Hardware

Review: Apple Wireless Keyboard

The Bluetooth-enabled Apple Wireless Keyboard eliminates the hassle of dealing with cables, resulting in less wire clutter.

The Apple Wireless Keyboard is the wireless variant of Apple's aluminum range of keyboards. With its exceptionally small footprint and chiclet style keys, the keyboard proved to be a pleasure to work on.

Specifications

Who's it for?

The aluminum Apple Wireless Keyboard is perfect for those users who are looking for a wireless keyboard with a full set of keys. While the absence of the numeric keypad means that it is not suitable for those who require it, the result is a keyboard with a significantly reduced footprint.

Note: Apple provides no guarantee that the Apple Wireless Keyboard will work on non-Apple systems, though I was able to pair and use it with my Sony laptop running Windows Vista without any fuss.

What problem does it solve?

The Apple Wireless Keyboard takes up very little space on the desktop, while the absence of any cables also contributes to a de-cluttering effect. As such, users who value their desktop space will almost certainly like it. In addition, its chiclet keys mean that the keyboard is also quiet and very easy to type with.

Standout features

  • Wireless: The Apple Wireless Keyboard eliminates the hassle of dealing with cables, resulting in less wire clutter. Because it is a Bluetooth keyboard, there is no need for a corresponding RF dongle to take up a precious USB port.
  • Small Form-Factor: By taking away the numeric keypad, Apple was able to create a keyboard with a footprint that is actually smaller than that of an 11" ultraportable. Despite its small size, the keys are large enough for most touch-typists.
  • Chiclet Keys: Users who like the chiclet keyboards popularized recently by laptops from Apple and Sony will love this. Not only is it easier to type on, there is also a dramatic reduction in the amount of dirt that can be trapped under the keycaps.
  • Robust: The creation of the keyboard from a single piece of aluminum results in a keyboard that is completely rigid. The keyboard feels extremely robust and is well-built.

What's wrong?

  • No numeric keypad: This must be the most common complaint, and probably makes it unsuitable for users who do a lot of data entry using the keypad.
  • No explicit Windows support: With the right software the important Windows-specific keys are replicated easily enough; though it would be wonderful to have more explicit support for Windows.
  • White only color: While I am cognizant that products from Apple are generally white in color, the white keys on the keyboard are already growing a little yellowish with use.

Competitive products

Bottom line for business

For executives looking for a wireless keyboard and prepared to forego the numeric keypad, the Apple Wireless Keyboard is probably the best option for them. Not only does the keyboard look fantastic in terms of aesthetic, it has also proved to be solid performer. Most importantly, its chiclet keys are a pleasure to type with.

While I personally am not upset over the lack of a numeric keypad, its absence will likely alienate some users who use the numeric keypad heavily. Also, while more explicit support for Windows would be good to have, it is a trivial matter to install the UAWKS (Unofficial Apple Wireless Keyboard Support for Windows) utility.

User rating

Have you encountered or used the Apple Wireless Keyboard? If so, what do you think? Rate your experience and compare the results to what other TechRepublic members think. Give your own personal review in the TechRepublic Community Forums or let us know if you think we left anything out.

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About

Paul Mah is a writer and blogger who lives in Singapore, where he has worked for a number of years in various capacities within the IT industry. Paul enjoys tinkering with tech gadgets, smartphones, and networking devices.

3 comments
Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

What type of keyboard do you use? Do you like the aluminum keyboard style or do you prefer the standard PC style? Are you a fan of the old IBM keyboards?

paulmah
paulmah

Any particular reasons for not liking it? Just curious since I personally type much better on it. Regards, Paul Mah.

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