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When it comes to buying a keyboard for your Mac, you’re likely to think of an Apple keyboard first. They look great, they have command, function, and option keys instead of control and alt keys, and they’re made by Apple—so they’re the best, right?

As it turns out, there are a lot of options out there. Let’s see if they stand up to the brushed aluminum heavy hitter that is the official Apple keyboard.

Apple’s Keyboard: The Aluminum All-Star

There are actually two keyboards that Apple makes for Macs: one wired, and one wireless. The wireless model is probably more popular, as it has a smaller footprint and is highly portable. But what makes it one of the best Mac keyboards out there?

apple-magic-keyboar

In short, it’s just a really nice keyboard: it has a nice feel to it (for a membrane keyboard Popular Keyboard Technology Compared: Which is Right for You? Popular Keyboard Technology Compared: Which is Right for You? When talking about computer peripherals, the computer keyboard is the unsung hero. Read More , anyway), it’s relatively quiet, and it holds up under a lot of very heavy use — I’ve been using my wired keyboard for several years of many-hours-a-day typing, and it’s showing almost no signs of wear. Bluetooth connectivity means it works with not only your Mac, but also with your iPad Type on Your iPhone or iPad Using Your Mac Keyboard Type on Your iPhone or iPad Using Your Mac Keyboard Use your MacBook or Apple keyboard to type on your iPhone or iPad, without wrestling with the touchscreen. Read More , which is nice, and the battery life is solid, making use of two AA batteries in the latest version. It’s also notably smaller than many other keyboards, adding portability without sacrificing key size.

The wired version is another great keyboard, and even includes a number pad. If you’re working with a lot of numbers, this could be a big bonus, and you never have to worry about running out of batteries.  Both keyboards have all of the function keys you want with your Mac, including dedicated keys for Exposé, Mission Control, Launchpad, and media control. The wired keyboard has larger arrow keys and some extra navigation keys as well.

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apple-wired-keyboard

And, of course, the aluminum enclosure is fantastic. It feels solid, holds up well to wear, and matches the rest of your Apple products. The typing feel of the keyboards is decent; I much prefer the feel of either Apple keyboard to the built-in keyboards found on Apple’s laptops, which to me feel pretty “mushy,” something you’ll hear mechanical keyboard advocates say about membrane keyboards all the time. And I really do love the number pad.

Because these are official Apple products, they tend to just work with your Mac with relatively little fuss. You might have occasional problems Trouble with Your Apple Keyboard? Here's How to Fix It Trouble with Your Apple Keyboard? Here's How to Fix It Maybe you plug your keyboard in and nothing happens. Maybe your computer isn't picking up the Bluetooth signal. Maybe your keys aren't responding to input. Here's how to fix it. Read More , but for the most part, they’re very easy to configure and use with OS X.

I’m not alone in liking the Apple keyboard. Both the wireless and wired version of the Apple keyboard have great reviews on Amazon. The previous version of the wireless board has 4.6 out of 5 stars after 1,500 reviews, and the wired one has 4.5 after 1,000 reviews.

But what else is out there? And is it better?

Other Options: Performance and Ergonomics

Of course, there are plenty of options when it comes to Mac keyboards from a wide variety of manufacturers. We’ll take a look at some of the most popular here to see how they stand up to Apple’s own boards.

logitech-easy-switch

Logitech makes a number of Mac keyboards, but the Easy-Switch K811 ($95) might be the best; it offers rechargeable wireless connection (the micro USB cable lets you recharge while you type), a super-slim profile, and easy switching between three different Bluetooth devices, so you can switch between your Mac, iPad, iPhone, or Apple TV without having to re-pair all the time.

Backlit keys and Logitech’s “whisper quiet” operation make for effective typing, and built-in Apple TV controls Is This The Apple TV Update You've Been Waiting For? Is This The Apple TV Update You've Been Waiting For? It's here. It's finally here. The long-awaited update to the Apple TV has arrived, but are there any compelling reasons to buy one in 2015? Read More round out the feature list for an extremely capable keyboard.

matias-laptop-pro

If you’re a serious typist and you’re looking for a wireless mechanical keyboard, the Matias Laptop Pro for Mac ($160) is the one for you. Great tactile feedback 7 Newbie Tips When Buying a Mechanical Keyboard 7 Newbie Tips When Buying a Mechanical Keyboard Thinking of getting a mechanical keyboard? Here's what you should know before you commit to a purchase. Read More usually results in loud keys, but Matias uses Alps switches that are significantly quieter than the Cherry MX switches that are so popular in other boards (Matias says that these switches create about the same amount of noise as a membrane keyboard).

