Here’s What We Like
And What We Don’t
- Full size betrays thin design
- Adhesive stands
Exceedingly thin and designed with Mac users in mind, the Satechi Slim X3 Backlit Keyboard is fit for typists who want to use a full-sized, low-profile board. But as you’ll come to see, a slim form factor and full functionality is a hard balance to strike. Let’s take a closer look at the Slim X3.
The Satechi Slim X3 has some pretty unique dimensions. It’s a minuscule 0.4 inches thick and weighs just under a pound. It’s almost alarmingly thin, but it’s also still as wide as any other desktop keyboard at 16.65 inches.
Despite being so thin, the keyboard doesn’t feel flimsy. On the contrary, the keys have a decent amount of give and they’re close together—which is not an uncommon layout for Mac keyboards.
The backlighting is standard. I never caught myself astonished by its brightness or disappointed by dim LEDs, and it didn’t seem to cut into the battery life. The lights were on for the entire time I used it, and the board never had issues achieving the advertised 80 hours of battery life.
And staying true to the series’ compact design, the Slim X3 has a tiny power switch hidden on the narrow edge of the keyboard, located right next to the USB-C port used for charging.
In the box, you’ll get the keyboard, a USB-C-to-C cable, and a couple of adhesive stands. I wish it came with a dedicated charging brick, but you can recharge the Slim X3’s battery off of your computer or any USB-C charger. Thankfully, the battery life is long enough that you won’t have to worry about this too often.
The adhesive stands are probably the most important accessories, though. I found the Slim X3 really uncomfortable to use, so I immediately applied the stands hoping for a resolution. Unfortunately, that 0.4 inches of board thickness means your hands wind up close to the table. Not exactly ergonomic.
The keyboard’s compact form factor is a key feature, but I would’ve liked to see these height-adjusting stands built into the board itself. As it is, if you remove the rubber stands, they’re never going to be as sticky again. A magnetic or latch style stand would’ve made for a better overall user experience.
With its $89.99 price tag, the Slim X3 is the most expensive Satechi keyboard in the company’s arsenal. To me, something that makes it worth more than other wireless keyboards is its size and functionality. But being a full-size keyboard does mean the Slim X3 is not very compact length-wise, having a full number pad and non-cramped arrow keys. The Bluetooth functionality works well, a common attribute in Satechi’s catalog and to be expected at this price range.
But here’s what it boils down to: this keyboard is just expensive. Its thin size doesn’t make it any more convenient to carry around than anything else in Satechi’s own catalog, all of which share a similar thickness. For $20 less, you can buy the tenkeyless Slim X1 that can be paired with three devices at a time, and for $79.99, the Slim X2 is several inches narrower with an included number pad and the ability to connect to four devices (the same as the Slim X3.)
Honestly, I don’t see who the target audience for this keyboard is. Satechi advertises that the Slim X3 “allows you to work with ease wherever or whenever your creativity takes you,” but its size isn’t all that portable. I envision this as a stationary keyboard that stays in your home or office and doesn’t get traveled with.
The X3 is lightweight, but it’s not small enough to rest comfortably in many bags—it’s just too long. Is it a good keyboard? Yes, it does everything you’d want a decent keyboard to do. But the Slim X3 manages to land in a spot where it’s not comfortable enough for the office to justify the price, and it’s too big to lug around as a travel keyboard.
Smaller Satechi keyboards do everything the X3 sets out to, and the added functionality of a full-sized keyboard forfeits the traits that make the Slim X series special. The X3 is quieter than other keyboards, but I don’t see that as beneficial enough to warrant the price increase. I would hold off on buying this keyboard until it sees a price drop.
Consider one of the other Slim Satechi keyboards if you need a small, portable keyboard (Slim X1 and Slim X2)—they’re much easier to carry around.