Backlit and Beautiful – Review Geek



Rating:
8/10
?

  • 1 – Absolute Hot Garbage
  • 2 – Sorta Lukewarm Garbage
  • 3 – Strongly Flawed Design
  • 4 – Some Pros, Lots Of Cons
  • 5 – Acceptably Imperfect
  • 6 – Good Enough to Buy On Sale
  • 7 – Great, But Not Best-In-Class
  • 8 – Fantastic, with Some Footnotes
  • 9 – Shut Up And Take My Money
  • 10 – Absolute Design Nirvana

Price: $79.99

Cory Gunther

I’ve used the Satechi Slim X2 Bluetooth backlit keyboard extensively over the last month, and it made switching from my desktop to a MacBook Pro or working on the go with an iPad a breeze. It’s like the Apple Magic Keyboard, only better, thanks to backlit keys, multi-user support, and more.

Here’s What We Like

• Backlit keys
• Solid hardware
• Multi-device support
• Fairly affordable

And What We Don’t

• Buttons are a little squishy
• No adjustable feet risers

At $80, the Satechi Slim X2 costs about half the price of Apple’s full-size Magic Keyboard with a number pad, plus it has a few essential features that make it a better buy. Potential buyers will love the durable aluminum Apple-inspired space gray design, low profile, and long battery life.

Satechi’s keyboard has a lot to offer in a mid-sized package. While you’re not getting mechanical switches, users will enjoy the overall size, weight, and portability here. It’s small enough to easily take on the go while still offering a full number pad, media controls, and all the typical macOS function keys. This little keyboard does it all. Here’s why it’s a great Magic Keyboard alternative and an excellent choice for those in need of a portable Bluetooth keyboard.

Specifications

Considering this isn’t a smartphone, laptop, or big powerful computer, there aren’t a lot of specs
to go over. However, here’s what Satechi’s Slim X2 keyboard has to offer.

  • Backlit keys with ten levels of brightness
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Up to 10-day battery life
  • Supports connecting to up to 4 devices at a time
  • Aluminum design, black keys, Apple-style space gray color
  • Dedicated Apple macOS shortcut keys
  • USB-C port for charging and hard-wired use (included)
  • Included riser feet

How It Compares to the Magic Keyboard

Cory Gunther

The Slim X2 works with iOS devices and Mac computers, plus it’s compatible with other devices that support Bluetooth. That said, it’s best served with Apple products, as it has all the essential keys and functions for macOS. The X2 incorporates shortcut keys, like the Magic Keyboard, to get everything done. You’ll find buttons to quickly adjust the brightness, music playback controls, Spotlight search, volume options, Command+Tab for multi-tasking, and even an F-key lock. Any Mac user will feel comfortably at home using this keyboard.

Satechi’s keyboard offers 10-levels of brightness, low profile scissor-switch keys, USB-C for charging or wired connections, can connect to four devices with ease, and lasts for up to 10 days, all at an affordable price. In addition, the build quality is excellent, and the keys have a squishy yet tactile feel.

For comparison, Apple’s Bluetooth keyboard only connects to one device at a time, so swapping from your Mac to an iPad or phone is a pain. The Magic Keyboard doesn’t offer backlit keys either, which is a significant drawback.

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Cory Gunther

Cory Gunther

Cory Gunther

The overall look and feel are the most significant difference between Apple’s Magic Keyboard and the Slim X2, aside from the price and backlit keys. Yes, they look incredibly similar with the wedge shape, but the Magic Keyboard does have slightly smaller bezels and full-size function keys at the top. With the Satechi, the top row is a bit smaller and may take some getting used to. However, those smaller F-keys match most MacBook Pros, so it felt natural for me.

Satechi designed the keyboard specifically for those that want to get more done, as it comes with several function keys and a full numeric keypad. And while I’m not the biggest fan of how dirty black keys get or how it shows finger oils instantly, everything else about this keyboard is good.

When compared to the Magic Keyboard or other Apple keyboards, you’ll undoubtedly notice it feels a bit different. Satechi’s keys are plenty tactile and have a smooth response, but they are a little squishy compared to Apple’s options. It’s not a bad thing, and everyone has their own preference regarding how products feel.

More importantly, I’m able to switch between my MacBook Pro 16 keyboard and the Satechi Slim X2 with ease, without slowdown or mistakes.

