I’ve been searching for a good Mac keyboard to deploy to laptop workstations for a few years now. I think I’ve finally settled on one that is laid out in the traditional Apple configuration, has the media key shortcuts printed at the top, and includes a 10-key pad on the right(i.e. not a 60% or ten-keyless keyboard).
Matias has sold the Wired Aluminum Keyboard for Mac for $59 for a while now, and while that keyboard is as close as you can get to the excellent, but discontinued, Apple Aluminum Keyboard with Numeric Keypad these days, $59 felt like a bit too much as our default keyboard. Enter the Matias Wired Keyboard for Mac for $39. To keep the cost down they’ve swapped the aluminum frame around the keys to a plastic frame.
I typed a couple hundred words this afternoon on the new keyboard to get a feel for it. I adjusted pretty quickly to it from my normal mechanical keyboard. Again, these Matias keyboards are the closest I’ve found to the old Apple butterfly switches. I think they feel pretty good, if a little on the squishy side.
I didn’t find the switches on the plastic version of the keyboard to be any different from those on the aluminum keyboard, they’re probably the same switches. Matias calls this a “budget version” of their aluminum keyboard but don’t mention if they’re using the same switches.
A couple of caveats are worth mentioning:
First, the keyboard is plastic. It doesn’t have the rigidity that the aluminum versions have. If you pick it up with a hand at either end and twist it will flex like any other long piece of plastic.
Second, and this is due to that same flex, there’s a bit of an extra bounce to the keys when you bottom out. The keyboard has pretty substantial rubber feet, which keep it in place nicely, but also provide a little space for the keyboard to bend and spring back as I hit the keys. I didn’t find it unpleasant, but it was noticeable when transitioning from a different keyboard.
I’ll be purchasing a bunch of these keyboards over the next few years. In my experience, most of my coworkers aren’t as remotely interested in getting the exact feel they want out of their keyboards and. Or maybe they’re just more courteous and don’t want to bang away on mechanical keyboards in a cube farm. Either way, these keyboards will provide a lot of extra functionality at their office workstations and keep them from having to remember which button on the keyboard is the Command key. I think these will make them a lot happier than the hand-me-down Lenovo and HP keyboards we’ve been handing out.
These keyboard names though. Can’t we get like a USB Fireball or a Bluetooth Thunderbolt?