One of the more interesting aspects of a keyboard manufacturer that is being run by true enthusiasts is that they will often come out with a product that serves such a small niche that no one else would dare try it. Today’s case in point is the KBParadise V60 Mini with Matias Quiet Click switches.
The V60 Mini is quite a unique product to begin with. There aren’t many 60% size mechanical keyboards around, as most fit into the 100% size, or 80% “Tenkeyless”. The main competitor in this spec range is the KBC Poker II which we have reviewed, but we actually prefer the KBP V60 Mini for a few reasons which you can read about in our review.
This new version takes things a step further, by using Matias “Quiet Click” switches instead of the far more common Cherry MX switches (and their clones) used by just about everyone else.
In fact, in every other way, the KBP V60 Mini is identical to the Cherry MX Red model we reviewed a while back. So for a full review, I’m going to recommend that you read that one instead. In this review, we’re going to be focusing on the one thing that makes this model special – the Matias Quiet Click switches.
Matias Quiet Click Switches
There you have it – the Matias Quiet Click switch. If the switch looks familiar, like an old Japanese Alps switch, that’s because it’s a replica of the last Alps switch to be made – the SKBM series.
Alps switches in this style were used as early as 1983 (Alps had been making keyboard switches as far back as the 1960′s), and were used by several PC OEMs such as Apple, Dell, Acer, and Silicon Graphics. If you were to encounter an Apple or Dell mechanical keyboard from the 80′s, chances are that it used Alps switches manufactured by their long-time partner in Taiwan, Forward Electronics. Most OEMs gradually switched to cheap rubber domes for their keyboards, as we all know.
When the joint venture between Alps and Forward Electronics ended in 2000, Forward continued making them under their own name until 2012. At that time, their customers were left with the choice of discontinuing products using those switches, or change to another switch type. The Canadian keyboard manufacturer Matias decided to take matters into their own hands, producing two switch types based on the simplified Alps design. The results were the Matias Click, and Matias Quiet Click switches. They carry a wide range of keyboards using these switches now, including the Quiet Pro and Tactile Pro. They also make their switches available separately, either in batches of 200 for those who want to design their own keyboard (or refresh their ageing Alps keyboard) or in bulk. This is where KBParadise comes in. I believe they’re the only 3rd party company making keyboards using Matias switches at a relatively large scale.
Matias Quiet Click – How Does it Feel?
Alps style clicking switches work in a different way from the likes of Cherry MX Blue and Green. Rather than have a two-piece plunger that slams a piece of plastic down after actuation, Alps style switches have a metal leaf (the dark green clip you see in the right-most image above) that lets the plunger (the teal green component you see in the middle) slam down when bottomed out. Subjectively speaking, this results in a more tactile feel, and sounds more mechanical and less “plasticky” than Cherry MX clicking switches.
The Matias Quiet Click version adds rubber dampeners to the plunger (the purple piece in the center image above) – this dampens the click, but maintains the tactile feel. In fact, this is the biggest advantage of the Matias Quiet Click switch. With Cherry MX switches, your choices are linear, tactile, or clicking with various actuation force levels and travel distances. If you’ve used all three switch types, you may have noticed that the tactile switches aren’t very tactile at all. In fact, some have taken to referring to the MX Brown switch as “Dirty Red” since they feel pretty much like a linear MX Red switch with a barely noticeable bump before the actuation point. Even the Cherry MX Clear switch, used on the KUL ES-87 we reviewed a while back, have only a slight tactile bump, even though the actuation force is higher.
This means that the Matias Quiet Click doesn’t really have a “Cherry MX Equivalent” which I suppose is the whole point. The closest I can think of is the MX Clear, since the force required for actuation – about 60 grams or so – is very close. The feel is quite different though – the Matias Quiet Click switches are much more tactile, and have a slightly shorter travel distance by about 0.5mm. It also feels like the tactile point is slightly ‘higher’ than Cherry MX tactile switches, which may make them even more suitable for gaming.
So if you’re looking for something more tactile than Cherry MX Clear, but still quiet, the Matias Quiet Click might be just the switch you were looking for.
KBP V60 Mini Matias Quiet Click Keycaps
Despite the fact that Matias switches support LED backlighting, KBParadise opted not to offer it on the V60 Mini Matias Quiet Click. This normally presents an opportunity to use PBT keycaps, which feel better and are far more durable than ABS.
KBP opted for ABS keycaps for this model though, and they are quite thin – I measured them to be just under 1mm using a vernier caliper. Normally I would say that this is no big deal, since users could just buy their own thick PBT keycap set if they wish. However since this model uses Alps style keycaps, selection will be limited. I suppose you could 3D Print your own adapters, but that’s a bit drastic.
The legend is laser-etched and filled, and feels slightly raised over the surface of the cap. If they wear out quickly in coming weeks, I’ll update this review with updated information.
KBP V60 Mini Matias Quiet Click Typing Sound Test
Here’s our standard keyboard sound test, to give you an idea of what the KBP V60 Mini with Matias Quiet Click switches sounds like:
And here is our playlist containing all the other keyboards we have tested. This includes just about every type of switch, from Cherry MX Red, Brown, Blue, Green, and Clear, as well as a Topre 55g switch.
Compared to all the Cherry MX based keyboards in the our list, you can see that the Matias switches give off a much quieter sound, with a dull ‘thock’ when bottoming out. It’s not quite as sexy as Topre’s thock, but it’s better than any non-modded Cherry MX keyboard I’ve tried.. I have to say that they feel quite great, and I could see myself using them as my daily drivers.
Once again, be sure to check out our full KBP V60 Mini review for full details on its functionality. Just about everything mentioned there applies to this model as well. What this model does offer that just about every other keyboard doesn’t, is an alternative mechanical keyboard switch that feels nothing like the common Cherry MX switches (and their clones) you see everywhere else. They are very quiet, but still tactile, and would actually be fantastic for gaming. This model sells for around the same price as other V60 models – around $119 at the usual retailers like mechanicalkeyboards.com. If you’re considering a 60% keyboard (and know about the drawbacks, which I discuss in the review of the V60 Mini and Poker II), you can go one step further with a Matias switch version. There is also a full-volume Matias Click version, but I have no experience with that switch.