The Laptop Pro for Mac emulates classic Apple keyboards for fans of earlier designs, but include a huge rechargeable battery, USB ports, and better key labelling to bring the keyboard into the present.

kinesis-freestyle2

Spending a lot of time on a keyboard can be hard on your wrists and forearms, so a lot of people use ergonomic keyboards that put your hands and wrists in a more natural position to reduce strain. If there’s one thing the Apple keyboards aren’t, it’s ergonomic. The Kinesis Freestyle2 ($98), however, is a highly regarded Bluetooth split keyboard that lets you get the right amount of space between your hands to reduce strain.

There’s even an accessory that lets you change the angle at which the keyboard sits on your desk. If you need something more ergonomic than an Apple keyboard, this is the way to go.

das-keyboard

Another popular keyboard for Macs is the Das Keyboard ($133), a larger mechanical board that offers Cherry MX blue switches for solid tactile and audio feedback. This is a serious keyboard for serious typists. It even includes the number pad and expanded navigation keys that come standard on the Apple wired keyboard. Media controls, USB ports, and the ability to register up to five simultaneous key presses make for a serious workhorse of a keyboard. The keys are even laser-etched to prevent fading.

These are all great options for Mac keyboards, but you’ve probably noticed that they’re all quite a bit more expensive than the standard Apple boards. Is there anything at the same price range that outperforms an Apple keyboard?

logitech-k750

If you’re looking to stay around the $60 price point, the Logitech Wireless Solar K750 for Mac ($60) is a great bet—with a Mac-friendly layout, super-slim profile, and solar charging. You’ll get everything you need to work with your Mac without the hassle of changing batteries at inconvenient times. It even comes in silver to match your Mac. And the Logitech unifying receiver will work with up to six different Logitech devices at once, so you can use your mouse, keyboard, and any other Logitech wireless devices from a single port.

Are Apple Keyboards Really the Best?

There’s no denying that Apple makes great keyboards. With their reasonable price and solid construction, they’re a lasting investment that will keep you typing away for a long time. But if you’re willing to spend a bit more money, you’ll get an increase in performance and comfort.

Is it worth the extra cost? That probably depends on how much you type. If you spend hours on your keyboard every day, you’ll probably be glad that you upgraded. If you’re a frequent or serious gamer, you’ll definitely want mechanical switches How Does A Mechanical Keyboard Work? [Technology Explained] How Does A Mechanical Keyboard Work? [Technology Explained] For geeks, mechanical keyboards are the holy grail of input devices. They’re relatively rare, they’re expensive, and require some explanation for people to understand them. It’s everything a geek could ask for. If you’re not... Read More . But if you just write the occasional email and check Facebook most of the time, an Apple keyboard will be just fine.

Which keyboard do you use with your Mac? Have you noticed a difference between the Apple keyboard and any other one that you’ve used? Which would you recommend? Share your thoughts below!

  1. Julian Pereira
    September 1, 2016 at 6:42 am

    I tried out my brother's Razor mechanical gaming keyboard just to give it a try. I was considering getting a mechanical keyboard. Honestly, I did not feel as comfortable and I was not able type as fast on it as I am able to do on the Apple.

    To be honest, I am not able to use the DELL keyboard at my office workstation as well as I am able to type on the Apple. Maybe it is low key-travel and stuff. Certainly would take a bit more getting used to.

    I just do not find anything more comfortable than my Apple keyboard.

    • Dann Albright
      September 5, 2016 at 1:30 pm

      I really like my Apple keyboards, too. I haven't yet tried a mechanical one, though I've been meaning to do that for quite a while now . . . but the low profile of the Apple boards are great. It took me a while to get used to it, but I'm a big fan now. I recently switched from the USB keyboard to the Bluetooth one, and I'm not digging the smaller space—it feels a bit cramped on the shift keys. But other than that, I'm also a big fan.

  2. Lucy Rasmussen
    August 9, 2016 at 1:42 am

    The spacebar has failed now on two Apple keyboards.

