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Matias Ergo Pro Tour - On Tour - Signups Still Open

Posted: 06 Jul 2015, 16:01
by Muirium
Hey folks, fancy a few weeks trying out a brand new split ergo keyboard?

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This is a highly recommended experience. Split ergos are fascinating boards, and the Ergo Pro is a solid piece of kit.

Matias kindly sent me an Ergo Pro for review, and for a subsequent tour. Signups are still open! If you want a shot, and meet the following rules, post your interest in this thread.

Matias Ergo Pro Tour Rules
  • Eligibility for the tour is based entirely on your presence on Deskthority. You need to be a forum member, and it really helps to have a few posts, to have been around a while, and especially if you're in the club. Instead of hard and fast rules like minimum post count, I'm using my judgement on who gets to join. My decision is final! I'm a dictator, but generally a nice one. Don't be afraid, just ask.
  • Every tour member borrows the keyboard for a few weeks. No longer than 3 weeks! We need to keep this moving. When you are done, you ship it to the next person on the list. Shipping is on you! But that's all the cost there is. I will order the list to make sure to optimise the route to share the shipping cost as best as I can.
  • You must ship *with tracking*. If you're really short on cash, tell me and I'll try to position you so you get a really cheap link in the shipping chain.
  • Ship it double boxed. The Matias box is perfect, and deserves to be kept free from peeled stickers and bumps and bruises. You can simply reuse the outer packaging the last person sent it inside, if that's still holding together. Otherwise: get a second box to put the Matias inside!
  • No hogging! If you hold onto the keyboard for too long, people will nag at you, and eventually I'll send some heavies along from the DT Club to sort things out. We know where you live! Be nice.
  • Feel encouraged to write about your experiences with the keyboard on this thread. I already know it pretty well and can answer many questions. And generally we like to share opinions here for the sake of it.
  • Pull the caps off the board and pop your own Alps caps on if you like. Just make sure to ship on all the stuff you received, at the end of your turn. I have pictures!
  • Be nice to the keyboard. It's in great shape.
  • As I said in the review this is an early version of the Matias Ergo Pro for Mac. Num Lock was moved for the later production model. So don't go crazy about that, they fixed it!
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The tour is now underway! You can still join the list, and I will shuffle the order to optimise shipping.

Tour List: (order subject to change)
  • Muirium (Scotland)
  • HzFaq (UK)
  • Facetsesame (UK)
  • Andrewjoy (UK)
  • chalks (UK)
  • Spikebolt (Portugal)
  • yobinad (Portugal)
  • sphinx (Portugal)
  • pcaro (Spain)
  • Seebart (Germany)
  • shreebles (Germany)
  • wlhlm (Germany)
  • Ascaii (Germany)
  • jou (Germany / Switzerland)
  • Phenix (Germany)
  • Ray (Germany)
  • idollar (Germany)
  • IjonTichy (Germany)
  • dgrabla (Germany)
  • Madhias (Austria)
  • Macmakkara (Finland)
  • Hellmean (Netherlands)
  • TuxKey (Netherlands)
  • Chyros (UK, probably…)
  • Stabilized (Scotland)
Obviously, the board is in Europe. If you're elsewhere, the tour may eventually reach you, depending on how popular this becomes. But for the sake of getting it to as many people as possible, at sane shipping costs, it's Europe first. Opinions, thoughts, objections? Post them in the thread!

Interest beyond Europe:
  • SL89 (USA)
  • Redmaus (USA)

Posted: 06 Jul 2015, 16:06
by wlhlm
I'd like to join the tour. I've never tried a split-ergonomic keyboard as well as a whole board with Matias/Alps switches. I'm in Germany and would prefer to be able to ship to the next participant within the country. Thanks for the opportunity Mu!

Posted: 06 Jul 2015, 16:07
by Spikebolt
I've been wanting to read your review on these but haven't found the mood to do it yet. Gonna try to take some me time later tonight and see if it's worth signing up. I'd love to try some Matias linears but trying out the ergo experience might be interesting as well.

Posted: 06 Jul 2015, 16:10
by Muirium
Something tells me this will be a busy tour!

@Spikebolt: Aye, I went a bit long. The Ergo Pro uses Matias "Quiet Click" (damped tactile) switches. I'm not a fan of them. They are pretty quiet though, and definitely tactile. I think it would have been better with linears. Damped linears!

A split ergo mech is definitely something worth a try. It made me notice all sorts of things about the way I type.

Posted: 06 Jul 2015, 16:18
by SL89
I am in for sure, maybe once it makes its way across the Atlantic from Europe. (I am in New England)

Posted: 06 Jul 2015, 16:28
by HzFaq
I'll be chucking up my thoughts a bit later on, the basic gist being that if you want an out of the box split ergo solution, it's a good shout.

