Magic Keyboard first impressions/review (and a surprise!)

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by WilliamG, Oct 13, 2015.

  1. WilliamG, Oct 13, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2015

    WilliamG macrumors 604

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    #1
    Just got back from the Apple Store with my new Magic Keyboard. Bear in mind, I've been using the wireless aluminum keyboard for many, many years now, without the keypad of course, so this is just to give you a baseline of what I'm used to.

    The packaging is pure Apple. There's a Lightning cable in the box, along with a small manual, and the keyboard itself is wrapped in plastic similarly to the "old" aluminum keyboard

    Pairing with your computer is easy. I'm using a 2014 5K iMac running 10.11, and pairing was as simple as plugging in the keyboard with the Lightning cable, and my Mac told me my Magic Keyboard was ready for use.

    The battery came 98% charged, and it got to 100% in just a few minutes.

    Now, the interesting part/surprise: I noticed my Bluetooth-connected symbol wasn't on when I had the cable connected, and yep - suspicions confirmed. This is a 100% WIRED keyboard when the Lightning cable is connected to the computer. I was able to turn Bluetooth off on my iMac, and the keyboard kept working. Very nice!

    When you disconnect the cable, there's a momentary pause while it switches to wireless mode.

    Typing:

    Now, this is the thing that's most important, and I have to tell you - I love it. I love it so much more than my old aluminum keyboard. I type faster, more accurately, and the key feel is great. The new scissor mechanism really does make a substantial difference, even more noticeably on larger keys like the space bar, tab key etc. Just a very consistent press no matter where you press. Yes, it's a shallower press than the aluminum keyboard, but it's so much better - for me - than that keyboard. I find it's increased my words per minute instantly. It makes me want a new MacBook even more, now...

    Feel:

    The Magic keyboard is flatter than the aluminum keyboard, and that's definitely taking a little getting used to, but apparently it's better for my wrists this way, so I'll believe Apple. I do like that the keyboard no longer slides around a little on my glass table, since it's flat, and has four rubber pieces to keep it in place, as opposed to the aluminum keyboard where its friction is gained mostly along the top edge where the batteries go in, despite the rubber bits on the bottom.

    Overall, I'm in love so far. This really does feel like the ultimate Mac keyboard. Key feel is VERY consistent, and it's just a complete joy to type on so far. It's night and day better than - say, the Logitech K810/K811 in terms of key feel and build quality.

    A couple of negatives:

    1.) It's expensive. Cause... Apple.

    2.) No backlit keys. This would have been nice, but... what can you do, right?

    3.) Integrated battery. I know some have said that when the battery dies - the keyboard is done. And yes, that's true. But, if it gets 1 month per charge, and it's good for... say... 100 full charges (which I'm guessing is VERY much on the low side) - that's still 8.3 years, - longer than any keyboard I've ever kept. And of course, you can still use it wired if the battery dies. But bottom line is that the battery is not even remotely a concern of mine.

    4.) For the OCD among you, the up and down arrow keys aren't perfectly aligned together, something I noticed in pictures from other reviews (it's pretty subtle). It won't bother many, but it's something I at least noticed.

    One last thought:

    I typed up these first impressions on the new keyboard, and I just put back the old one. Bear in mind, this is fewer than 20 minutes of use.. The old wireless aluminum keyboard feels clunky, outdated, the keys feel horrible - just yuck.

    Yep, I'm sold on the new one. That didn't take long....
     
  2. Fuchal macrumors 68020

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    #2
    At least as you say, you can use it wired when the battery capacity has diminished years from now. That is, if OS X still supports it. :)
     
  3. loekf macrumors 6502

    loekf

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    Mar 23, 2015
    Location:
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    #3
    Great to hear. Arstechnica wasn't that enthousiastic about the feel of the keyboard, they compared it to the latest Macbooks, so less travel.

    Mine is still in prepare-to-send.
     
  4. GadgetBen macrumors 6502a

    GadgetBen

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    Jul 8, 2015
    Location:
    London
    #4
    Mine just arrived and whilst the keys are more responsive to finger taps, I'm really not impressed with the lack of other features.

    I too was hoping for more of the tech that is included in the Macbook keypad design and like the OP, a backlight keyboard.

    Disappointing, but hey, for £79.00 I have a smoother writing experience!

    On the plus side it definitely does allow you to type faster with less mistokes
     
  5. the8thark macrumors 68040

    the8thark

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    Apr 18, 2011
    #5
    The big question though is can Bluetooth 2.1 Macs (that can run OS X 10.11) still use the keyboard wired wia the lightning cable? Or is this only for the Macs that actually have bluetooth 4.0 but just have their bluetooth 4.0 turned off?

    That's if you have not bought Apple's Magic Keyboard 2 or 3 by then.
     
  6. mattopotamus macrumors G4

    mattopotamus

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    #6
    Have you use the new rMB? Would you say it is the exact same or just similar?
     
  7. jaybar macrumors 6502

    jaybar

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    Dec 11, 2008
    #7
    When using the new keyboard, do you leave it on all the time, or turn it off between use?
     
