Review: Twelve South’s MagicBridge is a beautiful way to join Magic Keyboard and Magic Trackpad 2

Twelve South is known for making some of the best Apple accessories available and this past week I’ve been using their new MagicBridge which joins Apple’s Magic Keyboard and Magic Trackpad 2together. Read on for a hands-on review.

 

Since 2011 I’ve been using MagicBridge’s predecessor, MagicWandand I’m happy to say MagicBridge is a slick improvement in a few different ways.

I really enjoy the updated trackpad on the 2016 MacBook Pro with its large size and Force Click feature. I also love the feel of the new keyboard, so I decided to invest in the Magic Trackpad 2 and Magic Keyboard for my desktop setup.

Since I was used to the clean design and useful function of MagicWand I was glad to get my hands on MagicBridge to provide organization and a clean look and feel to my desk. Let’s dive into the details!

In the box

It’s no surprise that MagicBridge comes in clean and simple packaging like the rest of Twelve South’s products. Inside is MagicBridge along with a paperboard insert that has a keyboard image on one side and instructions on the other. A few Twelve South stickers are also included.

MagicBridge Magic keyboard and Magic Trackpad 2 accessory

Build and materials

Twelve South uses precision crafted polycarbonate as their material of choice as it doesn’t hinder Bluetooth signals and is very lightweight. Before I used MagicBridge I thought I might want a silver finish, but the matte white finish (only option available) looks great in use as it blends in nicely with the all white trackpad and white keys of the keyboard.

The other aspects of MagicBridge’s design and build are what set it apart for other similar products on the market. You’ll notice in the photo above there is a gray riser, this slides to either side allowing you to place your trackpad on the right or left and keep both accessories at the proper height. Another well designed aspect is the silicone pads on the interior of the accessory. You’ll also find silicone feet on the bottom for a non-slip grip.

MagicBridge accessory for Magic Keyboard and Magic Trackpad 2

The last couple simple and useful features are a grill on the rear that allows access to the Lightning charging ports and power switches and circular cutouts to push the keyboard and trackpad up from the bottom if you’d like to remove them.

In use

Like I mentioned earlier I decided to spring for the Magic Keyboard and Magic Trackpad 2 as I first came to enjoy the key feel, Force Click, and size on the 2016 MacBook Pro. The other aspect that made it worth the money for me to upgrade these accessories was the built-in rechargeable batteries via Lightning.

My batteries on the previous generation Magic Trackpad and Apple wireless keyboard would usually go out in the middle of use as I didn’t make it a habit to power up my rechargeable AAs overnight. Although the MagicWand provided nice function and a minimal design, no matter your setup you’d have one battery door covered and one power button covered and need to remove your keyboard or trackpad for access.

magicwand

MagicBridge’s rear grill is one of my favorite features as it retains the seamless experience of the Magic Keyboard and Magic Trackpad 2s Lightning charging while remaining in place.

MagicBridge accessory for Magic Keyboard and Magic Trackpad 2

There’s not too much else to say about day-to-day use. It’s sleek, beautiful, functional and does its job well. I really enjoy being able to join my keyboard and trackpad into one unit, especially when I use it on my lap or use when I AirPlay my Mac to the TV.

Even without the times I use the keyboard and trackpad off my desk I still find MagicBridge worth $34.99 as it brings a polished look and feel to my setup. Also, I’ll likely use it for 4+ years.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a way to simplify and organize your Magic Keyboard and Magic Trackpad 2 setup while keeping Apple’s design aesthetic, I think MagicBridge is the best choice on the market. With a well thought out design, option for trackpad on the left or right, rear grill, and ease of use, it’s definitely worth picking up. You can buy MagicBridge on Amazon.

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A jet black Apple Magic Keyboard & Magic Mouse to match iPhone 7

The jet black iPhone 7 might be a little more prone to scratches and fingerprints with its glossy finish, but that didn’t stop me from choosing the color for my iPhone this year. And I’m glad I did— it’s even more stunning in person than how it appears in photographs.  

The only thing missing was a jet black Apple Magic Mouse and Magic Keyboard to match my new iPhone…

With a little help from the folks over at Colorware, I decided to give Apple’s Magic Mouse 2 and Magic Keyboard the full jet black treatment. The company’s website let me configure the paint job, and I chose solid jet black with a glossy finish for both the mouse and keyboard. Alternatively, you can pick a matte finish and a number of other color options.

