Satechi Slim X3 Bluetooth Backlit Keyboard Review – PCMag

Apple’s latest update to the flagship Magic Keyboard, which added Touch ID and not much else, failed to impress us. Satechi’s Slim X3 Bluetooth Backlit Keyboard ($89.99), the latest wireless keyboard designed with Apple users in mind, does better. While it doesn’t reinvent the wheel (and it surely doesn’t have to—the Magic Keyboard is at least functional and stylish), the X3 Keyboard mimics the minimalist profile of Apple’s board while improving key travel and feedback. It lacks Touch ID, but in exchange, it’s $100 less, making it a worthwhile alternative for Mac users after typing comfort.

Satechi Does What Apple Doesn’t

If there’s one thing Apple gets right, it’s the look and overall design of the Magic Keyboard. From the Mac Studio down to the keyboard and mouse, each Apple product features a clean, bespoke design, even if it sometimes makes cuts to functionality. The Slim X3 matches the new Magic Keyboard’s measurements almost exactly, clocking in at 4.5 by 16.6 by 0.4 inches (HWD). It is slightly heavier, but still weighs under a pound. Its svelte design beats just about any Mac keyboard alternative we’ve reviewed, including the Logitech MX Keys and the previous Satechi Aluminum Keyboard model.

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(Photo: Zackery Cuevas)

As with aesthetics, simplicity is the name of the game when it comes to setup, too. Just turn the keyboard on by flipping the switch in the top right corner, and hold down one of the Bluetooth connection buttons until your computer is paired. Two LED indicators in the top right indicate battery life and whether the Number Lock function has been engaged. Toward the center, you’ll find the USB-C port for charging the internal battery.

Functionality-wise, the Slim X3 is tailor-made for the Mac user. The full-size board comes equipped with 15 function keys, along with a bevy of shortcuts to control volume, brightness, media, and the like. Of course, as it’s not an Apple device, the Satechi ditches the Touch ID button; the design replaces it with a USB eject button. That makes it exactly like the 2019 pre-Touch ID Apple Magic Keyboard, if only in terms of the function keys.

(Photo: Zackery Cuevas)

But the new Slim X3 comes with two main calling cards to differentiate it. First, it can pair with up to four Bluetooth devices at once. Users can connect to iPhones, iPads, and Macs, as well as Windows devices, cycling through each connection with a press of one of the Bluetooth buttons nestled above the number keys. Use the included USB-C cord, and you can squeeze in a fifth device via a wired connection, if you’re awash in gadgets that need a keyboard.  

The second selling point for the Slim X3 is its price—it’s $100 cheaper than the Magic Keyboard with Touch ID and $50 cheaper than the Magic Keyboard without it, making it an exceptional bargain for Mac users.

(Photo: Zackery Cuevas)

We’ve said before that plenty of creative types use Apple products and have light typing requirements, which could explain why Apple’s keyboards have gotten at most minimal upgrades in terms of typing comfort. The Satechi mimics the shallow key travel of the Apple keyboard, as well as its scissor switches, though it is somehow more comfortable, providing some of the tactile feedback of more …….



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