  8. cambookpro macrumors 603

    cambookpro

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    United Kingdom
    #8
    The keyboard doesn't require BT 4.0, just the new trackpad.

    In any case, I'm pretty sure somebody said the trackpad worked with pre-BT 4.0 Macs when plugged in with a Lightning cable.
     
  9. WilliamG thread starter macrumors 604

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    Seattle
    #9
    It's similar, but certainly a little more travel with the Magic keyboard. I've been using it constantly and still like it an awful lot. I can't go back.
     
  10. oneMadRssn macrumors 68040

    oneMadRssn

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    #10
    Any chance you also bought the new Magic Trackpad 2? ... electric boogaloo
     
  11. No-Me macrumors 6502a

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    Rotterdam
    #11
    Don't get your hopes up, the MacBook uses a butterfly mechanism and after a while that starts too fail the keys get stuck when you type too fast or they don't register at all unless you type in dead center of the keys. My MacBook was replaced 6 times because of keyboard faults and the last 3 months the topcase has been replaced 2 times because the keyboard got issues after a while. The genius bar here in the Hague is getting crazy from all the keyboard issues with the MacBook. I really hope they are going to put the new scissor mechanism they've put in the new keyboard in the next version of the MacBook as that feels like a big improvement.
     
  12. oneMadRssn macrumors 68040

    oneMadRssn

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    #12
    Sounds about right for a first-generation, first-revision product from Apple. They come up with an innovative and useful design, but don't anticipate the issues prolonged real-world use will bring. This happens every time they come out with a new design, and they usually get perfect by the third-revision.
     
  13. WilliamG, Oct 14, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2015

    WilliamG thread starter macrumors 604

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    #13
    What makes you think the Magic keyboard is a big improvement over the MacBook keyboard?
     
  14. No-Me macrumors 6502a

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    #14
    Because it doesn't use the butterfly mechanism, but an improved scissor mechanism. :)
     
  15. WilliamG thread starter macrumors 604

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    #15
    Ah haha I've just been confusing myself. I wrote improved scissor in the review and then second-guessed myself. Hah! Then yes, this makes sense. I do wonder if Apple is having trouble getting the travel distance down for this improved scissor mechanism? That might be why it's butterfly in the MacBook and more flexibility with a standalone keyboard.
     
  16. No-Me macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    Yeah that could be the reason, I really hope they move away from the butterfly keys because it feels nice, but when you type a lot if only gives you issues. If they don't improve it and put it in next generation MacBook Pro and Air a lot of people are going to hate them for it. I'll get my magic keyboard tomorrow so I'm going to do a good comparison.

    I'm also quite curious why they choose for another new technique for the iPad Pro keyboard, there they have a newly designed "dome mechanism".
     
  17. mattopotamus macrumors G4

    mattopotamus

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    Jun 12, 2012
    #17
    Seems like they have been a huge hit or miss. My first macbook I had replaced b.c of stuck keys. The replacement I have been using since launch 8 hours a day with not problems.
     
  18. No-Me macrumors 6502a

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  19. megalaser macrumors 6502

    megalaser

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    #19
    anyone figure out how to know when it's fully charged and needs recharging? I can't find a battery level indicator anywhere in system prefs . . . . .
     
  20. GadgetBen macrumors 6502a

    GadgetBen

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    #20
    I prefer the magic keyboard over the older version. The key press appears more delicate and less 'heavy tapping' is required meaning the fingers can bounce off the keys more quickly.

    Thats all that is needed really, its a better keyboard. Simple.

    Where Apple have let themselves down is by not adding a backlight as standard, now the keyboard can take a USB charge, this wouldn't be a worry for battery life.

    Not important but a potential other feature could have been: Haptic feedback for alerts.
     
  21. GadgetBen macrumors 6502a

    GadgetBen

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    #21
    Bluetooth icon top right
     
  22. WilliamG, Oct 14, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2015

    WilliamG thread starter macrumors 604

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    #22
    Bluetooth icon in the menu bar, click it, and pick your keyboard. If you don't have a Bluetooth icon, you can go to System Preferences -> Bluetooth, and put the check in the "Show Bluetooth in menu bar" option. In that same place, you can see a battery icon.

    Also, you can go to System Preferences -> Keyboard, and it tells you the battery percentage number at the bottom left of that window.

    Assuming this keyboard behaves like the older wireless aluminum keyboard, OS X will prompt you when the battery is low, to replace batteries (or in this case - charge it!). Probably won't know for about a month, hah!
     
  23. megalaser macrumors 6502

    megalaser

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    #23
    The volume up and down keys on mine are not controlling volume, they are hiding/showing windows . . . anyone else have this issue?
     
  24. WilliamG thread starter macrumors 604

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    #24
    That's what happens if you're not using OS X 10.11. I plugged it into my Mac mini running 10.10, and that's what happens there, too. You also don't get % battery etc. Clearly the software is not designed for any OS prior to 10.11 because... Apple.
     
  25. megalaser macrumors 6502

    megalaser

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    Nov 17, 2009
    #25
    Yes that goes to the keyboard and bluetooth setup but no battery level indicator :(
     

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