Matias tactile pro 2.0 takes steps back

After almost three years of regular and hard use the keys started to stiffen up on the Matias Tactile Pro 1.0 keyboard and I thought I’d try out the newly released sequel.

Basically the entire review can be summed up as this: It’s 4 steps backwards, one step sideways, and 0 steps forward.

The above image shows 3 steps backwards:
(1) One of the only two USB slots is now occupied by a gargantuan dual-USB cable used to plug the keyboard into the computer
(2 + 3) Matias decided to abandon the clean Apple aesthetic and spam up their keyboard with stickers
(3) This sticker is the kicker. It reads “USB 2.0 dock” and the box advertises it as being the greatest thing since sliced bread. Plug in all your fancy digital cameras and gadgets! Well, seeing how Apple mice have an extremely short cord the only thing you’ll be getting at 40x the speed is your mousing action. WooHoo!

(4) The 4th step backwards was the removal of the light on the “caps lock” making it impossible to know whether you’ll simply be typing OR YELLING.

Though this isn’t an actual photo of my keyboard, the same flimsy feet were kept in the back. Step sideways: check.

Pretty much the only good thing I can say about this keyboard is that the mechanical keys are fantastic and luckily they are the sole reason I bought the keyboard. This comes with a 5 year warranty which from my experience (and keyboard usage) should outlast about 5 or 6 Apple Pro keyboards, which is good considering it’s $150 price tag.

19 Thoughts to “Matias tactile pro 2.0 takes steps back”

  1. Billy K

    I waited 3 weeks to get my Matias Tactile Pro 2 keyboard, and when it arrived it did not work. Only the USB hub worked. Matias was super helpful and sent me a replacement keyboard with the quickness. Unfortunately the replacement keyboard has some issues too.

    1) the Capslock key randomly turns on so I WIND UP SHOUTING when I don’t mean to. Since there is no capslock light, I cant tell that its happening.

    2) This is the big one. The right shift is somehow miswired and it triggers the Control Key. If I hold the right shift and type “OPOPOP” all over again, I start getting weird characters and my applications start popping up windows thinking I hit Ctrl+o or Ctrl+p shortcut. If I type really slowly it is fine. I doubt anyone with this keyboard types slow, though.

    In addition, I am not happy with some of the design aspects of the keyboard. The “omg amazing USB 2.0 dock” Isn’t helpful at all. I use a Macbook Pro so I have 2 USB slots on my machine. Both are taken up by the keyboard (2 usb cables on a keyboard? wth?) so I HAVE to plug my mouse in to my keyboard. After all that is done, I can’t plug my iPod in. I had to spend an extra $25 on a 4 port USB hub.

    Also like I previously mentioned, there is NO capslock light. Kind of weird since they put a damn power button on the keyboard.

    I do like the way the keyboard feels and I can deal with no capslock light as long as I can have faith that my capslock isnt going to turn on unless I hit the button.

    I’m going to try to return this keyboard and hope for a better unit next time around or I may just give up on it and try to snag an older model.

  2. I tried the MTP 2.0 and didn’t like it much; in my review, I also cited you. In it, I pointed out that the MTP 2.0 “combine[s] a fat price ($150) with poor build quality (loose keys, a malformed edge, and a continuing shadow key problem).”

    Bummer. Maybe next time.

  3. 42

    I retired my Matias TP 1.0 because keys were beginning to stick and the noise finally drove me up a tree. now using the aluminum kbd that came with my iMac and very happy with it.

  4. george

    I just got the new Apple keyboard and it is a joy. Firm, positive action, with a much lower profile and much less hand strain.

  5. Cameron

    “Real hackers” re-map their keyboards to swap the keys labeled “caps lock” and “ctrl”. The light annoys them.

  6. clvrmnky

    Wait, it takes up /two/ USB ports? Lame.

  7. The 2.0 has serious ghost/phantom key problems. Typing rapidly in AdiumX and entering a capital H behaves exactly as if you’d pressed ⌘ – Shift – H to hide or unhide offline contacts. Entering T and H rapidly, as in typing ‘the’, often confuses the firmware so that the keys arrive out of order.

  8. I have the Tactile Pro 1, a purchase made because I’d been a long-time Apple Extended Keyboard user, and no keyboard measured up to it.
    Unfortunately, the Tactile Pro also didn’t, not quite. It’s been better than they keyboards that have shipped with the Macs I’ve purchased, but it’s no AEK. And it’s difficult to clean (the AEK was easy to disassemble and clean; the TP totally unfriendly for that)–worse, the TP uses clear plastic, so all the gunk that’s collected is visible. Compressed air and shop vacs haven’t helped.

