Top positive review
The Perfectly Light & Easy to Touch Type Apple Keyboard - Until It Breaks!
13 July 2016
As a product reviewer online and the occasional Bzzz agent writer, I need a computer keyboard that is reliable and easy to use. Since discovering Apple products more than ten years ago, the Apple wired keyboard with numerical keypad has been a life saver in terms of being able to more or less touch type with only a few glances at the keyboard to ensure what I am doing. Unlike so many other cheaper alternatives on the market, I have yet to find a keyboard that is so easy to type on and comfortable with the way the Chicklet keys move. The keyboard isn't all that noisy in use either even though there are times when the quality of plastics can leave something to be desired. At the moment I am on my THIRD wired Apple keyboard with numerical keypad and using two replacement keys when my original "Q" broke as well as a number in the numerical pad. This verified purchase will be my FOURTH keyboard!!
I would suggest that if like me, you have gone through several of these keyboards to keep the dud ones for key replacements. Otherwise, you may fork out a bit more just for a single malfunctioning key.
Decked out in white plastic keys with a beautiful anodized aluminium background, you get a beautifully thin rectangular panel with white 2mm "low profile" QWERTY keys and a numerical keypad sited to the right hand side. All the while with a classy brushed aluminium panel behind like an artistic backdrop that inspires durability and style, white square or rectangular "chicklet," press keys abound that are visually clear to see and well detailed.
All the keys have grey decals written on them and the keyboard measures nearly 44cm in length by 11cm width with the 0.5cm drop on the raised base for the USB expansion slots and main rest automatically incorporated into the design. On the underside, the keyboard is completely glossy white with a raised and permanent partition at the top to aid the keyboard at an angle for users. The whole keyboard weighs nigh of 760grams, so it isn't as light as other PC keyboards I've owned but it is lighter than Apple's previous thicker key wired keyboards for older Mac systems.
Function keys that I would normally find on my 2008 Macbook and 2011 Macbook Air are similarly accessed and laid out on the Apple wired keyboard and I find the whole design extremely comfortable to use whilst the whole item sits on a level surface without moving - an aspect that I wish my previous gaming keyboard could do, regardless of its optional push-in flush angle points on the base.
Although I didn't take much notice of the equally pleasing packing box that the keyboard is sold in, it does come with a helpful user manual (should you really require it,) a very helpful optional long metre extension USB cable and the keyboard itself.
What I didn't realise was that this keyboard's base has a pair of USB slots with single 2.0 USB slots on either side of the keyboard too, making the use of my corded mouse all the better for it, rather than stretching the wire over to the main USB point on my Macbook and they're hidden underneath out of the way. If you are the owner of a Macbook you'll know the restrictive nature of only having one or two USB ports on the computer itself, so it's a bit of a boon having USB slots on the keyboard for extra versatility and optional peripherals.
The USB wire from the keyboard to the Macbook measures 85 cm which is more length than I need, anyway. A bonus to the product where compatibility is concerned is that the Apple wired keyboard can be used with PC computers too, providing that they use XP and servers upwards with no PS2 points. Latterly though without a Mac, you'll miss out on the one-touch function keys that are made solely for Mac computers.
When it comes to using the USB slots, I find that some peripherals won't work regardless of Apple's insistence of making the slots with a 2.0 grading. In reality I find that the twin USB ports are 1.1 rather than 2.0 This would explain the following:
My external Firelight hard drive for example will not work on the USB slots in the keyboard. However, I do find my wired mouse or printer can be used and in addition, my compact Samsung Galaxy Smartphone and Apple iPod 5G can easily be connected through the other USB slot rather than continually using my Belkin 4 USB slot bank. For excess wire worries and computer owners who hate wires clumping up, the Apple's on board USB slots are a godsend! it is pity though that each single USB slot is not 2.0 but they can deliver high speeds dependent on the device you add such as memory sticks or even an iPod where uploading seems pretty quick.
For owners who have the Macbook Pro or Macbook Air however, you may well miss the un-lit keys and it is an aspect since I bought my Macbook Air'11 that I wish Apple would rectify. There's certainly enough power from the keyboard to the computer for lit keys to be added. That said, the grey on white seems to be bright enough to my eyes, whether I am typing during the day time or evening. The white keys never cause dazzle but I think it would be great to see lit keys, regardless.
In long term use there are three aspects that pull this keyboard down on quality.
1) The wired USB cord from the keyboard to the computer is known to malfunction over time. This can happen if the cord is never moved or if it has a kink in it that cuts the signal off to the computer. The cord isn’t really repairable once it splits inside the rubberised wire.
2) The slightly grainy plastic finish on the keys soon wears off, more so with acidic fingers over a period of time. This makes a previously grippy keyboard slippery.
3) Some actual keys are inclined to break down and there are issues online in other forums highlighting this characteristic with this keyboard in general.
Where cleaning is concerned, a dry lint cloth seems to work well on my keyboards but for more stubborn dirt a little neat Cif cream cleanser brings the keys up to a great standard, or nail varnish remover. The decals don't seem to rub off with either and neither does the micro-speckled texture of the keys. I sometimes vacuum the keys (naturally!) but I would rather go over them with a damp cloth and then pat dry.
Despite the problems, I like Apple's wired keyboard & numerical key pad but I just wish Apple could pay attention to its build quality long term.
Whilst there are other brands who cater for both Mac and PC together where QWERTY keyboards are concerned, I find a few seem to lack the all important function keys that make this keyboard and an Apple Mac computer used in tandem, worthwhile. Thanks for reading. (c)NR2 2016.