That’s probably because the majority of users probably don’t miss it with the top number row suffice for occasional number input, so it’s understandable why Apple doesn’t pay much attention to it. But I personally like and miss the speed of using a keypad for quick commands in pro apps like Logic and punching in numbers in spreadsheets (it’s tax time…), so I’ve been testing Satechi’s new Aluminum Wireless Keypad that recently arrived.
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In total it gives you 22 keys, including the usual number pad with backspace and ‘tab’ keys, and an extra top row that includes undo, cut, copy, and paste.
It’s made to match Apple’s own wireless keyboard, but it’s a bit chunkier if you’re comparing side by side with Apple’s latest generation wireless Magic keyboard that it released last year (below, right). But comparing next to the thicker previous generation Apple wireless keyboard (below, left), it fits in a little nicer proportions-wise, as Apple slimed down the profile of its latest generation keyboard when it switched to an internal battery in the new design.
But otherwise the look of the design mirrors Apple’s keyboard almost exactly and the build quality is for the most part just as solid. The one exception to that are the icons on the keys that appear to be decals rather than printed directly on the keys like Apple’s keyboard, which gives them a cheap look and makes me worry about durability over a long period of time. The keys themselves feel different from Apple’s too. They are as quiet as Apple’s keyboards, but have a further travel and feel like they seated slightly higher compared to Apple’s very flat and tight keys. But that’s par for the course with the majority of third-party keyboards I’ve tested and something some users prefer.
Overall, despite the cheap looking decals for icons, the keys perform well enough and wouldn’t keep me from recommending the Satechi keypad.
I tested the keyboard with a Mac and iPhone and had no issues connecting to either device. It also supports Windows if you’re curious. A switch on the back changes the shortcut keys to support a Windows layout, but unfortunately there aren’t any iOS specific key shortcuts.
The keypad is powered by two included AAA batteries. The company claims up to 6 months of battery life, which is accurate, but that’s based on 1 hour of usage per day, so you can do the math accordingly based on your own usage.
Should you buy it?
If you’re going to get picky about the design compared to your Apple wireless keyboard, it leaves a little to be desired. But that issue is less noticeable next to the previous generation Apple keyboard that Apple sold for years and that many users are likely still using. But apart from nitpicking on the design compared to Apple’s, the keypad held up well and got the job done with more than passable looks and build quality.
The Satechi Aluminum Wireless Keypad is available for $37.99 (Reg. $44.99). It will also be available in Space Gray and Gold versions to match the new 12-inch MacBook colors.