    • Dann Albright
      August 16, 2016 at 2:09 pm

      Really? That's strange . . . haven't heard of that being a widespread problem. Do you use the spacebar more than most people? :-)

  3. p4vlos
    April 18, 2016 at 7:39 pm

    I have razer mouse and razer mechanical keyboard and I feel that using magic mouse and magic keyboard is more suitable for both.

    Magic keyboard: the magic keyboard has the same layout with my macbook's keyboard so I have better muscle memory using it than the mechanical keyboard with the thick key caps and the difference of the layout. I am changing keyboards almost every 2-3 weeks but still i don't deny that I really like the magic keyboard.

    Magic mouse 2: I'm using gestures with my trackpad when i am on the way and the most common is three fingers slide right and left for changing fullscreen windows. I like the ergonomics of my Razer Deathadder but it doesn't feel and work as the Magic Mouse. I still prefer my Razer mouse for gaming like Counter Strike but still for daily drive i prefer Magic Mouse. It needs some time to get used to it but then is perfect.

    • Dann Albright
      April 20, 2016 at 5:34 pm

      Thanks for weighing in! You're right; there are definitely advantages to being very Mac-focused on the keyboard and the mouse. I don't use too many gestures on my trackpad, so that might be why I prefer a non-Apple mouse. I do really like my keyboard, though.

  4. Justin Pot
    December 3, 2015 at 4:59 pm

    I have the Logitech Wireless Solar K750 for Mac, and it's working really well for me. In sunny Boulder it was always fully charged, but since moving to cloudy Portland it tends to hover around 90% charged. Never been close to depleted in a couple years of use, and I really like the layout. Number pad is a nice perk.

    • Dann Albright
      December 9, 2015 at 7:23 pm

      Now that I'm back in Colorado and out of England, that's a definite contender on my list. :-) Especially with the number pad; I don't use it often, but when I do, I'm really glad that I have it. Also, I'd say that 90% charged in Portland is pretty impressive!

      • Justin Pot
        December 9, 2015 at 8:56 pm

        Yeah I'm also a lot further away from the window than before so I'm pretty impressed with how well it keeps charged.

    • Martin Robbins
      November 16, 2016 at 7:22 pm

      I have used the Logitech wireless K750 on my Mac for many years and wouldn't even think of trading it for some other keyboard. It's been on the market for quite a while and well-tested and received by numerous users. It is a solid product, designed for the Mac. I have never had any operating problems or issues with the product but perhaps I am just lucky.

      1. It works the way it is supposed to with no problems!!! Can I really say more, but I will.

      2. It is light and easily portable, even carrying it around in my backpack for some of my travels. I just switch the dongle from my desktop to my laptop giving me access to the keyboard as well as my wireless mouse. If you have a second Logitech unifying dongle, which I do, you don't even have to switch the dongle.

      3. No need to worry about batteries or Bluetooth connections (although I do not mean to imply there is anything wrong with Bluetooth.) Just follow a few simple directions to install the unifying software and then forget about it.

      4. Solar works well, even when sun is not shining. However, after years of use, I still haven't figured out whether I really get a recharge from non-solar light sources. Anybody out there with some information on this issue?

      5. The "unifying" dongle works perfectly with my mouse as well as keyboard. One dongle for both. Saves a USB port, which is particularly important on a laptop.

      • Dann Albright
        November 28, 2016 at 2:44 am

        I've heard really good things about that keyboard, but I haven't had the chance to try one myself. It sounds great, though! And you have a really good point about the Logitech unifying dongle; I have one for my mouse, and not using another port would be really convenient.

  5. likefun butnot
    December 3, 2015 at 3:29 pm

    I don't like Apple's input devices. I don't like the limited key travel or keys missing relative to the standard 104 key PC keyboard. I hate the battery annihilating Bluetooth wireless models. I think the ergonomics on its laptop keyboards are even worse, mostly because of the hard corner and too large touchpad.

    So for me, the best keyboard got a Mac is whatever $10 Logitech, Microsoft or Amazon keyboard happens to be closest.

    • Dann Albright
      December 9, 2015 at 7:22 pm

      I agree on the Bluetooth/battery issue; I'm hoping that low energy Bluetooth becomes a lot more widespread in the near future. I don't mind the key layout, but I agree about the key travel; there's not much, and it doesn't make for a very satisfying typing experience. I've had my Apple keyboard for a long time, and I've gotten used to it, but I'm hoping to move to something a bit better in the near future.

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