Mac keyboard redux

March 20, 2006

Wow, I can't believe the amount of feedback I got from the previous keyboard post. The funny thing is, no one recommended a keyboard outside of the three I mentioned, which tells me two things: I was right when I said that there were very few good made-for-Mac keyboards out there and I'm not the only person who cares about his typing tool.

A few of the e-mails sounded awfully like the Windows/Mac and Vi/Emacs debates -- everyone was pretty passionate about their weapon of choice and why it was the best one available. Given that some of us are in front of a computer 10+ hours/day (hell, who isn't these days?), it makes sense that we would care so deeply about what we use to interact with it (don't even get me started on mice and tracking surfaces).

I ended up buying both the Matias Tactile Pro and the macally iceKey over the weekend. I probably would have bought the Happy Hacking Keyboard Lite 2 as well, but I couldn't find anyone selling it locally.

Matias Tactile Pro

After giving both keyboards a good workout, I decided to go with the iceKey and returned the Tactile Pro. While I liked the action on the Tactile Pro much more than on the iceKey, the Matias was so damn loud that I couldn't hear myself think. It was a bit unnerving if I'm being honest. It could not have felt better, but I couldn't stand the fact that I thought someone was tap-dancing inside my head as I typed. I had half a mind to keep it for my Olympic neighbors.

I was a bit unimpressed with its build quality in light of the fact that the website professes it to be "built like a tank." Within the first minute of playing around with it, I thought I had broken the back legs because they made this awful popping sound as I put them back in place. They didn't crack, but I was scared to move them again. Also, the legs had a little too much "give" when in position. For $150, I was a little disappointed. Like I said though, it felt great, and if you have this model in mind you better move fast as one of my readers told me that Alps is no longer making the switches used by the Tactile Pro -- when they're gone, they're gone.

macally iceKey

I'm not going to sit here and say that the iceKey is the greatest keyboard I've ever used, because it's not, but it is a good keyboard and one that I plan on using for a while. It's relatively cheap (~$50), really well-built, and a joy to type on. It reminds me a lot of my aluminum PowerBook's keyboard, with its low-profile, short-travel "scissor" switches. I highly recommend it, especially if you like typing on a PowerBook. Hopefully they'll come out with a black model sometime soon.

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