Posted: 06 Jul 2015, 16:35
by andrewjoy
i will give it a go

never used an ergonomic want to try it

Posted: 06 Jul 2015, 16:51
by Muirium
Good stuff. Anyone in the UK will want to join this PRONTO. I remember how long I had to wait for 002's Realforce to get back out of Germany. Lots of Deutsch DTers. Learn from my mistake!


@Sleighty: If we do go beyond Europe, we'll possibly need to share the long haul price with you. I'll bear it in mind and see what happens. Ironically, this is an American Ergo Pro that rode in my luggage back from California a few months ago. But irony don't pay bills, alas.

Re: Matias Ergo Pro Tour

Posted: 06 Jul 2015, 17:12
by seebart
Count me in!

Posted: 06 Jul 2015, 17:43
by Redmaus
I would join, but I am in US, and don't want to be a burden.

Posted: 06 Jul 2015, 17:44
by pcaro
I can give pretty summer holidays in Spain to this keyboard ...

Posted: 06 Jul 2015, 17:54
by Muirium
Sure, it won't tan like pale ABS at least!

@Redmaus: Thanks for telling me anyway. I'll add you to the second list. The more of you show up, the more likely it will happen!

Posted: 06 Jul 2015, 18:40
by jou
I'm in, shipping to Germany.

If anybody else from Switzerland is interested, I can ship to you from Switzerland and then shipping to the next person in EU via me from Germany to avoid customs.

Posted: 06 Jul 2015, 18:43
by Muirium
Ah, this keyboard's used to tricks like that! I'll mark you down as Germany / Switzerland and make sure you handle the crossing.

Posted: 06 Jul 2015, 22:45
by Madhias
Hm, I am not really interested in split ergo boards, but who knows? Maybe I like it! Count me in! I am really interested in the switches though, but as I read your review about their tactility I am interested how they feel then.

Posted: 06 Jul 2015, 23:08
by HzFaq
Sorry, I'm having boiler issues so I can't do the write-up I wanted to. I'll take the board in to work tomorrow and maybe try and do a bit about it then, I, ironically, get a lot more downtime at work than I do at home these days...

Posted: 06 Jul 2015, 23:15
by facetsesame
I'm interested.

Posted: 06 Jul 2015, 23:55
by Muirium
Very good! No better time than the present for those of us in these isles.


@HzFaq: No worries about cranking out a writeup. I suspect my review has people satisfied in bulk already! Always good to know other people's perspectives though. Especially as you're an ErgoDox user. Just don't consider it a rush.

Posted: 06 Jul 2015, 23:56
by wlhlm
Seems like we have decent UK participation here, but Germany still looks strong! :evilgeek:

Posted: 07 Jul 2015, 03:15
by chalks
May I try this board please? I'm in the UK (London).

I'm aware my posts are rather infrequent. So I thought I would explain what I'm hoping to find out.

For home use, I wonder whether it would be comfortable to put my Apple trackpad in between the two halves of keyboard. As I'm not working, the ratio of typing to trackpad usage is tilted far more towards the trackpad than when I'm a work. Moving the trackpad into the middle might be more comfortable than having it too far out on the right. Having the two halves of the keyboard far part would also help me stop crossing my hands when I type.

When I first started work in 1999 I was supplied with a clicky Dell keyboard which I used for 6 months or so.I didn't make a note of the model number at the time but I presume it must have been an AT102. While using it I thought it was better than the rubber domed Gateway that I had at home. But it wasn't until after I moved offices and was stuck exclusively with rubber domes that I realised that it was pretty good. I've spent most of the intervening years using rubber domes or Apple's aluminium chiclets. So it would be interesting to know how the Matias switches compare with this wistful memory of Alps.

I only bought my first mechanical keyboard in Feb. It's a Novatouch which I keep at work. Comparing this with the Matias could be a sharp contrast.

Posted: 07 Jul 2015, 11:39
by Muirium
I'll pencil you in. You've been around a few months, and know how to write your reasons: these are good things. Also, we have a few DT goons in London, so I'm fairly confident the board won't go missing!

The NovaTouch is a nice comparison with this board. Both tactile, but completely different ways of going about it.

Mind you're due a real Topre someday. The NovaTouch is a gateway drug.

Posted: 07 Jul 2015, 13:36
by chalks
Thank you very much Muirium.

When I got my Novatouch from the Keyboard Company the choice was a Filco which was out of stock (plus I tried a work colleague's with Browns which I didn't like), the Novatouch or a Realforce. The Realforce had black on black keys and was 42 gbp more so it was a fairly easy to go for the Novatouch instead. Of course I'm now waiting for my Round 5/5a order so i'm going to have plenty of time to find out how long it takes for the stock Novatouch keycaps to go shiny.

And yes I now know there the HHKB too. I'm not sure about the lack of cursor keys. I think I'll have to use Karabiner to program the layout (turning right shift which I don't use into fn) to try it first.

Posted: 07 Jul 2015, 13:53
by Muirium
Don't feel forced towards 60% layouts like the HHKB. It's not for everyone. You're missing nothing on a Realforce. And a Round 5 equipped NovaTouch is a beautiful thing, let me tell you.

