Tech News on G4

Satechi Wireless Smart Keypad

Sept 24, 2013

By Greg Gazin - Apple Gazin’ - G4 Canada

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Satechi Wireless Smart KeypadI really enjoy using my Apple Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard but one thing it's missing, similar to many notebooks, is a numeric keypad. I'm certainly not an accountant or do tons of data entry, but truthfully, having a keypad handy to quickly punch in numbers rather than pecking one number at a time can certainly be a godsend. Apple doesn't make one, so accessory maker Satechi designed one to fill the void.

Created in Apple Style

The Satechi Bluetooth Wireless Smart Keypad looks stylishly similar to the Apple Bluetooth Wireless Keyboard including the rounded battery compartment. In fact side-by-side from far, you'd think it was a matched pair. However, unlike the Apple aluminium frame, the Satechi is made of plastic and coated with a brush-aluminium finish. The keys are white, similar in size except for the larger "0".  It's slightly more elongated than the keyboard, likely due to its prominent LED display that takes up the upper portion of the device as it can double as a calculator, which you can access by simply pressing the mode button.

Doubles as a Calculator

In addition to the standard keypad numbers and operators, on the front beneath the mode button, there is a nifty send button that allows you to do a calculation first and then send only the result to your application. You have your enter key, standard memory keys and a backspace button and when in calculator mode you can set the number of decimal points to 2, 4 or F to simply float it.  Your clear button does triple duty, also acting as an ac button as well as a wake button, which can be used as the unit goes to sleep after 10 minutes of activity to conserve battery power.

On the underside is a power switch, recessed reset switch, a connect switch and a toggle which you need to select manually depending on whether you're using a Mac or a PC. There's also a door where you can insert 2xAA batteries (included), which the keypad runs on.

Satechi Wireless Smart Keypad What’s Going For It!

What I like about the keypad is that it makes for a nice companion to the keyboard. It pairs easily for use with your PC or Mac and it also pairs nicely with an iPad. It has large enough keys that have a natural springy feel to the touch. The calculator is a nice bonus, although these days, there are a multitude of ways to get this functionality. By eliminating it there would be no need for LCD. The keypad could simply throw to the computers built in calculator. Plus, it could be made smaller. 

The keypad is certainly functional. However, I think Satechi left something on the table with the function keys. When the keypad is in connect mode, ie; being used as a keypad rather than a calculator, the calculator function keys are disabled. This could have been a great opportunity to add some extra functionality to the keypad.  Perhaps they could be used to launch an app, or maybe they could be programmable for virtually unlimited options.  

Overall, the Satechi Bluetooth Wireless Smart Keypad is a nice practical and good-looking little unit.  It retails for $49.99 and comes with a one-year warranty. Right now Satechi is advertising it on sale for $34.99 U.S. on their website as well as at Amazon.com.  

Pros
-Solves Apple's Missing Keypad issue
-Stylishly similar to Apple Wireless Keyboard
-Wireless & Practical

Cons
-Elongated size
-Calculator may not be necessary
-LCD always on

Rating: 4 / 5

 

Greg Gazin can be reached at  gadgetguy "at" telus "dot" net , GadgetGreg.com , or on Twitter @GadgetGreg

About G4 in Canada
G4 launched on September 7, 2001 as the ultimate television resource for technology news, information and entertainment. Co-owned by G4, Rogers Media Inc. and Shaw Communications Inc., G4 is Canada's first television channel 100% dedicated to technology, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The channel features the latest technology news, information and entertainment in an exciting and high-energy format. G4 is available on digital cable and satellite.