Apple Bluetooth Keyboard: Is it worth it?

60 Comments

Hello loyal readers!

I’m considering purchasing one of Apple’s Bluetooth keyboards, to replace my wired keyboard. I like the “feel” of the keys, and the idea of no wires is appealing. I have a bluetooth adapter from Belkin which plugs into my G5, and provides bluetooth services.

Who out there owns an Apple Wireless Bluetooth keyboard, and what do you think of it? Is it the same as the wired version, in terms of “feel” and behavior? How is the battery life, and the response time when typing? I’ll be using this for my programming, so we’re talking about “heavy useage” here.

I’m looking forward to reading your comments, so just leave them in the box below…

60 Comments

AaronC

My wife has a MacMini with a wired keyboard and I use my wireless kb with my PowerBook. There really isn’t a difference in how they feel or their key action. The battery life on my wireless kb is great. It’s lasted me for about a year, but I don’t use it every day and I only use it in the evenings. The one thing I wish the wireless kb had is the usb ports like the wired version has. But that just wouldn’t make sense anyway.

The mouse I never really liked. It just doesn’t fit my hand very well. So it’s more of a design issue than anything. Take that for what it’s worth. ($.02) I ended up buying a Microsoft Intellimouse Explorer for Bluetooth instead.

So my advice is, GO FOR IT!

Jim

I use the Apple bluetooth keyboard and a Logitech MX900 bluetooth mouse with my PowerBook; it’s an awesome setup. The first set of batteries I ever put in the keyboard (Energizer e2 titanium) lasted me in excess of seven months.

Unlike the mouse, which, while nice, has some obvious “wireless issues”, Apple has done an outstanding job making the user experience of the wireless keyboard identical to the wired one. You really can’t tell the difference other than that you don’t have to plug anything in.

JTA

I just bought a MacBook Pro, but I have an Apple Bluetooth Keyboard that I use with my old G4 Dual-500Mhz Tower. I have had the keyboard for over a year and have yet to need a change of batteries. I only had to pair it with the computer the first time. I love the feel of the keyboard – especially the weight. It has a solidity to it that makes you know it’s there – unlike a lot of keyboards out there that feel as if they would blow away in a stiff breeze.
My only complaint is that, because of the clear case, I can see all the dust and dirt and other filth that ends up beneath the keys. So, if you decide to get one, add one of those mini keyboard vacuums to your shopping cart.

Patrick K.

I haven’t had a new wired keyboard since my purple iMac back in the day, as all of my Macs have been laptops since then. I purchased a Bluetooth wireless keyboard with my PowerBook about two years ago. Since then, I’ve used it almost constantly and have had no problems with it. Battery life is great, a testament to Apple’s engineering prowess. I’d highly recommend it. And a high-resolution projector, so you can turn the wall of your house into the monitor. :) Anyways, the keyboard is great, and I think once you go Bluetooth you’ll never go back.

Al Proulx

Love the wireless keyboard…excellent feel & response time. Used to have an old “Microsoft Natural” keyboard — I loved the more natural hand position & overall ergonomics, but I’ve quickly grown reaccustomed to the conventional keyboard layout of the Apple. The smoothness & depth of the keystrokes are better on the Apple. Still using a wired mouse though because I won’t part with my Mighty Mouse (love it)…any idea when a wireless version of it will come out? Thanks.

Curt

I have both wired and BT versions. The BT keyboard has the same feel as the USB version. But if I had a choice, I prefer the smaller keyboard on my 12″ G4 PB.

I never have any pairing issues for the BT KB with my iMac, and the battery life is amazing. It’s still going strong since I purchased it at the beginning of the year – no battery changes.

My wife plays a tetris game on it, so responsiveness may be OK. But I often think that the keyboard mistypes or skips letters at times. However, I suspect this could be more related to differences between this keyboard and the one on my PB. Others have reported a similar experience, so perhaps it ain’t so great.

I type quite a bit, and find my fingers getting tired on any Apple desktop Keyboard. I don’t have this with my PB keyboard, so you can understand my preference for it.

Hope this helps.

Steve

I got a Mighty Mouse only so I could make sure our app used the scrollball events correctly when scrolling in both axes. About a month later I got an Intel iMac and it came with a Mighty Mouse (arg). I only use the iMac for Intel code testing. So, I don’t use the Mighty Mice very often, but when I do, I often get a left-click when I do a right-click. Others have complained about the same thing. You can avoid it by learning to keep your index finger (or ring finger if you’re left handed) up in the air a bit when doing a right-click.

