My Magic Keyboard arrived fully charged, and it comes with a Lightning cable, which youa€™ll use to charge it from a USB port on your Mac. I connected the keyboard to my MacBook Air with the Lightning cable, just to make sure it was charged all the way, and that had the bonus effect of auto-pairing the keyboard with the Mac over Bluetooth.
Charging with a Lightning cable instead of using AA batteries seems like a small thinga€”pretty much every Bluetooth keyboard has a built-in battery these days, mostly charging with a micro-USB cable.
The Magic Keyboard uses scissor-switch keys, like its predecessors the wired Apple Keyboard with Numeric Keypad ($49) and Apple Wireless Keyboard, which Apple has discontinued but is still available for $49 from Other World Computing. Going back and forth, I started to feel like I was hitting the laptop keys harder, while typing on the Magic Keyboard felt like it took slightly less effort. The biggest change to the keys is the new full-height left and right arrows on the Magic Keyboard (left). Before getting the Magic Keyboard, I primarily used Applea€™s wired keyboard, and occasionally dabbled with Logitecha€™s excellent Bluetooth Easy-Switch Keyboard ($99.99), which we reviewed very favorably in 2013.
The Logitech Bluetooth Easy-Switch Keyboard costs about the same as the Magic Keyboard, while including extra features like easy pairing of multiple devices, and backlit keys.
Besides its smaller size and lack of a wire, the Magic Keyboard doesna€™t improve on the Wired Keyboard in any significant way.
The Magic Keyboarda€™s slightly larger keys have shorter travel, but remain pleasant to type on.
Compared to the Logitech Easy-Switch Keyboard, which costs only ninety-nine cents more, the Magic Keyboard loses a little of its sparkle. Logitecha€™s keys dona€™t feel cheap, eithera€”the company says its PerfectStroke keys distribute force evenly across the keys even if you strike the edge.

Along with the Lightning connector, Apple included an easy on-and-off switch so you can save battery life and prevent accidental input while the keyboard is in your bag. But the Easy Switch Keyboarda€™s trump card is how you can set it up with up to three devices (say, two Macs and an iPad) and switch between them when you press F1, F2, and F3. If you want to use one keyboard with multiple devices, the Magic Keyboard should do the trick, but I had issues switching the pairing back and forth, while the Logitech Bluetooth Easy-Switch Keyboard more than lived up to its name. If youa€™re purchasing a new iMac that comes with the Magic Keyboard, the smaller size and slightly reduced key travel shouldna€™t be too jarring a change from previous Apple keyboards. Ita€™s not writing this review for me while I sip a margarita and play Two Dots, and I feel like that would be magic. A switch on the back turns the keyboard on or offa€”any good Bluetooth keyboard should have this, so you can easily power it down before you shove it in your laptop bag.
I didna€™t have to go to the Bluetooth preferences to set the keyboard up, and when I disconnected the Lightning cable, the keyboard stayed paired.
The keyboard is a little bit shorter top to bottom, and the travel of the keys is shortened as a result, but I didna€™t feel much of a difference between it and my laptop, a late 2013 MacBook Air.
Like Jason Snell, I find the full-size right and left arrows a bit harder to find with my fingers than the half-size arrow keys on my MacBook Air and Wired Keyboard. I prefer the clickier scissor-switch mechanism in Applea€™s keyboard over the mushier-feeling keys on Logitecha€™s, but only slightly. The Easy-Switch Keyboarda€™s keys dona€™t wiggle much if you dona€™t hit them straight-on (neither do Applea€™s keys), and I like how each key is indented slightly to help your fingers find the center, rather than the much-flatter keys on the Magic Keyboard. While the Magic Keyboard can pair to my iPad as well as my Mac, I have to first turn the Magic Keyboard off and then on again, and manually pair it to the iPad in Settings.

If your old keyboard is on its last legs and you want to replace it with an Apple model that matches the rest of your gear and never needs AA batteries, the Magic Keyboard is a decent purchase. We give you the scoop on what's new, what's best and how to make the most out of the products you love. What the Magic Keyboard is, is a pretty nice Bluetooth keyboard that charges with a Lightning cable. I already tend to keep a Lightning cable in every workspace and laptop bag for topping off my iPhone and iPad anyway, so ita€™s nice to not have to worry about toting spare AA batteries or a micro-USB cable.
The Logitech keyboard does have backlighting, which is a great feature if you like to work in dim rooms. Whether thata€™s worth Applea€™s somewhat steep $99 asking price is up to you (keep in mind Applea€™s older, now-defunct Wireless Keyboard was only $69), but the Magic Keyboard is slim, compact, and pleasant to type on.
I dona€™t miss the dedicated number pad on the Wired Keyboard, but I did like having the Page Up and Down buttons. The keyboard even kills the backlighting when youa€™re not typing, and brings it back when it detects your hands over the keyboard again.

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