:08 AM
 
Anybody know which ADB-to-USB adapters work with Intel Macs/Tiger? I'd love to use my old Apple Extended Keyboard II with my MacBook Pro, but AFAIK, ADB-to-USB adapters don't have drivers for Tiger, or Intel Macs.
     
IceEnclosure
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Apr 23, 2007, 02:19 AM
 
Originally Posted by olePigeon View Post
That is one sweet keyboard. They even have IJKL.

$150, though. Darn.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it silly to have only one USB 2.0 port on the keyboard if you're presumably going to be using that for the mouse?
ice
     
mavherzog
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Aug 22, 2007, 12:23 PM
 
Originally Posted by larrinski View Post
I just got my unicomp spacesaver a couple of days ago and I remapped it very easily in the keyboard settings under the "modifier keys" button. The keyboard rocks! Unicomp even sent me some laser etched "command" keys so that I could take off the Windows keys! They were pleasant to deal with and Applifying(a new word I think) the keyboard was really nice.
Why does the Unicomp "space saver" had a numpad? I thought they took over IBM/Lexmark keyboard technology. The space saver should look like THIS!!
     
mavherzog
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Sep 4, 2007, 03:47 AM
 
They DO still assemble a a proper space saver!!!

Two thumbs up for the folks at Unicomp. I am extremely happy.
     
JustinHorne
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Sep 4, 2007, 09:33 PM
 
Huh, I must be one of the few who hate loud keyboards...
I love the MB keyboard...
The less key travel, the better, to me.
     
   
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