It’s no secret that Apple products are iconic in one way or another and the keyboard they bundle with their iMacs is no exception. The incredibly slim Apple Wireless Keyboard is constructed of aluminum and features chiclet keys, as opposed to the chunkier keys found on Apple’s previous generation of keyboards. Our friends at Mobile Fun were kind enough to send a unit so we took the Wireless Keyboard for a spin on a Mac, a PC, and even an iPhone. Just how good it Apple’s cordless keyboard?
- Genuine Apple wireless keyboard
- Intelligent power-management system
- Compatible with iOS 4 (and 5!)
The Apple Wireless Keyboard comes in your standard plain Apple packaging. Inside, you’ll find the keyboard and a small stack of manuals. The minimal packaging is the very same we’d expect from any Apple accessories and is quite efficient in practice.
Design and Build Quality
The Apple Wireless Keyboard is quite amazingly designed. Crafted from a single piece of aluminum, the Wireless Keyboard is incredibly lightweight yet durable. The profile of the keyboard measures less than half a centimeter with the exception of a cylinder that spans the length of the keyboard. This tube tilts the Wireless Keyboard to a more ergonomic angle but the main function of this protrusion is to house the two AA batteries required to power the Wireless Keyboard. On the right end of the tube is a power button while the right side features a screw on cap to access the batteries. Only the bottom of the keyboard is covered with glossy white plastic white rubber feet in each corner prevent the keyboard from sliding around on your desk. A tiny green LED indicator light is concealed under the aluminum in the top right corner.
The keyboard is actually pretty compact so there won’t be any issues if you decide to tote it around. The Apple Wireless Keyboard does connect to your device via Bluetooth so you won’t have to deal with any annoying dongles or receivers.
Although the Wireless Keyboard is in fact a smaller keyboard, the chiclet keys are actually quite comfortable to type on. The keys aren’t any smaller than those on the Apple Wired Keyboard or MacBook Pro keyboards and they offer the same great tactile feedback that we would describe as “crisp.” The surface of each key is completely flat and has a slight grainy texture. We found that the slightly concave keys of Logitech’s keyboards were slightly more ergonomic but this didn’t bother us too much. We’re sure the white keys won’t stay white for long under constant use but we couldn’t imagine an aluminum Apple keyboard in any other way.
Now we are reviewing the Apple Wireless Keyboard with the UK layout so there are bound to be some slight variations from the US deviant. For starters, the enter key is shaped in an annoying upside down L shape. As opposed to the standard rectangular enter key, this one is much narrower and makes it harder to hit the key. We were able to accustom ourselves to this difference quickly but definitely still preferred the larger, wider key.
There are also some minor differences with the alternate text printed on the 2 and 3 keys. We can’t say we we’re big fans of the tiny arrow keys in the corner of the keyboard but this was obviously a compromise that had to be made for the compact form factor.
Given the portability of the Apple Wireless Keyboard, it’s a no brainer that one would be inclined to use it with the iPhone or iPad. Does it work? We connected the Bluetooth keyboard to give it a spin in Pages on our iPhone 4 and the results were pretty pleasing. Volume controls (up, down, mute), brightness toggles, and track selection (forward, back, play/pause). The arrow keys were useful for moving through and highlighting text but didn’t allow us to scroll on webpages. The eject key brought up the virtual keyboard and the volume up key doubled as a remote shutter key for the camera app, just as it does with the iPhone’s buttons. Text could be entered in instant messaging apps via the keyboard but the enter key wouldn’t send the message.
If you plan on getting the Wireless Keyboard for your iOS device, your experience can be a mixed bag. Text input works flawlessly and many useful toggles are easily accessible. If you need to get some serious typing work done on the go, the Wireless Keyboard fits the bill. However, not everything is perfectly compatible with the external keyboard so don’t be surprised when a certain function doesn’t respond as it would on a Mac.
The Apple Wireless Keyboard is one of the most well engineered keyboards we’ve ever laid our hands on. The amazingly sleek aluminum keyboard is not only sturdy, but also highly portable. The chiclet keys feel great despite the small footprint and slim profile. If you’re looking for a Mac keyboard, you can’t go wrong with Apple’s Wireless Keyboard. If you’re on a Bluetooth enabled PC, this keyboard is also a great option but the experience isn’t as smooth due to the obvious key labels. On iOS devices, we were pleased to be able to get some serious typing work done, although not every input is guaranteed to work. We’ve typed on a lot of keyboards but the Wireless Keyboard is perhaps the best compact Bluetotoh keyboard we’ve tried to date.
- stunning build quality
- highly portable
- good key feel
Where to buy
Mobile Fun — MSRP: £59.22
This review was done by Jason Tsay, who was provided the Apple Wireless Keyboard by Mobile Fun.