As far as BlueTooth mouse battery life, I got a Kensington PilotMouse to use with our PowerBook when playing Sims 2. When we were really into the game, the mouse would get about 4 hours of use a night. The batteries only lasted a few weeks. I would guess that the devices use too much power by having RF output strong enough to work 30′ away. My mouse is never more than 1′ away from my computer, so it’s a big waste of power IMO.

Rich

I got both the bluetooth keyboard and mouse the Christmas after they were introduced. They work great. The battery life of the keyboard is just fine. The mouse is more of a battery hog. The response time of the keyboard is slightly slower than on a wired keyboard, especially if you are a fast typist, but it’s not a problem at all. I’ve used both on my G4 Cube / iMac G5 / iBook with no problems. A cordless mouse has been a Godsend. A cordless keyboard is not as handy, since I don’t move it around as much. The feel of the keyboard is just like Apple keyboards of the past. If you like it (which I do) you’ll be right at home. On a side note, cordless (either BT or RF) may be commonplace for techies, but they still have a Wow factor with most people.

weisheng

I don’t really enjoy the feel of the keys, they’re too stiff for my liking. I prefer the feel of notebook keys. Also collects grime very easily. You should fit it with iSkin’s ProTouch XT from the very start.

However, there isn’t any other wireless keyboard out there that matches its Mac aesthetic. And in my case, there’s no point using up a USB port by buying an RF wireless keyboard when I already have built-in Bluetooth.

kevin finlayson

I use the wireless keyboard about 10 hours a day, writing code. I have the delay and repeat rates upped to max and the keyboard doesn’t falter or lag at all. it doesn’t take noticeable extra time to pair on my dual G5, and I’ve replaced the batteries once in a year. The mouse, however, was a battery hog that got replaced with a mighty mouse after a couple of months. Also: It’s nice to pick up my keyboard and carry it to the couch when i want to watch some TV with VLC! Highly recommended.

Padriac

I’ve been using an Apple Bluetooth keyboard and mouse with an Intel iMac.

Batteries last:
Keyboard: 4 months (I’ve had it 4 months, haven’t had to change batteries yet)
Mouse: 1 month (drains faster for some reason).

Facts:
With Apple’s bluetooth keyboard and mouse you can pretty much do anything you can with the wired versions. I’ve never experienced the lags and constant pairing problems a few are talking about. You *can* wake the system via wireless. Hell, you can completely erase and reinstall the operating system with the wireless keyboard and mouse. They also work fine for installing and using Windows via bootcamp. I have never ran into a situation where I cannot use the wireless keyboard and mouse when I need to; I don’t need a “failsafe” wired keyboard hanging around.

Basically, I’ve encountered no problems of any sort, unless you count the fact that, yes, you need to change the batteries every now and then. Other than that, these suckers operate as if they were wired. Period. Very satisfied with them.

El Vineet

I bought the wireless keyboard/mouse package during my switch when the Intel iMacs came out. I really love it but if I could go back and do this again, I would probably get the wired because of a few reasons:
1) It’s only a question of 1 wire
2) You lose the keyboard USB ports with the wireless one
3) Costs more $$
4) If you get the mouse too, it doesn’t have very good battery mileage (uses 2 batteries/month for me)

kent

I use both Microsoft and Mighty Mouse and I can’t use them without installing USB Overdrive or SteerMouse. Apple drivers for USB mice are just awful – there’s no way to tune acceleration level.

Todd Baur

Shh! I use a Microsoft Keyboard and Mouse! See I don’t hate them, I think this Comfort Keyboard is great and in a year I’ve never replaced the batteries, but it is finally time to do so. IMHO, I’ve never really liked Apple’s keyboards. There isn’t anything wrong with them and I wouldn’t shy anyone away from using one. I’ve used several Bluetooth adapters with them, and it just works. Bluetooth seems to have some lag in it as well, so if you’re mouse usage warrants precision then it might not be a good idea. Otherwise, they’re fine!.

Finney

My fav – the Logitech Laser keyboard and mouse duo specifically for Mac. Got it a few weeks ago, and man it works like a dream. The mouse has integrated volume controls, and the keyboard has a built in iTunes remote. Amazing stuff.

Lindsay Cullen

I have the wireless keyboard and mouse and a G5 iMac ALS. I use the keyboard all the time and am very happy with responsiveness and battery life. I leave it on all the time except when transporting it (which I do about once a week to play presentations at church). I’ve had the machine almost 12 months and changed the batteries only once and I am a afirly constant user. I use Mighty Mouse at home, but when I take the gear to church I take the wireless mouse, so the operator can use keyboard and mouse on her lap. The only problem I’ve had with the mouse is that it doesn’t have a ‘tail’ so one time the operator tried to use it upside-down for 5 minutes!

