A cheaper Magic Keyboard competitor

The default keyboard for Mac users is Apple’s own Magic Keyboard, which brings the same kind of low-profile keyboard you’d find on the company’s laptops. Then, if you want to upgrade, you can go for something like the Logitech MX Keys for Mac or a true mechanical keyboard. But if you do end up liking the Magic Keyboard and want a number pad, it’ll cost a hefty $130, and you’ll have to buy it separately.



That’s where Satechi’s Slim X2 Bluetooth Keyboard comes into play. This keyboard tries to replicate the Magic Keyboard experience as best as possible and undercuts Apple’s option by $50. It’s catered to a specific type of user — one who wants a Magic Keyboard on a budget — and it’s great for those people. However, if that doesn’t sound like you, then you should move on to look at other great Mac keyboards.

About this review: This review was written after testing a Satechi Slim X2 Keyboard provided by Satechi. The company did not have input in this review, and did not see its contents before publishing.

Satechi Slim X2 Backlit Bluetooth Keyboard

Great keyboard for Mac

It’s a true alternative to the Magic Keyboard

Satechi’s Slim X2 Bluetooth Keyboard is a full QWERTY keyboard with a number pad designed for macOS and iOS. It can be paired with up to four devices at once with Bluetooth, has backlighting, and charges with USB-C. After looking at the design, it’s clear that this keyboard is a competitor to Apple’s Magic Keyboard, and you can get it at a lower price. 

Brand
Satechi

Wireless
Yes

Backlight
Yes

Media Controls
Yes

Battery
1300mAh

Num Pad
Yes

Compatible Devices
macOS and iOS devices

Wired operation
Yes, with the “FN + Eject (USB)” command

Dimensions
11.93 x 5.83 x 1.46 inches

Bluetooth
Bluetooth 5.0

Multi-device pairing
Up to 4 devices

Charging
USB-C, 2-3 hours for full charge

Layout
QWERTY with macOS shortcut keys

Color
Space gray

Pros

  • Looks and feels like a Magic Keyboard
  • Can be paired with 4 devices at once or used wired
  • Charges via USB-C and has a full layout with numpad
Cons

  • The look and feel isn’t for everyone
  • Takes a few hours to charge
  • Only available in Space Gray

Pricing and availability

The Satechi Slim X2 Bluetooth Keyboard retails for $80 and is available at Amazon and Satechi’s website. You also might be able to find it at other third-party stores like Best Buy and Micro Center, depending on availability. It only comes in a space gray color, but the aluminum finish is light enough to blend in with silver setups as well.

What I like

It provides a similar experience to the Magic Keyboard

Just looking at the Slim X2 keyboard for a few seconds immediately draws a comparison to Apple’s Magic Keyboard. Satechi is clearly trying to imitate Apple’s keyboard, and imitation isn’t always a bad thing. Depending on what you’re looking for, Satechi’s Slim X2 might be a better option than the Magic Keyboard. The Slim X2 keyboard has about the same profile as the Magic Keyboard, but the key switches have slightly more resistance. That could feel more satisfying to some, but others might prefer the lighter strokes of the Magic Keyboard.

Depending on what you’re looking for, Satechi’s Slim X2 might be a better option than the Magic Keyboard.

The Slim X2 keyboard also has the same wedge-shaped design as the Magic Keyboard, and it’s about the same thickness as well. On the underside, the Slim X2 has an all-aluminum design with rubber feet on the corners. The same part of the Magic Keyboard is plastic, but you won’t see it often either way. If I had to put a percentage on it, I’d say the Slim X2 gets 90% of the way to the experience of a real Magic Keyboard. That is, the Magic Keyboard without Touch ID. People looking for Touch ID on a desktop Mac will have to go for the official Apple keyboard.

But that isn’t to say that the vast similarities of the Slim X2 keyboard make it a slam-dunk purchase for Mac users. I’ve used the Logitech MX Keys for Mac with my computers for a few years now, and there’s a case to be made for a keyboard like that one instead. It takes up a lot more space, but MX Keys offer much more satisfying travel and feel less cramped than either the Magic Keyboard or the Slim X2.

The wireless functionality is actually good

The Bluetooth pairing buttons on the Slim X2 keyboard.

