So after around a week with the keyboard, I am ready to post my review on it. A typing video is at the end of the post if you want to hear and see the keyboard in action!
So here goes!TL;DR: I loved the layout and found it to be a really comfortable keyboard to use, but the switches are the thing which really let it down for me and force me not to recommend it unless you know you like the switches.Form factor and functionality:
I really like the layout over the other ergonomic keyboards I have tried (Ergodox and Goldtouch). I particularly like how easy it is transition to from a traditional non-split keyboard. This was one of the things that has stopped me using the Ergodox as much as I would have liked: I am a keyboard nerd and like switching between other keyboards too much to really get into the Ergodox.
I really like how easy it is to tent and put the keyboard into a negative angle by the use of the feet at the bottom. It's a better solution than the Goldtouch, and even though it might not be the most flexible solution out there, I think it strikes the balance between ease of use and functionality quite perfectly.(picture from keyboardco review)
I also love the inbuilt gel palm wrests and the usb hub (always helpful for a macbook user).
I have a couple of small problems with the layout and functionality, they are pretty small and can be chalked up to personal preference. One is the inclusion of dedicated undo/cut/copy/paste keys, I would have preferred these to be user definable or some kind of macro keys. The other is the fact that you can't use the left hand unit by itself as the usb circutary is all in the right hand keyboard. On the Keyboardco review they say it's pretty good for gaming, and this would have made it really shine as you could use only the left half independently as most of the functions in games that require both mouse and keyboard are on the left side (judging from experience).The Matias switch and typing experience:
This is my first experience with the quiet click key switches: they are marketed as feeling "amazing", and also being the "world's quietest mechanical keyswitches". They use a tactile leaf and rubber dampeners to reduce the sound of the switch on the up and down strokes, and the tacile leaf offers, well, tactility. I have used Matias click switches before, and I had mixed views on them after falling in love with old complicated white alps: there is no doubt that they are a better click switch than (the quite abysmal) Cherry blues and greens, but they didn't have the same deep sound and smooth but very tactile click that the old complicated whites had. I noticed that when I did hit them off centre or toward the bottom of the switch, the feel of the switch would change. This inconsistency is amplified with the quiet click switches (as it is not as masked by the loud clickyness and the clack of bottoming out): I found sticky tactility when striking the key near the top and much less towards the bottom. On top of this the rubber stopped also adds resistence and makes it feel very rubber dome like: in fact, it felt like I was typing on a poor quality rubber dome keyboard instead of a $200 expensive mechanical keyboard!
I am also unsure of the qualty of Matias switches as I have had a number of problems with them on both of the Matias keyboards I have tried. On my Matias click keyboard, I noticed that the right arrow key stopped working untl took the keycap off and wiggled the switch around a bt. On the Ergo pro the i key does not work unless you bottom out, and the n key sometimes chatters. Also even more so with the quiet click switches, I have notced that some of the switches do not register at the tactile point. I assume this is a problem with how the tactile leaf and the actuation leaf are two different parts, unlike Cherry switches where they are one in the same (ths last paragraph has not been edited to omit the errors caused by the keyboard, also check out my typing video where I have to hammer on the key sometimes to get it to work).Final thoughts and pricing:
This keyboard is not cheap at all, it retails on Matias’ store for $200 and sells in the EU from keyboardco for £186 at the time of writing. Of course, you do pay for a premium when buying ergonomic keyboards due to the smaller market and higher development cost.
To compare it to other ergonomic mechanical keyboards on the market:
- Ergodox EZ currently retails for $295
- The Ultimate Hacking Keyboard is selling at $220 in the pre-order phase with a $250 planned retail price.
- Infinity Ergodox (DIY option) often reaches the lowest price of $200 on Massdrop.
- An Ergodox DIY kit can be as low as $60 for a kit without keycaps and switches (bought from China), then Gateron switches can be bought for around $20 and keycaps for about $40: so around $120-$150 (accounting for shipping) for the whole thing (speaking from personal experience).
So for a pre built ergonomic keyboard it’s actually well priced, and you do get a good amount of features for the money. If they had chosen to use Cherry switches or Topre switches, I would say that it’s a good price and worth it in my eyes. Considering the poor switches and typing feel, I would not recommend it at all at any price unless you have tried one and you know that you like it.Typing video: