One thing that Mac old-timers appreciated on the keyboards of their vintage machines was the inclusion of a numeric keypad. Now, not everyone likes or even needs a numeric keypad -- they're mainly the tool of those who are either accountants or doing vast amounts of numeric data entry by hand. But for people who need numeric keypads, there's either the USB Apple Keyboard with Numeric Keypad ($49.00) or something like the even more expensive Belkin YourType Bluetooth Wireless Keypad ($49.95). Satechi, the manufacturer of a vast line of Apple-related accessories, has introduced the Aluminum Wireless Keypad ($37.99) to its lineup. Let's take a look.
My first complaint about this device is the design. Apple, of course, recently went to a very flat look for its Magic Keyboard. Satechi was asleep at the wheel while designing the Aluminum Wireless Keypad, because it uses the much larger "old" design that had a cylindrical tube at the top of the keyboard for batteries. Basically, the Wireless Keypad is outdated in looks and doesn't match up with Apple's existing keyboard and trackpad.
Next, what's with using AAA batteries to power this thing? Sure, a pair of AAAs is supposed to last for up to 6 months based on an hour of usage every day. But Apple's done a really good job of building rechargeable batteries into its keyboard and trackpad, both of which can be quick-charged with a Lightning cable. Thumbs down on requiring throw-away batteries in this accessory.
The keypad has 22 keys altogether. There are the usual keys you'd expect on a numeric keypad -- the number 0 through 9, +, -, /, *, and an Enter/Equals key. Also as you'd expect, there's a raised "dot" on the 5 key so that it's easy to start using the keypad with fingers on the correct keys without looking at it. Satechi adds tab, backspace, cut/copy/paste and undo keys to the keypad as well.
The review unit had a silver finish; Satechi will also be delivering Space Gray (with black keys) and Gold (with white keys) units soon.
Satechi always provides detailed instructions on how to set up its products. I was able to get the keypad paired with my iMac in a few seconds. The Mac didn't recognize the type of keyboard that had just connected to it and displayed the keyboard identification dialog, but it's possible to ignore that and just start using the keypad.
I'm not as happy about this product as I've been with many of Satechi's products. The keys don't have the "snap" that I'm used to feeling with my Apple keyboard, and they almost have a mushy feeling to them. Still, the keypad is designed for quick numeric input and I was able to start typing numbers into a spreadsheet very quickly. The combination of the tab, enter, and backspace keys make it very easy to move around a spreadsheet.
Where I think the Wireless Keypad could come in handy is as an accessory for an iPad Pro. For those who are using the iPad Pro for work like I do, having access to a numeric keypad can be very handy when using apps like Numbers, Excel, or Google Sheets. The Wireless Keypad paired quickly with the iPad Pro and worked like a champ with Excel for iPad.
Unlike many of Satechi's recent accessories that are part of its aluminum-encased Metallic series, I wasn't impressed with the Wireless Keypad. The plastic construction underneath the aluminum top seemed cheap, the keys felt spongey, and the use of non-rechargeable batteries is almost sacrilege in this day and age. Top it off with a design that matches Apple's 2007 Wireless Keyboard (Model A1255 if you want to look it up), and this is a relatively unimpressive product.