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You are here: MacNN Forums > News > Mac News > Living with Apple Magic Keyboard, and without Apple Wireless Keyboard

Living with Apple Magic Keyboard, and without Apple Wireless Keyboard
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MacNN Staff
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Apr 19, 2016, 11:52 AM
By the time you read this, I will have given away my Apple Wireless Keyboard, and hopefully won't be regretting it. For some many months ago now, I swapped to the Magic Keyboard and I loved it, I love it still, I abandoned the old Wireless Keyboard, and forgot about it until this week. Earlier this week, though, I offered to give it to someone to solve a problem for them and they said yes, thank you. That meant I had to find it -- and when I found the keyboard, I also found that I really like it.

There's no going back now; I have promised, and I do genuinely adore the new Magic Keyboard, but that old Wireless one is superb. It has a deeper feel to the typing than the newer model, it's got a bounce and a vigor which I now think its replacement doesn't. I would not have said that before this week, I would not have thought of it.

When I bought the new Magic Keyboard, I was disappointed that it wasn't like the keyboard on the latest MacBook: people are divided over that one, but I like it very much. I thought I'd find the Magic Keyboard to be a bit like it, maybe a compromise in some way, but with its advantages of larger keys, easier typing, and just a good feel. It has no larger keys, and it feels different, but it is good.

Apple Wireless Keyboard (top) and Apple Magic Keyboard (Bottom)
Apple Wireless Keyboard (top) and Apple Magic Keyboard (Bottom)

The Magic Keyboard feels much slimmer and more low down on the desk, chiefly because it is. The Wireless model had to be raised up and at an angle, because there is a battery compartment at the rear. It takes two AA batteries, and they go into a tube-like section that runs the length of the keyboard. It's handy that it needs easily-replaceable batteries, and great that it didn't seem to need them very long.

However, that raised tube is enough that I only once or twice took that keyboard with me away from my office. It makes for a good grip, it makes for your being able to very readily find and pull it out of your bag without looking, but it also somehow means it takes up more room than it should. It's bulkier, and so less convenient.

The Magic Keyboard gets rid of that tube and raise by getting rid of the replaceable batteries. You have to charge the keyboard up via Lightning cable. I don't usually have Lightning cables hanging around on my desk, so it's a small faff finding one to charge, but it lasts a long time.

Without this tube, the Magic Keyboard can be much lower, and it feels as if it is barely off the desk. Even this small difference radically changes the typing angle, and so therefore the whole typing action. Up to today, I'd have said it was much better: you feel less like you're pressing keys, and more that you're stroking them.

Apple Wireless Keyboard (bottom) has a large battery tube
Apple Wireless Keyboard (bottom) has a large battery tube

Consequently, this is a very slim keyboard with a good feel which doesn't make any sound, and would be a perfect travelling one. Except for how it's only able to pair with one device at a time: this is another reason I didn't take the Wireless one around with me: you have to un-pair it from your Mac, pair to iPad, and then do the same thing back afterwards. I'm now using a Logitech K810 keyboard, which pairs with up to three devices, and shares a lot of the Magic Keyboard's low slung advantages.

So I leave the Magic one paired to my Mac, and I take the Logitech one everywhere else. I was happy with all of this, until I tried the Apple Wireless Keyboard again. Every criticism I've got of its bulk and inconvenience stands, yet the typing feel on it is excellent. I'm no longer sure which I'd use in future, the Wireless or the Magic ones, but I do know that the fella getting my old one is going to have a treat.

Contrast all of this with what's happened over the trackpad. I replaced my old Apple trackpad, and got the Magic Trackpad 2 at the same time I did the keys, and I've no hesitation which is better. The other day I spotted the old one in my living room. Not a clue how it got there.

-- William Gallagher (@WGallagher)
Steve Wilkinson
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Apr 19, 2016, 01:22 PM
Is the Logitech K810 a standard sized keyboard? I love my Apple Wireless keyboard, but that multi-device capability would be nice at times. But, I'm a big stickler on the size thing. I had a PowerBook 100 back in the day, and while I *loved* it's keyboard, and did most of my work on it at the time, it messed me up for some time when I went back to a standard sized keyboard.
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Charles Martin
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Apr 19, 2016, 01:47 PM
Yes, the K810 is a standard-sized keyboard, the same size (approx) as the Apple Wireless one, etc.
Charles Martin
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Apr 19, 2016, 01:54 PM
I use Apple's wireless keyboard and I'm happy enough with it. But my real regret is no longer having the marvelous small USB keyboard that Apple only sold for about a year. Mine died and finding a replacement has proved difficult and expensive. For desktop use, USB is less trouble that Bluetooth.
Author of Untangling Tolkien and Chesterton on War and Peace
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Apr 19, 2016, 04:41 PM
Personally, I have so much use for the numeric keypad and reverse-delete key that I can't get past the lack thereof on any of Apple's wireless keyboards, so I only use the full-sized wired one.

The wire isn't an issue for a desktop computer anyway, so I don't mind this, but it would be nice if Apple at least made a full-sized wireless keyboard for iMac users who are particularly cable averse.
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Apr 19, 2016, 05:27 PM
I'm right there with you on the number pad, which is also why I continue to use the aluminum, full-size, corded Apple keyboard. Plus it just feels great.
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Apr 19, 2016, 05:28 PM
For a wireless, full-sized keyboard (and which is light-powered to boot) I use the Logitech K750, Mac edition. It's around $50 and we've replaced all of our Apple keyboards in our office with the K750 to the appreciation of all our users.
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