After just over five years of using a Microsoft Sculpt keyboard at work, I have upgraded to the finest that Apple has to offer – the Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad in Space Grey.
Does the new Apple keyboard look great? Yes.
Does it match my Apple Magic Mouse 2 which I was already using? Yes.
Is the new Magic Keyboard a joy to use? Absolutely not.
I am three days in and my hands are sore, I cannot type a single sentence without making a typo, and I have to reposition the new keyboard on my desk about 25 times an hour.
In the Magic Keyboard’s defence, it is not its fault: I am moving on from a five-year love affair with the Sculpt, and apples will need to be broken to bake this new work pie.
My Microsoft Sculpt Comfort keyboard, pictured below, was purchased in March 2018 for R640 from Takealot.
It was ordered after my previous Sculpt Comfort started to give me problems with the space bar, following two years of hard use.
The combination of the keyboard’s sloping design, raised profile, and five years of my hands caressing it – getting to know every inch of its body – resulted in me being able to type at high speeds with my eyes closed.
There were two issues with the device, however:
- Signs of wear were setting in. A keyboard is also a magnet for dirt and crumbs, and these elements were accumulating despite vigorous cleaning.
- It used a large USB dongle to connect to my work laptop.
My work laptop is an Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch, and for MacBook owners there are several caveats when you have to use a USB-dongle-connecting, Windows-focussed keyboard.
The first is that the MacBook Pro offers four Thunderbolt ports, which use a USB-C form factor, and Bluetooth for connectivity.
The keyboard dongle is USB-A – which means it had to be placed in the single USB-A slot available on the Apple adapter I had to buy so I could connect to my work monitor via HDMI.
Connectivity to my keyboard would also drop on occasions, and I would have to punch the Microsoft Sculpt, unplug the USB dongle, and then plug it back in to get typing again.
After the frequency of the latter started to increase, it was time to move on.
The logical choice for a replacement was the Magic Keyboard from Apple – pictured below.
I have been using an Apple Magic Mouse for several years and it is superb – leading me to believe that the keyboard would be the same.
It connects to the MacBook via Bluetooth, is super slim and stylish, looks uber cool in Space Grey, and the key spacing and feeling when you type is excellent.
The only problem is that my hands are not used to the shallow keys, the linear layout, and the thin profile of the device.
Three days into using it and I am typing at about half the speed I was on the Sculpt.
I keep making spelling mistakes and having to retype content, and my hands are physically sore from the new positions they have to take to work.
I would liken it to a new pair of Toughees school shoes – if the shoes cost R3,399 from the iStore.
They are shiny and new when you take them out the box, look good on your feet, but make the back of your ankles bleed instantly when taking your first step.
Despite the pain, I plan to push on.
I will give myself three months to get to a Microsoft-Sculpt-level of typing speed and accuracy, and if I do not reach it I will be donating the Apple keyboard to a style-conscious colleague.
If anyone from Apple is reading this: Your keyboard is superb and the cause of my struggles is undoubtedly the long-term exposure my fingers had to the Sculpt.
The keys make a satisfying sound when hit, the shallow-press design is modern, and it looks fantastic in black and grey.
I believe that with perseverance and patience, it will grow on me just as the Magic Mouse has done.
*This review was written using an Apple Magic Keyboard.