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DSI Compact Cherry Mechanical Switch Mac Keyboard SMK-88 USB

by DS
4 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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  • Enter your model number above to make sure this fits.
  • Sleek design matches with Mac
  • Advanced Cherry Mechanical Switch technology
  • Comes with built in USB port on end for addition peripheral!
  • Works with OS X and up
  • Includes USB 1.1 for keyboard and 2.0 for peripherals

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Product Description

As reviewed in MacAddict, the Compact Mac Keyboard is a compact keyboard that features high quality Cherry Mechanical Switch technology good for 50 million+ cycles. The Compact Mac Keyboard comes with 2 USB plug-in connectors: a 1.1 USB connector and a 2.0 USB connector. The 1.1 USB connector (silver color) controls the actual typing interface while the 2.0 USB Pass Through connector (gold color) is additionally plugged-into the computer when an external device (such as a camera) is plugged into the keyboards side port. The cables can be plugged in simultaneously into the computers USB ports.

Product Information

Product Dimensions 16 x 13 x 4 inches
Item Weight 3 pounds
Shipping Weight 3 pounds
Manufacturer DSI
Item model number SMK88
Customer Reviews
4 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

4 out of 5 stars
Best Sellers Rank #15,732 in Computers & Accessories > Computer Accessories > Keyboards, Mice & Accessories > Keyboards
Date first available at May 11, 2006

Warranty & Support

Product Warranty: For warranty information about this product, please click here


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Customer Questions & Answers

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Steve Ko on August 12, 2008
Verified Purchase
I've only been using this keyboard for about 8 hours now, but my initial impression is highly favorable. I love the key action. It isn't a "clicky" keyboard like the classic IBM "buckling spring" Model M, but its Cherry mechanical switches definitely have a more precise feel than your run-of-the-mill dome switches that are used with most PC keyboards nowadays. The key travel and pressure required feel just about perfect to me.

Also, I really like the layout. The size and positions of all the keys are just about perfect for a compact keyboard. The keyboard doesn't skimp on the size of the Shift, Delete, Return or modifier keys. I thought that the placement of the Up Arrow key being so close to the Return and Right Shift keys would be a problem, but I haven't had any issues with that so far.

There are a few downsides that keep me from giving this keyboard a perfect 5-star rating. First of all, the keyboard does not contain a USB hub. It does have a USB pass-through port, but I'm not quite sure what the point of that is. This seems like an odd omission for a relatively expensive keyboard. Second, it does not have a Num Lock key. It does have a set of keys that do double duty as a numeric keypad, but you have to press and hold down the Fn key to use them. Finally, there are 3 LEDs on the top right, but as far as I can tell, only one of them (the one that lights up for Caps Lock) ever lights up. This is a very minor detail, but as a design freak, these little things annoy me.

NOTE: Not all "Cherry mechanical switch" keyboards are the same. I learned this lesson the hard way when I purchased a Cherry G81-1800LUMUS-0 keyboard last week. The key action on that keyboard was just awful. It required significantly more force to press a key than any other keyboard I've ever used. After a couple days of using that keyboard, my fingers were tired! That's when I decided to place the order for the DSI SMK-88.
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In the last 4 1/2 months alone I've gone through 4 different keyboards. The reason being is that I wanted a keyboard without a numpad since I never use one and prefer not to have to stretch over something I don't use in order to reach my mouse. The problem with most compact keyboards however if that they're made with laptop style keys and are very thin and extraordinarily fragile, not to mention it seems as though most companies only produce them for a short period of time. I went through 3 of the laptop style keyboards, each one becoming damaged over minor "incidents" such as a minor spill of liquid (just a simple drop of water is enough to effectively destroy a key) or because they keys would become jammed with regular use. If I found one I liked I would find that I could no longer purchase it because it was no longer made. I tried to use one of those kensington slim keyboards only to find that I hated the added length with the numpad attached.

I looked around and decided on a Deck keyboard since it appeared to be the perfect keyboard for my needs. It was compact, had mechanical switches and had the added functionality of having backlit keys. I spent a small fortune on it only to find that the quality control of the keyboard was awful. When you pay $133 for a keyboard you would expect that the LED lights would function properly and that the mechanical key switches would operate properly and not feel smooshier than a laptop style keyboard. It was truly awful and to top it off their customer support was even worse. I advise anyone thinking about buying one of those keyboards to think again! They remind me of a white van speaker company. They talk the talk but they sell you something that looks as though it was assembled by a drunken gorilla.

Now comes DSI.
Read more ›
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Although DSI's catalog does not explicitly say, this model uses Black Cherry key switches called "MX Linear Action". The Black Cherry has linear (=non-tactile; pressure increases linearly as keys are pressed down) and mechanical characteristics; the latter means that the actuator is spring (not rubber dome). SMK-88 is a rare model coming with such good parts in the compact body.

I found that SMK-88's look is identical to FILCO's FKB91JU (Japanese keyboard) that also uses Black Cherry switches except key arrangement, color, and FILCO's logo. Both models are made in Taiwan and I think by DSI.

The keytop is manufactured not to be slippery. The font being used is very similar to that of Apple keyboards. Black Cherry sound is not noisy like Blue Cherry's. As you learn you don't need to hit keys to the bottom, the key sound will become softer. Overall, it's nice.

For those not familiar with Cherry switches: The Black Cherry has a comfortable but little heavy feeling. Input is finished when keys are pressed to the mid point, but you'll never know it by key touch. You need to get used to it. If you keep hitting the keys to the bottom, your fingers will get tired. I think DSI's Modular Mac Keyboard KB-MODMAC-U is a good alternative. The Blue and Brown switches are available. I recommend the Brown Switch model that should give you a lighter key touch (but not as light as the Blue Switch model) and a modest tactile feeling. When you pass the tactile point, input is done.
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Verified Purchase
I use an Intel iMac running Leopard. Although I love the sleek look of the Apple aluminum, flat keyboard, I finally had to admit to myself that actually typing using that keyboard was driving me crazy. My fingers would slosh around on the keys because of their low footprint and I spent half my time backspacing to remove errors.

Happily, I discovered this DSI keyboard for the Mac. Each row of keys is on a curved base so that it's easier to tell by touch what key is underneath your fingertips, and the keys give a crisp action when you press them. I think it's hard to put into words the qualities that make some keyboards more of a pleasure to use than others. For me, this DSI keyboard probably suits me best simply because it's so much like the old IBM computer keyboard I learned to type on some years ago. I can tell by touch what key/row my fingers are on, and I can bang out words faster. There are even dedicated keys for some of the major multimedia functions from the Apple keyboard, like music play and volume controls. All around, this has the feel of a good, solid component.

I like this keyboard very much. My accuracy is much higher and I'm enjoying using the keyboard.

I had a slight issue setting it up; I had to plug the keyboard in one of the Mac's USB slots and the mouse in a separate one. In other words, I was not able to do the typical Mac setup of plugging the keyboard into one of the USB slots and then plugging the mouse into the keyboard's USB slot - I had to use 2 slots from the back of the iMac. I believe is because both my mouse and new keyboard are third-party non-Apple products. The easy workaround for this issue is a USB 2.0 hub to create new slots for devices. The keyboard itself, now that it is decoupled from the mouse, works wonderfully and is a pleasure to use.
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