Reviewed in the United States on November 11, 2015
I have the full sized Apple Keyboard with the numeric keypad, the original Wireless Apple Keyboard and now the Magic Keyboard. I'll go through each and list what makes the Magic Keyboard upgrade worthy.
Full Sized Apple Keyboard with Numeric Keypad Obviously, these are great for those who need the extra keys. However, the problem for me is the length of the keyboard. Due to its length, it pushes the mouse or the trackpad too far off to the side for my comfort. I have since purchased an ergonomic chair (
Steelcase Leap Fabric Chair, Black
) with highly adjustable arms, but prior to owning this chair, having the mouse so far out to the side hurt my shoulders. The other issue is the big movement required to reach the mouse. And of course, the wires. I hate wires. So I purchased the bluetooth keyboard from Apple.
Apple Wireless Keyboard These were great. It had amazing battery life and the keyboard felt good. Due to the shorter length, the mouse or trackpad can be placed right next to the keyboard and you don't need an exaggerated movement to reach it. One thing that has always bothered me about the wireless keyboard was the angle of the keyboard due to the battery compartment. I kept wishing that it could sit flatter on the desk.
Magic Keyboard It's flatter! My wrist is thankful for it. This alone convinced me to purchase it. The rechargeable battery is also a great improvement from the previous generation. Some people worry that the built in battery will need to be replaced, but I am fairly certain that I will want to replace my keyboard before the battery dies. And if it does die, I can always plug in the lightning cable and use it as a wired keyboard. Battery life is great. I initially purchased the Magic Keyboard back in 10/29/2015. It came with a 99% charge. It's now 11/11/2015 and still has 82% remaining. I use my computer A LOT because I work from home and write software for a living.
The much talked about key travel is also worth mentioning. I type around 120 words per minute. I was able to reach that speed on Typeracer (it's an online typing game where you compete with others -- type faster, and your race car moves fasters towards the finish line) immediately, but it just didn't feel right. The only thing I have to say is to give it a chance. Your brain with adapt to it. It feels like my fingers are using less force and doing less work. I don't notice it much anymore because I'm so used to it (that is not until I use another keyboard).
The other thing that really bothered me was the arrow keys. The left and right keys are full sized but the up and down keys are not. This kept throwing off my muscle memory. My fingers kept missing the up and down keys as I instinctively reached for them. Also, due to the lower profile of the keys, it was harder to get the tactile feedback to discern between the keys. The old Wireless Keyboard had a deeper groove separating the up and down keys so it was easier to sense the keys. I eventually got used to this, too, though it took a bit longer. Looking at the keyboard I can see why Apple made this design choice.
Finally, the keyboard looks better and sleeker than the previous generation. Attached are some photos for comparison.
Do I love it (5 stars)? Well, no, because I thought the original price was expensive enough but this one is even more expensive at $100 ($30 jump). But I really do like it, hence the 4 stars. I would not have trouble recommending it to someone who already has the original Wireless Keyboard.
Update 12/6/2015: Someone asked if it's loud compared to the old wireless keyboard. I just tested it, and although the sound different, the previous generation is definitely louder. They sound different (older one has more bass). I'm not sure how much these will help, but below are the recordings for comparison.
Previous Apple Wireless Keyboard [...]
New Magic Keyboard [...] Also, I haven't had to recharge my battery yet. I'm at 47%.
Update 4/29/2016: Still loving it. The rechargeable battery is great. Even though the previous model has great battery life, I still find it annoying whenever I have to replace the batteries and I have none readily available. I ran into this exact situation last week (I still have the previous gen). The rechargeable battery is just one less thing to worry about.
Update 5/14/2016: It's still going strong. The battery life is phenomenal. The letter S is barely visible because it has faded due to it being used so much. It's followed (in degree of fading) by A, C and E. This problem of letters fading has also been a problem with the previous Apple Keyboards. Since having used this keyboard for over a year, I have gotten very used to the short travel distance. When I type other keyboards, I have difficulty pressing the keys all the way because I'm so used to the shorter travel distance. If it were to break, I'd buy another one to replace it because I prefer it that much more.