Apple Magic Keyboard 2017 Keyboard Review

Tested using Methodology v1.0
Updated Jan 15, 2021 at 12:25 pm
Apple Magic Keyboard 2017 Picture
5.4
Gaming
8.5
Mobile/Tablet
7.9
Office
6.5
Programming
4.7
Entertainment / HTPC
This keyboard was replaced by the Apple Magic Keyboard for iPad 2021
Connectivity Wireless
Size
Compact (60%)
Mechanical
No

The Apple Magic Keyboard 2017 is a very good Bluetooth keyboard for office use. Its scissor switches provide a quiet yet satisfying typing experience, but it lacks certain extra features like backlighting and programmable keys. It has a built-in rechargeable battery that Apple claims should last over a month between charges, though this isn't something we test for. The minimalist design is 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. It also has a full-size variant that includes a numeric keypad, and we expect the overall performance to remain the same.

Our Verdict

5.4 Gaming

The Apple Magic Keyboard 2017 is a poor keyboard for gaming. Although its scissor switches have a short pre-travel distance, they require a fair amount of force to actuate. Also, the latency is quite high. It doesn't have backlighting, which is disappointing for those who like to game in a dark room. There are no programmable keys or software support for customization.

Pros
  • Clean and minimalist design.
  • Keys are very responsive.
Cons
  • No backlighting.
  • No macro-programmable keys.
  • Doesn't have any software support.
8.5 Mobile/Tablet

The Apple Magic Keyboard 2017 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, and it feels very well-built, with no flex at all.

Pros
  • Clean and minimalist design.
  • Feels very well-built and sturdy.
  • Supports Bluetooth.
  • Very lightweight and compact design.
Cons
  • Doesn't support multi-device pairing.
  • Not compatible with any Android devices.
7.9 Office

The Apple Magic Keyboard 2017 is very 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 limited, but for those using an Apple computer, it's a very good choice.

Pros
  • Clean and minimalist design.
  • Feels very well-built and sturdy.
  • Great typing quality that feels light and responsive.
  • Typing is very quiet.
Cons
  • No incline settings or wrist rest.
  • Only partially compatible with Windows and Linux.
6.5 Programming

The Apple Magic Keyboard 2017 is only passable for programming. Although the typing experience is great, 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.

Pros
  • Clean and minimalist design.
  • Great typing quality that feels light and responsive.
Cons
  • No backlighting.
  • No macro-programmable keys.
  • No incline settings or wrist rest.
4.7 Entertainment / HTPC

The Apple Magic Keyboard 2017 is bad for use with a home theater PC. Although it has wireless connectivity and can be used with a wide variety of devices, it's only fully compatible with Apple operating systems. It lacks a trackpad, which means you need a separate mouse to navigate, and the keys might be hard to see in the dark because it doesn't have backlighting.

Pros
  • Clean and minimalist design.
Cons
  • 5.4 Gaming
  • 8.5 Mobile/Tablet
  • 7.9 Office
  • 6.5 Programming
  • 4.7 Entertainment / HTPC
  1. Updated Feb 04, 2021: Converted to Test Bench 1.0.
  2. Updated Jan 15, 2021: Updated review for accuracy and clarity.

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)
Depth With Wrist Rest
N/A
Weight
0.51 lbs (0.230 kg)

The Apple Magic Keyboard 2017 has a very small footprint since it's a compact (60%) keyboard. However, there's also a full-size variant with a numeric keypad available.

9.0
Design
Build Quality
Keycap Material ABS

The build quality is remarkable. It has a solid rigid aluminum chassis that's lightweight. 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
Minimum Incline
2.8 °
Medium Incline
N/A
Maximum Incline
N/A
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
Individually Backlit Keys
No
Color Mixing
No Backlighting
Effects
No
Programmable
No

The Apple Magic Keyboard 2017 doesn't have any 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.

Design
Cable & Connector
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 also be used wired.

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

This keyboard has good wireless versatility, as it can be used via Bluetooth with almost any device, except for devices running on Android. It has a built-in rechargeable battery, and Apple claims it should last over a month between charges, though this isn't something we test for. There's no multi-device pairing feature. If you need 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
Trackpad / Trackball No
Wheel No
USB Passthrough
No
Numpad No
Windows Key Lock
No
Lock Indicator Caps Lock

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

Design
In The Box

  • Apple Magic Keyboard 2017
  • Lightning to USB-A cable
  • User Guide

Typing Experience
Typing Experience
Keystrokes
Key Switches
Scissor
Feel
Tactile
Operating Force
66 gf
Actuation Force
35 gf
Pre-Travel
0.9 mm
Total Travel
1.2 mm

As with most scissor switches, the pre-travel distance is very short, making the keyboard feel very responsive. However, it requires a fair amount of force to get over the tactile bump. This makes the typing feel a bit heavier but also helps reduce unintended keystrokes.

