Solar, Backlit, Ergonomic and Compact Mac Keyboards

Do you dislike the keyboard that came with your Mac? For the past few years, Apple’s primary keyboard has been the Apple Wireless Keyboard. It’s a good keyboard, but it’s not perfect for everybody. Some people lament the lack of a keypad. Others dislike having to replace the batteries that power the keyboard. Some folks don’t like the very flat nature of the keyboard and limited up-down movement of the keys. Last week’s tip listed ways to add a keypad. This week I describe some alternative keyboards.


Logitech makes the Wireless Solar K750 keyboard. Indoor or outdoor lighting will keep this keyboard charged, so you won’t have to replace batteries. This keyboard is very thin, just like Apple’s current models. A couple of my clients bought it and like it.

Wired, backlit keyboard

Logitech makes the Illuminated Keyboard. It’s also a very thin keyboard but is not wireless. Its distinctive feature is backlit keys. A sensor measures the ambient light and illuminates the keys in low light situations. If you like to type in the dark or have a keyboard shoved in a dark closet, this is for you. I use this one in my office. It’s great for early morning work when I only turn on the desk lamp that is pointed at my monitor.

Wired keyboard with big keys

Matias’ Tactile Pro 3 Keyboard appeals to people who prefer a wired keyboard with more key motion than Apple’s current flat keyboards. The Tactile Pro is based on Apple’s design of their Apple Extended Keyboard. The Extended keyboard was beloved by many Mac users during its reign in the late 80s and early 90s. The Tactile Pro keyboard is a solidly built keyboard with large keys, large key motion, space between the keys and curved tops of some keys to help keep your fingers on the home row. Another keyboard which has some similarities in its design is the Das Keyboard Professional.

Wired ergonomic keyboards

If you’re looking for a more ergonomic keyboard then check out Kinesis’ 3 ergonomic keyboards, the Contoured, Maxim and Freestyle 2. I have one client who uses the Maxim and likes it. The change in arm and wrist angle or motion reduced the pain he used to feel in his arm.

Wireless mini keyboard with touchpad

SMK Link’s Wireless Ultra-Mini Touchpad Keyboard is a very compact keyboard that could be used to remotely control a Mac from across the room. It has an integrated trackpad (aka touchpad) which can be used to move the cursor on your Mac. If you give PowerPoint or Keynote presentations you might find it useful to manipulate your Mac from afar. Maybe you’re at the front of the room and your Mac is not within arm’s reach. Similarly, if you have a Mac mini set up in a your living room as a media center, this keyboard would let you control your Mac from a comfortable seat across the room.

[Update 8/23/19: The Wireless Ultra-Mini Touchpad Keyboard has been discontinued by SMK but can still be found on sites like Amazon.]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.