Apple Wireless Keyboard Review

Apple Wireless Keyboard ReviewI made the purchase of the Apple wireless keyboard late last week with the intentions of giving you lovely people my first impressions of this keyboard. However, that never materialised because of a few circumstances out of my control. The keyboard costs £57 in the United Kingdom and $69 in the United States. This article will be a mix of first impressions and the little niggles that I am finding with the keyboard. I am more than well aware that I will be called an Apple “fanboy” if I give this keyboard a good to decent rating and that I will be called an Apple “hater” if I dare to give my honest opinion on the product. The only detail that has been overlooked is the fact that I couldn’t care less. This is an honest review from my perspective.

The Apple Experience

I decided to test this keyboard out in one of my local Apple stores because there was enough doubt in my mind that I wouldn’t like it. So I thought that I would go to a store to see and test the keyboard to see if I would be fast enough with it and if it would suit my purposes — my purposes being writing these articles with something ultimately more portable than a laptop. I have heard many complain about not being able to touch type on the iPad’s on-screen keyboard and I have never had a problem with it. I’d just rather use a physical keyboard when I am typing out articles — I’m sure that’s an autistic trait in some form or another.

The front of house staff were pleasant enough with Apple taking the decision to “walk the walk” with regards to how its computers can be used in a sales environment (there were iPads telling you what every product was, how much they were, and even giving you the option to call over a specialist without the need to walk over and ask). The store staff do not crowd you and force you to make a decision. I believe that the Apple retail mantra is that you do not need to sell an Apple product but that it will sell itself. I could be wrong in that aspect, but I believe that is the mantra.

The Keyboard

I was — and still am — surprised by just how small and compact the keyboard is, but it still manages to keep full-sized keys and is actually larger than the keys and key-spacing on my regular workhorse, a wired and cheap Logitech keyboard. The keys have nice tactile feedback as well as a quiet — but still audible — click. It really feels like a nice and stable platform to do typing on. Syncing the keyboard to my iPad 2 was as simple as you would expect from Apple and I have no complaints with that. The only two complaints I have with the keyboard are the opening of the battery compartment is a bit fiddly — but that could just be me being pedantic — and the on/off button is a little too easy to push by accident. I managed to push it by accident this morning, but thanks to the tactile feedback, I realised almost instantly.

I probably am being a little too pedantic with this review, but these little things will annoy me when I am using this device. It wouldn’t be fair if I said that this keyboard is good just because it comes from Apple. However, this keyboard feels nice and is certainly comfortable to type on even if you are — as I am currently — out and about yet still working. The main annoyance about this keyboard is the placement of the @ and ” keys. In the United Kingdom, they swap places from our American counterparts. The ” key should be on the 2 key and the @ key should be with the ‘ key. This keyboard is supposed to be the “British layout,” but it will take some getting used to since it’s more akin to the American layout. There are a few reviews on apple.com that say that the spacebar doesn’t work if you hit it anywhere bar dead centre. I can tell you that they are mistaken; the spacebar works no matter where you hit it!

There are also reviews which state that there is no delete key. This is not completely accurate. There is a delete key, but it is deleting backwards (it’s the backspace key) and to get that key to delete forwards (your typical DEL key), you will have to use the “shift delete” method. I can understand why there was an outcry from the Apple faithful about the lack of a typical delete key. However, If you have been taught how to touch type, then you’ll more than likely use the backspace key instead of the typical delete key as it is faster and more efficient! If you find the typical delete key more efficient, then this keyboard is not for you.

Pros:

  • It’s an Apple product
  • It’s got nice tactile and audible feedback
  • The battery lasts a long time (anywhere between a week and a month)
  • It’s small and thin
  • Connecting via Bluetooth is easy

Cons:

  • It’s an Apple product
  • It’s expensive at £57
  • The on/off button is too easily pressed by accident
  • The battery cover can be a little fiddly to get back on
  • In the UK the @ and ” keys are in the wrong place, and I did buy the “British version”

I do like this keyboard and think that I can certainly use it to type out many articles. However, there are a few niggles that could perhaps be fixed by Apple. The main annoyance is the @ and ” keys being in their American position. The rest of the keyboard and its layout are nice enough and certainly feel sturdy enough. The keyboard is also amazingly light! You do feel like if you don’t type hard enough the keyboard will just float away of its own accord! I’d give this keyboard four Chris Pirillo heads out of five. There are certainly some improvements that can be made to this keyboard, and I hope Apple will listen. What’s your favorite keyboard and why?

