Mechanical enthusiasts keyboards who are also windows users have life quite easy. There are plenty of out-of-the-box PC keyboard choices to bridge the English channel, and the Windows user who craves the responsiveness, springiness, and sensory satisfaction of a good mechanical just needs to close their eyes and point.
Mac users have a harder time. Yes, you can connect any mechanical keyboard to any piece of Apple hardware and enter letters and numbers correctly right away. But the modifier keys – Control, Command, Option – are not mapped correctly for macOS. The symbols on the keycaps also do not match. (Which was Command again?) Any added value that makes a mechanical keyboard feel platform-native — things like the media controls, volume keys, space keys, and sleep-wake buttons — probably won’t work at all.
There are already a few solid Mac-friendly choices on the market (Keychron in particular makes some good options), but the latest and most intriguing is Das Keyboard’s MacTigr.
The Texas company makes some of our favorite mechanical keyboards, including models in the meaty Professional series and the sleek Prime 13. The MacTigr takes all that hard-earned Das mojo and boils it down into a fully mechanical keyboard with a minimal design and pure plug-and-play Mac compatibility. (A few years ago, Das Keyboard released a variant of its 4 Professional keyboard for Macs. It was fine, but the MacTigr is smaller, more capable, and more modern.)
The thin body is all-metal, with an aluminum chassis topped by a steel plate. It feels sturdy (it’s 2.5 pounds) and it has a matte black finish that makes it look rather nondescript. There is no backlight. A set of media buttons sitting above the 10-key keyboard controls Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube in the browser, or whichever media player you’ve touched most recently.
The volume knob, something Das has included on his more expensive keyboards since the dawn of time, is particularly luxurious. It is coated with a soft and grippy silicone. Inside are detents that gently click as you turn the volume up and down. Next to the media keys is a special sleep button that puts your Mac to bed with one 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 directly above the F12 key where you can plug in charging cables or other accessories.
Point and click
The true mechanical keyboard obsessives all have a favorite switch type. The switch, the spring-loaded mechanism beneath each keycap that senses each press, gives a keyboard both its character and its distinctive audible click. If you’re sitting next to someone with green or blue switches, that click could be that loud. (Keyswitch types are differentiated by color.) The MacTigr is loaded with Cherry MX Reds, which are on the quieter side of the color spectrum. Yes, it’s still a mechanical keyboard and it still clicks like a Ducati, but it’s quieter than most.
The Cherry MX Reds are linear switches, so they register every keystroke with almost no physical resistance (or “bumps”, in keyboard parlance). This makes the MacTigr surprisingly sensitive; it took me a full week of practice before I could type at my normal speed without repeated keystrokes. Since that introductory phase, it has become a trusted favorite.