Review: Satechi Slim Wireless Keypad

Numeric keypads, once a staple of keyboards everywhere, are now the Rodney Dangerfield of input devices -- they get no respect. Almost every keyboard used to have that cluster of keys on one side that could be used for quick number entry or even serve as a calculator keypad, but Apple's offerings like the Magic Keyboard 2 dispense with the numeric keypad in the name of simplicity. Well, accountants and number crunchers need those keypads, which is why companies like Satechi make wireless keypads. Today I'm looking at the $39.99 Satechi Slim Rechargeable Aluminum Bluetooth Keypad (AKA "Slim Wireless Keypad), a perfect accompaniment to Apple's Magic Keyboard and Magic Trackpad 2.

Design

Apple Magic Keyboard (left) and Satechi Slim Wireless Keypad (right). Photo ©2016, Steven Sande

Apple Magic Keyboard (left) and Satechi Slim Wireless Keypad (right).
Photo ©2016, Steven Sande

The Slim Wireless Keypad is exactly the same height and depth as the Magic Keyboard, so when the two are placed side by side a typist's fingers can slide effortlessly from the keyboard to the keypad. It's only about 3.15 inches (8 cm) wide, so it will easily slide into a computer bag for number-crunching on the road.

The keypad has the standard 10 number keys (0 - 9), operator keys (/ * - +), a backspace/delete key, an Enter key and a decimal point key. Size-wise the keys are identical to those on the Magic Keyboard with the exception of the 0 and Enter keys. 

There's a small LED over the delete key that's used to indicate charging and pairing status. On the side of the device nearest your computer is a micro-USB port for charging and a power switch. Satechi says that the device will last for about two weeks on a charge and recharges in about 2 hours.

The silver finish is very close to Apple's standard silver finish, and there are also gold and space gray versions available for use with the MacBook.

Function

Apple's Magic Keyboard and Magic Trackpad 2 can be used while charging, and so can the Satechi Slim Wireless Keypad. I plugged in the device to charge it, turned it on by flipping the switch, then pushed the connection button on the back of the device. The keypad went into a pairing mode (the LED alternating red for charging and blue for pairing), and appeared on the macOS Sierra Bluetooth list as "Bluetooth Keypad". That's contradictory to what Satechi's documentation says you'll see -- they say you'll see ST-ALKP.  The keypad can also be used with any iOS device by pairing with it. 

Once the device is paired it's ready to use. The key feel is similar to that of the Magic Keyboard 2, although somewhat stiffer. I found it worked quite well when entering numbers into a spreadsheet -- there's a raised bump on the 5 key that makes it possible to place your hand on the keypad without looking and still press the correct keys. 

When the keypad's powered on but not in use for one hour, it automatically enters into a sleep mode to save power. Pressing any key on the keypad wakes it again for immediate use. 

Conclusion

For anyone who needs to enter a lot of numbers, the Satechi Slim Wireless Keypad is a reasonably-priced and well-designed accompaniment to either the Magic Keyboard or any MacBook or MacBook Pro. 

Apple World Today Rating (out of 5 stars): ★★★★★