Mac External Keyboard & Mouse
February 15, 2011 12:13 PM   Subscribe

Mac peripherals filter: Just bought a MacBook Air. Looking for an external mouse and keyboard when I want to use it at my desk (plugged into my external monitor). What are your favorite Mac mice and keyboards? USB or Bluetooth are options. Thanks.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell to Technology (18 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
For the keyboard, I would definitely recommend the Apple's Bluetooth one. It's small, light, has good battery life, and is laid out exactly the same as the laptop keyboard so there's no weirdness when you switch back and forth. I love mine.

For the mouse, it's mostly a matter of what feels good in your hand. I personally like the magic mouse a lot, but I know a lot of other people hate it. I'd advise going to a big electronics store and handling as many mice as you can.
posted by duien at 12:20 PM on February 15, 2011

I use Apple's wireless (Bluetooth) keyboard and trackpad. I used to have their wireless mouse, but I use a small coffee table as a makeshift desk, and the trackpad really works well in tight spots. It really shines once the multitouch features are enabled.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:21 PM on February 15, 2011

Also: I'd definitely recommend going Bluetooth rather than USB. It makes it much easier to take the mouse/keyboard with you when you're working out and about (or just in a different part of the house than usual). But do go ahead and invest in some good rechargeable batteries if you go that route. I like the eneloop ones, and there's some pretty good deals on battery/charger combo sets on Amazon.
posted by duien at 12:22 PM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Bluetooth if you don't mind killing batteries. My magic mouse gets about 1-2 weeks on a set of batteries. Wireless Mac Keyboard, I've had for two months, it's now at 80%.
posted by Geckwoistmeinauto at 12:24 PM on February 15, 2011

Honestly, I feel like the full-size Apple wired keyboard is one of the best on the market. 2 USB ports, solid industrial design, low profile.

If I didn't have a Topre Realforce that my boss didn't want, that's what I'd be using. I used one for years and years before I got this as a hand-me-down.

And I use and love the Mighty Mouse, despite the fact that the scroll ball needs a cleaning every couple months. As far as I'm concerned, the Magic Mouse would be perfect if it didn't eat batteries. (I went through a pair every two weeks or so.) This induction charger fascinates me.
posted by supercres at 12:35 PM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Keyboards are such personal things. Apple's keyboards are good as mainstream keyboards go, but if you really want to geek out on this subject, there's a whole community waiting for you (I would prefer to use my NOS buckling-spring keyboard, but the noise became an issue for my wife/officemate).

I've been using a Microsoft Explorer mini mouse. As the name would suggest, it's a little small, and the size takes a little getting used to, but it's fine. I've been avoiding Logitech mice after having had an MX Revolution, not so much because the hardware is bad but because their driver software is execrable.
posted by adamrice at 12:39 PM on February 15, 2011

I tried the Apple wireless KB for a while, but switched to this one and haven't looked back. Looks are a little dated, but doesn't bother me in the least. Mice are a sticky situation for me, I'm using a Magic Mouse at work and a Razer at home. The Magic Mouse is pretty nice (especially scrolling) as long as you don't mind the small size (and use this with it, but I have the Razer also as gaming with a MM is rather difficult.
posted by ConstantineXVI at 12:48 PM on February 15, 2011

FWIW, the BTKey I've been using at work can drop connection for a second or two on rare occasions, though that could easily be chalked up to interference from having other BT keyboards/mice on all sides. The one I have at home is smooth as butter.
posted by ConstantineXVI at 12:52 PM on February 15, 2011

I was hesitating on posting this, but I can put in personal plugs for a couple of the keyboards mentioned on Geekhack.

Topre Realforce-- what I'm currently using, as mentioned. Seems solid, very comfortable, key resistances divided into zones, linear force feedback, and not as loud as...

Filco Tenkeyless-- clicky! Less linear than the Topre. All the keys are the same "weight", unlike the Topre. Probably what I would use if I typed lots and lots of text.

