Subscribe / Unsubscribe Enewsletters | Login | Register

Pencil Banner

Matias Secure Pro wireless keyboard review: A power tool for the paranoid

Hayden Dingman | Aug. 7, 2014
The wireless Matias Secure Pro keyboard's number-one claim to fame is its 128-bit AES encryption. I'll get into that later. My favorite feature is that it's quiet. You'd hardly know this was a mechanical keyboard from the sound it makes. It's close to the volume level of a typical membrane keyboard, if a little sharper or clickier at times. You could use this board in any office or in a bedroom without disturbing a soul.

Despite its small design, I was disappointed with the awkward spacing of the media-control keys. You must hold down the Fn key to operate them, and the Play/Pause key is all the way across the board on the Esc key. The spacing makes it easier to remember which media tools are where without looking, but it's almost impossible to operate them one-handed.

The Secure Pro also has USB hubs on its casing, but they're strictly for charging — there's no mouse or data transfer here. Matias claims the battery inside the Secure Pro will last six months to a year on a single charge, though I obviously haven't had a chance to test that claim. Charging a second USB device requires supplemental power (negating its wireless feature). There's a handy battery indicator LED on the Caps Lock key, but there's  strangely no indicator LED for Caps Lock status.

Peace of mind for the paranoid

Getting back to the keyboard's 128-bit AES encryption: When was the last time you worried about someone intercepting the data traveling from your wireless keyboard to your computer?

For me, the answer is "never." And I'm sure even a few of our more security-minded readers find the question similarly perplexing. The signals wireless keyboards use are so weak that a hacker (or cracker, if you prefer that label for cybercriminals) would need to be in the same room — or at most, the next one over — to intercept its transmissions. What's more, Logitech, Microsoft, and other modern manufacturers build wireless keyboards with signal encryption without boasting about it.

It's highly unlikely that your keyboard will be the failure point in your data-security plan, but I'm not going to make fun of people who genuinely worry over such things. If you're in that camp, the Secure Pro certainly holds up its end of the bargain. Matias claims the keyboard's 128-bit AES encryption is the highest available on a wireless keyboard and would take "a billion-billion years to crack."

Worthy investment?

The Matias Secure Pro is a well-built, quiet, portable mechanical keyboard with a robust — if perhaps over-the-top — security feature. I didn't find that it provided the best typing experience, but your preferences might differ. No one would argue, however, that its $170 asking price is inexpensive.

 

Previous Page  1  2 

Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.