Clickety keyboard without the clack is perfect for stealth missions

Beautiful and functional. And no frikkin wires. Photo Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The Matias Secure Pro is beautiful and functional. And no frikkin’ wires. Photos: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

If you like mechanical keyboards, but those inconsiderate jerks in your office or home can’t stand the clackety racket they make, then you might consider something that uses “tactile” keys instead, which look and work like clicky keys — only without the click.

And if you’re into wireless keyboards, but you don’t like the NSA van parked outside snooping the connection and recording your keystrokes, you might like something with an encrypted wireless connection.

Well, guess what? We have just the thing. The Matias Secure Pro, a tactile keyboard with 128-bit AES Encryption.

I can’t test the encryption part of the Secure Pro because I’m not an expert, nor do I have a wireless sniffer box or whatever you use. I was going to recruit the two spooks outside in their van to help out, but The Lady had an anchovy pizza delivered to them this morning and they finally drove away, rumbled (and likely disgusted).

But I can test everything else.

The Secure Pro is a full-size tenkeyless keyboard with a PC layout (that works fine on the Mac). It’s got Quiet Click mechanical key-switches, Matias’ own design that offers most of the feel of the well-known Cherry key-switches, but without the noise. I’m so used to the sound of my clackety Cherry blue switches (the loudest) that typing on this quiet keyboard is a little weird. But the feel of the thing is spot-on.

Just look at this thing. Doesn't it make you want to write something right now?

Just look at this thing. Doesn’t it make you want to write something right now?

The wireless part is taken care of by a little USB dongle that communicates with the keyboard, and this means you can even use it with old machines that don’t have Bluetooth – if they still exist. And amazingly, it actually works with an iPad using the camera-connection kit, although you’ll have to dismiss the message that says the device isn’t supported.

Once plugged in, the Secure Pro shows up just like any other USB keyboard, although in use it has a few quirks – quirks that I quite like: Instead of putting the volume controls up on the top row, they’re on the arrow keys and you have to hit the fn key to use them. And even the fn key is in an odd spot – right there in the arrow key cluster. Equally odd is the play/pause key, which is on the escape key.

These seem odd, but in practice they work great, to the extent that I want the same on my regular Filco keyboard. After all, what key is easier to hit than the escape key, right?

That crazy cursor cluster.

That crazy cursor cluster.

Matias put a pair of USB charging ports on the sides, to be used when the keyboard is plugged in and charging. These are charge-only ports, BTW, so they won’t sync devices or mount drives over the USB connection. And speaking of USB ports, here we come to the other big quirk — and this time I don’t like it. The Secure Pro charges via a big full-sized USB port on the back. Yes, it uses a third USB port as input, which means you can only charge it with the supplied double-male cable.

God knows why Matias chose this option – I hate micro and miniUSB as much as the next person, but at least it’s a standard. And given that this keyboard is pretty portable, it would follow that it would use a charging cable that almost everyone has with them when they travel. Still, I guess if you charge it before you go it’s going to last for months anyway – unless you plug in an iPad 4.

What about typing? In use, the Secure Pro is fantastic. The keys have a good travel and positive feel. It’s a little odd using such a quiet keyboard after the Cherry blues, and at first the lack of sharp clicks tricks your brain into thinking the keys are mushy. After a few minutes, though, you’ll be totally into it.

That’s not to say the keys are silent. They’re noisier than an Apple Wireless Keyboard, but compared to the racket that regular clicky keyboards put out, it’s very restful.

Conclusion

I really like the Secure Pro. It’s compact, but it’s clever design means you won’t miss anything from a full-size keyboard (and the arrow key/function key combo is genius). I’ll be going back to my own Filco Majestouch after I send this one back, but I’ll miss the little Matias. Not because of the secure wireless connection – if I want to type secret documents I just stick a banana in the tailpipe of the friendly spies parked outside and head to the nearest “cybercafe.” No, I’ll miss it for the feel. This keyboard is like relaxing into a favorite pair of slippers after a day spent in heels. Not that I ever wear high heels. Not me, no.

matias sideonSecure Pro by Matias ($160 list)
The good: Beautiful typing experience; secure; clever function key layout; charges other devices if you like.
The bad: Crazy full-size USB charging port requires special cable.
The verdict: A great keyboard from a smart company. Recommended.
Buy from Matias
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About the author

Charlie Sorrel Charlie Sorrel is the Reviews Editor here on Cult of Mac. Follow Charlie  on Twitter at @mistercharlie.

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