What's the latest word in bluetooth keyboards?
February 13, 2013 4:25 PM   Subscribe

My Mac's 10-year-old bluetooth keyboard is acting up, and I'm pretty sure that it's death is imminent. I'd like to find a replacement, but Apple long ago stopped making full-sized wireless keyboards -- what are some good alternatives that exist in 2013?

I'm quite attached to my Apple A1016 -- in particular, I like that it
  • Has a full-sized layout. The numpad is nice, but big arrow keys and dedicated Home/End/PgUp/PgDn keys are actually a bigger deal to me.
  • Is wireless, and physically unobtrusive on my desk. It's small enough to tuck out of the way when I need to use my tiny desk for other things.
  • Non-chicklet keys. This isn't a dealbreaker, as I've gotten used to typing on a MacBook, but I nevertheless do prefer the feel of a "real" keyboard.
  • Looks nice. This is silly and superficial, but most 3rd-party keyboards that I've seen are butt-ugly.
  • Didn't cost an arm and a leg. Sorry, but I'm not paying more than $100 for a keyboard.
For whatever it's worth, I use the keyboard with my Macbook, a big external monitor, and a Magic Trackpad.

All of this adds up to the conclusion that I should just find another A1016 on eBay or Craigslist — however, this is my 2nd A1016 that's died in the exact same manner, and it's known to not play well with modern Bluetooth devices. I'm not sure I want to dump any more money down the drain on this outdated device. Also, used keyboards = ick.

Truth be told, chicklet keys aside, I'd probably buy Apple's current full-sized keyboard if it came in a wireless version.

What are my other options? Are they any good? Is there really no market for full-sized bluetooth keyboards?
posted by schmod to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
At work, I use a Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard K750 for Mac, the same one Burhanistan mentioned. It's actually pretty sleek, and it has a solar panel, so I don't ever have to replace the batteries. It's worked great for me.

Also—and I hope this doesn't sound weird!—I would definitely sell you an extra, unopened one I have at a discount. When I bought mine, I bought it online, and I thought my first order had gotten canceled, but it actually hadn't. So I ended up buying two accidentally, and the second one has been sitting in my apartment, in-box, ever since. MeMail me if you're at all interested—maybe we can work something out!
posted by limeonaire at 5:30 PM on February 13, 2013

As far as wireless keyboards go, I alternate between the Logitech k810 - pairs with three different devices if that matters to you, has great action and battery life, feels good - and the Microsoft Bluetooth 6000, (not to be confused with the non-bluetooth and nothing at all like it other keyboard Microsoft makes and also numbers 6000, high five guys good work), a slightly curved and hugely underrated keyboard with excellently crisp key feel. Both are hard to find, but I love them.
posted by mhoye at 6:08 PM on February 13, 2013

Response by poster: Man, the K750 looks pretty close to what I want. The solar panel looks a bit dorky, but the USB dongle might be a dealbreaker.
posted by schmod at 7:40 AM on February 14, 2013

Craigslist, if limeonaire's offer doesn't work for you? This is the route I went, and am still using the second-hand A1016 specifically because of the lack of numberpad. In my mind, the main reason for wanting a Bluetooth keyboard would be for use with a portable device (if the device attached to the keyboard is stationary, there's no real reason not to use wires, right?). Portable Macs have a condensed keyboard. There is thus ZERO reason for me to spend the $$$ for a second keyboard that simply duplicates the keyboard layout I already have built in to the computer.

The keyboard I use at work (where I plug my laptop into a second monitor, with a second keyboard and mouse facing said monitor) is the new aluminum wired keyboard*, with full key layout. I use this setup when working with large datasets, because the big monitor and numberpad makes data entry in large spreadsheets easier. Note that this full-layout wired keyboard costs exactly the same as the condensed laptop-style wired keyboard. Why they don't do the same for Bluetooth models is beyond me. I'd quite happily buy a new Apple-branded Bluetooth keyboard if it came with a full key layout.

*Actually I might have sprung for a 2nd A1016 for use at work, but my workplace disallows Bluetooth peripherals because of "security". Thanks, IT gestapo, for your meaningless rules.
posted by caution live frogs at 12:09 PM on February 14, 2013

I also consider the USB dongle to be a dealbreaker, especially with Apple's continued trend of reducing the number of ports on portable devices. The machine has Bluetooth built in. Except for Logitech being able to use the dongle to promote vendor lock-in for peripherals, I see no reason to add a second wireless communication method to a machine that already has a perfectly good wireless communication protocol baked into the hardware.
posted by caution live frogs at 12:12 PM on February 14, 2013

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