Today my Matias Ergo Pro finally arrived and I thought I’d record my initial reactions. I should first make clear – this was bought retail over a year ago; this is not a “thanks for the free stuff” post. I’m writing it because I care about keyboards. First, here’s my old setup – a Goldtouch v1:
This provides excellent “tent” support of arbitrary angles, a definite split left/right section, abandons a dedicated numeric segment, and uses a non-traditional layout for the secondary keys. I own several of these, and they have served me very well. As you can see from the photo, you may need a wrist strip to avoid strain (and for any serious tenting this will barely reach), but I can’t think of any way they could have avoided this. The keys feel fine. The one thing it doesn’t let you do is separate the left/right panels very much (the ball-joint connects rigidly them), which some posture folks maintain would help us avoid wrist strain. But: it has worked great. I love my Goldtouch keyboards.
…trades tenting for separation…So: what is the Matias Ergo Pro?
Pictured above we see my new Ergo Pro, freshly unboxed. Like the Goldtouch it has distinct left/right sections, abandons a dedicated numeric segment, and uses a non-traditional layout for the secondary keys. However, it trades tenting for separation; instead of a ball joint, we get a cable connect. Limited tenting is provided by feet clips, which feel very solid:
This limited flexibility allows them to include inbuilt (removable, IIRC) wrist pads, which feel far better than the separate gel strip I used with the Goldtouch. But most importantly: YOU CAN MOVE THE PANELS APART. The connecting cable resizes for most reasonable separations, keeping the cabling tidy, which is a nice touch. It feels really nice to have your arms facing more forwards than diagonal.
What about the keys?I believe they are ALPS, and they feel and sound great. It is great to have quality switches on keyboards. The alternative layout is interesting, but fine. I have no real need for dedicated “copy” etc, so I’ll probably try to re-map those through 3rd party software to something more useful.
Any issues?I’ve only had the keyboard an hour, so I’m still getting used to it; however, I have had a few issues so far:
- so far, it is only available in US layouts; this isn’t a huge issue to me and I knew this when I ordered, but you might care more about this than I do
- (SEE UPDATE BELOW) the “num lock” key is spectacularly badly positioned IMO – I keep tripping this when looking for “n” – and I’m not sure, but I think they might be doing something on-device with this, as I have been unable (so far) to disable it through software; I’ve also had some false “hits” on the num-lock (when pressing “t”), which worries me more than a little
EDIT: UPDATE ON THE NUM-LOCK
The "num lock" shown on the keyboard is not the OS-level "num lock"; it is a device-level key that switches the behavior of the block of keys "7890uiopjkl;nm,." - a bit like how some laptop keyboards work. The OS-level "num lock" is actually toggled by "fn"+"t". Because the "num lock" button is device-level, it cannot be mapped/disabled by the OS. I fixed it by removing the key-cap!