I also have my dad's old 1986 IBM Model M (like this one), which is a fantastic piece of machinery, and super fun to type on, but has its quirks in its old age. It's also loud enough to drive my officemates to want to murder me.

A lot of it really is personal preference. Since so few people geek out about keyboards, it's tough to try them out. A little investigation should find an online store with a good return/exchange policy, though. Start with this page at Geekhack.
posted by supercres at 1:09 PM on February 15, 2011

I can't live without Logitech's scrollwheel - weighted metal wheel that spins freely. It has literally changed the way I use my computer, and I can't imagine going back to a mouse without it. It's like flying, it's so empowering for some apps.
posted by Slap*Happy at 1:09 PM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Big fan of the Magic Mouse...takes a few days to get used to, then you wonder how you lived without it for so long!
posted by radioamy at 1:11 PM on February 15, 2011

I like the concept of the Magic Mouse but it's an ergonomic disaster and the cursor acceleration seems tailor-made to frustrate me. I've never had any problems with battery life, however. Mine has been going strong for a couple of months and reports ~50% charge remaining. I think I'm using non-rechargeables if that makes a difference.

Since you're already using a wired monitor, I'd say go for a wired keyboard. Bluetooth is nice but not ever worrying about batteries and the occasional wireless headaches is worth the extra wire.

For the mouse, I'm not sure. Unlike the keyboard, a mouse's wire can sometimes get in the way. I have found that cursor movement is a little smoother with a wired mouse and there may be just a bit of lag added when using bluetooth. Not sure though, could be my imagination or the Magic Mouse's sadistic acceleration curve.
posted by The Lamplighter at 1:42 PM on February 15, 2011

Logitech has a nice BlueTooth mouse that I've been using for over a year with no problems. I have to feed it batteries but that's it.

Go with BlueTooth. There's not a lot of USB ports on MacBooks.
posted by chairface at 1:58 PM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

I vote for the Apple Magic Mouse, too. I love the one that came with my iMac.
The Apple bluetooth keyboard is pretty darn good, too.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:03 PM on February 15, 2011

I have the Apple Bluetooth keyboard, which I rarely use, but that's more because I haven't had the need, and I also like the Logitech Bluetooth mouse already mentioned in the thread. It fits my hand well and the scroll wheel is good. Simplest works best for me.
posted by misha at 3:20 PM on February 15, 2011

I have a Logitech wireless mouse that has a tiny little USB receiver that can safely be left plugged in even when putting my MacBook away in its sleeve etc. It has the awesome spinny scrollwheel that Slap*Happy mentions (which also tilts left and right for sideways scrolling / strafing). Duracell/Energizer batteries last for months at a time; rechargeables about a month per charge. It has withstood being dropped from desk height on a daily basis for over a year. It may seem odd to use a USB port when the computer has Bluetooth built in, but I think I made the right choice, as chairface points out, but my research suggested that the USB ones are more reliable. That was in 2009, though.
posted by nowonmai at 3:28 PM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I went with Apple's own wired USB keyboard. I really wanted the extended keys (incl. Home and End), and wireless wasn't really a concern for me since I use it at my desk. I also liked gaining the extra net USB port. It's a nice keyboard. My only complaint is that its very low profile has it sitting below my wrist rest, so I might try to find something to set it on (to raise it up).

I also decided to stick with my old-but-good Microsoft IntelliMouse Optical. The mouse is plugged into my new keyboard, and Microsoft actually makes Mac drivers (or if that's not the right word, then a System Preferenced doo-dad) that supports all of the mouse's extra buttons. Thanks to everyone for the responses!
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 10:19 PM on February 23, 2011

You've already made your decisions (good ones), but wanted to chime in again for the Apple wireless keyboard. I use my MacBook Pro on my desk in clamshell mode with the BookArc. I have the Apple wireless keyboard and Magic Mouse. I originally thought I would hate the Magic Mouse, but it turns out that I love it. It was intuitive to start using and it works well for me. I does eat batteries, but I use Apple's rechargeables, so it isn't much of an issue.
posted by rglasmann at 5:33 AM on March 2, 2011

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