mechanical enthusiast Life is easy for keyboard users who are also Windows users. There’s enough off-the-shelf PC keyboard options to cross the English Channel, and Windows users crave responsiveness, springiness, and the sensory satisfaction of good mechanics, just by closing your eyes and pointing.
Mac users have a harder time. Yes, you can plug any mechanical keyboard into any Apple hardware and get letters and numbers right in no time. But the modifier keys (Control, Command, Option) are not correctly mapped to macOS. The symbols on the keycaps don’t match either. (Which one is Command, again?) All the added value that makes a mechanical keyboard feel native to the platform—media controls, volume knob, space bar, and sleep-to-wake button—may not work at all.
There are already some solid Mac-friendly options on the market (Keychron in particular offers some good options), but the newest and most intriguing is Das Keyboard’s MacTigr.
The Texas company makes some of our favorite mechanical keyboards, including the powerful Professional series and sleek Prime 13 models. MacTigr takes all the hard-won Das mojo and boils it down to a full-size mechanical keyboard with a minimal design and pure plug-and-play Mac compatibility. (A few years ago, Das Keyboard came out with a variant of the 4 Professional keyboard for the Mac. It was good, but the MacTigr was smaller, more powerful, and more modern.)
The slim body is all metal, with an aluminum chassis topped with steel. It feels solid (2.5 pounds), and the black matte finish makes it look a bit stealthy. There is no backlight. A set of media buttons above the 10-key pad controls Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube in your browser, or whatever media player you touched last.
The volume knob, something Das has used on its high-end keyboards since the beginning, is particularly luxurious. It is coated with soft and grippy silicone. Hidden inside are brakes that click quietly as you turn the volume up and down. Next to the media keys is a dedicated sleep button that puts your Mac to sleep with a single press. The MacTigr is a USB-C keyboard, so it only supports modern Macs with USB-C ports, though it also has a dual USB-C hub right above the F12 key, where you can connect charging cables or other accessories.
point and click
True fans of mechanical keyboards all have a favorite switch type. The switch is the elastic mechanism under each keycap that registers each press, giving the keyboard its unique character with its signature aural click.If you were sitting next to someone with a green or blue switch, that click could be loudly. (Keyswitch types are differentiated by color.) The MacTigr comes in Cherry MX Red, which is on the quieter end of the color spectrum. Yes, it’s still a mechanical keyboard, and it still clicks like a Ducati, but it’s quieter than most.
Cherry MX Reds are linear switches, so they register each keystroke with little to no physical resistance (or “bump” in keyboard lingo). This makes the MacTigr incredibly responsive; it took me a full week of practice to be able to type at normal speed without repeating keystrokes. It’s become a trusted favorite since Know Your Stages.