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Apple Magic Keyboard Keyboard Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Reviewed Jan 20, 2020 at 09:11 am
Apple Magic Keyboard Picture
6.4
Mixed usage
4.2
Gaming
8.0
Mobile/Tablet
7.9
Office
6.0
Programming
Connectivity Wireless
Size
Compact (60%)
Mechanical
No

The Apple Magic Keyboard is a good Bluetooth wireless keyboard for office use. Its scissor switches provide a quiet yet satisfying typing experience, but it lacks certain features such as backlighting, and the keyboard uses Apple's proprietary lightning connector to charge. It has a minimalist design that's great for those looking for a clean, wireless setup; however, it's only fully compatible with Apple products, as some keys aren't functional when used with Windows or Linux. This keyboard has a full-size variant that includes a numeric keypad, but the overall performance should remain the same.

Our Verdict

6.4 Mixed usage

The Magic Keyboard is mediocre for mixed usage. Though it performs well for general office use, the lack of programmable keys and software support makes it difficult to recommend for gaming or for programming. However, it's a good choice for those looking for a compact and stylish keyboard that won't take up a lot of space.

Pros
  • Clean design.
  • Sturdy build.
  • Comfortable typing experience.
Cons
  • No app support for customization.
  • No backlighting.
4.2 Gaming

The Magic Keyboard is bad for gaming. It doesn't have any programmable macro keys or backlighting, which is disappointing for those who like to game in a dark room. There's also no software support for customization or to save profiles for different games.

8.0 Mobile/Tablet

The Magic Keyboard is a great keyboard for use with mobile devices, but only with those running on iOS or iPadOS, as it doesn't work at all with Android devices. On the upside, the keyboard is very small and light, making it easy to travel with.

7.9 Office

The Magic Keyboard is good for office use. It provides a comfortable typing experience and makes very little noise, which is great for noise-sensitive offices. Unfortunately, its compatibility with other operating systems is quite limiting, but for those using an Apple computer, it's an okay choice.

6.0 Programming

The Magic Keyboard is disappointing for programming. Although the typing experience is good, it doesn't have any programmable keys. Additionally, it's only fully compatible with macOS, as functionality is limited when connected to devices running on Windows or Linux.

  • 6.4 Mixed usage
  • 4.2 Gaming
  • 8.0 Mobile/Tablet
  • 7.9 Office
  • 6.0 Programming

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Dimensions
Height
0.4" (1.1 cm)
Width 11.0" (27.9 cm)
Depth 4.5" (11.5 cm)
Weight 0.5 lbs (0.2 kg)

The Magic Keyboard has a very small footprint since it's a tenkeyless keyboard. However, there's a full-size variant with a numeric keypad available.

9.0
Design
Build Quality

The build quality is excellent. It has a rigid aluminum chassis and it's also very light. The keyboard doesn't exhibit any flex at all, and since the keys are very low profile, it leaves very little room for debris to accumulate, which helps to keep the keyboard clean.

7.0
Design
Ergonomics
Board Design
Straight
Incline Settings
0
Wrist Rest No

This keyboard has decent ergonomics. It doesn't have incline settings and doesn't come with a wrist rest, however, the low profile keys are very comfortable to type on.

0
Design
Backlighting
Backlighting No
Color No Backlighting
Brightness Settings
No
Individually Backlit Keys
No

The Magic Keyboard doesn't have backlighting, making it unsuitable for dark room settings. If you're looking for a mobile keyboard with backlighting, check out the Brydge 10.2 Keyboard for Apple iPad or the Brydge Pro.

Design
Cable
Detachable
Yes (Wired Mode and Charge)
Length 3.3 ft (1.0 m)
Connector (Keyboard side) Lightning

The keyboard charges via Apple's proprietary lightning connector and can be used wired as well.

7.5
Design
Wireless Versatility
Bluetooth
Yes
Proprietary Receiver
No
Multi-Device Pairing
No
Battery Type
Rechargeable

This keyboard has good wireless versatility, as it can be used wirelessly via Bluetooth with almost any device, with the exception of devices running on Android. It has a built-in rechargeable battery and Apple claims that it should last over a month between charges, though this isn't something that we test for. For a wireless keyboard that can connect to multiple devices simultaneously, check out the Logitech K780.

