Macally IKEY5COMBO Wired Keyboard Reviews
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Macally IKEY5COMBO Wired Keyboard

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$25.99
+$13.89 shipping PCM
$28.13
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$29.99
39.99
MacMall

A Decent Keyboard for Your Mac

Mar 6, 2009
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Full size keyboard with connectivity.

Cons:The mouse isn't all that fantastic.  USB hub is 1.1

The Bottom Line: For usage with a mac laptop, this keyboard is perfect for the price that you pay for it.


So you've bought that fancy mac laptop that you've always wanted.  Congrats!  However, you want to be able to use an external keyboard with it?  Well, rather than shelling out 60 some odd dollars and getting an official apple keyboard that has keys the size of chicklets (and typing action that is about as supportive as a parachute made out of beef), how about getting something that is little better suited towards getting the true bang for your buck?

The answer that you may have stumbled upon is the MacAlly iKey slim.  This is a reasonable assumption, as it is much cheaper than most of the other mac-based keyboards out there.  However, you might be leery of the price tag, and wonder how much keyboard you are actually getting.  This is quite a valid concern, considering that most keyboards that you get for this price range, are pretty awful.  I've used some PC keyboards in the past that have been more expensive than this, and have been utterly rubbish.  The truth is that, you have a right to skeptical.  So how about I come on in and let you know that you do not have nearly as much to be afraid about as you might think.

First off, some of the major concerns that you might have about this keyboard, is the part of the product name where it says iKey Slim.  What does this mean?  It doesn't mean that the keyboard is smaller in terms of key size as you might think.  The keyboard itself is a full-size keyboard that you have grown up with and learned to love as you've used computers.  The keys themselves are lower on the keyboard and don't stick out quite as much as your usual USB keyboard, but you'll find yourself getting used to it quite quickly. 

Another feature that you may have noticed on the product is the addition of a USB hub on the keyboard, just like Apple has on their keyboards.  This is an important feature on your mac laptop, because chances are you don't have many USB ports on your laptop, and you'll like to conserve those ports without having to plug a mouse and a keyboard into two seperate ports.  Fortuatenly, this problem is solved in a jiffy because this keyboard comes equipped with two USB hubs.  The only problem is that they aren't powered, so you won't be able to run much else than a mouse and a flash drive from here.  Forget about trying to run an external hard drive from here as well, because the ports are 1.1, and not 2.0.  For those completely unaware of what this implies, it means that any transfers that you do between your computer and your external hard drive that is USB will be painfully slow.  If you have been fortunate enough to have gotten a firewire hard drive however, this is a problem that you will surely avoid.

So enough about the technical specifications, its time to get to the real meat of the product.

Functionality
For the first thing, we're going to talk about the functionality of the keyboard and the possible mouse combo that you can get with this product.  I haven't mentioned the mouse yet, but that is because it is an optional product, and whether or not you want to get it is up to you, considering that it doesn't cost that much more to get the mouse with the keyboard (I believe on macmall it is only a matter of a few dollars).

First off, lets talk about the functionality of the keyboard. First off, it is a keyboard, and it pretty much gets the job done.  It has the same layout as the keyboard on your mac laptop, and you'll find that it works just about the same as well.  It doesn't have the fancy back-lit keyboard, or the media buttons on some of the newer laptops, but it does manage to 3 sound control buttons at the top of the keyboard, and a button for ejecting CDs from your superdrive.  These are pretty useful when you want something done, and especially if you are using your computer in clamshell mode, or have it on a stand.  In addition, the drivers for the keyboard (which are installed automatically when you plug the keyboard in, nothing to fiddle around with or mess up), you can use the F14 and F15 buttons to adjust the brightness.  The function keys that you would normally find on your laptop that are associated with various actions are the same as well on the laptop (please note that I am referring to when you are holding down the FN button on your laptop, unless you have that setting changed)

As for the mouse, it also works pretty decently.  Its nothing special, and if anything it is a bit small.  For those of us with rather large hands, you'll find that a more traditionally sized mouse is more appropriate to use.   However, this mouse is still less retarded than the mighty mouse that you'll get with apple.  It isn't wireless, so you'll have to deal with wires if you get the combo with the mouse.  My personal recommendation is that if you already have a wireless mouse or a USB mouse that you have been using in the past, stick with that and don't bother paying the extra money (despite it being such a small amount) on getting the combo with the mouse.  However, if you do not have a mouse at all and would like one (which is particularly useful if you ever plan on doing anything useful with an external keyboard,) then you might want to consider getting it.

Comfort
The other truly important function of a keyboard is to be comfortable to the type.  The good news is that this keyboard manages to be that for even the fastest of typers.  I am a pretty fast typer, and I find that this keyboard is actually a lot more comfortable to use than the laptop keyboard, and more comfortable than a lot of the PC keyboards.  It isn't anything that you would want to pay more for than what you are already paying for.  However, the action on the keyboard is good, and there doesn't seem to be any problems with keys sticking or breaking.  You might find that the lowered keys are a bit of a problem to deal with in the beginning, but you'll find yourself adjusting to it within a few hours of usage. 

The only other thing that I can say about the comfort of the keyboard, is that the action is really good, so when you are playing tetris and really need to go fast, you can do that on this keyboard (although I find that to play tetris the best, I still need to use the built-in keyboard on my laptop.  Yes, I'm talking about quinn in a review for keyboards.  If you have a mac and aren't playing Quinn RIGHT NOW, you should totally google that and lose about 10 minutes of your life).

<b>Looks</b>
It is white, and will match your other white apple products.  If you have something that is aluminium or another color (like a blackbook) and you are really concerned about everything matching, then you might want to look elsewhere.  If you aren't that shallow and concerned about everything being the exact same color, then go ahead and get this.  Be noted that as with anything that is white and you touch it, it has a tendacy to get dirty, so make sure that you wash your hands everytime you go to the bathroom and after all of your meals.

Overall
This is a pretty fantastic keyboard for the price that you pay for it.  It doesn't have anything super fancy, but it does have a few nice perks that will make it a very useful keyboard for using with a laptop, especially a mac laptop.  If you are using this with windows, you'll find yourself a bit confused at first, but from my experience, the function keys still work on windows too, as well as the audio keys that are on the top of the keyboard.

So if you need a decent keyboard that isn't from the outrageous prices of Apple empire for your laptop, then this is a good keyboard to consider.


Recommend this product? Yes


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