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View Full Version : Is there an alternative to the Mac keyboard?




tkhiem
Jun 18, 2011, 03:08 AM
Hi,

I love everything about Mac, but not their mice and keyboards :-s. Can anyone please recommend me an alternative to the Mac keyboard? I was looking at the Logitech range, but most of them (include the ones I like) were not indicated (under the specification section) for Mac OS.

The main problem are the "Command, Fn" keys and the Volume Up/Down & Brightness up/down keys that are specific to Mac system. These keys do not seem to be on any of the Logitech range. I've heard people using them just fine, and some of them even said the Windows-specific keys on the keyboard can be programmable. I'm not sure about this info though.

This one, for eg, is the one that I quite like:
http://www.logitech.com/en-au/keyboards/keyboard/devices/5902

and this one:
http://www.logitech.com/en-us/keyboards/keyboard/devices/5994

Thanks, everyone :)



Makosuke
Jun 18, 2011, 04:52 AM
First of all, any USB keyboard should work fine on a Mac for all the standard 104 keys. The only annoyance is that the locations of the Windows key and Alt key is swapped versus the Command and Option keys on a Mac-specific keyboard (the MacOS automatically maps Windows to Command). It works fine, but if you're used to Command being beside the space bar (which is a FAR more logical location for the most-used modifier key than where Control is, I might add) it can be annoying. There is software that will swap the functions to compensate, though, so that's a trivial issue.

Keyboards that have fancy special features, like the Logitech G110 Gaming Keyboard you linked with its configurable G-keys, built-in audio, and color LEDs, will only be able to use those features on a Mac if there is a driver and it supports them.

That said, it says right on the Specs page of the G110 that it offers Mac support, so yes, it will work fine, including most if not all of the fancy extra features.

The other keyboard you linked doesn't mention Mac support, which means that, while it will still work fine as a basic keyboard, you may or may not be able to configure the extra keys--apparently Logitech's driver (which was notoriously flaky on the Mac, but has improved a lot in recent years) doesn't support it.

If you really want to use an unsupported keyboard with extra features and make use of them all, you might check out USB Overdrive; it's a third party driver ($20) that claims to support pretty much any mouse or keyboard, including full configurability of just about anything. I've never used it myself, but many people swear by it.

As for Expose and volume and such, you can configure what key (or combination thereof) does those things via the Keyboard pref pane. The Fn key on Apple keyboards lets you access the F-keys and the extra features more easily, but it's easy enough to have the F-keys do the extra controls if you don't use them for anything else (which almost nobody does). You can also, presumably, configure some of the extra keys on, say, the G110 to do the same functions--volume, Expose, etc.

tkhiem
Jun 18, 2011, 06:42 AM
Hi Makosuke,

I think you answered one of my questions here before right :)? If i'm correct, it was the question about Torrent downloading & my modem :D

Thanks for your throughout answer.

will only be able to use those features on a Mac if there is a driver and it supports them

Do you know that the driver comes with the G110 supports this? This is what I was talking about, I need the driver to configurate some of the keys to my preference, but not sure if the G110 can do this. Have you used it?

As for Expose and volume and such, you can configure what key (or combination thereof) does those things via the Keyboard pref pane.

This Pref. Panel you were talking about, is it in the Mac System Preferences? or in an application (which was USB Overide that you mentioned)?

Thanks for your help :)

Makosuke
Jun 18, 2011, 07:56 PM
Do you know that the driver comes with the G110 supports this? This is what I was talking about, I need the driver to configurate some of the keys to my preference, but not sure if the G110 can do this. Have you used it? I personally like Apple's wired keyboard, so that's what I use, but several of my co-workers use 3rd party keyboards, and I haven't heard any complaints.

As for the G110, since it's explicitly listed as being Mac compatible, while many of their keyboards aren't, I would take that to mean that all the function keys can be configured through Logitech's driver. You could always call or email Logitech if you were really concerned. Or, alternately, buy it from somewhere with a good return policy and just send it back if it doesn't work the way you expect.

Plus, as I said, there's always USB Overdrive, which would probably pick up the slack of Logitech's driver turns out to be substandard.

This Pref. Panel you were talking about, is it in the Mac System Preferences?System Preferences -> Keyboard pref pane -> Keyboard Shortcuts tab.

There are a bunch of presets, and you can also add a key binding for ANY application on your Mac to execute ANY command in the application's menu. It's a remarkably powerful system.


Oh, and one other thing I didn't mention before: "Mac" is the type of computer you're using. The company that makes it, and the keyboard, is Apple. So your question should really have been "I love everything about Apple, but not their mice and keyboards." There are actually a number of companies that make fully "Mac" keyboards (that is, they have a Command key instead of a Windows key), but your question pertained to Apple's keyboards. Logitech, in fact, made Mac-specific keyboards until last year.