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Old Aug 6, 2011, 09:38 PM   #1
73CortinaV8
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MBP vs MBA keyboards

when I bought my MBP I compared the keyboards between the MBP and the 2010 MBA in store.

One of the reasons I chose the MBP was the keyboard felt more substantial. It was definitely noticeable.

I was a bit surprised to see Anand saying his his 2011 MBA review that the keyboards are pretty much identical (excepting function keys) and always have been.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/4528/t...3inch-review/6

Was I hallucinating? I definitely noticed a big difference in the quality of the keyboards.
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Old Aug 6, 2011, 09:42 PM   #2
christophermdia
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I've owned both a MBP and now a MBA....they are pretty much identical...I feel no tactile difference and can touch type just as easy between the 2......both are smooth...
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Old Aug 6, 2011, 09:55 PM   #3
reputationZed
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I have a 2011 13" MBA and a 2009 15" MBP, the keyboards feel identical.

If your going to start hallucinating keyboards aren't really all that interesting. I find that my best hallucinations involve a 9 foot tall talking penguin.
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Old Aug 6, 2011, 09:58 PM   #4
jclardy
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The key travel on my MBA 11" feels a bit softer and a bit shorter in terms of key travel compared to my MBP.

The keys are definitely thicker on the MBP (At least compared to the 11", I don't know about the 13")

But in overall feel they aren't much different, and I have gotten used to the subtle differences.
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Old Aug 6, 2011, 10:04 PM   #5
unagimiyagi
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I, for one, dislike loose-fitting keys. And clacky keys. And keyboard flex. I like a solid feeling. Short travel, long travel, hard pressure required, soft pressure required, chiclet keys, or full-size keys, do not matter to me.

The MBP I have used had loose-fitting, clacky keys. The MBA is a better keyboard to me, and I like it alot more. They are not identical. I mean, they are likely considered equivalent parts, but there are different manufacturers making the keyboards, and at least for the macbook airs, they are made better. I have no idea what some reviewers meant when the key travel is worse; it may be a tiny bit less deep, but it more than makes up for it by being rock solid.

The other keyboard that I would like better are the thinkpad keyboards.

Of course, IBM ahead and ruined what I had considered the only competition for the macbook air's ergonomics by trying to emulate the buttonless trackpad. Their implementation, ALONG WITH EVERY OTHER COMPANY, just doesn't work. Period. It's not nearly as smooth and it's not usable. The only people who think that it's usable are those who have never used a macbook pro/air touchpad before. Not being a hardware guy, I have no idea why other companies can not duplicate the responsiveness of the macbook pro's touchpad. The thinkpads have a great keyboard with no flaws, but a flawed touchpad. Overall the mba's keyboard/touchpad combo is still the best. There's really no point in even needing a mouse. Now that I think about it, the touchpad never seems to register my thumbs or palms hitting it and doesn't get thrown off. This has always been a problem with other laptops. Impressive, Apple.
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Old Aug 6, 2011, 10:16 PM   #6
lyrrad721
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The keyboards of the 2010 MBAs feel and look VERY different from the MBPs and 2011 MBAs. They appear to be almost flush with the aluminum, like skinnier. The 2011 MBA keyboard feels exactly the same as the MBPs, maybe because they have the backlit keyboard and you can clearly see the keys more elevated vs the 2010 MBAs. Also, the cushioning/response when you press them is night and day difference when comparing the 2010 vs 2011 MBAs. I can tell this because I was looking at this difference yesterday at Best Buy. The keyboard of the 2010 MBAs feels cheap, if that's the word
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Old Aug 6, 2011, 10:19 PM   #7
JKK photography
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I too felt a difference. It wasn't huge, but there was a difference. I, too, picked the Pro because of it. The Air didn't feel wrong, per se, but for some reason I just preferred the Pro. I'm sure it's a preference thing, though.
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Old Aug 6, 2011, 10:30 PM   #8
kpdillon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JKK photography View Post
I too felt a difference. It wasn't huge, but there was a difference. I, too, picked the Pro because of it. The Air didn't feel wrong, per se, but for some reason I just preferred the Pro. I'm sure it's a preference thing, though.
I am on my second MBA. The first one had the Toshiba SSD and I decided to exchange to for one with a Samsung SSD since they swapped out the floor models. I am thinking of bringing it back because it doesn't have as nice of tactile feedback as my first. I know that sounds like a bad reason to bring it back, but the keyboard is part of the whole experience.
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Old Aug 6, 2011, 10:48 PM   #9
christophermdia
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you guys are crazy....I typed my first post on a 2011 MBA and this post from a 2010 MBA....now I don't have my MBP anymore but between at least these 2 machines there is absolutely no difference whatsoever.....now I do have a wireless keyboard on a mac mini also, and I surely do feel a tactile difference with that but not between the 2010 and 2011 MBA...
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Old Aug 6, 2011, 10:50 PM   #10
73CortinaV8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kpdillon View Post
I am on my second MBA. The first one had the Toshiba SSD and I decided to exchange to for one with a Samsung SSD since they swapped out the floor models. I am thinking of bringing it back because it doesn't have as nice of tactile feedback as my first. I know that sounds like a bad reason to bring it back, but the keyboard is part of the whole experience.
not a bad reason at all. A keyboard is a major interface point - if you don't like it, get the one you like.
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Old Aug 6, 2011, 10:50 PM   #11
lyrrad721
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Compare both keyboards closely. You will definitely notice a difference. At least I did in Best Buy.
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Old Aug 6, 2011, 10:54 PM   #12
73CortinaV8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unagimiyagi View Post

The other keyboard that I would like better are the thinkpad keyboards.

Of course, IBM ahead and ruined what I had considered the only competition for the macbook air's ergonomics by trying to emulate the buttonless trackpad. Their implementation, ALONG WITH EVERY OTHER COMPANY, just doesn't work. Period. It's not nearly as smooth and it's not usable. The only people who think that it's usable are those who have never used a macbook pro/air touchpad before. Not being a hardware guy, I have no idea why other companies can not duplicate the responsiveness of the macbook pro's touchpad. The thinkpads have a great keyboard with no flaws, but a flawed touchpad. Overall the mba's keyboard/touchpad combo is still the best. There's really no point in even needing a mouse. Now that I think about it, the touchpad never seems to register my thumbs or palms hitting it and doesn't get thrown off. This has always been a problem with other laptops. Impressive, Apple.
I have an older Thinkpad too with an Alps keyboard. It's quite simply the best keyboard I've ever used. The newer lenovo keyboards are not as good. Yes, the trackpad is useless, but the nip-stick isn't bad. Not as nice as the big fat apple trackpad though.
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Old Aug 6, 2011, 10:55 PM   #13
robby818
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lyrrad721 View Post
Compare both keyboards closely. You will definitely notice a difference. At least I did in Best Buy.
I think the 2011 keys look a little more concave, but that might be my imagination.
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Old Aug 6, 2011, 11:31 PM   #14
mouthster
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The keys on my 2010 MBA definitely have less travel then the keys on my girlfriend's 2009 13inch MBP. However nothing beats the keyboard on my early-2008 pre-unibody MBP. Those silver keys are the best.
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Old Aug 7, 2011, 01:45 AM   #15
Dominus Mortem
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I have a 2011 and a 2010 Air along with a 17" 2009 pro. The key travel on both Airs is shorter than the Pro. I generally preferred the Pro keyboard until I got used to the Airs but now I Like both about equal. I can tell almost no difference between the 2011 and 2010 Air in the feel of typing on them. I notice it takes less effort overall to type on the Airs.
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