Hey friends, Andrew here – hope you’re well!
Apple’s peripherals, in my opinion, are hit-or-miss.
If you ask me, the Magic Mouse is subjectively terrible. The trackpad is quite good, and the Magic Keyboard, well, I’m still using it after a year, despite the fact that there are better keyboards available.
Apple first released the Magic Keyboard nearly a decade ago – time flies – so here’s my long-term review of the newer Apple Magic Keyboard with Touch ID and let’s see if these are still worth the premium price or if you should look at other great alternatives like the Keychron K3 or Logitech’s MX Keys.
Things I Dislike
Let’s start with the things I disliked about this keyboard over the last year and take a deep breath – because there’s a lot I don’t like about it.
For starters, there is no backlighting, which is a difficult pill to swallow for a premium keyboard that costs a full $200. I mean, even the most affordable keyboards have backlighting, such as Keychron’s K3, which I also like, or Logitech’s K845 for $60. Not to mention that the keyboard on the MacBook is backlit.
Incline adjustment is another common keyboard feature that is missing.
The keyboard is almost completely flat, which looks great on a desk but is quite uncomfortable for longer typing sessions.
There are also no macro programmable keys, which is important for those who want to save time and reduce repetitive keystrokes.
Then there’s the fact that this variant, with Touch ID, is only compatible with Apple devices and, more specifically, Apple Silicon, so your M1 and M2 chips, for example, can use Touch ID, which leaves a lot of people in the dark.
Then, maybe the most problematic of all is the asking price tag for a keyboard that lacks so many common features. For this one, complete with the numpad, touch ID and black keys – it’ll cost you $199 US dollars. $179 for the white keys and all the way down to a more palatable $99 for the Tenkeyless Magic Keyboard without Touch ID, which is basically the keyboard without the numpad.
One other thing that irks me and I’m not sure if it’s only me but as far as I know, I have to connect this keyboard via USB-C cable for first-time connections, not Bluetooth which can be a pain when you’re already out without a USB-C cable.
This keyboard has a pretty high asking price considering the lacking features, But after using it for a year now, there’s also some things that I’ve come to love.
Things I Like
The keyboard is stunning; it is unquestionably one of the most aesthetically pleasing keyboards and one that the market has attempted to imitate in design.
It is slim, minimal, and light. Because of the neutral appearance of the keyboard, it looks great on any desk. It looks great on clean desk setups with few wires and colors, in my opinion.
Touch ID has been useful for quick access to the Mac and Apple Pay, but is it worth the extra premium? Yes, I believe so but don’t forget that if you have an Apple Watch, you can also use it to unlock your Mac.
Then there’s the battery life; Apple advertises a month of usage per charge on their website, and it’s accurate!
I use this keyboard almost every day for work, and a single charge lasts more than a month. And that’s without an auto sleep function, not to mention no backlighting.
I also believe the amazing battery life is due to the fact that membrane keyboards, such as the Magic Keyboard, don’t require as many inputs and outputs as mechanical keyboards, so there’s less polling, which means less energy is used.
It’s really impressive to only charge a device about 10 times a year and get daily use out of it.
And, most importantly, there is the fantastic typing experience. If you’ve ever used this keyboard or typed on a MacBook with scissor switches, you’ll know how much fun they are to use.
The key travel, feel, and precision of the keys are probably the main reasons I keep using this keyboard.
They’re well-spaced, stable, and provide really enjoyable tactile feedback that’s neither too quiet nor too loud.
The scissor switches in this keyboard have a decent amount of travel for such a slim keyboard, more than the notorious butterfly keyboards because there is more space when the scissor mechanism compresses.
However, if you’re used to, say, a mechanical keyboard with really clicky blue Gateron switches, you’ll find this keyboard very mushy to type on.
But, overall, it’s a super accurate and low-effort, comfortable keyboard, with an actuation force of 36.3b grams force or gf. I only have one girlfriend.
Oh, and it also makes an excellent iPad keyboard if it is running at least iPadOS 10.
So, 1 full year later with this keyboard: has it been worth it?
It’s a difficult question because, on the one hand, I adore this keyboard for obvious reasons, but it has numerous flaws.
The positive aspects of this keyboard’s design, typing experience, and even battery life are not unique. There are keyboards that have all three, but the seamless integration into the Apple ecosystem is what makes this keyboard stand out.
I’ve been using it for a while and I still like it, but I wish it had more ergonomic adjustments, and backlighting, and was more reasonably priced.
Overall, the Apple Magic Keyboard is still the best choice for a Mac-specific keyboard for Apple devices.
If you don’t like Touch ID or the Magic Keyboard aesthetic, there are plenty of less expensive and just as good keyboards out there, such as Keychron’s K3 or Logitech’s MX Keys, which I’ve heard a lot about and need to try out soon.