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Apple's keyboards are pretty good, but an excellent option for your Mac Studio or Mac mini is the Satechi X3 Slim — and it costs a lot less than Apple's too.
We absolutely adore our Magic Keyboard. However, the $129 price tag for a budget-conscious buyer is steep. That's why we've looked at Satechi's Slim X3 Bluetooth Backlit Keyboard. Sporting a similar layout to Apple's own Magic Keyboard, it's a reasonably-priced alternative for those who still want a keyboard that feels sturdy.
Satechi Slim X3 - Design
The Slim X3 is crafted from silver aluminum and features black plastic keys. In addition, the keys are backlit, which is a nice feature for those who type by night.
It boasts a full line of function keys at the top and an attached numerical pad on the right side of the keyboard.
It feels sturdy, which we are thrilled about. Oftentimes, it's pretty easy to find a cheap keyboard that gets the job done, only to find out that the keyboard doesn't hold up to regular use.
While we have only had the keyboard for a short while, it certainly feels like it will last. And, Satechi offers a one-year warranty just in case the unexpected happens.
We do have a criticism, though, and that's the placement of the function key. Instead of placing the function key to the left of the left-handed control, Satechi has placed it in the second row in the "center" portion of the keyboard. That is to say, near the home, end, and page up/down buttons.
If you routinely reach down with your pinky to hit your function key, this will be a significant changeup.
Still, it's a relatively minor criticism, and if you're not routinely hitting your function button, you may appreciate the larger control button instead.
Satechi Slim X3 - Usability
Typing on the Slim X3 is similar to typing on a magic keyboard. The angle is decent, though somewhat subtle, and there are no "feet" that pop up to adjust the keyboard to higher levels.
By default, the keyboard is set up with default Mac keys. This is one of the best features about it, as we've tried many keyboards in the past that default to a Windows key layout.
Because it's Bluetooth enabled, you can pair it with just about any device you want, including your iPhone or iPad.
Satechi Slim X3 - Battery Life
Like most Bluetooth keyboards, the Slim X3 employs an auto-sleep mode to preserve battery life. After 30 minutes of inactivity, the keyboard will sleep to conserve the battery. Tapping any key on the keyboard will wake it up.
Once the battery is drained completely, Satechi notes that it will take about two to three hours to fully recharge. We've been using it for a while, though, and the battery is still going quite strong.
However, if you don't want to deal with routinely draining your battery, you can also use the keyboard in wired mode. This is especially handy if you don't routinely need to move your keyboard and don't mind the extra cord on your desk.
The Satechi Slim X3 matches Apple's design ethos, and is a good alternative
Apple itself does not skimp on keyboards. And, if you're anything like us, even with that quality, you tend to hammer through one pretty quickly, and that can get expensive.
Keyboards range in price from very cheap, to very expensive. It's also one of the three interface surfaces with humans, the other two being monitors, and surfaces like desks and chairs. It's worth finding a good solution for all three of the human interface solutions.
If you're looking for a Magic Keyboard alternative after you've beaten yours to death, or just want a change, the Satechi Slim X3 is a good balance of features, design, and cost. It matches the Apple aesthetic quite well, can be used wired or wirelessly, and comes in at $40 cheaper than Apple's official model.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
- Performs very similarly to Apple's Magic Keyboard
- Long-lasting battery life makes it ideal for a cord-free setup
- Backlighting is nice for low-light environments
- Function button takes some time to get used to
Where to buy the Satechi Slim X3 keyboard
You can snag your own Slim X3 Backlit Bluetooth keyboard from Satechi's site for $89.99.