Satechi Slim X3 Bluetooth Backlit Keyboard Review

Apple’s newest replace to the flagship Magic Keyboard, which added Touch ID and never a lot else, did not impress us. Satechi’s Slim X3 Bluetooth Backlit Keyboard ($89.99), the newest wi-fi keyboard designed with Apple customers in thoughts, does higher. While it doesn’t reinvent the wheel (and it certainly doesn’t need to—the Magic Keyboard is a minimum of purposeful and trendy), the X3 Keyboard mimics the minimalist profile of Apple’s board whereas enhancing key journey and suggestions. It lacks Touch ID, however in trade, it’s $100 much less, making it a worthwhile various for Mac customers after typing consolation.

Satechi Does What Apple Doesn’t

If there’s one factor Apple will get proper, it’s the look and general design of the Magic Keyboard. From the Mac Studio all the way down to the keyboard and mouse, every Apple product contains a clear, bespoke design, even when it typically makes cuts to performance. The Slim X3 matches the brand new Magic Keyboard’s measurements virtually precisely, clocking in at 4.5 by 16.6 by 0.4 inches (HWD). It is barely heavier, however nonetheless weighs beneath a pound. Its svelte design beats nearly any Mac keyboard various we’ve reviewed, together with the Logitech MX Keys and the earlier Satechi Aluminum Keyboard mannequin.

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Satechi Slim X3 Bluetooth Backlit Keyboard

(Photo: Zackery Cuevas)

As with aesthetics, simplicity is the secret with regards to setup, too. Just flip the keyboard on by flipping the swap within the high proper nook, and maintain down one of many Bluetooth connection buttons till your laptop is paired. Two LED indicators within the high proper point out battery life and whether or not the Number Lock operate has been engaged. Toward the middle, you’ll discover the USB-C port for charging the inner battery.

Functionality-wise, the Slim X3 is tailored for the Mac consumer. The full-size board comes geared up with 15 operate keys, together with a bevy of shortcuts to manage quantity, brightness, media, and the like. Of course, because it’s not an Apple machine, the Satechi ditches the Touch ID button; the design replaces it with a USB eject button. That makes it precisely just like the 2019 pre-Touch ID Apple Magic Keyboard, if solely by way of the operate keys.

Satechi Slim X3 Bluetooth Backlit Keyboard

(Photo: Zackery Cuevas)

But the brand new Slim X3 comes with two essential calling playing cards to distinguish it. First, it may possibly pair with as much as 4 Bluetooth gadgets directly. Users can connect with iPhones, iPads, and Macs, in addition to Windows gadgets, biking by means of every reference to a press of one of many Bluetooth buttons nestled above the quantity keys. Use the included USB-C twine, and you may squeeze in a fifth machine through a wired connection, when you’re awash in devices that want a keyboard.  

The second promoting level for the Slim X3 is its value—it is $100 cheaper than the Magic Keyboard with Touch ID and $50 cheaper than the Magic Keyboard with out it, making it an distinctive cut price for Mac customers.

Satechi Slim X3 Bluetooth Backlit Keyboard

(Photo: Zackery Cuevas)

We’ve mentioned earlier than that loads of inventive sorts use Apple merchandise and have gentle typing necessities, which might clarify why Apple’s keyboards have gotten at most minimal upgrades by way of typing consolation. The Satechi mimics the shallow key journey of the Apple keyboard, in addition to its scissor switches, although it’s in some way extra comfy, offering a number of the tactile suggestions of extra substantial keyboards. It’s not as dynamic as a key swap present in a mechanical keyboard, nevertheless it’s way more satisfying for heavy-handed typists and people who discover themselves writing all day. (Like me!) It’s additionally suitable with newer Mac gadgets and helps older fashions way back to 2012.

Just the Basics

While the Slim X3 will get numerous issues proper, it’s not an ideal machine. For one, the keyboard is available in just one shade scheme—black keys atop a silver aluminum body. It seems to be good, however these hoping so as to add a pop of shade to their desktop will not discover it right here. It’s additionally not very ergonomic, with out a lot as even a kickstand to prop it up like, for instance, the Cherry Stream Wireless has.

Satechi Slim X3 Bluetooth Backlit Keyboard with logo on backside

(Photo: Zackery Cuevas)

Then there’s the battery life. The Satechi X3 comes with a chargeable battery that gives a modest 144 hours of battery—that’s, when you use the bottom backlight settings. With 10 backlight settings obtainable, cranking the lighting to most will lead to a measly 10 hours of rated battery life. Now, the keyboard does minimize the lights as soon as it hits round 15% battery life remaining, however when you’re somebody who makes constant use of the keys’ background lighting for visibility, this could possibly be an issue.

Satechi Slim X3 Bluetooth Backlit Keyboard USB port and sensor

(Photo: Zackery Cuevas)

Satechi makes some effort to fight the backlights draining the battery too rapidly. In addition to shutting off at 15%, the backlight mechanically drops to the bottom degree if there is not any utilization after one minute. Then, the backlight will flip off if there is not any utilization for 3 minutes. Last, the keyboard will enter sleep mode after no utilization of half-hour or extra. Chances are, you received’t be typing for 10 hours straight (we hope), however you’re taking a look at a mean of 45 hours earlier than a cost, considerably low versus the Logitech Ergo K860, which guarantees two years on one pack of AA batteries.

Finally, there’s no customization software program. It’s not an enormous deal for a keyboard like this, however which means there aren’t any customization choices exterior of the very primary decisions obtainable through your laptop’s settings app.

The Ruling Apple Alternative

The Satechi Slim X3 proves itself to be a succesful various to the outrageously priced Magic Keyboard, regardless of missing Touch ID. But whereas it offers almost the complete Mac expertise at a fraction of the Apple value, its ergonomics and battery life go away one thing to be desired. The Satechi continues to be the only option for price-sensitive Mac customers and people in search of a common, dependable keyboard for primary workplace work, although the Cherry Stream is our best choice for primary wi-fi keyboards, due to its funds pricing, high quality key switches, and a pair of.4GHz connection.

Satechi Slim X3 Bluetooth Backlit Keyboard

The Bottom Line

The Satechi Slim X3 Bluetooth Backlit Keyboard delivers the Apple Magic Keyboard’s kind and performance at a a lot lower cost, although when you’re not a fan of minimalist keyboards, it doubtless will not change your thoughts.

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