CUT­TING DOWN THE CLICK­ETY-CLACK

Ma­tias Mini Quiet Pro

HWM (Singapore) - - Test - by James Lu

CON­CLU­SION Qui­eter than most me­chan­i­cal key­boards, but not en­tirely silent ei­ther.

Me­chan­i­cal key­boards are the go-to choice for many who spend long hours in front of a com­puter, thanks to their com­fort, re­li­a­bil­ity, crisp feel and, depend­ing on per­sonal pref­er­ence, tac­tile feed­back. But there’s one point of con­tention that can make any me­chan­i­cal key­board user the bane of col­leagues and fam­ily alike - that sound. With a switch un­der each key, some me­chan­i­cal key­boards can match even vin­tage type­writ­ers for the level of racket they pro­duce. And while a few key­board man­u­fac­tur­ers have tried to re­duce sound lev­els with damp­en­ing rings un­der each key, so far they haven’t worked very well and can quite dras­ti­cally change the feel of the switch too. For­tu­nately, Ma­tias has taken a dif­fer­ent ap­proach, cre­at­ing a new cus­tom-made switch – ac­tu­ally a mod­i­fied ALPS switch – dubbed the Quiet Click that prom­ises to re­tain the crisp feel of a me­chan­i­cal switch, but with only a frac­tion of the sound.

The Ma­tias Mini Quiet Pro is a com­pact me­chan­i­cal key­board lack­ing a ded­i­cated num­ber­pad – al­though, like many com­pact key­boards, the right side of the key­board dou­bles up as a num­ber­pad thanks to the func­tion key. The ar­row keys have been squeezed in next to the right shift and con­trol keys, while the menu but­ton has been com­pletely re­moved. The nav­i­ga­tion keys (insert, delete, home, end pageup/down) are still present, but cut from six to three, with each key shar­ing dou­ble duty.

The key­board is con­structed of a very shiny, glossy black plas­tic, which un­for­tu­nately is quite a fin­ger­print mag­net and also scratches very eas­ily, look­ing a bit cheap as a re­sult. There’s also a large seam run­ning around the side of the key­board that is a bit of an eye­sore. The key­board sports three USB 2.0 ports, two on each side, and one on the rear and con­nects via a re­mov­able mi­cro-USB ca­ble. The base of the key­board has two feet that can be ad­justed to dif­fer­ent heights but, with­out any pre­set po­si­tions, the feet only stay in po­si­tion due to how stiff the hinges are – hope­fully they won’t loosen over time.

The keys them­selves are qui­eter than buck­ling spring or Cherry MX switch keys (even those with damp­en­ing rings) but are not ex­actly silent in oper­a­tion, and are still quite a bit louder than a mem­brane key­board. There’s a no­tice­able ac­tu­a­tion point, which will ap­peal to typ­ists that like tac­tile feed­back, but the keys don’t feel quite as crisp as Cherry MX switches, and have a slightly soft re­sponse. Key travel is also fairly short for a me­chan­i­cal key­board.

Over­all, the re­duced sound from the Ma­tias Quiet Click switch may not be a com­pelling enough trade-off for the key­board’s slightly mushy feel in ac­tual use.

The Mini Quiet Pro has three USB 2.0 ports for your other pe­riph­er­als.

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