Best non-chiclet keyboard for Mac?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by 7enderbender, Dec 21, 2012.

  1. 7enderbender macrumors 6502a


    May 11, 2012
    North East US
    I'm looking to find the best full keyboard to use with a Mac Mini that doesn't have the flat island style keys of the current Apple keyboards or most current laptops. Wired or not I don't care really. Does the white previous version keyboard work with the current OS/Mac Mini?

    Or what other alternatives are out there that are comfortable, have a bit of travel, with curved key surfaces, not noisy and with traditional key spacing - while having the Mac specific labeling and keys? And I don't want any extra stuff like track pads, volume buttons and such.
  2. bernuli macrumors 6502

    Oct 10, 2011
    I've been pretty happy with the previous version of this keyboard from Moshi:


  3. shinji macrumors 65816


    Mar 18, 2007
    I'm using a Matias Tactile Pro, which has mechanical switches. It's the tactile feedback/clicky-feel type of keyboard, so it is a little noisy. That kinda goes with the territory if you want good tactile feedback. They are coming out with the a new version of it if you can wait.

    I've also used the Moshi Celesta that Bernuli mentioned, the earlier version of the Luna. That was an awesome keyboard and used scissor switches, which are more quiet than mechanical.

    The previous Apple Keyboard will work too, though pretty much any USB keyboard will. It's just hard to find durable, high quality keyboards like the two mentioned.
  4. ee13lbp macrumors member

    Aug 19, 2012
    Just out of interests sake, what do you dislike about chiclet style keys? In my option they are a lot quieter and more comfortable to type on.
  5. duervo, Dec 21, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2012

    duervo macrumors 68020


    Feb 5, 2011
    This one, hands down, for MAC use:

    Just get the Tactile Soft version, and then a set of MAC keys to go along with it to change out the ALT and Windows keys. The regular tactile one clicks, which you probably won't like as you said you wanted a quiet keyboard.

    Although, I have to add, after thinking about it a bit more, that if you can get a Filco keyboard with MAC keys (not sure that you can), that would be my first choice.

    The color of the Cherry MX switches on mechanical keyboards will determine how loud it is. There are 4 different ones. In order of noisiness, loudest to softest, they would be:

    Red / Black

    The Das Keyboard Tactile uses Blue switches, so probably not gonna have a good time with that one, since it has the loudest switches.

    The Das Keyboard Tactile Soft uses brown keys, which, while not the quietest switch, is still quieter than the Blue switches. Probably somewhere in the middle between the loudest and quietest.
  6. blanka macrumors 68000

    Jul 30, 2012
    Too bad the DAS ones have gone ugly. I don't like the pimple on the top right. Their original one was way nicer.

    Maybe you can buy a UHID encoder and interface an old hammer typewriter to your Mac.
  7. duervo, Dec 22, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2012

    duervo macrumors 68020


    Feb 5, 2011
    I've done some more checking on this, and found this one, which after viewing its specs, makes me want to take back everything I said before, and say "Get this one!" :D (and, oops, I see it's mentioned already ... my bad.)

    Laser etched keys, 3-port USB 2.0 hub, 10 key rollover ... no backlight though, if that's a requirement.

    It uses White ALPS switches, though, which I'm not familiar with, meaning I'm not sure how loud it is. According to the description on that site, though, they are similar to the switches used in the old Apple Extended Keyboards that people used to love.

    EDIT: Found a quieter model of that one:

    If you scroll down on that page, they have a graphic that has four tabs. Clicking on each of the tabs will play an audio recording of the four different types of switches, so you can get a feel of how they sound. (Cherry Blue can get to be very annoying for some.)
  8. 725032 Guest


    Aug 5, 2012
    So you answer the OP's question with a question?

    You have to give to get!
  9. 7enderbender thread starter macrumors 6502a


    May 11, 2012
    North East US
    I struggle with the spacing (too wide) and the short travel. I have those currently on my work-work HP EliteBook and have been using it on a daily basis over several months now. So it's not a matter of getting used to it. I get many typos and "ghost" letters on that and it's just very uncomfortable for me. Trying out the current Apple keyboards feels exactly like that HP laptop I got (no surprise since everyone is now copying what Apple does).

    For comparison: my favorite is still writing on my old T60 Thinkpad. That's the best keyboard ever for writing a lot. But even Lenovo stopped using those keyboards now.
  10. Mojo1 macrumors 65816

    Jul 26, 2011
    Apple "chiclet" keyboards are terrible if you are a fast touch-typist. The last relatively decent portable Mac keyboard was included with the pre-unibody MacBook Pro. The pre-chiclet iMac keyboards are merely OK but they are better than the current keyboards.

    There is no single "best" replacement keyboard. Some of the more popular heavily-advertised keyboards in Mac publications and online aren't necessarily the "best".

    The long discontinued IBM Model M is highly favored by serious typists. (There is an active eBay market for the old keyboards...) Unicomp has been manufacturing them for 15 years. The keyboard utilizes "buckling spring" keys rather than "linear spring" mechanical switches such as the Cherry series. The only drawback: it's a noisy beast so it probably won't make your short list.

    This website has everything you need to know about keyboards including a long list of available keyboards: Note that the link for Unicomp keyboards is not good; try instead.

    The guide makes it easy to find out how quiet/noisy a particular switch/keyboard is during use. Both standard and ergonomic keyboards are shown. If you are a serious gamer you will want a different keyboard than a writer who spends hours typing. There are also YouTube videos that compare the noise-level of various keyboards.

    Once you have narrowed down your choices to a particular keyboard use Google to search for specific keyboard reviews. You will easily find some very good reviews on keyboards that are currently popular that will help you winnow out the winners from the losers.

    Good luck!
  11. Bear macrumors G3

    Jul 23, 2002
    Sol III - Terra
  12. iDunnOSX macrumors newbie

    Nov 19, 2012
    I second the motion for Das Keyboard...

    ...specifically the model with Cherry MX brown keys. It is the softer version, not too clacky, but with good tactile feedback.

    I spent a lot of time last summer researching what to buy to replace my old white Apple keyboard, which died from heavy use. I settled on this:

    It is the nonMac version, the only one Das sells with Cherry MX brown (unless you want the Cherry MX brown keyboard without inscriptions, the "Ultimate," also nonMac). Looks like they've added media controls since I purchased, which is a positive, although I'm not having issues adjusting to the absence on mine.

    I bought Das's replacement set of Mac keys for ALT and Windows keys, but waited to install until after I was sure I was going to keep this keyboard, and then never bothered. It was absolutely zero bother for me to adjust to ALT-for-option and Windows-for-Apple-command. (Lifetime Mac user here with very little Windows experience.)
  13. Exodist macrumors member


    Dec 5, 2012
    Buenavista, Agusan Del Norte, Philippines
    Logitech K820 may be what your looking for. They make a Mac version, but the windows keyboard works fine. Its black and the keys do light up.
  14. esskay macrumors 6502

    Jan 3, 2008
    I'm also a huge fan of mechanical keyboards. After switching over, I can't stand membrane keyboards anymore.

    I have a Das on my Mac but got another (cheapy Rosewill from Newegg) with Cherry Red switches for my PC. I am actually faster on and prefer the Red switches now.

    BTW, that link posted above has everything you need to know about mechanical keyboards, great resource.

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