8.0
Typing Experience
Typing Quality

The Apple Magic Keyboard 2017 provides a great typing experience that’s similar to most Apple laptops. The scissor switches give satisfying tactile feedback, and the keys are well-spaced and very stable. Typing feels responsive thanks to the very short pre-travel distance, and although it takes a bit of force to get over the tactile bump, overall typing still feels light and shouldn’t cause fatigue over time. It doesn’t come with a wrist rest, but most people shouldn’t need one due to the keyboard’s low profile.

Typing Experience
Typing Noise
Noise
Very Quiet

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

6.3
Typing Experience
Latency
Latency Wired
27.5 ms
Latency Receiver
N/A
Latency Bluetooth
30.2 ms

The Apple Magic Keyboard 2017's latency is fairly high. It should be fine for general desktop use, but it isn't ideal for gaming.

Software and Operating System
0
Software and Operating System
Software & Programming
Software Name No Software
Account Required
No Software
Profiles
No Profile
Onboard Memory
No
Cloud Sync
No
Macro Programming
No
Ease Of Use
No Software
Software Windows Compatible
No
Software macOS Compatible
No

This keyboard doesn't have any software support 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 2017 has impressive compatibility. It can connect 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 like 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 unit we tested comes in a 60% compact size, but the Apple Magic Keyboard 2017 is also available in a full-size variant with a numeric keypad.

Compared To Other Keyboards

The Apple Magic Keyboard 2017 is remarkably durable and one of the best models we’ve tested to pair with any Apple device. Its clean and minimalist design stands out and completes any Apple setup, whether at home or on-the-go. It's also very lightweight and has better portability than many other mobile keyboards. However, when compared to most keyboards we’ve tested, it lacks certain features like macro-programmable keys, software support, and backlighting to work in the dark. For more 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 Apple Magic Keyboard 2017 and the Logitech MX Keys are both good office keyboards; however, there are many differences between them. The Logitech is a full-size keyboard with a multi-device pairing feature, while the Apple is a compact 60% keyboard that can only connect to one device at a time. The Logitech has backlighting and software for customization, which the Apple lacks. Both keyboards provide a great typing experience, but the Apple requires a bit more force to actuate the keys. Unfortunately, even though the Logitech scores much higher for gaming, it isn’t recommended for that use because it has fairly high latency.

Logitech Folio Touch

The Apple Magic Keyboard 2017 is better than the Logitech Folio Touch. The Apple can be used with any Apple operating software, like macOS and iOS, and it has a much better typing experience. It also has a much better build quality, and it's lighter. However, the Logitech has backlighting and doesn't have a battery, so you don't need to worry about recharging it.

Logitech K380

The Logitech K380 and the Apple Magic Keyboard 2017 share many similarities as they’re both compact wireless keyboards with scissor switches. The Logitech has multi-device pairing and software for customization, but the build quality and typing experience are significantly better on the Apple. For Android users, the only choice is the Logitech because the Apple isn’t compatible with that platform.

Microsoft Surface Keyboard

The Microsoft Surface Keyboard and the Apple Magic Keyboard 2017 are very similar in terms of build and features. The main differences are that the Apple has a built-in rechargeable battery, while the Microsoft uses disposable batteries. The Microsoft 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 2017 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 Apple offers a better typing quality and is noticeably better built.

Logitech K780

The Logitech K780 is a more versatile keyboard than the Apple Magic Keyboard 2017. All of the Logitech's keys work on all platforms, while the Apple is only partially compatible with Windows, and can't be used with Android devices. The Logitech can also be connected to three devices simultaneously, while the Apple can only be connected to one. On the other hand, the Apple is lighter and has a 60% compact design.

Brydge Pro

The Apple Magic Keyboard 2017 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.

Logitech Keys-To-Go

The Apple Magic Keyboard 2017 is much better than the Logitech Keys-To-Go for most uses, although the Logitech is meant more as a portable keyboard for mobile devices. The Apple provides a significantly better typing experience because it requires a lot less force to actuate the keys and gives satisfying tactile feedback. Additionally, it has better build quality and is more comfortable to type on. That said, if you're on an Android device, the only option is the Logitech because the Apple isn't compatible with it.

Logitech Craft

The Logitech Craft is a better wireless keyboard than the Apple Magic Keyboard 2017. 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.

Razer Huntsman Mini

Although the Razer Huntsman Mini and the Apple Magic Keyboard 2017 are both compact 60% keyboards, they're 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.

Microsoft Bluetooth Keyboard

The Microsoft Bluetooth Keyboard is very different than the Apple Magic Keyboard 2017. 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 is noticeably better built and its scissor switches offer a better overall typing experience.

Brydge 10.2 Keyboard for Apple iPad

The Apple Magic Keyboard 2017 is a slightly better keyboard than the Brydge 10.2 Keyboard for Apple iPad. The Apple is lighter to carry around, the typing experience is 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.

Logitech K840 Mechanical Keyboard

The Logitech K840 Mechanical Keyboard is better than the Apple Magic Keyboard 2017 in mixed usage. Although they use different switches, the Apple 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 like 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 2017, 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 Apple keyboard goes well with an Apple computer. The typing quality of the Apple'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 2017 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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