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Early Magic Keyboard Review & Comparison



The new Apple Magic Keyboard replaces the traditional Apple wireless keyboard with an experience that feels more like typing on the MacBook Air or MacBook Pro, so there is less adjustment to make when you switch from mobile to desktop work on your Mac.

There is no mistaking the Magic Keyboard. When you place it next to the Apple Wireless Keyboard millions of Mac owners are currently using you will see that it is not as tall, the keys are wider and there is a Lightning port.

Apple changes the design to match the new Apple Magic TrackPad 2, which sit’s perfectly next to the keyboard if you upgrade to both.

This is the new Apple Magic Keyboard.

This is the new Apple Magic Keyboard.

After using the Apple Wireless keyboard for years, and switching to the WASD CODE keyboard for a while I always ended up back on the Apple keyboard so that the experience was similar to what I enjoyed on the MacBook Pro or MacBook Air. The old keyboard was close, but there were still times I wanted to cut the screen off an old MacBook Air and use it as my desktop keyboard.

With the new Magic Keyboard I am as close as I can get to the same keyboard experience across all of my Apple devices. When you type 4,000 to 6,000 words a day, the continuity of key placement and feel is important.

When I upgrade to the Magic TrackPad 2, it will match the overall size and look.

When I upgrade to the Magic TrackPad 2, it will match the overall size and look.

The new Magic Keyboard slopes less dramatically than the Wireless Keyboard. This makes it feel more like typing on a MacBook Air. The keys travel less than on the old wireless keyboard, but more than on the MacBook that uses the same scissor switch under the key. There is a definite distinction between how far a key moves when pressed on the Magic Keyboard compared to the old Apple Wireless keyboard. After using the MacBook for a few months, this is not a tough adjustment, but it is a change that many others will need to ease into.

Apple increases the size of the keys so it is easier to hit the right target during fast typing. I don’t find any need to adjust my typing style much after a day of use, but there is one issue with the new layout.

The up and down arrow keys are now smaller, taking up the same vertical height as the spacebar. This mirrors the layout on the MacBook, and it makes using the keys to navigate on-screen troublesome. Hopefully this will be a fast adjustment, and it leaves me wondering if we will see something similar on the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air refreshes in 2016.

The new internal batteries should last a month according to Apple and the keyboard charges with a Lightning cable like your iPhone and iPad. This same cable instantly pairs the keyboard to a Mac. A full charge takes two hours and a few minutes can get you through a day until you can fully charge at night. Best of all, there is no hunting for AA batteries when the keyboard dies in the middle of an important task.

Magic Keyboard vs Apple Wireless Keyboard

The gallery below shows how the Magic Keyboard and the Apple Wireless Keyboard compare.

At $99 the Magic Keyboard is a tough sell for some users, especially with the Logitech Easy-Switch K811 offering backlit keys and the ability to pair with multiple devices for the same price.

Even without backlit keys, the Magic Keyboard 2 is a worthy upgrade for users like me who want a nearly identical typing experience across their Apple notebooks and at a desktop.

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