If you are a creative professional, with a bunch of Apple devices to your name, it may be crucial to maintain a consistent typing experience between using each device. As much as Apple’s own Magic wireless Bluetooth keyboard is a dream to type on, having to switch between devices isn’t a quick or smooth process.
Luckily there are a few keyboards available today that allow you to switch between devices with a simple press of an assigned button. The Satechi Aluminum Slim Wireless Keyboard is such a keyboard that allows you to connect to up to four separate devices whilst keeping your typing experience consistent between them all.
In the box you’ll find the Satechi aluminium slim keyboard itself, a 1m USB-C to USB-A charging cable to connect and charge its internal rechargeable battery, and a user manual to help you pair the keyboard to an Apple Mac or iOS device, to how to charge it and use its various Mac and iOS centric function keys.
Out of the box the keyboard required charging fairly quickly, which wasn’t a great first experience. Once charged, using its USB-C cable, the keyboard will last up to 50 hours. Without any additional backlighting on this keyboard, this rather short life span comes as a bit of a surprise to me, with some other Bluetooth keyboards lasting a few weeks on a single charge.
This short battery life is most likely due to a small rechargeable battery that fits just is inside the very slim profile of the keyboard. Sadly, the keyboard will not work on the charging cable alone, but only when it has some charge will you be able to continue using it over Bluetooth. If this troubles you, you can opt for its backlit version to adopt this kind of functionality.
The Satechi Aluminum Slim Wireless Keyboard is a Bluetooth 3.0 keyboard that features a full QWERTY and numeric keypad layout in a tidy and sleek looking space grey or white design with diamond-cut chamfered edges. Its main function keys have been made predominantly to allow you to interact with a combination of Apple macOS and iOS devices, which is nice. Once paired to an iMac, MacBook, iPad or iPhone you can seamlessly switch between them with a simple tap of one of its four device buttons.
With its solid aluminium frame, a weight of 340g and its fairly compact dimension of 36.2cm wide x 11.8cm high x 1cm deep, the Satechi Slim keyboard is a perfect companion to accompany an iPad whilst travelling and writing. I can’t type as fast on the iPad’s software keyboard as I can using a connected Bluetooth keyboard, so using a dedicated physical keyboard helps me be more productive. Also, having the iOS keypad hidden from view when the keyboard is connected makes even the 11-inch Apple iPad a great display to type on, even more so in portrait mode.
If you prefer your keyboard keys to be tactile, then this Satechi keyboard may be for you. For me, I am too used to the Apple Magic Bluetooth keyboard, with its short-throw butterfly mechanism keys, so I find this Satechi keyboard with its spongy scissor-switch keys requires much more effort and travel with each keypress. In comparison, it almost feels like a workout for your fingers. You may prefer this kind of feel, but for me, I prefer the butterfly-switch keys on Apple Magic Keyboard or the scissor-switch keys on the Logitech MX Keys keyboard. The slim profile on the Satechi doesn’t support any additional legs or feet to raise its angle further. So bear this in mind if you prefer a keyboard to have height adjustment or a more angled slant than what the Slim keyboard gives you.
When you compare its alternatives, you also have to consider the price. The Apple Magic Keyboard with numeric keypad sets you back $129 (£129 UK), whilst the Logitech MX Keys, which allows up to 3 alternative devices, chimes in a very competitive price of $99.99 (£99.99 UK) on Amazon. The Satechi Slim Keyboard retails for $64.99 (£74.99 UK), which is cheaper but than the other mentioned keyboards, but with backlit and more comfortable keys, and the ability to connect to just 3 other Bluetooth devices, and key customisation through software, it’s hard to justify why you wouldn’t want to spend that £15 more and opt for the Logitech instead.
The pros and cons for each keyboard really vary on your demands from it. The Satechi keyboard is the lightest of the bunch, which is great for travel. It also has a reduced width form factor whilst also maintaining a full QWERTY layout and numeric keypad. Its ability to swap between up to four devices is the icing on the cake, but that’s if you have that many devices to connect it to. Switching between devices on the Satechi is fast, which helps when writing content between your MacBook and iPad, or composing a message on your iPhone.
The Satechi Slim Keyboard works great with Apple devices, yet you can use this keyboard with a Windows PC system also. Once paired, the Windows desktop/laptop can utilise all the same function keys of the keyboard. With F1 opening the browser, F2 opens Windows Search or Cortana, F3 and F4 scrolls within focused windows, F5 opens the Windows overview dashboard and F6 opens the Windows Store. Just like when using this keyboard on macOS, all media and volume keys work as intended.
Using these function keys on the iPad really enhances the usability and efficiency of using an iPad as a professional device. Now and then you wish to reach for a mouse, and with cursor key navigation and selection being slower than physically tapping and selecting on the touch screen, you soon realise a mouse isn’t as important anymore and navigating through touch can be surprisingly efficient.
If you’re looking for a Bluetooth keyboard that allows you to switch between your Apple macOS, iOS (or Windows) devices, then the Satechi Slim Wireless Keyboard ticks many boxes, all for a respectable asking price. The firm key pressure required may appeal to some, but for me, they took some getting used to, and their more tactile, spongy feel continued to disappoint.
The Satechi Slim keyboard is priced a little higher than what I think it should be, considering Satechi’s other models and its competition. Their similarly priced Bluetooth Keyboard with backlighting is a much more improved model that could be more of a competitor to the Logitech MX Keys keyboard, with its 3 device buttons, Bluetooth 5.0, wired and wireless use, and its recessed and backlit keys. If £79.99 is your limit for a multi-device keyboard, then I would skip the Slim and consider its upgraded backlit brother.