The MacBook’s keyboard sucks, so use this mechanical keyboard instead

Mechanical keyboards are for gamers, right? These days, you’d be hard-pressed to find one without flashing lights, massive palm rests, and programmable buttons. But what if you just want the best possible typing experience with all the glitz and glam of a gaming keyboard?

With many laptop keyboards going the way of low-travel, MacBook-like keystrokes, typing purists have found themselves left out in the cold — especially if you happened to be on a Mac. Leave it to a small, startup company to warm us up.

A mechanical keyboard that looks as good as it feels

The Taptek Keyboard is a mechanical keyboard from a company called Vinpok, known for its Apple companion products. The company’s heritage is clear, because it feels ready-made for use with an Apple product. But we aren’t calling it a lookalike. This keyboard has its own unique style, befitting of the niche nature of who this is for. Instead, imagine the Apple keyboard with the keys pulled out from the deck a few millimeters. 

The base panel is made out of a solid chunk of aluminum alloy, topped with chiclet, mechanical keys. It’s a compact design, wasting not a single millimeter of space, whether in the layout itself or in the deck. Vinpok calls it the “thinnest wireless mechanical keyboard,” sitting just high enough to allow the three millimeters of travel. That’s not as much as a gaming keyboard like the Razer BlackWidow Chroma, but it’s twice the amount of a standard laptop keyboard. 

If you’ve never used a mechanical keyboard before, the depth of the travel is guaranteed to throw you off at first. It feels (and sounds) fundamentally unlike a conventional keyboard. But after a day of using a keyboard like this, you’ll be typing faster and cleaner than ever. Vinpok developed its own switches in-house, though the company says the typing experience is similar to standard Cherry MX switches.

For Mac, the layout is nearly perfect. The Function, Control, Option, and Command keys are all in the right places.

The black keys are individually backlit, and even have a number of different preset effects. It’s an interesting choice for a product made explicitly as a non-gaming peripheral — but hey, why not? The twenty lighting patterns are fun to try out, but you can always default to a nice, simple blue, or roll with no backlighting at all. The keyboard even comes with an impressive five levels of keyboard brightness.

Everything including the sound, color, and tactile feedback make typing downright enjoyable, even if you’re just writing up an email or business report. 

Built with MacOS in mind

The Taptek keyboard works with iOS, MacOS, Windows, and even Android devices. For Mac, the layout is nearly perfect. The Function, Control, Option, and Command keys are all in the right places, and the key commands work flawlessly. If you happen to have a Touch Bar on your MacBook Pro that you don’t like, you’ll be happy to return to the physical row of function keys, as well.

Vinpok Taptek Keyboard Impressions
Riley Young/Digital Trends

It’s less intuitive on Windows, however. The flipped locations of the function and control keys makes reflexive key commands a hassle to re-learn. Switching these would’ve been an easy fix (and wouldn’t have affected Mac users much), but Vinpok chose to stay true to the Apple layout. It’s obvious what platform the keyboard was made for.

There’s also one problem with the layout, regardless of what platform you use. The placement of the up arrow key. Instead of shrinking it down (like on many laptop keyboards), Vinpok inserted it between the Shift key and the question mark. We found ourselves constantly hitting the up arrow instead of shift, causing more than a few typos in Slack messages.

The Taptek can be connected via Bluetooth or wired micro-USB, and both work great.

It’s not the first time we’ve seen this mistake, in fact, Razer made the same decision on its newest Blade gaming laptop — but that doesn’t make it any more forgivable. It doesn’t outright ruin the typing experience, but it’s certainly a blemish on the otherwise heavenly MacOS typing experience.

The keyboard can be connected with either Bluetooth or with a wired, micro-USB connection, and both work great regardless of the platform or device. Typing even worked well on an Android smartphone.

