Believing keyboards are typically all the same, I previously used whatever keyboard was bundled with the computer I purchased. Field experience gained as a technology consultant helped educate me to the many different keyboard options, including ones for Mac users.
With multiple manufacturers, including Matias, Das Keyboard, and Logitech, producing quality Mac keyboards, a variety of competitively priced alternatives to the standard Mac device are available. The number of alternatives is particularly compelling, considering the build and performance quality of the default Apple standard.
SEE: macOS Mojave: A guide for IT leaders (Tech Pro Research)
At $149, the Space Gray Apple Keyboard with Numeric Keypad (Figure A) initially seems expensive—that's because it is. The Space Gray version is $20 more than the traditional Silver finish model. But the Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad is luxurious.
Bluetooth connectivity is easily set up for Mac desktops and laptops. Cordless performance is flawless. Individual Apple, Command, Option, and Control keys are clearly marked. Forward-deleting and rearward-deleting Delete keys are present. The numeric keypad is convenient and, for number crunchers, required.
As far as looks, because let's face it, organizations are occasionally judged by their equipment and décor, this is one keyboard you or your office's interior designer won't be embarrassed to display on desks; it looks sleek, slim, and stylish.
Typing is quick, crisp, and accurate. The Magic Keyboard's keys feel well-designed and are responsive. If Mercedes-Benz created a keyboard, it would likely look and perform as Apple's product.
The only thing missing is a backlight. A backlight would certainly shorten battery life, though.
Unlike older aluminum Apple Bluetooth keyboard models, the Magic Keyboard possesses a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. In my experience, even when used daily the keyboard can go more than a month between charges. When the keyboard does require charging, all you need to do is connect the keyboard to a powered USB port via an included USB to Lightning cable, itself a $10 to $20 value.
The base style, connectivity, and performance justify the Magic Keyboard's expense. Also, the keyboard supports customization; users can assign shortcuts to macOS Finder and application menu commands.
Multiple function keys permit adjusting a variety of settings. In addition to increasing and decreasing display brightness, the keyboard has controls for adjusting audio volume and audio and video playback. You can also open Mission Control and applications from Launchpad using the provided function keys.
- Top 20 Apple keyboard shortcuts for business users (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
- Hands-on: Logitech K380 Compact Multi-Device Bluetooth Keyboard (ZDNet)
- Apple Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad review:Apple's new keyboard rescues the number pad (CNET)
- Apple keyboard repair program addresses MacBook and MacBook Pro failures (TechRepublic)
- Apple patents keyboard that resists liquid, dust, and crumbs (TechRepublic)
- 4 alternative keyboards for Mac users offer compelling options (TechRepublic)
Erik Eckel owns and operates two technology companies. As a managing partner with Louisville Geek, he works daily as an IT consultant to assist small businesses in overcoming technology challenges and maximizing IT investments. He is also president of Eckel Media Corp., a communications company specializing in public relations and technical authoring projects.