“Wait, what? You spent $50 on a freakin’ keyboard?! I’m fine with my $15 Microsoft special!”
Well, that’s nice, but I’m a picky person down the the very keyboard I type on. After going through three different types of keyboards within the last two years, I started to realize how much standard stroke keyboards suck. When I say standard stroke, I’m referring to how far up and down the key travels.
Instead, I started to favor my laptop’s keyboard more and more. Yeah, I was one of those people who couldn’t stand the smaller layout and differences in the key presses, but I found that I typed faster and more accurately on a laptop keyboard.
And in case some of you are wondering, I am not an Apple fan boy. On a strictly Microsft vs Apple sliding scale, I’m on the side with Microsoft. However, credit is deserved where it is due and Apple has truly produced a great product worth mentioning.
After looking around at my local Best Buy and trying a few keyboards, I saw the Apple booth complete with Apple aluminum keyboards. At first sight, I knew I wanted the damn thing. The solid aluminum body and slim, white keys stood out immediately. You could easily hit someone upside the head and knock them out if you tried. Yeah, it really is that solid!
With the keys only a few millimeters tall and separated from one another, dust a debris are easy to clean. Typical keyboards have their keys arranged in rows with one next to another leaving lots of open space for debris to fall into. Take your keyboard, turn it upside down, and see what falls out.
My first impressions for actual keys was, “Wow, I like!”. The key presses are short just like a laptop keyboard. You get the “clickity-clack” the same way you do on a notebook keyboard which provides great audible feedback. Tactile feedback is great as you can clearly feel when you press a key. Key presses are light and break very smoothly. The combination of crisp, short key presses along with great tactile feedback strongly contributes to faster, more accurate, and more consistent typing.
One plus of this Apple keyboard are the two included USB ports. Strangely enough, the USB ports could charge my Touch Pro and read an 8GB flash drive, but it couldn’t supply enough power to run a 4GB Sandisk Cruzer Micro. Windows complained that there was insufficient power to power the USB device. It could have been the LED in the flash drive drawing too much power, but that doesn’t make sense since the keyboard could charge my phone. Weird.
Apple also included additional function keys assigned ot the F1-12 keys. Since I’m using Windows XP, I had to get drivers or use third party software in order to get the media and volume keys working. I tried using the Bootcamp drivers, but for me, Windows didn’t like it. So, I had to resort to using a small piece of free software called AutoHotKey. Paired with the correct script, the media controls work great! You can find the script and additional details at Eric Savage’s blog [http://www.efsavage.com/blog/posts/enable_buttons_on_apple_keyboard_in_windows/].
Overall, there are no major cons, just some minor nuisances:
- Lack of a num lock key. When logging into Windows before num lock is enabled, I have to use the number row keys to type my password 🙁
- No dedicated Windows standalone software to enable/customize function keys. I hate installing third party software for simple things like that.
- The delete, home, insert, etc. keys are slightly further away from the arrow keys than a normal keyboard. I use the arrow keys for movement in PC games and the shift of the delete, home, insert, etc. keys feels awkward.
- Key positions of the number pad sign operators (+ – * /) are shifted.
- Can take some getting used to. The keys are very light and flat while normal keys have a slight concave feel to them. Keep in mind that typing on this keyboard is similar to the feel of typing on a laptop keyboard. The keys are much shallower and require less pressure to push down. If you do not like typing on a laptop, then this is not for you.
Overall, I’m fairly satisfied with the Apple aluminum keyboard. It’s stunning to look at, solid as a rock, has media keys, and has laptop style keys. However, if you do not like typing on a laptop, this keyboard is not for you. But for the people that wish they could type on a laptop keyboard all day, this has your name on it.