We earlier reported on the Matias Wireless Keyboard for Mac and were suitably impressed both with operation, and the ability to swap between up to 4 devices at the press of a button, though felt it didn’t quite have the feel of the Apple keyboard it was designed after, and suffered a little from key bounce.
For this test, we managed to get our hands on the Matias Quiet Pro Keyboard for Mac. I’ve always been a fan of mechanical keyboards, with fond memories of old IBM and Apple mechanical keyboards that had a solid feel and near faultless behaviour, even for the most ham-fisted of typists. The only downside, you could damage your hearing, they were that noisy, well almost. The main feature of a good mechanical keyboard is the solid feedback with a ‘snap’ action that leaves no doubt the key has been pressed and the keypress registered.
In looking for another mechanical keyboard, I came upon the Matias mechanical range. As I spend some time on video-conferences and the like, I hoped for something that would retain the benefits of a mechanical with a slightly lower decibel rating. The specs on their site suggested the Quiet Pro Keyboard might well fit the bill.
We reached out to the Matias team who put us in touch with their Australian distributor, AusPC Market, who provided our test unit.
The Quiet Pro Keyboard comes in a solid box with an instruction pamphlet covering basic use and the function keys. Not quite an Apple product unboxing, though a functional, totally professional presentation.
Installation and first impressions.
Installing the keyboard in is a no-brainer, pick your USB port and plug it in. Start typing.
First impressions were that the silver plastic body was well designed and solid, though the finish coating looked a little low cost. The Keycaps are solid looking, well shaped and spaced, with nicely etched characters, including option and shift/option symbols. Keypress was firm, with no evidence of any slop or sideways movement.
The flip out legs set the keyboard at a natural angle, though I found myself having to adjust to the higher keyboard after years of using the current Apple low profile keyboards. After a few minutes use that was a non-issue.
The USB cable is solid and a good length, allowing for almost any installation. With the cable being in the centre of the rear of the keyboard, it doesn’t matter whether the target computer USB port is directly behind the keyboard, to one side, or even under the desk.
One strong point for Quiet Pro Keyboard is the inclusion of 3 USB ports. For one of my computers, I use an external USB hub to get around the fact the 2 built-in MacBook Pro ports never seem enough. No need for that here, as the keyboard also serves as a USB hub. More on that later.
Keyboard in Use
The initial feel of the keyboard was the keys had good travel, though didn’t quite match that IBM or Apple ‘snap’ (and thankfully, noise). It only took a few moments to move past that and realise the travel was great and typing was easy and positive. I should at this stage note that Matias also offer a normal (or non-quiet) keyboard that by all accounts features a little more ‘snap’ feedback, though with a higher noise level. The all important question, what about missed or double keypresses? I can say here, the keyboard is faultless; no key-bounce, and no ghosting. After a couple of weeks of solid use, all keys work reliably and I’ve settled into the feel of the keyboard. The initial feel that the finish looked a little low cost has faded, and the main impression is of a solidly constructed unit with no flex and a good weight to keep it firmly on the spot when pounding away. Those times I have to drop back to a non-mechanical keyboard on another computer, I do miss the Quiet Pro.
True to their claims, this is the quietest mechanical keyboard I have come access, though I wouldn’t go as far as agreeing it’s no louder than a regular (non-mechanical) keyboard. There is a little noise, though nowhere near enough to be noticeable by a co-worker in a next cubical. In several video-conferences attendees ask what keyboard I was using. The feedback was, yes it is a fraction louder than a non-mechanical, though all comments were positive. It certainly does have a good sound. I am a member of several writing forums where one or two of the more ‘traditional’ members lament the passing of the typewriter sound to inspire their efforts. This is no typewriter noise (my personal view is, thank goodness) though it does have a good, ‘getting the work done’ sound to it. Writing a page of my current work is a satisfying process, with great feel and the aforementioned sound. Errors are noticeably fewer, meaning more time for writing, and less spent correcting. I put this down to the solid design and the ‘snap’ that leaves no doubt a key has been pressed and registered. There’s also a reduction in double characters caused by bounce that seems to plague one or two other designs.
As mentioned the Quiet Pro Keyboard comes standard with 3 USB ports, 1 more than any other I’ve seen. If you’re a USB mouse fan, plug one of those in, and it still leaves 2 ports for hard drives, USB sticks etc. Just to make certain all was good here, I plugged an external 1TB mechanical hard drive in and set it up as a Time Capsule with automated backups. It performed flawlessly for the two weeks it was connected, while plugging various other devices into the other two ports. Going from just the two built in, to a total of 4 USB ports makes the MacBook Pro just a little more versatile for my work flow. The only caveat I can see is being cautious on total load, as this is obviously a non-powered hub.
The Matias Quiet Pro Keyboard is well presented, solidly built and works flawlessly with every Mac it was tested on. One nice touch, the characters are laser etched into the keys, so no worry about wear. The symbol characters are also laser etched into each keycap, so no trying to remember all those Option/Key and Shift/Option/Key combos for special symbols. Apart from being perhaps a little noisier than Matias’ claimed ‘no louder than a regular (non-mechanical) keyboard’, everything Matias claim for this keyboard is backed up in operation. Once settled in, I found typing speeds increasing again and a reduction in the number of errors. If you want to totally replicate the original Apple mechanical keyboard. ‘snap’ in action and can handle a little more noise try the Matias Keyboard Pro, otherwise I heartily recommend the Quiet Pro Keyboard.
The keyboard can be purchased in Australia for $218.90 from the distributor, AusPC Market, or in North America from Amazon $139.95, and is also available in PC versions. For those who don’t want the keypad, there are also sans keypad versions at lower cost.
4.5 Thumbs up for this great product.
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