Backlit Keys

Cory Gunther

For whatever reason, Apple still refuses to add illuminated keys to its Bluetooth keyboard offerings, and it’s a shame.

This is the primary reason most users will choose the Satechi keyboard over competitors. Having a similar backlit keyboard experience as my MacBook Pro, one with ten brightness levels makes it perfect. And, just like any MacBook, there are two dedicated shortcut keys right where they should be to adjust the keyboard brightness. But, again, it’s the fact that I feel at home on this keyboard, and all my typing habits remain the same when I use it.

Unfortunately, the backlit keys don’t have the same quality as a MacBook, which obviously costs more money. The lights aren’t a “pure white” like a MacBook, and when you crank it up to 7 or higher, there tends to be a bit of backlight bleeding around the sides of the keys. Instead of simply glowing, it’s more of a ring of light around each key. This is more noticeable at certain angles and isn’t a big deal, but it’s worth mentioning.

Cory Gunther

It’s important to remember that battery life will suffer if you turn on the backlighting. At full brightness, I couldn’t get the entire 10-day battery life promised without needing a recharge. However, I rarely turned them up past four, easily making it last an entire week. Satechi claims with the keys turned off; it should last up to five months without a recharge. I haven’t used it long enough to test that, but I’ve used it for over 14 days without the lights and have plenty of battery remaining.

Satechi designed the keyboard to quickly turn the backlit keys down to level 1 when not in use, which helps preserve battery life. It’ll decrease to the lowest setting within one minute, then completely turn off after three minutes without any button taps. Additionally, when there’s only 15% battery life on the keyboard, all the lights turn off.

I do wish there was a battery percentage indicator in the macOS Bluetooth menu, as you’ll see when connecting AirPods or Apple accessories, but that’s not Satechi’s fault, Apple doesn’t allow third-party devices to show that information.

Multi-device Bluetooth Support

Cory Gunther

Another area where Apple’s magic keyboard falls short, but the Satechi excels, is with multi-device support. You’ll see four dedicated keys with Bluetooth logos above the number pad in the top right. Each of these can easily pair to different devices, giving you the ability to switch between four devices instantly.

Long-press one of these buttons, which will light up, then pair it to your Mac Mini, iPad Air, or even your smartphone. Once paired to your device of choice, you can instantly switch between them on the fly, and it’s incredibly fast.

Cory Gunther

I was able to type a sentence on an iPad, tap number 2 to switch to another connected device, and start typing within about a second or two, and it worked flawlessly every time. I didn’t experience any lag, delays, or frustrating pairing issues. It just works. With a press of a button, it’s possible to go from responding to work emails on your Mac to finishing a shopping list on a smartphone.

Considering the Magic Keyboard doesn’t have this ability, let alone for four devices, makes the Satechi instantly an excellent option for multi-device homes and users.

A Few Other Details

Cory Gunther

Before wrapping things up, I did want to mention a few other details for prospective buyers. Considering the small wedge-shaped design of the keyboard, it doesn’t come with adjustable or integrated feet. The overall shape offers good typing angles, similar to a Macbook, but if you want it higher, the Satechi Slim X2 comes with optional rubber riser feet in the box.

Cory Gunther

The rubber riser feet aren’t anything special and attach with 3M adhesive pads. However, the feet give you a noticeably improved typing angle for those who prefer it. Unfortunately, there’s only one size, but it’s better than nothing.

All in all, this is a very versatile keyboard with plenty to like.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a Bluetooth keyboard similar to what Apple offers without the high Apple price tag, all while getting more features simultaneously, this is a good choice. I love that Satechi kept the familiar Apple styling, complete with the same space gray color, enabling the keyboard to blend in with any other Mac products on a desk.

Thanks to a solid aluminum design, plenty of battery life, multi-device support for up to four devices, it’s hard not to recommend the Satechi Slim X2 at this price point. Especially when Apple refuses to offer modern features like USB-C charging and backlit keys.

Who knows, maybe solid alternatives such as the Slim X2 will cause Apple to step up its game. For now, this is a Bluetooth keyboard worth considering.

Rating: 8/10

Price: $79.99

Here’s What We Like

• Backlit keys
• Solid hardware
• Multi-device support
• Fairly affordable

And What We Don’t

• Buttons are a little squishy
• No adjustable feet risers



Article From: HowToGeek