Ironically, mechanical keyboards started out with the legendary IBM mechanical keyboards. However, today, many know mechanical keyboards for gaming or are a part of the elite “PC” culture.
But where does Mac fit into this? To take a wild guess, it’s partly blamed on the “hybrids” out there that use both PC and Mac. These are designers, sound engineers, photographers, streamers, developers, etc… who probably have some interest in gaming or tedious amounts of time and investment to make their workstations look & feel incredible. The downside, since this is a recent fad, there aren’t a lot of Mac-specific mechanical keyboards. At most, you’ll find hybrid compatibility. Keychron at least provides Mac keycaps and Macally builds Mac-specific shortcuts into the board, already pre-programmed.
TKL or Tenkeyless is just a term used to describe keyboards without num pads or num keys. There are variations of a TKL and technically most know TKL as a 2 zone 87%. However, with this influence of mechanical keyboard fanatics, more options are increasing (e.g. 75% and 60%). Below is a list of 2 examples for each style of TKL mechanical keyboards with pros & cons. Note: if you want to see the top 3 full-size mechanical keyboards, check out this post.
Dimensions:4.02″ x 11.50″ x 1.57″
Weight: 1.23 lb
Switches: RK Red
The RK61 is an ultra-compact layout keyboard with 61 keys. Concentrated on all the key functions you need in minimalist design. This helps you save more space for your mouse movement and neat workspace. This makes it one of the most common choices for gamers. However, for Mac probably not. Regardless, it’s compatible with Mac and a cheap entry-level Mac-compatible keyboard to mess around with.
Dimensions: 3.90″ x 12.10″ x 1.50″
Weight: 1.45 lb
Switches: MageGee Blue Switches
The MK-Box is also ideal for an even cheaper minimalist keyboard. However, the big problem with this keyboard is that they cut out some helpful features for Mac compatibility and comfort. For example, you are forced to stick with their in-house blue switches as the board is not “hot-swappable.” Mind you, blue switches are the loudest switches on the market. But if you want to save a buck, it’ll still work with your Mac. If you don’t like it, you could hand it down to a nephew or kid who will most likely go bonkers over it.
Dimensions:13.3″ x 6.97″ x 1.85″
Weight: 2.43 lb
Switches: Gateron Pro Yellow
The EP84 keeps a compact 75% layout with Bluetooth connectivity and artfully designed keycaps with high-quality gateron switches. This keyboard requires a heavier investment but will not disappoint those wanting to add some finesse to their Mac workspace. And with the macOS mode, you’ll feel right at home. However, since they don’t provide Mac keycaps, you’ll have to get used to Windows jargon still.
Dimensions: 7.1″ x 18.3″ x 2.1″
Weight: 3.39 lb
Switch: Gateron G Pro Red
The Keychron K2 is a 75% layout (84-keys) white-led backlit compact Bluetooth mechanical keyboard. Even though it’s compatible with both PC and Mac, it still has a unique Mac layout that provides all necessary Mac function keys. It connects with up to 3 devices and with the Gateron mechanical switches, your typing experience will be amazing! The only downside is some complaints about connection issues and a color pallet/aesthetic that might not truly accentuate the Apple ecosystem.
Dimensions: 4.80″ x 13.90″ x 1.50″
Weight: 2.79 lb
Switch: Gateron G Pro Red
The Keychron K8 is a 87% layout (87-keys) white-led backlit compact Bluetooth mechanical keyboard. Similar to the K2 it’s also compatible with both PC and Mac and provides Mac-specific keycaps to jump right into your Apple workflows & shortcuts. And with the ability to connect 3 devices via Bluetooth, your cable clutter is nonexistent. However, with any Bluetooth, you’ll usually run into issues. Checkout this post if you need help with Bluetooth troubleshooting.
Dimensions: 8.62″ x 17.68″ x 3.31″
Weight: 2.55 lb
Switches: Kailh Brown Switches
The B2MKEY is for users who desire to accentuate their Mac workspace with simplicity. Macally’s mission of innovation through simplicity is carefully interwoven into the BMKEY as it matches the Apple ecosystem, not just with specific Apple shortcuts but also through clean-minimalist aesthetics. Although it might not have a hot-swappable board or provide the best experience for gaming, it will truly enhance your Apple workspace.