Matias TactilePro v5?

apastuszak

14 May 2020, 05:11

I found this video from 2018 reviewing a Matias TactilePro v5, with a detachable cable:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0sY2hpnC4Fw

I can't find anything newer than a TactilePro 4 on the Matias website. Anyone know what happened to this keyboard?

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enrique.aliaga

14 May 2020, 15:38

Excellent question!

I remember that back in 2017 Matias started selling this "v5" generation of their mechanical keyboards. Even on Amazon they would be listed as "Newly Released Matias Tactile Pro v5" to differentiate them from the standard "v4" that kept being sold simultaneously.

I remember the v5 units had quite bad reviews, presumably for worst switch feel. I'm not positive, though. Memory might be failing me.

Thing is... a few months later, these "v5" boards were completely removed from Amazon in a rather surreptitious way, so as to not bring any attention, I guess. To my knowledge, Matias never released any kind of public statement to the community or to their consumers, for that matter.

Tritian

15 May 2020, 06:23

They say if you listen on a quiet night, you can still hear a Matias "tactile" switch clicking into the darkness..... click.... click.... click..

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joebeazelman

15 May 2020, 06:29

Matias is one of the few keyboard manufacturers that even remotely gets it. They still, however, make their share of lousy, flimsy mush slop. It might make them money but it doesn't win them any loyalty or prestige from the mech community. They are the equivalent of Unicomp among ALPS aficionados, making an OK stand in when the real thing is cost prohibitive, difficult to find or requires a massive modification effort.

Matias can and should do more. They could invest in reviving the classic SKCM series. There's a huge pent up demand for them by people in and outside the community. It's so sad seeing so many kids who think the Cherries switch mechanism is the only game town. It's so much fun watching one of them try a real ALPS switch for the first time. They'll immediately save face and say that it is similar to one of their Cherry clones, but not as good. Later on, they'll approach you and wave a wad of cash begging to buy your keyboard. I really feel like a drug dealer at some of these meetups.

Matias could also invest in designing new switches for the mobile market to meet the demands of those who care about a quality typing experience. Lugging a heavy and bulky mechanical keyboard around isn't practical. Users want something small light and can be stashed away easily without compromising on the typing experience. Cherry and some of its cloners already have low profile switches aimed at this market. Matias should be at the forefront of this market. They have a long relationship with Apple as a 3rd party manufacturer daring back to the 1990s. They could sell aftermarket replacement laptop keyboards and even OEM their keyboards to Apple and other manufacturers.

Given all the years they've been in business, I am sure why they haven't established themselves as a leader in the mechanical keyboard market. Perhaps it is a lack of capital, complacency, a lack of vision, or something else. It sure isn't the market demand. Cherry corporation has grown to the point where they can barely manufacture enough switches even with copy cat competitors from China eating their lunch.

Hak Foo

15 May 2020, 08:08

I think there's definitely some argument to be made here.

The complicated-switch dragon chase: There's so much in there-- the differences between simplified and complicated, lubed and unlubed, pine and bamboo. How much of it is actually quantifiable and replicable, and how much of it is a "you'd love $5 boxed wine if it was in a $120 bottle" elitism? Yes, Matias switches are simplified, but they're cheap and available and fairly well known quantities at this point. I'm not sure if it's an effective use of resources to try to recapture the magic of complicated switches when we may have a very hard time even knowing when we've succeeded, and the changes might undermine the appeal of the existing product (shorter expected lifespan, higher cost per unit, perhaps undermining the RGB-readiness)

If I wanted to change their switches, it would be a retool to drop into MX keycap/plate/PCB mounts. It's a much less subjective goal to say "this fits my old GH-122 setup" than "this feels exactly like I remember a Focus FK-555 felt back when we spoke of the Soviet Union in the present tense".

Zeal showed a prototype of "it's a MX form factor but has an Alps-style click leaf" (https://www.instagram.com/p/B7CRBr2nw3R ... hare_sheet) already. When that hits the market-- and especially when there's a me-too clone at 45 cents per switch-- people will be able to get most of the compelling aspects of the Alps experience without abandoning the board ecosystem they've already invested in. It's an existential threat to their switch product line.

The low-profile switch thing: I'm not sure if you can make an ALPS-based switch that preserves the attributes we like in a short throw format. I'm also a little skeptical as to whether the OEM wins are really forthcoming for that sort of design. There are a few novelty laptops with MX switches in them, but I don't really see any major players saying that the next series of ThinkPad, Latitude, or MacBook is going to use Choc switches or whatever. That's what would sell switches by the millions.

I am somewhat surprised nobody is trying to sell an *aftermarket* mechanical keyboard for some laptops... I know there was some taste for swapping 20 series ThinkPad keyboards into 30 series chassis to replace chicklet boards... I could imagine a short run PCB group buy to fill that market.

Honestly, I suspect the Matias outfit is a very small operation, and probably stretched quite far by the territory they're caretakers for. They have to source their own caps (we're in year 5 or so of waiting for the PBT caps) and switches, and do a fairly custom case and PCB rather than sticking their logo on a standard Costar board, as well as servicing a variety of speciality markets (Apple enthusiasts, some adaptive products). The only companies that cover that much ground successfully have relatively vast resources (Cherry) or are coasting on a lot of legacy assets and still clearly stretched (Unicomp)

They aren't completely undeserving of criticism. A lot of their products make frustrating choices (I need a Menu key, for crying out loud) and the switches tend to be a bit chattery (although the Hua-Jies seemed to be too, I suspect this might be fixable by tweaking the debouncing in Soarer's firmware) and very death-grip on the caps. But I don't think we can hold them to account for tasks that are beyond their reach.

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bhtooefr

15 May 2020, 11:35

Hak Foo wrote:
15 May 2020, 08:08
The low-profile switch thing: I'm not sure if you can make an ALPS-based switch that preserves the attributes we like in a short throw format. I'm also a little skeptical as to whether the OEM wins are really forthcoming for that sort of design. There are a few novelty laptops with MX switches in them, but I don't really see any major players saying that the next series of ThinkPad, Latitude, or MacBook is going to use Choc switches or whatever. That's what would sell switches by the millions.

I am somewhat surprised nobody is trying to sell an *aftermarket* mechanical keyboard for some laptops... I know there was some taste for swapping 20 series ThinkPad keyboards into 30 series chassis to replace chicklet boards... I could imagine a short run PCB group buy to fill that market.
The other problem with that market is that you run into thickness problems very rapidly in modern non-gaming laptops (or even older ones, even a 20 year old scissor-stabilized rubber dome is incredibly thin), and the only market that's actually preserving old laptops for use as daily drivers is the ThinkPad market.

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