    That said, the negative points in the main article aren’t issues for me.
    Stickers? Don’t care. Form over function distraction.
    Only one USB port? Eh. I don’t use either of the two I have on the TP (I have something like 14 ports between two hubs. I use a wireless mouse because I found it irritating when my mouse cord got stuck on/wedged against things, so if I did need a port, it would be there.
    No light on Caps Lock? Again, eh. I’ve never found a need for Caps Lock, so I have it turned off in the Keyboard and Mouse Preference Pane. Why do keyboards even have them anymore?

  9. pim

    Another longtime Apple Extended Keyboard (not II mind you!) user here. After resoldering the venerable Alps switches in my AEK from donors for years, I was happy when Matias finally let me go the USB route without an ADB-converter. I’m using my Tactile Pro 1.0 for a couple of years now, and it still holds up. The feet have broken, yes, and they’re flimsy. Matias did send me replacements (as I figure they had to do a lot).
    Too bad they messed up with this 2.0 version, I had hoped they’d actually improve the model, not worsen it. It’s also kind of sad that they still use the, now totally outdated styling of the early Apple G3/iMac keyboards. Apple has already moved on two generations of their design. They shouldn’t have copied it in the first place, it wouldn’t make them look stupid now.

  10. Inspired, I picked up Griffin’s iMate, and am now happily typing away on my Apple Extended Keyboard, flawlessly working despite being older than most of my nieces and nephews (the eldest of whom are on the verge of college).

    The Tactile Pro doesn’t compare.

  11. Dirty Dave

    I’ve owned the TP 1.0 since shortly after it was released, and the phantom key problem drives me nuts! It was clearly never tested by anyone who types faster than a medium hunt-and-peck–I’m no speed demon, and I have problems daily.

    I guess I’m also in the minority in that I like the caps lock key where it normally is (and with a light). I have no need for an additional control key.

    Actually, my favorite feature of the Matias TP–and the reason I haven’t just switched back to the keyboard that came with my machine–is having all the option and shift-option symbols printed on the keys. If the cheaper Matias keyboards just had the normal caps-lock location instead of the unnecessary extra control key, I’d have likely bought one by now.

  12. ative points in the main article aren’t issues for me.
    Stickers? Don’t care. Form over function distraction.
    Only one USB port? Eh. I don’t use either of the two I have on the TP (I have something like 14 ports between two hubs. I use a wireless mouse because I found it irritating when

  13. I’ve got a 22 year old ADB Apple Extended Keyboard. Works as perfectly as the day it was made.

    I also have a 1.42 Ghz Dual Processor MDD tower PowerMac. There’s NO ADB port on it.

    However, I also have Griffin iMate ADB to USB adaptor.

    My 22 year old keyboard works perfectly with my MDD running Mac OS X 10.5.3.

    Cost of keyboard from Goodwill: US$1.00
    Cost of Griffin iMate from eBay: US$35.50 (included shipping.)

    I have had exactly ZERO problems with the iMate!

    Upgrading from OS X 10.4.11 to 10.5 involved telling the OS all about this keyboard it had never seen before. I had to press the “Z” key and then the “/” key. That was it.

  14. Having just bought a Matias Tactile Pro 2.0 keyboard, I certainly wish I had discovered this review earlier. The ghosting is driving me nuts! I type Shift-i-p and the caps lock comes on! I type k-i-l and I get ‘kilo’. When I tried to contact Matias support three times with their online form, I got no response after 5 days. A phone call got a girl saying Matias would send me a new keyboard if I sent mine back to them first (I get to pay for return shipping), as it sounded like the keyboard I got was defective. Judging from this review and many others on the internet, this keyboard just doesn’t work properly. If Matias know they have a defective product, why are they still taking peoples money! As it is I will stay away from ALL Matias products for fear of the same issue.

    Thanks to Chris Tucker above, I have dug out my Apple Extended Keyboard II and have ordered the iMate from Griffin–even though Griffin claims the iMate will only run on OS X up to 10.3.9, I will trust Chris and take a chance. Hey, its a lot cheaper than this overpriced defective pile of buttons.

    Like others on this thread I sit at my machine 10-12 hours a day typing, mostly programming, but also writing the odd review. Low and behold, my most recent typing is for a review on my Find Mac Stuff website, on nothing other than…keyboards. I will be recommending people do NOT buy the Matias Tactile Pro 2.0 keyboard. We can only hope that v3.0 that is expected this coming spring will be better.

  15. Mat

    I think I may be the only person alive writing a positive review of this keyboard. I’m a software architect who develops products for financial service companies. I spend a lot of time in Excel, write a lot of SQL queries, draw a lot of Gannt charts, write some [not so good] code, and send about a million emails a day. I am NOT a hardcore typist, but I’ve been playing around with computers since I was 10 years old and got my first Apple //c. That’s my profile. With that said, the Tactile Pro 2.0 has been the best keyboard I’ve ever owned. It’s awesome. Very responsive, makes typing fun, etc…the only issue is that my wife hates how loud it is. From my office on the other side of our apartment, you can hear it all the way to the bedroom. It’s loud, but that’s why I bought it.

    Negatives include the aforementioned loudness. Aso, it uses two USB ports to hook up to your PC. If you don’t want to use the USB 2.0 hub, don’t connect the gold colored connector; only connect the silver.

  16. Thanks for your review. My Matias Pro 1.0 finally went belly up. I tried the new Apple keyboard (aluminum with white keys), but the shift key is flaky and while the feel would be great for a laptop–where I expect compromises–it still feels like a compromise. So I just ordered the DasKeyboard Pro, and will do a posting about it after I’ve been using it for a couple of weeks.

  17. Paul

    Have been typing with the DasKeyboard Pro for two months now several hours each day. I’d used two Matias Tactile Pros for several years until both wore out.

    I really, really wanted to like this DasKeyboard. It feels solid, looked gorgeous out of the box, etc. But the first thing I noticed was how many mistakes I started to make when using it. It’s not the keyboard’s fault, but I think something about how my fingers feel like they either hit the other keys when I’m depressing them, or I somehow can’t find the keys right. This is unusual, since I’m a very fast typist and didn’t have this problem with the Matias. But in looking at the two keyboards side by side, I can’t see much of a difference. I did throw out the remaining Matias because it was broken, and should have kept it to do a better comparison.

    Second, I hate–and I do mean hate–the constant cloud of dust that’s on the black mirrored surface. I’m sure there must have been this much dust on my Matias, but this black glossy surface really shows it. I’d have to dust it every day to make it look decent, and I’ve given up on that.

    Third, I didn’t think I’d miss the larger Apple command key, but have discovered that I really do miss it. The Das keyboard is a windows layout, and has four keys to the right of the space bar instead of three. The Apple-command key is much smaller than on the Matias and I often miss it.

    The DasKeyboard does feel very solid, there’s no annoying flexing, and it feels a lot better to me than the new(est) Apple aluminum keyboard. However, a lot of people say the new Apple aluminum keyboard is great and they really like it, which I didn’t, so I think it’s best to take what I say with a grain of salt. Maybe it’s just my particular typing style that makes the DasKeyboard a poor match for me–that and good sized hands.

  18. Don

    What I don’t understand, is why someone doesn’t make a top-quality keyboard. There obviously are a lot of people (myself included) who would be willing to pay for it. And it seems that the desirable features are commonly accepted by most everyone:

    1) Smooth operation. E.g., my current iMac keyboard (with the clear plastic body) is smooth, but only if you press straight down on each key. Press a little off-center, and it resists, rubbing plastic-on-plastic.

    2) Clear definition: We want to ‘know’ (without looking) that our fingers are on top of particular keys, and it should be clearly defined that a key has been pressed. E.g., “cupped” button-tops, wide spaces between keys, and tactile/audible feedback. Not sure if the travel distance is significant.

    3) No gook pockets. The plastic iMac keyboard is ridiculous in this way. It’s like they were trying to make it a good catch-all for crud, and then to put it on display for all to see, while at the same time making it difficult to remove. Thanks, Apple. But hey, at least it looks pretty when you pull it out of the box.

    At this late date in computer technology advancement, why are keyboards so cheap-o crummy? Seems the big push is to make keyboards thin, but who cares about that? Or to make them suitable for gaming or listening to music and videos (personally, I prefer listening to music on my stereo, and watching videos on a big TV screen in front of an easy chair). And who cares if it’s some fantasmagorial work of industrial art (particularly after it’s dirty and filled with dust, hair, and food crumbs)? I’ll take the old IBM PS/2 keyboard over anything made today. But hopefully the upcoming Matias 3.0 will be the high quality keyboard that some of us wish for.

  19. Marcus

    @Cameron

    Actually real hackers re-map their keyboards to swap the keys labeled “caps lock” and “backspace”, it increases their typing speed.

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