It seems like Keyboards are the most unique part of a setup these days. With thousands of options that do all kinds of special things, its not hard to find one you like. That being said, some people want a keyboard similar to the ones made in the early days of computers. No soft touch keys, slim profile, backlit keyboard seems to have the same tactile feedback as keyboards of old. Those old keyboards are great for touch typists, as they offer responsiveness and fast keystrokes.Many people resort to using ancient IBM and Apple keyboards to get this experience, but Matias has a solution. The Tactile Pro keyboard is a keyboard based off the "Alps" keyswitches, the same ones that made the Apple Extended II keyboard one of the most popular Apple keyboard ever. They sent me there latest iteration for review, and here is my take on this remake of a classic.
The term "no frills" comes to mind. A white, plastic keyboard that has nothing too striking about it. Every key has all the corresponding symbols on it (ie ®∆˚¬∫åƒ etc.) making them easy to find. The white on the keys does not match the translucent white plastic that the chasis is made of. It isn't a pretty combination, but looks are not the focus here.
The quality of build on the Tactile Pro is fantastic. The keyboard feels solid with no flex in the chassis, and the keys feel high quality. Matias resolved one of the biggest complaints from the Tactile Pro 2.0, and laser etched the keys so that the writing would not wear off. The keyboard is heavy, but in terms of size has the same footprint as the Logitech Wireless Illuminated Keyboard and a standard Dell keyboard. It sits nicely on the desk with minimal slide. I think this keyboard will last as long as the original Extended II did.
Again, no frills here. The Tactile Pro has 15 function keys,Volume Control, a full number pad and 3 USB ports on it. This comes in real handy as an unpowered hub, as it only requires one USB port on the computer. Also, Matias gives us a long USB cord, which is great if your computer is under your desk or far away. The layout of this keyboard is for the Mac, but will work for PCs by mapping the Command key as the Windows key. They included a driver to do that.
This is the main reason anyone would buy this keyboard. The keyboard offers a terrific, clicky typing experience. Matias says that the Tactile Pro types like the Apple Extended II, so I decided to test that theory. I dragged my Extended II out of the closet and compared. In testing, the experience is very close, but not identical. The Tactile Pro seems a little shorter,and the keys are little easier to press. Overall, the Tactile Pro is like butter to type on, and I noticed a speed increase while using it. Its not an exact replica, but sure is close enough.
The MSRP of the Tactile Pro is a steep $150 (cheaper through normal online venues). This is a lot of money for a keyboard, but on par for the competition "mechanical" keyboards (Das Keyboard, Rosewill 9000 series). The Extended II originally sold for about $160, so figuring inflation that is over $250 in today's money.
If you are a touch typist, and are looking for the best typing experience around, the Tactile Pro is the perfect keyboard for you. Just know that the price is steep and the keyboard is noisy, so make sure your co-workers are either partially deaf or very understanding.