I’d been wanting to give the Tactile Pro a try since first reading the glowing notices of this product, but found it too expensive a luxury — its street price is roughly US$80 — especially when my Apple Pro Keyboards performed their duties uncomplainingly. Then, just before the holidays, I arrived at work one morning to find the left-hand Shift and Control keys had mysteriously stopped working, the first time a keyboard has ever failed me. I still have no explanation for why it crapped out.
This was the perfect excuse to buy myself a Tactile Pro and I ordered one immediately. When it arrived a few days later, I received it with more enthusiasm than a healthy person should probably greet the arrival of a new keyboard, but all the advance praise had raised my expectations. I typed on it all day, then brought it home so that I might continue tapping away on it that night.
Memory Plays Tricks on You
Above: Tactile Pro-file. It certainly looks good, anyway.
One thing I realized quickly was that, with the passage of time, I think I had confused the “original” Apple Extended Keyboard with its successor, the Apple Extended Keyboard II. I’m hazy on the details, but the original clicked louder and felt more industrial than the latter. Though I had used both, it was for the latter model that I had really developed an affection. The Tactile Pro seems like an excellent reproduction of the original, but it’s not quite what I had mistakenly remembered in my head.
Nevertheless, its keys possess a marked responsiveness, certainly offering more pronounced feedback than just about any other modern keyboard. Typing on it is a very satisfying experience that recalls a perhaps illusory age of more industrial-strength manufacturing techniques, a kind of nerdy nostalgia that you probably shouldn’t go around bragging about. That is, it feels like you’re doing some very heavy duty computing when you’re using this thing.
Loud vs. Soft
That said, I’m not sure that it really lives up to all the hype. I won’t say that I’m unhappy with my purchase, but I have noticed that I often find myself happy to be typing on a keyboard with a gentler feel when I’m away from the Tactile Pro. After typing on such a loud device that almost encourages me to bang away all day, I quite like coming home to my Apple Pro Keyboard, even though it is mushier. Its keys are quiet, I can maneuver across them without feeling like I need to hammer away (though to be fair, the Tactile Pro does not require excessive force; the sound it produces just suggests that excessive forces has been applied) and I can type discreetly, without waking up my girlfriend sleeping in the next room.
And that, dear reader, is about as much as anybody should really ever spend writing about computer keyboards.