The keyboard wakes the computer from sleep every morning and if you have the keyboard turned on before booting, doesn’t seem to take long at all to pair – i’m not aware of any time that I’m just waiting for pairing (and the pairing bezel doesn’t come up unless I turn the keyboard on second).

I’ve never noticed a problem with typing speed (nor has my v. fast typist wife). The only problem I have is Keynote swapping round the position of apostrophes but that seems to be limited to the one piece of software so I suspect it has nothing to do with the keyboard.

Enjoy.

rock star

I use mine all day and everyday, about 4month battery life for me

Bill I

I too am a programmer, so I use mine day in and day out. The batteries, even under HEAVY use, will last you a solid couple of months (usually ~3 for me).

I like mine so much, you’d have to pry it out of my cold dead fingers to get it away from me :)

Chris

Jason,

My keyboard wakes my G5 imac from sleep when a key is pushed. Ive never paired mine with my Powerbook so im not sure how that works.

I think it must use power when the machine is asleep for it to be able to power it on again, but perhaps it uses less energy?

Justin Crittenden

Also with that long pair time it makes it impossible to use boot time key commands such as C for booking from CD or Cmd-Opt-P-R to clear the P-ram.

from all i’ve seen of bluetooth, i’d make sure you at least have a wired one just in case, and i’d rather go RF. I’ve personally always gotten better range out of it than bluetooth.

also surprising to hear a belkin adapter working since apple supposedly says a specific d-link one will work…

Chris

Andreas: the mighty mouse is amazing I use it every day at work for my graphics work and then at home too. The “nipple” does get stuck after heavy use sometimes and needs cleaning but other than that, its a brilliant mouse.

dalton

I had an old fashioned RF wireless keyboard, and the batteries would last 6 months or more. I’m sorry to hear that the bluetooth version doesn’t live up to the same standard.

On that note, why do wireless keyboards need batteries anyway? I’m hoping that, someday, we’ll have wireless keyboards that collect and store energy from the downward motion of key presses, and just use that to transmit data. Think of all the energy that is being wasted by millions of typing hands everyday!

Travis

I love mine. Battery life is amazing. I have used mine dailey, and a lot, since september without new batteries!

Jason Terhorst

I’ll probably keep my Logitech mouse, as I’ve never liked the Apple mice, and after playing with the Mighty Mouse, I grabbed the other brand mouse instead.

One other question:
If I put my G5 to sleep, will it wake up if I tap a key on the keyboard? What happens if I close the lid on a Powerbook that’s paired with it, and I carry the Powerbook out of range? Will the keyboard go to sleep? In my limited playing with a wireless keyboard, I noticed that one that isn’t “paired” to a machine will put itself to sleep. Does this mean it’s not using any power? How do the energy saving functions work?

Andreas

I have no problem with the battery runing low quickly. I keep my keyboard and mouse turned on all the time, but during daytime I’m away using my ipod at my university. In the evening or weekend I use the keyboard and mouse, and I thnik the battery must have lasted for at least 6 months now.

I agree with Chris on the mouse. Would you recommend the Mighty Mouse?

Chris

oh yeh, forgot to mention. there is one annoying factor. The keyboard takes a little while to “pair” on startup. You end up sitting at the login screen for about 20 seconds until the keyboard is available…

Chris

Hi Jason,

Ive been using the bluetooth keyboard for about a year and a half now and have had no problems with it. This includes some xcode usage and a lot of web development in Dreamweaver and SkEdit. Its difficult to tell the difference from the wired version (unlike the bluetooth mouse which I do find a bit jerky and laggy).

Battery life is ok. not great. my batteries seem to last about 4 or 5 months (i leave my machine on all day but turn it off at night).

The “feel” is exactly the same as the wired version. Even my die hard windows buddy loves the key response of my apple keyboard.

I’d recommend it mate, less cable clutter too.

Aaron

I use my keyboard for evening freelance work and go through one set of batteries every 3 weeks. The battery costs will add up quickly.

GuyWhosWifeHasaMini

My wife has a Mini (PowerPC) and bought it with the Apple Wireless Bluetooth keyboard and Apple Wireless Bluetooth mouse. She likes them both very much – in terms of feel. Behavior: they both go through batteries fairly quickly. So…we got rechargable batteries. Well, that may not have been the best choice because they go through those even faster than regular batteries. So now I buy the “high end” batteries that claim to work best wtih digital cameras and they work the best. Other than that the only other problem we had was with the initial setup: you have to have a wired keyboard and mouse to set up the Bluetooth on the computer.

Comments are closed.