Article Written by

John “Scotsman” McKinlay is a 25-year-old autistic living in Glasgow, Scotland. He has been an online presence since 1998, but has only recently found that his voice and writing skills could bring him into the world of blogging and podcasting -- with a bit of YouTube on the side. He joined the ranks of LockerGnome back in March of 2012 and has been warmly received both by the LockerGnome staff and by you lovely ladies and gentlemen of the LockerGnome audience.

  • RaterKey

    I won’t call you either a fanboy or a hater John. I love how you put “It’s an Apple product” both as a pro and a con. That’s pretty much exactly how I feel about Apple products in general :)

    I am not as huge fan of their current love for chiclet keyboards, and sadly everyone seems to be going the same route. Back in the day chiclet keyboards belonged on calculators and cheaper computers like ZX Spectrums. But I do think your review is sound and fair, well done.

    • http://my.opera.com/geekgirlfri/blog/ Melinda P

      From the article, I got the impression the keys were full-size, not “chiclet”. Did I get the wrong impression, John? Or, Raterkey, were you just stating your dislike for the trend as a whole (about which I’m in complete agreement with you)?

      • http://twitter.com/#!/gpowerf G.Power

        It is a chiclet keyboard, take a look at the photo on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Apple-wireless-keyboard-aluminum-2007.jpg

        I think when John wrote “full sized” he meant that they are the same size as those on a full size standard keyboard. 

      • http://twitter.com/ThisDamnScots This Damn Scotsman

        The keys are full-size — infact BIGGER — than the keys I am currently using on my trusty logitech media keyboard 600. However, as mentioned above keyboards are such a personal and subjective thing and it certainly feels bigger and quite comfortable to me.

  • http://www.facebook.com/forbsie1888 Mark Forbes

    I used to love the bulky mac keyboard (it was wired) back when apple computers were big massive screens and the see-through coloured back-case.

    But since I got a windows pc (custom) I always choose gaming keyboards. I don’t know, they just have so many features that are useful.

    the keyboard I use are

  • http://www.facebook.com/psyion Jarmez De La Rocha

    Heh, i came to this review thinking it was a new keyboard as i have had mine for over a year but fair play i think you nailed it on the head. As for this fanboy nonsense… Apple is not for people who cannot afford it.. The people who throw those claims around have probably never owned a Mac and even if they have it was probably one of the lower end products… Personally i have never had a computer as reliable as my iMac…

    • RaterKey

      On the fanboy comments I don’t think anyone could justify it with price here. I don’t think the issue with the keyboard is the price, at £57/$69 it is fairly affordable.

      Sure you can buy a keyboard for a tenner, but they generally suck. The current Apple keyboards are priced about right given the materials and technology used. They are considerably cheaper than mechanical keyboards, but given the materials, feel, design, and in this case it being Bluetooh the price is certainly not high.

      Reviewing keyboards is TOUGH though. They are such a personal thing, and what’s good for someone might not be for someone else. To someone this might be the ultimate keyboard and allow them to type super fast… someone else might absolutely hate it and for them an IBM Model M might be the keyboard that allows them to do the exact same thing.

    • Stephen Hobson

      I spent just $1,000 on a custom machine and now have far better specifications than any iMac available today.

      • http://twitter.com/ThisDamnScots This Damn Scotsman

        not to sound mean or rude but … dude, who cares?  I’ve got a PC that’s £2,500 (around $3000)  which may be “better” than yours but remember “BETTER” IS RELATIVE! 

      • http://twitter.com/robotUNIXorn Stefan Keil

        Its people like you that no one can like, regardless of an arrogant Mac User that buys a Mac for 2000 Bucks or an ignorant Windows User that buys a Pc for 1000… GTFO and a Life too.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=698601890 Alex Bowers

    the # is annoying, especially with anyone who does CSS or Javascript code. my pet hate. Its alt + 3 instead.

  • Pingback: New Video! – Best Keyboard « Geeky Bits

  • Woachbarrette

    I always keep one of these keyboards on my person for use with my iPad, but have to say that as far as keyboards for my desktop, I must rather use a Model M or Extemded I. Mechanical keyboards just seem to improve my typing speed the most and fell the most comfortable.

  • Jesse Downing

    I love the keyboard but I hate the stupid slow caps lock key. Apple needs to make the key more sensitive.

  • http://twitter.com/djmoore711 D. J.

    I have found that I type faster on chiclet keys than full-travel keys, because my fingers have to move a lesser distance.

    The on/off key does not bother me, and I find it nice that it’s built in such a way to make functionality out of design.  That’s always been Apple’s way, though. 

    Just on a personal note, I do not agree with this review, as I own an Apple Bluetooth Keyboard and love to use it with my iPad 2. 

