MA­TIAS

Mini Quiet Pro

Computer Shopper - - OFFICE KEYBOARDS - £119 From www.key­boardco.com

VERDICT

A more peace­ful take on the me­chan­i­cal key­board, gen­er­ously equipped with USB con­nec­tiv­ity

THE MA­TIAS SE­CURE Pro( Shop­per 349) gave top billing to its 128-bit AES en­cryp­tion, which would os­ten­si­bly pre­vent any­one from re­motely peek­ing at your in­puts. As far as threats go, how­ever, the lo­gis­tics of key­board­hack­ing put it pretty far down the sever­ity list, leav­ing its sec­ondary spe­cial fea­ture as the best thing about it: a me­chan­i­cal key switch that’s just as quiet as a rub­ber dome.

As it hap­pens, you can ditch the en­cryp­tion al­to­gether with the Ma­tias Quiet Pro and this, the tenkey­less Mini Quiet Pro. These key­boards lack the Se­cure Pro’s wire­less ca­pa­bil­i­ties but share its switch de­sign, gen­eral look and, in the Mini Quiet Pro’s case, ex­act shape.

In fact, the wire pok­ing out the back is the only ob­vi­ous in­di­ca­tion that this is a dif­fer­ent model to the Se­cure Pro. Typ­ing on those hushed-up key switches is just as we re­mem­ber; the lack of clear au­di­tory feed­back, which in this case can be eas­ily drowned out by the bustling of an of­fice, might ac­tively dis­cour­age some me­chan­i­cal con­verts, but

those who pre­fer a lighter touch will cer­tainly ap­pre­ci­ate the Quiet Pro’s com­bi­na­tion of force­ful touch feed­back and min­i­mal noise.

While Ma­tias’ switch de­sign lacks the well-de­fined crisp­ness of Cherry MX Browns and Blues, or the grat­i­fy­ing chunk­i­ness of To­pre’s ca­pac­i­tive keys, it’s still leagues ahead of stan­dard rub­ber domes. The ac­tu­a­tion force re­quired is greater than most, which re­duces the like­li­hood of in­putting the wrong key by ac­ci­den­tally brush­ing it and en­cour­ages firm, con­fi­dent strokes.

It’s a shame, then, that the key­caps are so prone to wob­bling, which re­sult in a some­what less co­he­sive feel when typ­ing, par­tic­u­larly at slower speeds. We’d ex­pect bet­ter build qual­ity from a key­board cost­ing this much, though it is fairly solid oth­er­wise. The fully adjustable legs on the un­der­side are par­tic­u­larly strong – im­pres­sive, con­sid­er­ing this is nor­mally the most struc­turally frag­ile part of a key­board.

The Mini Quiet Pro also makes a sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ment over the Se­cure Pro: although both mod­els have three in­te­grated USB2 ports, the Se­cure Pro’s are only able to charge other de­vices. The Mini Quiet Pro’s are much more fully fea­tured, al­low­ing you to plug a wired mouse into the key­board or use it as an easy ac­cess point for re­mov­able stor­age drives, which is great if your PC is hid­den away un­der a desk.

We were also pleased to see full-size En­ter, right Shift and Backspace keys, de­spite the board’s nar­row di­men­sions. Still, other sac­ri­fices have been made in pur­suit of size re­duc­tion; there are no ded­i­cated me­dia con­trols, as there are on the larger Quiet Pro, while the clus­ter of keys typ­i­cally found above the ar­row keys (Print Screen, Scroll Lock, Home and so on) have been com­bined either with the Func­tion keys, or with each other.

Since the Mini Quiet Pro and the full-size Quiet Pro are, un­der­ly­ingly, the same key­board, for of­fice use it’s ar­guably bet­ter to get the larger model even if it is more ex­pen­sive. Still, the Mini Quiet Pro knows its job, and does it well.

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