Matias Tactile Pro 2

I’ve been looking forward to this keyboard for a long time. I got to use the Tactile Pro 1 for about a week awhile back, and it was amazing – typing on those thick, clack-y keys reminded me how much I miss my old Apple keyboard. Unfortunately, I wasn’t the only one to feel this way, and the Tactile Pro has been awfully hard to find for more than a year now.

Yes, this new version is way too expensive. Yes, that Optimizer key function looks kind of cheesy. Yes, that USB 2.0 port is where I connect my mouse, so it pretty much does nothing for me.

But I want it. It’s wrong, but I want it. Anyone else tried/want the Tactile Pro? I’d be interested in your thoughts.

Looks cool (and expensive). The USB2.0 port is pretty unique though I think. I remember a Macstore-guy telling me that Apple doesn’t sell USB2.0-hubs. That was 6 months ago though.

The main thing that would sell me on this (other than the primary feature of finally having a non-mushy keyboard) is the arrow keys being accessible to the right hand without moving from the home row. Since you’ve actually come in contact with a TP-1, was it really that close to the old IBM keyboards?

It was loud, responsive, uniform, and physical like the old IBM or Apple Extended keyboards were, yes. (Did I mention loud?) I knew what I was getting into when I tried the 1.0, so I came in with hefty expectations, and they were easily met. I can’t begin to tell you how satisfying those mechanical keys are. You feel like you’re typing, not inputing.

I will say that there was something about the keyboard I found a little less substantial than my memory of my old Apple Extended II – it’s the white plastic, I think, which seems… fluffier (?) than the dense beige of the old technology. But that’s a visual thing. I pounded the shit out of the Tactile Pro, and it held up.

Here’s the best review I’ve read of the original. I can only hope that the second one is even better.

Interesting KBD. I still have the articulated Apple KBD from my first Quadra.

I prefer the low-profile keycaps used on laptops. I use a low profile KBD (Macally IceKey) for my desktop. I even have a spare. :wink:

Perhaps I’ve gotten lazy but it actually feels like more work to use a KBD with taller key caps since I’ve gotten used to my current set up.

IMO, if you spend a lot of time in front of the computer, the price can be worth a more satisfying experience.

I’ve noticed another Serious Scrivener Bug: every time someone mentions a program or product, a new window mysteriously opens on the computer screen, taking me straight to it. Amber and Keith may say this is intended behavior, but I’m convinced it’s an inherent bug in Scrivener that is resulting in a serious loss of productivity.

Still, the bug has led to some great products and if this this keyboard is as good as promised, it’s one of them. The old IBM keyboards were a pleasure to use. The sound they made helped me find a steady typing rhythm and I always knew if I missed typeing a letter. The price might seem a little steep, but it’s worth it just for the ability to use the arrow keys without twisting my right wrist sideways; carpal tunnel surgery is a heck of a lot more expensive.

Thanks for mentioning this, Sean. I’m going to give it a try.


You know? I’ve always said that keyboards are one thing a writer should never be cheap with. And those mechanical switches really do help with the wrists. These membrane keyboards have no definite “hit” point, so you have to apply much more force to each key, potentially jarring the tissues between bones. I remember with those old IBMs, you could get a “float” going where you barely seemed to be applying any pressure at all.

I am waiting to see some initial reviews. I once had a keyboard, the Happy Hacking Keyboard which had a nice click to it, and was really small. Everything could be accessed without moving from the home row. Unfortunately, when I bought it I never dreamed that I would own a Mac, so I got the cheaper one with a PS/2 connector. While it seems easy to find USB to PS/2 (they tend to come with Microsoft mice), the inverse is a lot harder.

Details on the specifics of the key switching mechanism are at that link.

I remembered the one thing that I did not like about the HH was that some combinations were a bit awkward. Since you have to us the fn key to access arrows, you can imagine what Cmd-Opt-RightArrow is like.

I used the original Tactile Pro for a year or so. I suppose it was better than the Mac Pro keyboard in some ways, a little more feedback while typing, but as noted in a few posts, the build quality was a bit lacking. The first one they sent had a problem with the space bar, but the replacement was OK.

