I was sad when Apple stopped producing the old standard A1234 (MB110LL/A) wired keyboard a couple of years ago. If I’m using an iMac, Mac Pro or Mac Mini, I prefer a wired keyboard. You can still buy some used and refurbished Apple wired keyboards; however, their days are numbered.
Over the past couple of years, I’ve gotten by with a cheap Macally keyboard in a pinch but they are very plastic and just don’t look or feel right with the modern aluminum Mac builds. There are tons of knockoffs and lookalikes but everything is a compromise, which brings me to the new Xcellon keyboard that I’m typing on right now.
While it’s still a compromise from my default Apple MB110LL/A keyboard, it actually has a more modern look and comes in Space Gray (as well as the classic Silver) to match the MacBook Pro line. So, it looks great even if there is a subtle difference in the aluminum tint.
The keyboard action feels better than the cheap Macally models that I’ve used in recent years. It’s a scissor-switch key action too, so it feels better to type on than the disastrous butterfly keyboards on recent MacBook Pros. There’s a bit of a springy sound to it but I’m getting used to it after a couple of weeks. It’s still better than the clickity sound and sticky keys that repeat letters on my Macbook Pro.
A small, blue LED confirms the caps lock status and it has a pair of USB 2.0 ports, which work well enough for adding a mouse or connecting a USB stick for transferring small files. Two legs on the back of the keyboard prop it up for a higher angle experience based on your own comfort or desk layout.
I’ve started using it on my desk with my MacBook Pro closed and leave it connected to my OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock instead of using my MacBook with a second monitor. I don’t miss the Touchbar for anything but the TouchID for logins. Additionally, having a physical row of function and shortcut keys is a worthwhile trade-off. I had forgotten how frustrating that interacting with the Touchbar had become (because I just live with it) before I started tucking the MacBook away.
In summary, the Xcellon Wired Mac Keyboard is a pleasing alternative to the discontinued Apple MB110LL/A keyboard. It’s a recommended addition for those of us who still want a wired-in connection to their Macs. I think it’s worth a 4.5 out of 5 stars. I’m docking half a star for being slightly off-tint from Apple’s Space Gray and the subtle springy sound in the key action that I notice sometimes. Otherwise, it’s a solid Mac keyboard.
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Disclaimer: B&H Photo provided a product sample of the Xcellon keyboard for the purposes of this review. This never changes the opinions of the products I review – good or bad.