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I Reviewed These 6 Alternatives to the Apple Magic Keyboard for 2024

If you‘re a Mac user looking for a better typing experience than what the standard Apple Magic Keyboard provides, you‘re in luck. While Apple‘s sleek white & silver keyboard certainly looks nice on a desk, it leaves a lot to be desired in terms of key feel, adjustability, and ergonomics. Fortunately, there are many fantastic alternatives on the market that work great with Mac computers and offer superior comfort, customization, and typing performance.

As someone who spends hours each day writing on a Mac, I‘ve tested over a dozen 3rd party keyboards to find the very best options. Whether you prefer the satisfying clicks of mechanical switches, the slim profile of a laptop-style keyboard, or need something compact for travel, there‘s a keyboard out there to fit your needs and budget.

Here are my top picks for the best alternatives to the Apple Magic Keyboard in 2023:

Best Overall: Logitech MX Keys
For an unbeatable combination of performance, features, and cross-device flexibility, the Logitech MX Keys is my top recommendation for Mac users. This full-size wireless keyboard sports a very similar aesthetic to Apple‘s boards with its slim aluminum chassis and minimalist white keycaps. But the typing experience is vastly improved thanks to the MX Keys‘ stellar low-profile scissor switches.

Each key offers a nice crisp tactile bump followed by a satisfyingly soft bottom-out feeling. The spherically dished keycaps cradle your fingertips for precise typing, while the matte texture prevents slippage. With the perfect resistance & travel distance, I can type quickly and accurately for hours on the MX Keys without any discomfort or finger fatigue.

This keyboard also packs smart backlighting that automatically adjusts to your room‘s ambient lighting and turns off when not in use to preserve battery life. You can expect up to 10 days of use with backlighting enabled or an impressive 5 months with it off. Recharging is handled via the USB-C port.

Other standout features include the ability to connect to 3 devices simultaneously via Bluetooth and swap between them at the tap of a button, compatibility with Logitech‘s Flow software for moving your cursor and files between computers, a number pad, and customizable function keys. The MX Keys works with Windows and Linux as well, so it‘s a great pick if you use multiple operating systems.

While the MX Keys carries a price tag around $120, its excellent design, switch feel, smart features and versatility make it well worth the cost. If you can only buy one keyboard, this is the one to get.

Best Mechanical: Keychron K2
For those who prefer the unparalleled responsiveness and durability of mechanical key switches, the Keychron K2 is one of the best Mac-focused options on the market. Available in a compact 84-key layout, it‘s small enough to slip into a bag while still providing dedicated arrow keys and function keys.

The K2 can be configured with your choice of Gateron switches, from clicky Blues to linear Reds to tactile Browns. I‘m partial to the Brown switches for their nice tactile bump without being overly loud for office environments. Keychron also offers a hot-swappable version that lets you easily change out switches without any soldering.

In addition to the excellent key feel, the K2 provides superb build quality with its solid aluminum frame, durable double-shot ABS keycaps, and removable USB-C cable. The white LED backlighting with multiple brightness levels is another welcome touch.

You can connect the K2 to your Mac via Bluetooth 5.1 and pair it with up to 3 devices for easy switching. It also works well with iPadOS and Windows devices. Battery life is stellar at up to 240 hours with the LEDs off.

Priced at under $80, the Keychron K2 is an exceptional value for a well-built, fully-featured mechanical keyboard designed for Mac. The responsive typing feel is a huge upgrade over mushy membrane boards. Just keep in mind it may be too tall for some without a wrist rest.

Best Compact: Satechi Slim X1
Need an ultra-portable keyboard you can toss in your bag and barely notice it‘s there? The Satechi Slim X1 is a fantastically slim, lightweight keyboard perfect for on-the-go productivity. Measuring just 0.7 inches at its thickest point and weighing under a pound, this compact keyboard sports a very similar look and feel to Apple‘s Magic Keyboard but in a smaller footprint.

The X1 provides a full set of function keys mapped to common macOS shortcuts like adjusting brightness and volume, toggling Mission Control, and more. The LED indicator lights for Caps Lock and battery status are also appreciated. While the key feel isn‘t quite as refined as the Logitech MX Keys, it‘s very good for a keyboard this thin and offers a nice improvement over the standard Magic Keyboard.

With both Bluetooth and USB wireless connectivity, the X1 can connect to your Mac, iPad or iPhone either wirelessly or with the included USB dongle tucked in the back. The rechargeable battery lasts up to 80 hours or 2-4 weeks with typical use. Satechi also sells a version with a built-in numeric keypad and a rose gold colorway to match your other gear.

At just under $60, the Satechi Slim X1 is reasonably priced for such a portable, well-designed keyboard. If you prioritize a compact form factor above all else, this is the way to go.

Best Budget: Microsoft Bluetooth Keyboard
You don‘t have to spend a lot to get a quality keyboard that‘s more comfortable and functional than Apple‘s offering. Priced at under $30, the Microsoft Bluetooth Keyboard is an excellent affordable option that provides a very similar look and feel to Apple‘s Magic Keyboard.

Despite its low cost, this keyboard doesn‘t feel cheap. It has a slim, minimalist aesthetic with an aluminum-colored plastic chassis and white keys. The scissor key switches feel surprisingly good, with decent travel and a satisfying springy feedback. I can type quickly and accurately on this board, although it‘s not quite as refined as more expensive options.

The Microsoft keyboard foregoes a number pad in favor of a compact tenkeyless layout. Media keys are also absent. But you do get a full function row and a set of four LEDs to indicate battery life, caps lock, and the current pairing. It connects wirelessly to your Mac, iPad or iPhone via Bluetooth 5.0 and can pair with up to 3 devices.

