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Apple setups are mostly very clean and organized. That’s often the case because most of their products are focused on minimizing cable clutter and containing the hardware in a small elegant form factor. When opting for a product that offers such a clean look, such as the iMac, you probably don’t want to get yourself wired peripherals. Cables lying all over the desk can completely destroy the clean feel a setup has to it.
One of the easiest ways of maintaining a clean setup is opting for wireless peripherals instead. Nowadays it’s quite easy to find a good bluetooth keyboard at that. Almost every keyboard manufacturer has at least one bluetooth variant in their offering. So why would you choose Apple’s magic keyboard?
Keyboard with num pad or without?
In case you are thinking of buying a new iMac, Apple includes a Magic Mouse 2 and a Magic Keyboard 2 without the num pad. For a little price increase you can also choose to get the version with num pad instead. Before making the purchase, it’s important to think about whether you actually want a keyboard with or without the num pad.
The Magic Keyboard 2 with num pad actually has a few extra buttons, which can be programmed in the system preferences window. They range from F13 to F19. Unlike F1 all the way through F12, they do not include any built in functionalities. Instead you can map some onto them. Depending on your workflow that might actually prove to be quite useful. The arrow keys are also not cramped into the main part of the keyboard. They have an extra area for themselves and are all full sized. Whether that’s useful or not is up to preference.
The main advantage of the smaller variant of the Magic Keyboard 2 (besides the lower cost) is it’s size. The two keyboards differ over 30% in length. While that may be insignificant for some, it allows you to keep your mouse or trackpad closer to the keyboard, and therefore closer to your body. It also makes using both trackpad and mouse at the same time all the more practical.
Some people like me don’t use the num pad at all. In that case I don’t find the few extra buttons to be worth the increased size.
Is Apple’s bluetooth keyboard worth the full price?
For those thinking about getting a keyboard for their Mac Mini (which comes without peripherals) or for their Macbook, there are still many reasons to consider buying the magic keyboard instead of a different one.
Just like the iMac or other apple products, the magic keyboard is clean and simple looking. It features a really small footprint, especially when it comes to it’s height and keycap size. The keycaps feel like a mixture between the Macbook Pro keys from 2015 and those butterfly keycaps from 2016 an onward. They are easy to press but have a slightly clicky feel to them. It is by far the lightest keyboard that I have ever held and can easily be put into any backpack.
Luckily, the keyboard doesn’t require batteries anymore. It can be charged via lightning port, which comes with the box. Due to the keyboard not having a backlight feature, the battery lasts very long. It usually takes months of constant use before I am forced to recharge it.
While I really enjoy the typing experience, it’s hard to compare it to a mechanical keyboard. The Magic Keyboard 2’s design is in perfect synergy with the Magic Trackpad 2 and way more compact than any mechanical keyboard could ever be. If you don’t care about that however, but simply want the best typing experience possible, then it’s worth considering buying a mechanical keyboard instead.
Though Apple’s keyboard obviously made some trade off’s for it’s size and weight, it still feels extremely reliable and premium.
I am a huge fan of the magic keyboard, which is why I’ve used it with every single Apple based setup that I had so far. As of today there hasn’t been a bluetooth keyboard that can truly replace it for me. There are two issues that I have with it though. The first one is that there’s no easy device changing mode. Switching to an iPad requires you to turn the keyboard off and then connect it (or to connect it via lightning cable). Additionally, the small variant only comes in a silver chassy with white keycaps. I would’ve loved to get a spacegray version of it with a spacegray trackpad. Besides those two gripes, there’s nothing that I would change as of now.