Review: Matias OS X Keyboard

by on April 25, 2005

With the introduction of the Mac mini, Apple gave consumers the choice of foregoing the standard Apple keyboard in favor of their own or a third-party keyboard. Matias, makers of the Tactile Pro, have introduced a lower-cost model intended at anyone who wants an inexpensive Mac keyboard with some special features.

At $30, the OS X Keyboard is the same price as Apple’s standard keyboard, but has some distinct advantages in its layout and other features. The layout is slightly different, with extra keys scattered in more useful locations. Matias also brings the printing of the option-key characters on the keys to this model.

Matias OS X Keyboard
Matias OS X Keyboard

Matias OS X Keyboard
Option Characters Printed on Keys

Matias OS X Keyboard
USB Ports

At $30, the OS X Keyboard is the same price as Apple’s standard keyboard, but has some distinct advantages in its layout and other features. The layout is slightly different, with extra keys scattered in more useful locations. Matias also brings the printing of the option-key characters on the keys to this model.

Unlike the Tactile Pro, the OS X Keyboard uses the more common rubber dome keyswitches (similar to the switches found on most PC keyboards and Apple’s own current keyboards). The switches provide a good tactile feel without feeling mushy.

The keyboard is a cinch to set up — on any Mac with OS X, it is plug and play. The OS X Keyboard also works with Windows, although the layout of the Alt and Windows keys is reversed.

The feel of the OS X Keyboard is much like many of the better PC keyboards. In our tests, the Apple keyboard and Matias’s Tactile Pro still felt slightly more comfortable, but the OS X Keyboard is still perfectly adequate for typing for long periods of time.

As noted earlier, the OS X Keyboard has some features which make it unique. Option-key characters are printed directly on the keys, eliminating the need to try to find Key Caps or a similar program. Gone is the Tactile Pro’s power key, but volume adjustment and optical drive eject keys remain. A third Control key is located where the Caps Lock key normally is, while Caps Lock has been moved to the right side of the space bar, between the Option and Control keys. An extra Tab key replaces the Clear key on the numeric keypad, perfect for those who do a lot of number crunching. Finally, the symbols commonly used for modifier keys (control, option, shift, etc.) are printed on the keys as well.

It matches many Macs with its opaque white appearance (not unlike the iBook G4s). Just like the Apple keyboards and the Tactile Pro, the OS X Keyboard features a built-in two port USB hub for a mouse or other peripherals.

Overall, we like the OS X Keyboard. Its layout, while not for everyone, is quite handy for certain tasks, and it’s a pretty comfortable keyboard to type on. Although comparable to Apple’s keyboard, it’s worth a look for its additional features and better mechanisms.

The One-Sentence Verdict™

The OS X Keyboard takes the best features from the Tactile Pro and adds a few of its own for budget users.

Pros: Comfortable, good tactile feedback, Option symbols printed on keys, flip-down legs

Cons: None significant

The Facts

5/5Product: OS X Keyboard
Company: Matias
Platform: Mac/Win
Price: $29.95

This post has been filed in Input Devices and Reviews