I’d say it falls about midway between the Mac Pro keyboard and the original Apple Extended in touch, but it started to have problems after the first year, and I went back to the Mac Pro.

Finally, I ordered an Avant Prime, which is MUCH more like the old IBM keyboards, built like a tank. PUNCH those keys! It’s a PS/2 unit, and really built for PCs, but they sell a PS/2 <> USB converter (free if you mention the Dec 2006 review from the lowendmac site, a good read). It can store some macros and such, though I’ve not used that capability. Within OSX you only have to press two keys to locate the keyboard the first time you start up with it, and in Prefs reverse the Option and Command keys, then just ignore the little Windoz icon. :slight_smile:

I’d say it gives maybe 20% more “click” than the Apple Extended, but if you liked the Extended, you’ll love the Prime. I’ve not touched the new Tactile, but the Prime makes the original Tactile feel like a $10 chunk of plastic.

That is the main reason I am waiting for reports, lenf. Pretty much universally, somebody had something negative to say about the circuitry or build quality of the Tactile Pro. I do hope that version 2 is a success; otherwise I might have a look at one of those newer HH keyboards.

How is this keyboard different from Apple’s? I have the bluetooth version, and other than the lack of a USB 2.0 port, it looks very similar.

(Actually, I prefer silent keyboards. I don’t like the clatteryness of the one I have, but I tend to write more on my Powerbook so I can handle the rattle. I do like the Powerbook’s keyboard. My old iBook’s is even better.)


Studio 717

You may want to look at the Macally IceKey keyboard.

It is, in essence, a laptop keyboard with a very light touch. I vastly prefer it to the standard Apple keyboard. That said, its driver is a little flakey but nothing you can’t get around.


Isn’t the Macally Icekey

supposed to be like a PowerBook keyboard?

After getting my iBook a couple years ago, I also found I liked laptop-style keyboards better than desktop ones, clicky or otherwise. I ended up getting a Microsoft Comfort Curve 2000 keyboard for my desktop machine; it’s now available in a Mac-styled wireless version, but the USB version works fine on the Mac, costs all of $20, and is my favorite keyboard ever. I also tried the IceKEY, but I like this better.

Thanks everyone for your suggestions about silent laptop-like keyboards. I’ll check them out.

popcornflix: A review for the icekey on Amazon said it made a “mechanical tickity-tackety sound” when typing, so I’m thinking it has the feed-back of the Powerbook’s keyboard, but not the quietness. Could be wrong, of course, as I’ve never seen that Macally keyboard in person.

I do have an older Macallly keyboard (it’s transparent, but the keys aren’t low-profile) that isn’t as ‘tickity’ as the Apple, but has on odd feel to the keys, and an older Microsoft wireless (also not low-profile) that has the same issues (for me).

But as someone has already said, it’s always worth it to keep searching for that ‘perfect’ keyboard.

I do like the leanness of the Apple bluetooth keyboard, if only it was silent and not so clattery. :smiley:

I used to love the old clackety Mac Extended Keyboards, but when I got my G4 Powerbook, I was converted. I’d love to find an outboard keyboard that feels as good.

I’m eager to hear if anyone finds one, thanks.


Make no mistake, the Tactile Pro is loud as hell. It’s not just the clackety sound, it’s the mechanical key switches – they’re not the Alps switches the old Apple and IBM used, but they’re MUCH louder than the scissor-key switches the icekey uses. The Tactile Pro keys clack, and they echo. I think I linked to a sound file above (yes, they are so loud as to merit recording them, just so people believe you.) I like that sound.

I too use the icekey (pictured above in popcorn’s post) and I kind of like the crispness of its key action. It clicks, but it’s not obnoxious – I’d say the noise level is such that you could comfortably use it in a work environment without bugging your neighbors.

Which reminds me of a story (insert a collective groan here). Paul Auster (I think) tells a story about renting a room in a house in New Jersey when he first started writing. His room was below another writer – he knew this because he could hear the guy typing on a manual typewriter. Seemed fun and bohemian at first, until he sat down to work. Then all he could hear was that constant typing – the sound of someone else working while he sat staring at a blank page. Auster consoled himself by thinking that anyone that prolific surely couldn’t be writing anything of merit. The guy’s clearly just cranking out shit(e), right? A couple of days later, he asked the woman who owned the house who his extraordinarily productive housemate was. “His name is Philip Roth,” she said.