A perfectly niche keyboard

There are plenty of Apple fans who dislike the MacBook Pro’s keyboard, but we doubt many of them have spent time with a mechanical keyboard. According to Vinpok, 99 percent of mechanical keyboards are designed for PCs and aimed towards gamers. For that reason, the Taptek Keyboard will always be a niche product — but if you’re part of that niche, well, you’re going to love it.

The Taptek keyboard is currently available for pre-order, and will be officially released in mid-September. It’s price at $90, and will also come in a variant with white keycaps.


Leaked memo: If your MacBook keyboard dies, Apple will fix or replace in one day

If your Apple MacBook keyboard is problematic, getting it fixed at a Genius Bar just got a lot easier. Apple has now mandated that its Geniuses repair or replace MacBook keyboards by the next working day.

Tired of choosing between Windows and Mac? Check out these Chromebooks instead

We've compiled a list of the best Chromebooks -- laptops that combine great battery life, comfortable keyboards, and the performance it takes to run Google's lightweight Chrome OS. From Samsung to Acer, these are the Chromebooks that really…

Pain in the wrists? Type in comfort with one of these great ergonomic keyboards

Long typing sessions can leave anyone's wrists aching, but if you have one of the best ergonomic keyboards, that doesn't have to be the case. Our list of favorites will support good typing posture while being comfortable to use.

These Xbox One games will let you use your trusty mouse and keyboard

A select number of Xbox One games support mouse and keyboard control schemes, and more are being added in future updates. Here are all the Xbox One games that support mouse and keyboard.

Dell’s XPS 15 steps up its game with next-gen Intel, Nvidia chips

Dell announced a redesigned XPS 15 with a webcam positioned up top, and the internals make this Ultrabook an even better gaming laptop. The XPS 15 can be configured with Intel's 9th-Gen processors and Nvidia's GTX 16-Series GPU.

From simple work tools to high-end gaming peripherals, these are the best mice

If you're looking to buy the best mouse for you, whether it's for gaming or work, we have something for you. We've put together a list of our favorite mice, all of which have great features and sell at a great price.

Amazon drops deals on Razer, Netgear, and Western Digital PC accessories

Grab these deals while you can: As part of their Deal of the Day promotion, Amazon is offering deep discounts on a wide variety of PC accessories including premium gaming mice, external hard drives, and even Wi-Fi routers.

WWDC 2019 Complete Coverage

Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference is a key tech event each year, and for Apple fans, it will be one of the two best times of 2019 (along with "new iPhone day," of course). For the last few years, Apple has debuted much of its…

AMD's upcoming Navi graphics cards are incoming. Here's what to expect

AMD's Navi graphics cards could be available as soon as July 2019 — as long as it's not delayed by stock problems. Billed as a successor to Polaris, Navi promises to deliver better performance to consoles like Sony's PlayStation 5.

Want to watch Netflix in bed or browse the web? We have a tablet for everyone

There’s so much choice when shopping for a new tablet that it can be hard to pick the right one. From iPads to Android, these are our picks for the best tablets you can buy right now whatever your budget.

Working hard or hardly working? Do it right with these versatile PC desks

Looking for a new piece of furniture that will fit in your office, dorm, or gaming cave? Here are some of our favorite computer desks on the market, whether you're a serious gamer looking for an upgrade, or just moved into a new space.

Time to upgrade your storage? Here are the best SSDs you can buy right now

Solid state drives provide superior speed and more affordable than ever. Interested in buying one? We've found the top drives that range from $100 to $1,000 in price, so you can get the most bang for your buck.

Boost your PCs power by learning how to overclock your CPU

Is your PC just chugging along, a little slower than you'd like? Sometimes you just need a little more power under the hood. Before you pick up some new hardware, learn how to overclock your CPU.

In 2019, laptops are better than ever. Here are the best of the best

The best laptop should be one that checks all the boxes: Great battery life, beautiful design, and top-notch performance. Our picks for the best laptops you can buy do all that — and throw in some extra features while they're at it.