I believe it was this Dive Into Mark blog post ( diveintomark.org/archives/2006/05/30/bye-apple ) 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.