Colorware has been around for a while, but I never had the pleasure of feeling the quality of its paint process for myself. The good news is that unlike many other third-party treatments for Apple’s keyboard that I’ve tested, Colorware’s process didn’t leave the keys of the Magic keyboard or the distinctive glossy shell of the Magic Mouse feeling much different than how they come stock from Apple. That’s important, because other shortcut keyboards I’ve tested, for example, apply color in a way that can drastically change the way the keyboard feels for the worse.

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The glossy finish on the Jet Black Magic Keyboard as you might expect feels a bit different than the matte finish that Apple puts on its keys, but it doesn’t noticeably change the typing experience much. The bottom of the keyboard remains white, but Colorware paints all the sides so you only see your color of choice when it’s lying flat. The company has matte color options too, and I might have opted for a black matte keyboard for both the feel and to avoid fingerprints if I wasn’t specifically going for the jet black look to match my new iPhone 7. 

The jet black Magic Mouse, on the other hand, looks and feels almost exactly the same as Apple’s stock mouse which already has a glossy (but white) finish. I didn’t notice any difference in performance, either, with the top of the mouse feeling identical to a stock Apple Mouse for all the usual gestures, clicking and scrolling. The paint job removes the Apple logo normally on top of the mouse, and you can optionally select two tone finishes with a different color on the bottom than the top.

I opted for an entirely jet black setup (the bottom of the mouse is pictured below).

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The result is a glossy jet black paint job that doesn’t much take away from the design and feel of Apple’s accessories and looks almost identical to the iPhone 7, so what’s there to lose? You can’t send in your own Apple mouse and keyboard like Colorware does for other products, but you can configure a new set from their site for $199 and $119. That’s a $40 premium on the mouse over Apple’s usual $79 price tag and $99 on the keyboard.

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It’s something I wish Apple itself would do for its products. Why are the new AirPods only available in white for example? I’m not the only one that’s noticed, however, as just last month someone rendered the AirPods in black, which in hindsight seems like a no-brainer alongside the new jet black iPhone 7. And it’s even something that myself and a lot of other people have mentioned when it comes to Mac accessories too…

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A black Apple mouse and keyboard was something I hoped for when I bought the “new” black Mac Pro back in 2013, but so far Apple has mostly stuck with the aluminum and white color scheme for its accessories despite bringing new color options to MacBooks and other products.

Fortunately, Colorware remains a solid option until then…

The Magic Mouse and keyboard come with all the original Apple packaging and cables, and you can customize both with ton of different color options and finishes if jet black isn’t your thing. $119 for the Magic Mouse, and $199 for the Magic Keyboard. 9to5toys has 10% off with coupon code ‘9to5Toys’ for a limited time.

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Take a peek inside Apple’s magical new peripherals

Apple has some Magical new peripherals.

Apple’s magical new Mouse, TrackPad and keyboard have been given the official teardown treatment from the guys at iFixit today, revealing the minuscule components inside the rechargeable new peripherals.

The teardown on the keyboard reveals the tiny new battery Apple squeezed in that has some design similarities to the iPhone’s battery. iFixit also took a closer look at the new Taptic Engine in the pricey Magic TrackPad 2, and filleted the Magic Mouse 2.

Check out what’s inside each device:

Magic Keyboard

magic-keyboard

The new Magic Keyboard includes a rechargeable 793 mAh lithium-ion battery, logic board, a honeycombed spacer layer to add more rigidity to the board, a Lightning connector cable, and of course the keys, which use Apple’s new scissor mechanism that debuted on the new MacBook.

The logic board’s Bluetooth is powered by a Broadcom Bluetooth transceiver, with an ST Microelectronics microcontroller, NXP charging IC and a TI battery charger. If your keyboard ever breaks, you’ll have to take it into the Apple Store, as the repair experts at iFixit gave the new Magic Keyboard a low repairability score of 3 out of 10.

Magic TrackPad 2

Taptic-engine

The Magic TrackPad 2 costs $129, but the insides aren’t quite as exciting as the price tag would suggest. iFixit found that the trackpad has the largest battery of the three new products, with a 2,024 mAh rechargeable lithium-ion battery. It also includes strain gauges, a logic board, and a big Taptic Engine with copper wire coils.

Magic Mouse 2

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The insides of the Magic Mouse 2 have been changed largely by the new 1,986 mAh rechargeable lithium-ion battery. Apple’s designers also redesigned the feet to sound better while it glides across your desk. The new mouse also has a logic board, a touch-sensing array, and a switch for all that clicking.

You can see more gory details and lots more photos over at the three iFixit teardowns.