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Review: NewerTech Wireless Aluminum Keypad
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Do you have an Apple Wireless Keyboard? What do you like the best about it? I'd bet you'd say "that it's wireless", or "its unique Apple-esque design". What if I asked you what you dislike the most about it? I'd put money you'd say "the lack of a numeric keypad".

I just had the opportunity to use a NewerTech Wireless Aluminum Keypad and it really maintains the aspects you like about the Apple Wireless Keyboard, and it solves the lack of a numeric keypad, since that's exactly what it is: a numeric keypad.

The NewerTech Wireless Aluminum Keypad just belongs. From the packaging to its design that mimics that of Apple's almost in every aspect, to the super convenience of wireless Bluetooth.

Design

In simple terms, it matches the design of the Apple Wireless Keyboard. The aluminum is the same quality as Apple's, the keys are the same size, font, and feel. Of course its length, height and angle matches that of Apple's aluminum wireless keyboard.  Even the battery door and power button are similar to Apple's. That's why I said earlier that "it just belongs".

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A nice option is an included bracket that attaches the keypad to the main keyboard. It doesn't have any specific function except turning two separate pieces of hardware into one. When the keypad is attached to the keyboard you still get access to both battery covers on the keyboard and keypad, but both power buttons are concealed. So consider that if you choose to use the included stickers that makes the bond more permanent.

You have a choice of white keys, just as in Apple's Wireless Keyboard, or black keys like in MacBooks. There is also an EU option that has signs instead of words and a comma instead of a period.

Keys Layout

The keys layout is an interesting one. You can see that the designers put not only a lot of thought into this very simple and important aspect, but they did field testing.

It has a forward delete key as well as a convenient backward delete key at the top right. If you're used to Apple's backward delete key being the last on your keyboard, well, this does the same thing.

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I particularly like the location of the function key which turns the numbers into arrows and the tab into a "clear" button. This "fn" key is right where you put your thumb making it really easy to modify some of the keys.

Something I found poking around is that appart from the F13, F14, and F15 keys you get at the top, holding the "fn" key you can get F16 (fn + backward delete), F17 (fn + minus), and F18 (fn + plus). If you've set these F keys for custom actions on your software, say Logic Pro, or AfterEffects, you get access to them.

Overall

Overall this keypad really feels at home next to an Apple Wireless Keyboard and also next to a Magic Trackpad.

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I used it next to a brand new Apple Wireless Keyboard, so the feel, look, and feedback from the keys were virtually identical. Probably if you've had your Apple Wireless Keyboard for some time, you may notice a bit of a difference, just because your keyboard has more millage than a new keypad.

The bottom of the keypad has the basic instructions on how to pair it up and what the light color means. Not that setting up the keypad is difficult, but it's nice to have the know-how always with the device. BTW, the indicator light blinks just beneath the equal sign key.

The only downside that I found, and it's a bit of a stretch, is that it uses a pair of AAA batteries. If it worked with 2xAA batteries then you could interchange them with those from your Apple Wireless Keyboard, Magic Trackpad or Magic Mouse.

Price: $47.00 

Pros: A design that fits perfectly with your Apple gear. Comfortable, logic layout that feels natural. Super easy to setup.

Cons: Uses AAA batteries instead of AA as Apple's wireless input devices. A separate purchase from the keyboard.

Web: http://www.newertech.com/keypad/

Francesco Schiavon

Francesco Schiavon | Articles by this author

It all started with a TSR-80 in the late 80s. At that point it was more a toy than anything else. Since then, my interest in computers materialized with a PS/2 80 while I was in university in Mexico. Before I graduated I already had a couple of Macs, an LC-II and a Centris 660 AV, which was the catalyst to becoming an expert in both QuickTime and using the Mac. During my MBA, and later while attending the Vancouver Film School (VFS), I really learned to learn. Being a professional student at that point I started in the teaching realm as a Teaching Assistant, moving quickly to a part-time instructor position at VFS and soon after a full time position. Also while teaching, I've held a number of managerial positions for web development companies like Blastradius, Donat Group Inc. and later Rouxbe.com as well as working as a freelance consultant, mostly related to digital video deployment. My first tutorial for MPV was made soon afer the company started. Since then I've made a number of tutorials ranging from using OS X to advanced video compression techniques with Compressor and Adobe Media Encoder. Today I teach part time at the Art Institute of Vancouver, create courses for MPV and am always open for business as a freelancer.

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