Apple's sleek-looking Wireless Keyboard aims to dress up your desktop while eliminating pesky cord clutter. But, as is the way with almost all Apple products, high style and cable liberation don't come cheap: this keyboard will set you back $70. And it works with only Bluetooth-enabled Macs running OS X 10.2.6 or later, so Mac users with older versions of the operating system (and all PC users) or those whose systems lack Bluetooth, will have to look elsewhere.
Based on Bluetooth technology, the keyboard is a snap to set up. The included instructions are comprehensive and easy to understand, and it took us less than five minutes to install the software and successfully pair the keyboard with our Bluetooth-enabled, 15-inch PowerBook G4. Unlike other Bluetooth input devices we tested, this keyboard does not act as a Bluetooth hub. Instead, it uses Bluetooth technology to connect with a Mac that has Bluetooth already.
The shiny, white Wireless Keyboard stands out against its black and silver competitors. It is surrounded by an elegant, clear-plastic enclosure, and it rivals the Apple Wireless Mouse in good looks. Apple fails to make any of the ergonomic tweaks that we've seen in some of its competitors' keyboards, but as a result, its keyboard features 16 function keys and a full numeric keypad and is still compact enough (4.75 by 17.5 by 1.3 inches) for a comfortable on-the-lap typing experience. In our tests, key tension was adequate, providing satisfying but quiet keystrokes. We did, however, experience a minor lag from stroke to action, though it wasn't as noticeable as with the Wireless Mouse.
The Wireless Keyboard employs Adoptive Frequency Hopping technology to eliminate interference between other Bluetooth peripherals and wireless networks and devices. And a power-management system on the device automatically switches to low-power mode when it's not in use, and it can be turned off to reserve battery power. Apple claims that you'll get up to nine months of life out of the four standard AA batteries that power the Wireless Keyboard. With other keyboards we tested, the battery life varied between three to six months, but those peripherals ran off of only two AA batteries.