I recently came across product announcements for a couple of new goodies from the well-known accessory manufacturer Satechi. While I will write more about them in the future, either together or individually, I wanted to go ahead and post some initial impressions of their Slim X1 Keyboard and Aluminum Desktop Stand now.
Take a stand
I’m going to be completely honest and admit that I’ve haven’t really used any iPad stands since I had an iPad 2. I’ve been more of a keyboard case guy since then, so I just haven’t had the need. That said, Satechi’s Aluminum Desktop Stand stood out when I saw it. The sold-looking base and the adjustment range of the hinge looked really appealing. I also liked the fact that you can use it with any model of iPad or other tablet and it works fine in either portrait or landscape mode.
That was all fairly evident just by looking at the press release pics, but I noticed some other interesting details once the stand arrived. First off, it is REALLY adjustable. I’ll get into this more when I do the full review, but the arm can hold the iPad up like a monitor stand or can bring it all the way down to table level.
It can also be set up at a really nice angle for drawing with the Apple Pencil, which is a nice bonus.
And no matter what position you put the stand in, it is completely solid and doesn’t move or wobble at all. That’s a big plus.
The Aluminum Desktop Stand is pretty heavy, which is a blessing and a curse. It isn’t something you can throw in a bag and take with you without noticing, but that heft is also a big reason why it stays completely steady when set up on a desk or other flat surface. Even though it folds down into a really flat and portable shape, this stand is really designed to live on a desk.
Combined with an iPad Pro, a good keyboard, and a mouse, this stands makes Apple’s large tablets feel a lot like a traditional computer. I also think it will be a great fit when using my iPad Air or Pro as a secondary monitor with my laptop. Having the tablet raised up more level with the laptop screen will make it easier to go back and forth.
I will come back to this in a full review and add some more details, but so far, Satechi’s Aluminum Desktop Stand looks like a home run.
The keys are the key
The pleasure of typing on a great keyboard is something that never gets old. Crisp response and key feedback. Adequate key spacing. An easy to use, standardized layout. Function and shortcut keys to make life a little easier. All of these elements combine to make a solid keyboard that’s enjoyable to type on.
The slim and obviously portable form factor of Satechi’s Slim X1 Keyboard stood out to me when I first saw it and the Aluminum Desktop Stand advertised.
For comparison, if you are familiar with Apple’s small Magic Keyboard without the numeric keypad, then the X1 will feel incredibly familiar. The key action is different, but the overall size and layout are very similar.
One thing I’ve always disliked about the stand-alone Magic Keyboard is the lack of key backlighting. It also doesn’t have any function keys, which is a little ridiculous for a modern keyboard. The X1 has both, with the usual compliment of keyboard function keys and a really nice backlight with 10 adjustment levels. While it’s a tad heavier than the Magic Keyboard, but that’s worth it for the extra features that you get in return.
Connectivity is also a strength of this keyboard. It can remember Bluetooth pairings for 3 different sources, which makes switching between multiple mobile devices a snap. This keyboard also has a direct connect mode via a USB-C cable, which is a nice bonus. That means the X1 can pull double duty as a desktop keyboard if you need it.
As for typing, so far so good. I’ve typed this review using the X1 and I like the feel of the keys and the spacing is comfortable for a smaller keyboard. The keys have a solid feedback and are very snappy, which I really appreciate. I hate a mushy key action like nobody’s business. I am getting some doubled keystrokes, but this isn’t the first keyboard I’ve had that happen with. It’s because I tend to pound the keys a bit, so I’m adjusting to that. At this point, I don’t think this is a flaw with the keyboard but rather with my ham-fisted typing.
These two new accessories from Satechi make a great pair when used together.
While Satechi also offers a new portable mouse, I can’t help but prefer Apple’s Magic Trackpad. In my opinion, a trackpad just works better with iPadOS
This is a really cool iPad desk setup. I’ve stuck with my Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro and my Logitech Folio Touch with my iPad Air, but I may have to start using this collection more at home. I really like the freedom the Desktop Stand gives to position the iPad wherever I want it. Also, while I love a good keyboard case, there is something to be said for being able to move the keyboard and trackpad wherever you want them.
I will be back with more on these two new accessories after I spend some more time with them, but so far I am very impressed. The build quality of both is very good and each has some really compelling features that make them stand out from some similar products that I have tried. If you are in the market for either a desktop stand or a portable Bluetooth keyboard, you should definitely take a look at Satechi’s new goodies.