Macbook Keyboard
July 12, 2006 12:15 PM   Subscribe

Are the keyboards on the MacBook really that bad?

Looking to get a Macbook or Macbook Pro...but really, the only reason I'd spring for the Pro is because the keyboard seems a little bit more, uh, 'normal.' I've gone to the store a few times to test it seems like I could get used to it.

But still, I don't want to buy it and end up hating it.

But I also don't want to thrown down an extra 1k just for a keyboard.

I'm a writer (if you can believe it with this post) so I spend a lot of time on the keys.

posted by ryecatcher to Computers & Internet (20 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I've got a Macbook... I was skeptical about the keyboard at first as well, but it's just fine, and I quite like it. Hop on over to an Apple store if there's one near you and write a couple paragraphs if you're not certain.
posted by Robot Johnny at 12:22 PM on July 12, 2006

I had no trouble adapting to the MacBook keyboard -- in fact, "adapting" is probably too strong a word for the transition. No increase in typos, no trouble finding home row, no unusual finger fatigue. The resistance from the keys is a little lower, but the only consequence is that I seem to be typing a bit faster now.
posted by jjg at 12:27 PM on July 12, 2006

I prefer it to the iBook keyboard. I can't think of another laptop keyboard I like better, actually. I seem to miss fewer keys and it generally feels easier.
posted by abcde at 12:42 PM on July 12, 2006

I think much of it will depend on what you're used to. My wife recently got a MacBook and she says that she adjusted to using the keyboard rather quickly and she now likes it. However, every time I use it I end up with a lot of errors -- the most common one being hitting "caps lock" instead of "a." The two caveats are that I'm used to using a larger keyboard and I'm a lousy typist.

I say go to the Apple store and try it out for a while. If this girl can write her memoir that way, surely they won't mind if you spend a while testing it out.
posted by camcgee at 12:43 PM on July 12, 2006

I am a programmer who is very finicky about keyboards. I was quite happy with my old ibook g3 and ibook g4 keyboards and my g4 titanium and albook keyboards.

I now have a mac book (about 3 weeks now) and like its key board at least equally if not better. My hands took only moments to adjust so I would second the idea of trying one.

It looks much stranger than it feels.
posted by crhanson at 12:44 PM on July 12, 2006

There's nothing wrong with the Macbook keyboard. I have had no more trouble adapting to it than I have had any other keyboard. It's simply a matter of getting accustomed. It's closer to the iBook keyboard than you might think and it's certainly easier to use than the HP keyboard on my desk at work.
posted by Mo Nickels at 1:01 PM on July 12, 2006

FWIW, I prefer the keyboard on my MacBook to that on my old G3 iBook. In fact, I like it quite a bit - nice action to the keys.
posted by Dr. Wu at 1:16 PM on July 12, 2006

I mostly use an external ergonomic keyboard at work. At home I use the MacBook keyboard. I actually prefer the keyboard, however, out of curiosity I took a speed-typing test on the external then on the MacBook. My results were 98 wpm and 89 wpm, accordingly. I did the test several times and the average difference was consistent. If you were planning to create a lot of documents or code, which is sounds like you are, I would recommend an external ergonomic keyboard regardless of the Mac model.
posted by birdlips at 1:21 PM on July 12, 2006

I just bought a macbook as well. No real gripes with the keyboard, although it took a little getting used to at first. However, the thing that sort of bothers me is the relatively shallow clicking depth of the trackpad buttons. Not enough tactile feedback that I've actually clicked them-- although not a problem is you're using an external mouse, I suppose.
posted by unlicensedarchitect at 1:33 PM on July 12, 2006

Response by poster: Everyone,

Thank you so much for the comments. I have tried it out at the Apple store a few times but remained skeptical.

But the few of you who suggested using the external keyboard make a good point.

Sounds like I just saved a good chunk of money...and a bout of buyer's remorse.

posted by ryecatcher at 1:43 PM on July 12, 2006

The MacBook keys use the same mechanism as other Macs. It's only the keytops that are a different shape, and even then, not much.
posted by cillit bang at 2:04 PM on July 12, 2006

The Macbook keyboard is not as good as the keyboard on my work Thinkpad, but for the most part it's just fine. I am quite happy with it overall and I wouldn't knock points off the Macbook for the keyboard.
posted by gkostolny at 2:13 PM on July 12, 2006

yes, they are.
posted by Espoo2 at 2:19 PM on July 12, 2006

From the opposite angle: don't presume that the MacBook Pro keyboards are all that great. My PowerBook has seen its Return key spontaneously pop off so many times that even a brand new replacement keycap/butterfly mechanism won't stay put, and the space bar is occasionally unresponsive if I thump it with my right thumb. This is from daily but by no means abusive use by a touch typist. I have to conclude that the keyboard just isn't worth an extra grand!
posted by kimota at 2:29 PM on July 12, 2006

I liked the feel of it right away, but it took several days before I was fully comfortable using it -- the completely flat keys are a little bit odd, given that just about every keyboard since the PC Jr bombed has curved key-tops.

Now, however, I have normal facility with it, and I like it alot more than the keyboard on my old Powerbook G4, and definitely even more than the crappy Dell full-sized keyboard I'm using here at work.
posted by jammer at 2:57 PM on July 12, 2006

ive got a blackbook, was weirded out by the KB at first
but...ive come to like it, its pleasing to the fingers
posted by weaponsgradecarp at 3:00 PM on July 12, 2006

The Pro also has the backlite keys (that the MacBooks do not) so if have the need or want to type in unlit/not lit places, the Pro is another reason to go that way. The Pro also comes with the express 34 card slot - which is a convenient way to go with all wireless-all internet everywhere with an EVDO card and internet access (it's ciostly but convenient - no having to search for a hot spot).

There are other differences but for a writer, that's two.
posted by jbelkin at 4:15 PM on July 12, 2006

Are the keyboards on the MacBook really that bad?

Where have you read that the keyboards were bad? Most everything I have read, reviews and personal experiences, have been good.

Took me a day or so to get use to it, and it's definitely better than the my old iBooks keyboard.
posted by justgary at 4:21 PM on July 12, 2006

The Pro also has the backlite keys (that the MacBooks do not) so if have the need or want to type in unlit/not lit places, the Pro is another reason to go that way.

Save yourself a thousand dollars and buy yourself and ten dollar lamp.
posted by justgary at 4:23 PM on July 12, 2006

The keyboard is great! I think it's the best I've ever had. Online tests say I can get 120wpm with it too, which isn't shabby.
posted by bonaldi at 7:57 AM on July 13, 2006

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