Matias Laptop Pro
Wireless Aluminum Tenkeyless Keyboard
A perhaps better than Apple, Apple Mac Keyboard, but the lack of backlighting and USB-C charging detract from an otherwise good keyboard for general computing use. Heavy keyboard users should look to the Laptop Pro for long-duration typing comfort.
Note this keyboard may not be available on Amazon.
Matias Mac Keyboards Review: Laptop Pro and Wireless Aluminum Tenkeyless Keyboard, Solid Keyboard in Need of an Update
I have used the Matias Laptop Pro and Wireless Aluminum Tenkeyless Keyboard for years. When I saw double characters appear with one keystroke and keycaps lost their letters, I reached out to Matias for updated keyboards. It had been a couple of years since I’d been to CES, so I thought I would see the latest. What I received was identical keyboards, new and fresh. I still like them, but both keyboards are due for an update, as you will read in the “What could be improved” section of this review.
The Laptop Pro was my go-to keyboard for most writing. Its big body weighted with a huge battery kept it steady in my keyboard drawer. The mechanical click of the well-sculpted keys brought me back to the days of my Burroughs TD830 terminal from the 1980s. And that is a good thing. While I still love typing on the Laptop Pro, a crossover gaming keyboard from Vissles recently supplanted it in my keyboard drawer.
The Wireless Aluminum Tenkeyless looks like an Apple product, which is intentional. It looks great sharing the Apple ecosystem with other like-designed devices. Backlighting and a shift to USB-C charging port would keep this keyboard relevant.
Business users, especially textual content creators, require reliable, accurate and comfortable keyboards. The Laptop Pro will not disappoint across those categories. The Wireless Aluminum Tenkeyless Keyboard may not win out in the comfort category. But keyboards aren’t just about input—they are also about personality, working in a different environment, and just having fun. While Matias makes very functional keyboards, those looking to combine fun and quality need to look elsewhere.
What we like
I find the typing experience on the Laptop Pro Keyboard outstanding—and as I said above, its weight just asserts it on the typing environment. The Pro’s very long battery life makes it a charge-and-forget device. I have gone months without ever thinking about a recharge, which is a rare occurrence with battery-powered devices. Unfortunately, when it does need a charge, I have to find its unique USB-A to USB-A cable.
The heavy plastic flip-out feet on the Laptop Pro position it perfectly for input. I wish more keyboards offered such sturdy feet.
The Wireless Aluminum Tenkeyless Keyboard does not offer the same touch-typing experience as the Laptop Pro. Its shallower switches and chiclet keys may appeal to people who like typing on Apple devices, or at least have grown accustomed to typing on them, even if they don’t love it. I have two big rubber feet on the bottom of this keyboard to position it for typing.
While the Laptop Pro only connects to one device, the Wireless Aluminum Tenkeyless Keyboard easily switches between three devices. One keyboard accommodates a Mac Mini, a MacBook and an iPad Pro. That is now table stakes, even for mobile keyboards like the Targus Wireless Folding Keyboard.
Because this is an Apple-oriented keyboard, the Wireless Aluminum also offers Apple-specific function keys.
I still appreciate these keyboards and the millions of characters I typed on them. However, when placed next to modern crossover gaming keyboards, they appear outmoded.
What could be improved
You can argue that the keyboard designs are serving the intended purpose. The Laptop Pro Keyboard offers a unique take on Bluetooth keyboards. The Wireless Aluminum Tenkeyless Keyboard clearly derives its design inspiration from Apple. Both are fine as far as they go, but neither goes quite far enough in today’s market.
The Wireless Aluminum Tenkeyless Keyboard needs USB-C for charging. It would also benefit from pop-out legs to change its angle. I have placed large clear feet on it to introduce some tilt to the flattish profile of this keyboard.
Like its cousin, the Matias Laptop Pro also needs a USB-C upgrade, but even more so, as it charges via an odd double-ended USB-A cable unique to my collection of cables. Unlike the Tenkeyless, the Laptop Pro only works with one computer. An upgrade to support more than one device would make it more competitive.
And both keyboards need backlighting that shines through the keys, not just around them. Both would also benefit from updated special function keys—the Laptop Pro more so than the Tenkeyless, but recognizing iPad features would be a solid improvement.
And while the Laptop Pro is a mechanical keyboard, it was designed as an “Alps-inspired Quiet-Click,” which takes it out of the robust aftermarket of Cherry-style keycaps and switches that support gamers and writers alike. Unfortunately, while the Alps switches offer a superior tactile feel, they can be prone to contamination from dirt and dust, leading to inaccuracies in the input.
I have grown a soft spot for well-lubricated brown switches with their firm response to my typing. While not all implementations are the same, combining mechanical switches, backlighting, and various other features on crossover gaming keyboards takes typing to the next level. Gamers already know. It’s okay, by the way, for business people to have fun keyboards, especially after the pandemic. Keyboards should deliver functionality and joy.
The other thing common in most crossover gaming keyboards is support for Bluetooth or a wired connection. I have one very nice keyboard from Vissles, which I love for its touch, but I’m struggling with its Bluetooth chipset. I’m using it (in fact, right now) as a wired keyboard and loving the touch and the beautiful backlighting in my often dimly lit office.
I would also like to see both keyboards adopt sleep circuitry for getting even more out of their batteries and an updated Bluetooth chipset to enhance connectivity in busy Bluetooth areas.
Matias Mac Keyboards: The Bottom Line
I am now spending most of my time on keyboards with brown Cherry style switches with their varying degrees of clickiness and unique keycaps that sometimes confuse, and sometimes inspire. My PC and Mac experience has now migrated to these richer typing experiences.
The Matias Wireless Aluminum Tenkeyless Keyboard and Laptop Pro offered excellent service for many users over many years. It’s time, though, to bring them into the modern era, perhaps even getting into the DIY switch and keycap swap experience. Of course, that would take a little of the uniqueness away from the Matias keyboards, but it will also open up new markets and help maintain existing ones for one of the most trusted keyboard companies in the market.
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Matias provided the Matias Mac Keyboards for review. Images courtesy of Matias.
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