Design
Extra Features
Media Keys
Hot Keys
Macro Programmable Keys
No
Extra Controls
No
USB Passthrough
No
Numpad No
Windows Key Lock
No

Unfortunately, this keyboard has very few extra features. There are media control hotkeys, but it lacks features such as programmable keys or USB passthrough.

Design
In The Box

  • Apple Magic Keyboard
  • Lightning to USB cable
  • User Guide

Typing Experience
Typing Experience
Keystrokes
Key Switches
Scissor
Feel
Tactile
Actuation Force
36.3 gf
Pre-Travel
0.86 mm
Total Travel
1.15 mm

As with most scissor switches, the actuation point is low and it requires very little force to actuate, which can sometimes cause unintended keystrokes to register.

8.0
Typing Experience
Typing Quality

The typing experience on the Magic Keyboard is great. It has a similar typing experience to Apple laptops and is very easy to type on. Although it has a low key travel (more than the butterfly switches that we've seen in recent years), the keys feel responsive and provide a satisfying tactile feedback to let you know when a key has been actuated. The keys are well-spaced, which is great for typing accuracy; also, they're very stable and don't wobble at all.

Typing Experience
Typing Noise
Noise
Very Quiet

Typing noise on this keyboard is very quiet and shouldn't be bothersome to those around you.

Software and Operating System
0
Software and Operating System
Software
Software No Software
Account Required
No Software
Profiles
No Profile
Onboard Memory
No
Cloud Sync
No
Backlight Programming
No
Macro Programming
No
Software Windows Compatible
No
Software macOS Compatible
No

This keyboard doesn't have a software for customization.

8.4
Software and Operating System
Keyboard Compatibility
Windows Partial
macOS Full
Linux Partial
Android No
iOS Full
iPadOS Full

The Apple Magic Keyboard has great compatibility. It can be connected to almost any device via Bluetooth, except for devices running on Android. The keyboard has full functionality when used with one of Apple's operating systems; however, function keys and OS-specific keys such as the launch pad and mission control don't work on Windows and Linux. If you want a keyboard with a similar build and full compatibility with Windows, check out the Microsoft Surface Keyboard.

Differences Between Sizes and Variants

The Apple Magic keyboard is available in a full size variant with a numeric keypad and it's the only difference between them.

Compared to other keyboards

The Apple Magic Keyboard is a low profile, compact keyboard with an excellent build quality. Its clean and minimalist design stands out, but it lacks backlighting, programmable keys, and software support. For other options, check out our recommendations for the best keyboards for Mac, the best keyboards for writers, and the best wireless keyboards

Logitech MX Keys

The Logitech MX Keys is significantly better than the Apple Magic Keyboard in mixed usage, though they're both decent for general office use. However, the Logitech is a full-sized keyboard with a numeric pad and also has backlighting. The build quality isn't as good as the Magic Keyboard, but it has full compatibility with Windows and has software for customization. The MX Keys can also be paired with up to three devices at the same time, making it much easier to switch between them.

Logitech K380

The Logitech K380 is much better than the Apple Magic Keyboard. The K380 has multi-device pairing and software support, but build quality and typing experience is significantly better on the Apple Magic Keyboard. The K380 can be used with Android devices, however, the Apple Magic Keyboard can be used wired with any computer.

Microsoft Surface Keyboard

The Microsoft Surface Keyboard and the Apple Magic Keyboard are very similar in terms of build and features. The main differences are that the Apple has a built-in rechargeable battery, while the Surface uses disposable batteries. The Surface keyboard is a full-size keyboard that includes a NumPad, and its higher actuation point can be better for typing accuracy, as there's less of a chance for unintended keystrokes to be registered.

Logitech Slim Folio Pro

The Apple Magic Keyboard is a better keyboard than the Logitech Slim Folio Pro, but they don't quite serve the same purpose. The Logitech will be a better option if you have an iPad and you're often on the move and want something to protect your device as well. On the other hand, if you're more stationary, the Magic Keyboard offers a better typing quality and is noticeably better built.