A lot of wireless peripherals don’t focus enough on how the keyboard performs over Bluetooth, which is a mistake. Luckily, using the Slim X2 keyboard met my expectations in terms of stability and battery life during the review period. The keyboard uses Bluetooth 5.0, and it can also be paired with up to four devices at once. Aside from macOS, it also works with iOS too. Satechi says that the keyboard can also be paired with a Windows PC, but all the keys aren’t guaranteed to work. This means that it’s possible to actually use this keyboard with four devices and hot-swap them quickly. That’s impressive, since the Magic Keyboard supports just one device and the MX Keys support three.

Using the Slim X2 keyboard met my expectations in terms of stability and battery life during the review period.

Once you’ve paired your keyboard to your desktop Mac, you won’t have to worry about connection all that much. The Slim X2 keyboard is very quick to wake up from sleep, which it’ll go to after a period of 30 minutes of inactivity. Battery life varies based on how bright you have the backlighting set to, but it can last two months with the backlighting off. Satechi says you can get up to 144 hours at the lowest backlight setting, and 10 hours at the highest setting. The cool thing is that you can see the keyboard’s battery life with an onboard status light and with an exact percentage in macOS. Mine arrived at 100%, and I didn’t need to charge it at all during my testing. When you do need to charge it, the keyboard takes about two to three hours to get full.

There’s a USB-C port for charging

The USB-C port on a Slim X2 keyboard and a Lightning port on the Magic Keyboard.

Yes, unlike the Magic Keyboard, the Slim X2 keyboard has a USB-C port for charging. That’s seriously great, and puts it ahead of the Magic Keyboard and its Lightning connector. For convenience purposes, I think the Slim X2 keyboard is worth choosing over the Magic Keyboard for just this feature — if you have an all-USB-C workflow.

What I don’t like

It’s only made for one type of user

While all the points above are great for people looking for a Magic Keyboard alternative, they also limit the Slim X2 keyboard’s audience. People who want the Magic Keyboard on a budget will be pleased, but everyone else should find another choice. Due to the ultra-low travel and slim profile, the typing experience will only be enjoyable for people who love Apple keyboards.

It’s made for one type of user, and only those people should buy it.

Something like the Logitech MX Keys can be great for both people who like Apple keyboards and people with other preferences, but the same can’t be said about the Slim X2. It’s made for one type of user, and only those people should buy it.

There’s one issue with Bluetooth, and it’s annoying

The Keyboard setup assistant menu in macOS.

I mentioned how great the Bluetooth experience is on the Slim X2 keyboard, and it’s all true while the keyboard is powered on and connected. However, if you turn the device off, or it loses power, you’ll run into a very annoying connection issue. Every single time you connect to the Slim X2 keyboard, you’ll have to go through the Keyboard Setup Assistant. It takes four clicks to get through, and you usually only have to do it the first time you use an unknown keyboard. For some reason, I’ve had to go through this process every time I turned on the Slim X2 keyboard. I’m hoping eventually my M3 iMac remembers the Slim X2, but for now, it’s a very annoying (albeit small) bug with this keyboard.

Should you buy the Satechi Slim X2 Keyboard?

The Slim X2 keyboard on a white desk.

You should buy the Satechi Slim X2 Keyboard if:

  • You want a Magic Keyboard but don’t want to spend $130
  • You want multi-device Bluetooth support
  • You like slim, compact, and low-travel keyboards

You should NOT buy the Satechi Slim X2 Keyboard if:

  • You need Touch ID
  • You like keyboards with a deeper travel

To put it simply, the Satechi Slim X2 keyboard is a Magic Keyboard look-alike that you can get for $50 less. But it’s not a knock-off, since it’s made by Satechi and features a high build quality with an all-aluminum design. There are also some things that make the Slim X2 keyboard more appealing than a Magic Keyboard, like the USB-C port and multi-device Bluetooth support. There’s a subset of Mac users that want a cheaper Magic Keyboard, and that’s what this is. It’s not for everyone, but people looking for a similar (and cheaper) alternative to the Magic Keyboard will like it.

Satechi-Bluetooth-keyboard-X2

Satechi Slim X2 Backlit Bluetooth Keyboard

Great keyboard for Mac

It’s a true alternative to the Magic Keyboard

Satechi’s Slim X2 Bluetooth Keyboard is a full QWERTY keyboard with a number pad designed for macOS and iOS. It can be paired with up to four devices at once with Bluetooth, has backlighting, and charges with USB-C. After looking at the design, it’s clear that this keyboard is a competitor to Apple’s Magic Keyboard, and you can get it at a lower price. 

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