With Apple's relentless quest for thinness resulting in products like the MacBook featuring keyboards that I personally find to cause actual physical discomfort, I wouldn't be surprised to see more and more Mac users exploring the Windows-dominated world of mechanical keyboards in search of a more satisfying typing experience. The new wireless Magic Keyboard is pretty good considering its ultra-shallow construction, but why not go all the way?
One problem: Mac users are probably more likely than most to value neat, minimalist desk setups, but many new mechanical keyboards are gamer-focused design disasters with gaudy LCDs and industrial design that's more Battlestar Galactica than Silicon Valley.
For some reason, almost no-one makes mechanical keyboards that match the Mac aesthetic. The new Moda Pro from Nixeus, however, is a great entry-level option for anyone curious about entering the world of clicky keys in style. It's a full-sized keyboard with white keycaps and a solid aluminium and steel body, coming off as an oversized take on Apple's current Magic Keyboard — or a more solid version of what Apple shipped with iMacs about a decade ago. As with a few other recent keyboards, the design is essentially frameless.
The Moda Pro comes with Mac and Windows keycaps
The Moda Pro ships with a Windows layout by default, but comes with Mac keycaps and a tool to easily remove the pre-installed ones. You can, of course, use it with either OS just fine and there's no dedicated software necessary, but I think the appeal will be more obvious for Mac owners. Just switch the keys out, assign the bindings in system preferences, and you're away.
At $74.99, the Moda Pro is pretty cheap for a mechanical keyboard. It uses Kailh switches rather than the more renowned Cherry MX, and to be honest I can't tell much difference — the blue switches on my unit are as responsive as you'd hope for from a keyboard twice the price. (A version with brown switches is also available.) Cherry MX switches may prove to be more reliable over time, but Kailh switches — a less expensive Chinese equivalent that rose to prominence following the expiration of Cherry MX's patents — have worked fine for me across multiple keyboards.
It's not a perfect solution
It's not a perfect solution. While the construction is very solid, the plastic elements and visible screws mean that no-one's going to mistake this for an Apple product, never mind the glowing blue LEDs and conspicuous Nixeus logo. I, and probably most Mac users, would also prefer a smaller tenkeyless layout in line with the keyboards Apple ships with its computers these days. But to be fair, the Moda Pro isn't marketed specifically to Mac users, and shouldn't be judged on Apple's terms — it works just as well with Windows, styling aside, although Windows users probably have less reason to consider this particular product considering the wealth of options out there.
I often read that people get used to the new MacBook's keyboard after a period of adjustment, but I've been using it as my primary computer for a year now and still find it pretty awful. But the Moda Pro is a great companion to a MacBook in clamshell mode, or any other Mac, and is also a really good first mechanical keyboard for anyone who wants more travel from their keys.