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12 Days of Gifts - Day 8

December 14, 2011 - Dave Hecei

The Key To It All. The latest Macs, except for the mini, come with a great wireless, via Bluetooth, keyboard. The standard model is the compact one without the numeric keypad. It is possible, when you order a Mac from the online Apple Store, to specify different keyboards and even choose between the Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad. But the keyboard is truly a personal preference device.

I do like the new aluminum Mac keyboard, especially since it’s Bluetooth. However, it is a bit too thin for me – I admit that I have pretty large hands. My favorite keyboard of all time is the old Mac ADB Extended Keyboard. It was huge, heavy, and in an ugly beige, but it had the best keys. Of course an ADB (Apple Desktop Bus) keyboard won’t work on any modern Mac.

I have found a new keyboard that I love. My previous keyboard was the Microsoft Digital Media Pro Keyboard (DMPK). This model works great on the Mac, there is even a System Preference module to control it. The DMPK has lots of extra buttons that control iTunes and volume. There are special buttons for My Documents, My Pictures, My Music, Mail, Web/Home, Messenger, Calculator, Log Off, and Sleep. There are even five customizable ‘Favorites’ keys.

While my old Microsoft keyboard was great, my new keyboard is even better. I've switched to the Saitek Cyborg V5. This is considered a gaming keyboard, which means that it’s pretty heavy duty, but the main feature I love is the red backlit keys.

The Cyborg V5 has a standard ‘Windows’ layout, but can easily be used with OS X. The only real differences between a Mac keyboard and a Windows keyboard is the Mac Option and Command keys are switched, and there is no dedicated eject key. No fear, on none Apple keyboards the F12 key acts to eject optical discs. In the keyboard control panel there are setting to swap the Command and Option keys. This little bit of setup makes any USB ‘Windows’ style keyboard Mac compatible.

Being a gaming keyboard, the V5 has a very solid feel. The keyboard itself has a nice heft to it so it won’t inadvertently move around on your desk. The only extra keys on the V5 are to control the volume – UP, DOWN, and MUTE. There is also a button to control the backlighting. The red glow is awesome and has three brightness settings. Just push the button to go from off, to dim, to brighter, to brightest, and then off again.

It might not be wireless but the Cyborg V5 has a fantastic feel and the backlit keys are what really sold it for me.


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