Battery life is great, with up to 2 years of juice on a pair of AAA batteries. An on/off switch lets you conserve power when not in use. Overall, this keyboard gets the job done for not a lot of dough.

Best for iPad: Brydge 10.2 MAX+
If you frequently type on an iPad, you‘ll appreciate a keyboard case that essentially turns your tablet into a laptop. The Brydge 10.2 MAX+ is my favorite iPad keyboard thanks to its excellent key feel, adjustable viewing angles, and sturdy construction.

Available for the 7th, 8th and 9th gen 10.2-inch iPads, the Brydge sports a full QWERTY layout with 1.5mm key travel – much deeper than most tablet keyboards. The keys are also backlit in three levels of brightness for easy visibility in dark environments. A full function row puts common iPadOS shortcuts at your fingertips.

The MAX+ wirelessly connects to your iPad via Bluetooth 5.0 and instantly wakes/sleeps when you open and close it, just like a laptop. Built-in protection for the front, back and corners of your iPad defends against bumps and scratches. The 180-degree screen rotation lets you smoothly adjust the viewing angle for different situations.

With up to 6 months of battery life on a single charge, you can confidently leave the charging cable at home. When it is time to top up, simply plug in the included USB-C cable.

Priced at $150, the Brydge 10.2 Max+ is a premium keyboard case. But its fantastic design, typing experience, and comprehensive protection make it the ultimate accessory for iPad power users. Your tablet will feel like a whole new device.

Optimizing Your Keyboard Setup and Use
Choosing a great keyboard is just the first step to a more comfortable, productive typing experience on your Mac. How you position and use your new keyboard also plays a big role. Here are some tips for optimizing your setup:

  1. Maintain a neutral wrist position. Ideally, your keyboard should be positioned at a height that allows your wrists to be straight and your elbows bent at around 90 degrees while typing. Avoid angling your wrists upwards, which can lead to strain over time.

  2. Take frequent breaks. No matter how comfortable your keyboard is, it‘s important to take regular breaks to rest your hands and wrists. Every 30-60 minutes, take a quick stretch break or switch to another activity like reading or talking on the phone.

  3. Keep your keyboard clean. Over time, dirt, dust, hair and oils from your skin can build up on and between the keys. Every few months, give your keyboard a thorough cleaning. Power it off, then use a soft brush, compressed air and lightly dampened cloth to clean the keys and chassis.

  4. Consider a wrist rest. If you tend to rest your palms on the desk or edge of the keyboard while typing, a soft wrist rest can help reduce pressure on your wrists. Look for one that‘s the same height and width as your keyboard for proper support.

  5. Experiment with key remapping. With 3rd party software like Karabiner-Elements or Hammerspoon, you can customize the behavior of any key or shortcut. Remap keys you rarely use to more convenient locations or create complex macros to streamline repetitive tasks.

Top Picks for Different Needs
With so many great options out there, the best keyboard for you will depend on your specific needs and preferences. Here‘s a quick recap of my top recommendations for different categories:

Best Overall: Logitech MX Keys
For unbeatable performance and versatility, you can‘t go wrong with the MX Keys‘ excellent key feel, smart backlighting, multi-device pairing and software customization.

Best Mechanical: Keychron K2
Enjoy the ultimate typing experience of mechanical switches in a Mac-centric compact design with the durable, feature-packed K2.

Best Compact: Satechi Slim X1
An incredibly slim, lightweight keyboard perfect for tossing in your bag, with good key feel and handy macOS function keys.

Best Budget: Microsoft Bluetooth Keyboard
Get a very similar look and feel to Apple‘s Magic Keyboard for a fraction of the price with this no-frills, affordable option.

Best for iPad: Brydge 10.2 MAX+
Transform your iPad into a proper laptop with this premium keyboard case sporting great key feel, a sturdy hinge, and 4-month battery life.

Hopefully this in-depth guide has helped you find the perfect Apple Magic Keyboard alternative for your needs. While Apple‘s standard keyboard gets the job done, investing in a more ergonomic, customizable 3rd party option can do wonders for your comfort and productivity, especially if you type for hours each day. With options ranging from under $30 to over $100, there‘s a keyboard upgrade to fit every budget and typing style.

Common Questions About Keyboard Alternatives
Q: Will I lose any functionality using a 3rd party keyboard instead of Apple‘s?

A: In most cases, no. The majority of keyboards designed for Macs will give you the same media keys and shortcuts as Apple‘s boards. Some, like the Logitech MX Keys, even let you customize the function keys to your liking.

Q: Can I use a mechanical keyboard with a Mac?

A: Yes! There are many great mechanical keyboards built specifically for Macs, like the Keychron K2. For non Mac-specific mechanical keyboards, you may just need to swap the modifier keys in the system preferences.

Q: How do I connect a wireless keyboard to my Mac?

A: Most wireless keyboards connect to your Mac via Bluetooth. Simply put your keyboard in pairing mode, then on your Mac, go to System Preferences > Bluetooth and select your keyboard from the list of devices. Others may connect via a USB wireless receiver you plug into your Mac‘s USB port.

Q: Do I need to install software to use a 3rd party keyboard?

A: In most cases, no additional software is necessary – the keyboard should work as soon as you pair it. However, some advanced models like the Logitech MX Keys and Craft offer optional software you can install to customize the function keys, enable Flow for moving between computers, and more.

Q: How long do wireless keyboards battery‘s typically last? Are they rechargeable?

A: Battery life varies depending on the model, backlighting and usage, but most wireless keyboards will last at least a few weeks on a charge, if not several months. Many use built-in rechargeable batteries you can top up via USB, while others use disposable AAs or AAAs. Always check the spec sheet for the exact battery life and type.