Posted: 07 Jul 2015, 17:39
by IjonTichy
Even though I registered only recently I would be very much interested in trying a split keyboard. I also live in Germany.

Posted: 07 Jul 2015, 17:43
by Muirium
We'll see if you're still around and active in a few months, when the board has toured Germany.

Posted: 07 Jul 2015, 20:30
by sphinx
im veeeeeeeeeeeery very interested :D

im in Portugal!

Posted: 07 Jul 2015, 20:37
by macmakkara
Im also interested in this one. Want to try those matias switches and also only split i have tried was ergodox and that was just for one day and didin't get to adapt for it. This should work as normal on windows right?

Posted: 07 Jul 2015, 20:55
by Muirium
Mmm… check out the "For Mac?" section in my review:

http://deskthority.net/review-f45/split ... 10996.html

As long as you can swap Alt and Windows keys around in Windows, you're fine. The media keys may be no good though. Those are the only differences between Mac and PC versions of the board.

Posted: 08 Jul 2015, 13:14
by HzFaq
So, here it is....

Ergonomically, it's pretty nice. Ideally I'd like a bit more tenting in the middle, but what is there is good. I had the board split at shoulder width with the middle raised the whole time I was using it and it was very comfortable. I'd like to be able to reposition the wrist rests as I like mine a little further back from the board but that's a minor quibble that I got around by removing the rests and using the ones I use with my ErgoDox.
Some of the decisions about which keys went where after the board was split was a little confusing (6 and F5) but they were minor and I got used to their new positions pretty quickly.
For me, the fact that it kept a staggered layout was a bit odd...Yes it makes it easier to transition from a straight board, but it also meant that whilst you can angle the board to match where your arm lies, your wrist/fingers will still be doing strange movements relative to your arm. I much prefer the matrix layout of the ErgoDox in this respect as you can position it so there is a nice straight line from elbow to fingertip.

The case was also really well made and felt solid and was made of a material that whilst showed up dust, wasn't glossy so didn't show up fingerprints/dirt too badly. It was a little odd however that a right angled mini-usb cable was provided as it means the cable connecting the board to the PC runs into the TRSS cable (which is awesome btw, I'd love to get one for my ErgoDox). I'd recommend using a straight USB cable (I didn't have one, the only micro USB cable's I have are being used as device chargers).

(Note, using an ANSI Mac board as a predominantly ISO Windows user was pretty damn confusing as well. Aside from readjusting to ANSI and having Alt and the Windows key swapped I also couldn't figure out a way of triggering the actual numlock [not activating the embedded numpad] so had to have another keyboard attached to do that which was a little annoying but I can't really take points off as there are both PC and ISO versions of the board. I just thought it would be worth mentioning as others on the tour will probably be on Windows and could run into the same thing. Also, and this may be obvious, none of the Mac specific function keys worked on Windows which was a bit of a shame as I do like a media control)

The caps are also pretty good, the laser gives a nice bit of texture to otherwise smooth caps (that will only get smoother I'd guess, it will be interesting to see how they're holding up by the end of the tour). The oversized bottom row is also really nice and allowed a more relaxed thumb position and the half sized nav cluster was pretty cool as well. I'd like some kind of homing bumps or maybe a little gap between the arrows and the nav keys or something as I kept hitting pgup when I was blindly reaching down for the left arrow key but again, that's pretty minor. The oversized caps are also really stable and smooth, unlike the 1u keys unfortunately, which wobbled quite a bit. I swapped some out for some caps from my AEKII and they were still wobbly so I guess its a characteristic of the switch.

Speaking of, I wasn't sure on the switches initially and I think I'm still not sure of them now after using them for some time. When they're nice they feel tactile and snappy with a nice bottom out and nice return sound. When they're not nice, they feel and sound like a rubber dome board...I'll probably give Matias switches another go at some point, but only if a board came up at a reasonable price. Switches are switches though, what I like, others wouldn't so I don't really want to get too into them other than mentioning the wobble and that I personally was unsure if I liked them...

I think I've re-written this a few times now trying to cut it down but I seem to be making it longer so sorry if it seems a little all over the place and/or ramble-y...I think I'll leave it at that for now, any other questions or requests or whatnot post here and I'll get back to you.

edit - I missed out the fecking conclusion! I think this is a good gateway board; its good if you can get your company to stump up for one or if you don't fancy building/programming/faffing with an ErgoDox but I must say that the Dox (with all its faults) is a much more versatile and ergonomically comfortable board. I'd have no problem recommending it to a colleague with keyboard related RSI issues.

Posted: 08 Jul 2015, 13:29
by macmakkara
Muirium wrote: Mmm… check out the "For Mac?" section in my review:

http://deskthority.net/review-f45/split ... 10996.html

As long as you can swap Alt and Windows keys around in Windows, you're fine. The media keys may be no good though. Those are the only differences between Mac and PC versions of the board.
Oh thats good i can live with that :)