Auster moved out within a month.

That is funny. :laughing:

A long, long time ago, I wrote my very first novel on an Underwood manual typewriter just to prove to myself that I could write something that long. Maybe the noise still haunts me? :wink:

Now you know why a wireless keyboard like my old iBook’s - quiet and with a soft touch - would be heaven!

(I still have the typewriter, but ditched the “novel” a long time ago. :stuck_out_tongue: I did learn that there’s more to writing a novel than stringing 80,000 words together.)

I believe it was this Dive Into Mark blog post ( ) which perked up my interest in finding a better keyboard than what Apple supplied me with. In July of last year, my Apple Pro keyboard finally gave up the ghost after 5 years of faithful service.

Remembering the blog post and my fond memories of pounding on those high-key keyboards that the Macs had during my high school days, I began my search for a new keyboard. I ended up getting a Macally iKeySlim keyboard. The description and price looked good, but the feel of this keyboard was HORRIBLE. I was often missing letters while typing, which caused many typos and forced me to type even harder, even though the key action was relatively low. This was intolerable. And to top it all off, even though the iKeySlim has a power key on it, it couldn’t start up older Macs. But the typing quality and feel of this keyboard just was not up to snuff, so I was off to find another keyboard.

After reading about the Matias Tactile Pro, it appeared to have everything I was looking for. It had two USB ports. It had a power button (which does start up older Macs). It has the volume and eject keys, in the same place as the Apple Pro keyboards. It looks great. And even by just looking at screen shots, the quality of the keyboard looked wonderful and solid. I didn’t just want one. I NEEDED one.

Unfortunately, just around that time when I was trying to find the replacement keyboard, Matias and all resellers ran out of stock. The next generation of the Tactile Pro keyboard was expected to be released in November 2006. Then January 2007. Then March. Okay, April. Oops, one more delay! As of this writing, the long-expected Tactile 2 is expected to come out in mid-May 2007.

But I couldn’t wait that long, I wanted one NOW. I called and contacted every reseller I could find who might have had one of these keyboards. No one had one available. Most places mentioned that they already had a waiting list. I finally contacted Matias and asked for their assistance if there was anyone who could help me find one of these keyboards. Matias did happen to have some refurbished keyboards, and they sold me one (it didn’t have the amazing 5 year warranty on it, but I didn’t care, I wanted this keyboard. And if it dies, I’ll get a Tactile Pro 2).

I’ve had the Tactile Pro keyboard for a month or two, and I am immensely pleased with this keyboard. Everything I hoped for is there. The quality and feel are excellent. I have not experienced any technical glitches with this keyboard at all. This is very likely the best keyboard I’ve ever used.

As other people have mentioned, this keyboard is pretty noisy in comparison to most other keyboards. It’s not real loud, but it’s loud enough to be annoying to people nearby. When I tried it out at work one day, someone asked if I had a speaker on my keyboard. No, the keys just click and echo fairly loudly. But that is likely the price to pay for such a wonderful feel.

As long as the Tactile 2 has the same quality as my keyboard, I would highly recommend getting one. Yes, it is pricey to pay $150 USD, but I would say it is entirely worth it, especially if you do a lot of typing. I would just recommend having your own office if you have one at work.

Ordered mine from Matias last week. The website says it ships 30 April, but a quick call to Matias (I’m impatient, I know) revealed that they “hope that the keyboards will be shipped from the factory overseas on the 30th” and that I should expect delivery no sooner than 15 May.

When (if) it arrives, I’ll let you all know, and I’ll try to post a quick review soon after.

I have used the Tactile Pro for about a year, and apart from having to shut my office door so my wife can sleep, it is the best keyboard I have ever used - by miles.

It definitely improves your typing. The sound is exactly like the mp3 on this thread. (Sean Coffee - … y_ikey.mp3)

You won’t experience cognitive dissonance if you buy this keyboard. It is clickety clackety, but in a velvety sort of way. Listen to Sean’s MP3 and you will hear the clear key separation between strokes.

Highly recommended.