Logitech Craft

The Logitech Craft is a better wireless keyboard than the Apple Magic Keyboard. The Logitech has a white backlight, supports multi-device pairing, and works with its proprietary receiver, as opposed to the Apple keyboard, which only works via Bluetooth. That said, the Apple keyboard is much more portable, making it easy to travel with.

Logitech K780

The Logitech K780 is a more versatile keyboard than the Apple Magic Keyboard. All of the K780's keys work on all platforms, while the Magic Keyboard is only partially compatible with Windows, and can't be used with Android devices. The K780 can also be connected to three devices simultaneously, while the Magic Keyboard can only be connected to one. On the other hand, the Magic Keyboard is lighter and has a 60% compact design.

Logitech Keys-To-Go

The Apple Magic Keyboard is much better than the Logitech Keys-To-Go in mixed usage, though the Logitech is meant more as a portable keyboard to be used with mobile devices. It's not as well-built as the Magic Keyboard, but it has dedicated media keys and typing noise is also kept to a minimum. It also uses a micro-USB cable to charge rather than a proprietary connector.

Brydge Pro

The Apple Magic Keyboard is better overall than the Brydge Pro. The Apple is fully compatible with iPadOS, macOS, and iOS, while some buttons on the Brydge don't work on iOS and MacOS. The Apple also offers a better typing quality, it's better-built, and it's lighter. However, the Brydge has white backlighting. 

Razer Huntsman Mini

The Razer Huntsman Mini is better than the Apple Magic Keyboard, but they're also meant for very different uses. The Razer is a wired mechanical keyboard that's geared towards gaming, while the Apple is a wireless Bluetooth keyboard made for productivity. The Clicky Optical switches on our unit of the Razer provide a better typing experience than the scissor switches on the Apple; however, they generate a lot more typing noise. Also, the Razer has programmable keys, software support, and full RGB backlighting, which the Apple lacks.

Brydge 10.2 Keyboard for Apple iPad

The Apple Magic Keyboard is a slightly better keyboard than the Brydge 10.2 Keyboard for Apple iPad. The Apple is lighter to carry around, the typing experience in much better, and it's fully compatible with iOS, macOS, and iPadOS, while the Brydge is only fully compatible with iPadOS. The Brydge has white backlighting if you need to use it in dark environments and it's compatible with Android devices, while the Apple isn't.

Microsoft Bluetooth Keyboard

The Microsoft Bluetooth Keyboard is very different than the Apple Magic Keyboard. The Microsoft's full-size design includes a NumPad and you can set a few macros on the F4-F7 keys. On the other hand, the Apple Magic Keyboard is noticeably better built and its scissor switches offer a better overall typing experience.

Logitech K840 Mechanical Keyboard

The Logitech K840 Mechanical Keyboard is better than the Apple Magic Keyboard in mixed usage. Although they use different switches, the Magic keyboard's scissor switches provide a satisfying typing experience with minimal noise. Unfortunately, there's no backlighting on this keyboard and it only has full compatibility with other Apple devices. It also lacks other features such as dedicated media controls and USB passthrough.

iClever Tri-Folding Keyboard BK08

The iClever Tri-Folding Keyboard BK08 is more portable than the Apple Magic Keyboard, but it's not as well-built and doesn't offer a nice typing experience. The iClever is mainly made to be used wirelessly with mobile devices and tablets, while the Magic Keyboard goes well with an Apple computer. The typing quality of the Apple Magic Keyboard's scissor switches is also noticeably more satisfying than the rubber dome switches of the iClever.

Fintie Soft TPU Keyboard Case For iPad 7th Gen

The Apple Magic Keyboard is a much better keyboard than the Fintie Soft TPU Keyboard Case For iPad 7th Gen. The typing quality and build quality are both significantly better and it's fully compatible with macOS. However, if you need a mobile keyboard for an Android device, the Fintie is compatible with it, while the Apple isn't.

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