ONE of the key selling points for a laptop – be it a high-end gaming system or a one of the Apple M1/M2 Silicon Chip MacBooks – is that you can take it with you and play games (or work, I guess) in somewhere other than your house.
While they are an all-in one system, most of us know that trying to game with a trackpad is not usually a practical proposition (especially in action-orientated games), and using the attached keyboard means you have to have the laptop essentially on your lap (or right in front of you) to get the most use out of.
Having a wireless keyboard and mouse is therefore extremely useful when you want a bit more flexibility, and the two products reviewed here – the Satechi Slim X1 Bluetooth backlit keyboard and the Satechi M1 Wireless Mouse – offer exactly that.
The Satechi Slim X1 Bluetooth keyboard is a backlit wireless keyboard designed for post-2012 MacBooks. It measures 28cm x 11.4cm x 1cm and weighs 295g, making it compact and portable. It is made from aluminium and plastic, feeling durable with no flex, yet being small and light enough to carry around with the laptop.
From a size, layout and key-feel experience, it is identical to the keyboard on a MacBook Pro and connects seamlessly via Bluetooth, much like any other accessory.
When I first connected it, the MacOS system said it did not recognise the keyboard style and asked me to go through a simple configuration process, at which point it established the layout and the keyboard has worked without issues since.
From a gaming perspective, the smaller size of the keyboard and it’s low-travel keys (about 1mm, the same as the MacBook) mean it’s not designed for fast-paced competive games, but for regular gaming use it’s just like using the inbuilt keyboard on the MacBook – ie, totally fine.
In addition, the keyboard also works with iPads, and in this role would be a very good option for adding effective typing and keyboard functionality to the device. The X1 can store up to 3 device connections, meaning you can quickly switch between in-use devices with a button press.
Satechi say a full battery charge (which takes about 2 hours via a USB-C cable) should last for 45 hours of use, or 12 days on standby, and I certainly didn’t have any issues with battery life during testing. The adjustable-brightness backlighting will automatically dim and shut itself off after a period of inactivity too, helping to preserve the battery.
The range on the keyboard was surprisingly long, too – I put a MacBook pro on one side of a decent-sized living room and sat on the other, and was still able to type and enter keyboard commands without any lag or connection issues (although it was pretty much impossible to read the text in a word document on the screen from that distance).
Adding to the appeal, the X1 costs about AUD$119 at time of writing, which is a very good price for a quality wireless, Mac-compatible keyboard.
The Satechi M1 Wireless Mouse is both an excellent companion to the X1 keyboard as well as being a solid wireless mouse in its own right.
Size-wise, it measures 11cm x 5.7cm x 3.2cm and weighs a modest 175g. It’s small enough to be portable and not take up lots of space in a cramped working or gaming environment, but big enough to be comfortable use and not feel fiddly either.
The wireless connection is via Bluetooth and the mouse charges via USB-C; it can be charged while in use if you need to as well. Like the X1, it is intended for post-2012 Mac systems.
While it’s not a specialist gaming mouse, The Satechi M1 is still perfectly serviceable for straightforward games, with tracking of up to 1200 DPI.
It has a left and right mouse button as well as a clickable scrollwheel; which is, let’s be honest here, all most gamers are likely to use anyway.
The whole unit feels well-made and the buttons, while requiring more pressure to use than a dedicated gaming mouse, still work fine and certainly didn’t cause me any issues. Despite having large hands I still found the mouse comfortable to use for both gaming and work, and it was just the right size to fit into one of the internal storage pockets in my backpack, too.
The Satechi M1 wireless mouse retails for around AUD$49, which seems like a fair price to me – it’s stylish, well made and, according to Satechi, will last 45 days been charges.
Given the respectable range on both units, there’s no reason you couldn’t plug your MacBook or laptop into a TV via an HDMI connection then go and sit on the other side of the lounge and use the X1 keyboard and M1 mouse for a gaming session.
They might not be optimal for a competitive DOTA 2 match or a high-intensity raid in World of Warcraft, but for something a bit slower paced (say, Hitman, Company Of Heroes 3, or Civilization VI), both the Satechi Slim X1 Bluetooth Keyboard and the Satechi M1 wireless mouse give a good account of themselves.
These are useful, stylish and practical accessories that will complement a MacBook or laptop very nicely, and given their reasonable pricing I am happy to recommend these to anyone needing a portable but sturdy wireless keyboard and/or mouse for general use.