    • http://twitter.com/ThisDamnScots This Damn Scotsman

      So I say that I don’t like this keyboard and I don’t like using it with my iPad 2?  I thought 4 out of 5 was a good rating?  Correct me if I’m wrong but I said that I could certainly type out many articles with it and since I’m using the keyboard coupled with my iPad that should lead you to the conclusion that I like the keyboard and it’s function with the iPad 2.  

  • Keco185

    I completely agree with you. However I fortunately dont experience the same cons. While the battery cover is difficult to get on it only takes a minute of your time and I get months of use out of it. Also I use the American version so the key layout is perfect. Lastly I never ran into the problem of accidently hitting the off button. It seems discret enough and hard to hit by accident. Still I would have to agree that the price is high, but I suppose that is what you need to pay for an aluminum keyboard that is so thin.

    To stop fanboy rant: I am not a fanboy, I have windows and like the android OS as well. I just happen to also have a Mac.

  • http://twitter.com/fixgadget GadgetFix

    Nice review John, the keyboard is pretty decent.

    As for affordability every small form factor Bluetooth keyboard retails
    for approximately $40~100. It’s not bad for the price. I always wonder why people always defend
    Apple and go back to the topic of fanboy or affordability. From my
    perspective some people just don’t get the whole concept of Apple and feel that
    Apple devices are overpriced when compared to other brands/solutions. I think it’s also nice to have certain accessories that compliment the original device both by function and aesthetics.

  • RaterKey

    One small final comment, one affordable keyboard I have a soft spot for is the Cherry Stream XT (about £20).

    Much like the Apple keyboard reviewed it largely behaves like good laptop keyboard. It is slim (not quite as much as the Apple keyboard), very weighty, and the keys have a laptop feel to them. They have a short travel action and are proper full sized keys, in general it feels exactly how you would expect the keyboard on a good laptop to feel. And it is also spill proof, like a ThinkPad. 

    Talking of ThinkPads, the Stream XT does have that kind of ThinkPad full sized key feel, with a similar amount of travel. A little while ago I was on the hunt for a good mechanical keyboard until I came across the the Stream XT. It has a very different feel to something like an IBM Model M (which I also love), but because I will eventually end up working in an open plan office again I decided to try and get used to something quieter. And as I was already used to the short travel feel of my current laptop workhorse it made perfect sense.

  • http://twitter.com/ThisDamnScots This Damn Scotsman

    It’s not the accidentally hitting the button to turn the keyboard off … it’s accidentally turning the keyboard on whilst it’s in a bag or something like that.  I’ve also found out that the keyboard is correct layout in the UK if you have a Mac.  I’m used the to windows layout of ” where the 2 key is and @ where the ‘ key is … so that causes a couple seconds lag time, at the moment.

  • http://www.MagicTrax.net Magic Trax

    Good review. I had been using the wired Apple keyboard(Leopard version) since it came out, but a few months back I went and got the wireless version. The wireless version is my favorite keyboard out of what I’ve used, but it was a bit hard to get over how small it is compared to the wired version. Another thing, I still don’t care for it only having one control key and for the first few days I kept hitting the fn key because of the changed layout. 

  • Guest

    Surely you can change the positioning of the @ and ” in settings on your iPad?

  • http://twitter.com/ronknights Ron Knights

    I have the same wireless keyboard and Apple Magic Trackpad. I love them both.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Flower-Sun/100003766356549 Flower Sun

    Although the wireless keyboard has recently been experiencing a design shift toward a compact or "mini" wireless model to accommodate integration with tablets and smartphones, for this review we chose to focus on full-size wireless keyboards that offer desktop and laptop users the standardized layout they are accustomed to with some attractive extras added on. When you’re looking for a keyboard that fits your personal style and your technical needs, check for the following key features and design elements.

  • Ken Feng

    If you are a developer, the Japanese version of the Apple Wireless Keyboard is fantastic – in place of the useless caps-lock key on the left-hand side is a control key (without having to remap).  Control keys are commonly used in editors like vim and emacs.

  • Steve

    Chris, I had to laugh out loud (and loudly might I add) at your “write your own drivers, you Linux people!!” comment. I’ve been a nerd since the beginning (long before it was considered the coolest thing ever), and that comment had me almost spill my coffee I got to laughing so hard. Because it’s sooo true! Lol. (I know this is an old article, but I have two of the modern wireless Apple keyboards as well as their trackpads (they’re divine on my iMac and Macbook Pro), hence the reason for reading this particular article. Keep up the good work, Chris!