Apple Magic Keyboard 2

Long live the Lightning dock!

Back a few months, I somewhat hesitantly bought a Magic Keyboard 2 shortly after my purchase of an MBP 15 2018. I wanted an external wireless keyboard for the laptop because 1) the laptop was uncomfortably hot when connected to an external display 2) I didn’t want to spend money on a dongle just yet to use other keyboards like the HHKB Pro2 3) I liked the freedom of being wireless and 4) I just wanted to try it.

I’ve used it for a few months for at least an hour every day. And here are my picks of goods and bads.

Pros

  • Ultra-portable and light. I adjust my posture quite a lot. So I found its weight (or lack thereof) never an issue when re-position the keyboard on my desk.
  • Long battery
  • Never disconnected once.
  • Mapped to useful functions like brightness control, volume up/down.

Cons

  • No multipairing. I knew it didn’t have multi paring , but I actually didn’t believe it. I honestly thought Apple had a clever way of *magically* handing the pairing off to whichever device I am using at the moment. There is no such magic.
  • Rattly (noisy). I have hypersensitive ears and this drove me nuts.
  • Small arrow cluster. Impossible to reach without leaving the home row, but the problem is the up/down arrows are frustratingly miniature in size. I learned great many keyboard shortcuts though.
  • Eject button for.. what?
  • Expensive. Comparatively speaking, this is the cheapest keyboard in my fleet. Yet I still find its value proposition a bit hard to swallow.
  • Nothing to write home about on its tactility of the switch. I actually preferred the infamous butterfly switch keyboard on my MacBook Pro which I found to be very crisp, precise and tactile (of course, I try not to use the butterfly keyboard because it was repeating the ‘O’ key out of the box).

I stopped using the Magic Keyboard on a daily basis now. I don’t know if I want to keep this around. I will see if I can get great use out of it on my iPad instead.

BetterTouchTool

Shortly after I wrote about the Magic Mouse 2, I actually went out to a store to try a brand new Magic Mouse 2. It sounded a tad bit dampened, but it was essentially as loud as mine.

The next thing I tried was the Better Touch Tool. I heard about how great this app is. It lets you customize the touchbar on the newer MacBooks.

I don’t really use the touchbar as I use an external keyboard anyways (I am rotating between HHKB Pro 2 and the Apple Magic Keyboard 2), but the Better Touch Bar app is also apparently good for changing the Magic Mouse behavior to one’s taste.

I downloaded it, installed it, and tried it. Within a few minutes, I got my Magic Mouse to click on tap. It was all very simple.

BTT: Super easy to setup!

The downside is that if I am using my mouse a lot, the energy impact as per the activity monitor goes as high as my web browsers with handful of tabs open. And BTT having so features, like running a webserver to listen to its iOS apps, it makes sense.

I wouldn’t mind the energy use if I had a desktop. It was unnecesarily complicating the problem I set out to solve. So I decided to part with BTT after a brief encounter.

Perhaps the next thing I have to try is the Magic Trackpad. I wouldn’t mind having one, but I feel like is due for an update.

Magic Mouse 2

I’ve been an avid fan of Logitech MX series. I use it every day at work. It looks great and works like a champ. Despite how much I enjoyed it, a few months ago I thought I’d give the Apple Magic Mouse 2 (in space gray, no less) a try, just because I got a MacBook for work and study. I wasn’t convinced to be honest, so it was more on the side of “giving it a chance”. The MSRP is painfully expensive, but I traded it with some keyboard parts on Reddit. It still hurts though (mechanical keyboard bits for a Magic Mouse!?). Surprisingly, aside from its known quirks, I liked the experience thus far. It blends well into the MacOS, it’s easy to carry around, and I found ergonomics fine. It didn’t glide on my desk as well as I hoped it would, so I put some teflon tape on the bottom. The only thing that I couldn’t do anything about, and drives me nuts every time is how loud the click is. It is ABSURDLY loud. My right ear feels numb especially on a quiet morning like this. I have a pretty sensitive hearing. Perhaps it’s not the mouse, but I can’t do much about my hearing. What to do.. what to do…

My Keyboard Story #2 – CM Storm Quickfire Rapid

I bought this hefty little guy god-knows-how-long-ago from (now bankrupted) NCIX in Vancouver. Considering I picked this over others purely based on price (less than $70 on sale!), I really lucked out that it sports genuine Cherry-MX BLUES. Time over time, I became convinced these clicky, tactile blues are my go-to switch unless I have a special need. The build quality is simply amazing. After many years of abuse, there is no sign of wear or slightest hint of crack on the case. Heck, even the detachable USB cable is so thick and stiff to the point that it gets mildly annoying. It will outlive any USB cable out there though.

I changed a few things over the years. Obviously, the keycaps starred in the picture aren’t stock. I don’t even know where my original caps are, but let’s just say I don’t miss them at all after putting on those GMK Carbon caps. The controller, which can’t be seen above, has been replaced with the Frosty Flake by Bathroom Epiphanies.

Although I have used it as a daily driver here and there, I now use this board mostly for gaming. The rawness of blue switches accentuates gaming experience by complementing booms and bangs with clicks and clacks. Over the years I have tried other gaming boards, but this championed every time. No, it does not have a narrow profile, fast switches. And no it does not have a backlight. I keep it around nonetheless because it does the very basics so well.

My Keyboard Story #1 – HHKB Pro 2

I bought this HHKB Pro 2 when I was still in college 8 years ago (that is nearly.. 10 years!). It was a BIG money for a student (well, it’s still a lot of money). I’ve bought and sold many things for many reasons since then, but I could never let go of this little guy. It just has been through so much with me – graduation, multiple jobs, and moving between countries, health issues, mental issues, relationship issues, as well as a happy marriage among other life changing events. Sure I’ve tried many other keyboards along the way, but for work and school, nothing comes close to this layout. The Topre switches are pleasure to type on, but for me the layout is the killer feature. I *love* how I don’t have to move my hands around.