Worst Laptop Keyboard of all Time! (Opinion)


Laptop keyboards over the years, have always been a step or two below, a regular desktop keyboard. They all offer different, feels, layouts and responsiveness. ThinkPad keyboards for instance, are one of the best, and offer an excellent typing experience. Whilst, laptops with, cheap, flimsy chiclet keyboards, are the worst typing experience. It really all is subjective, when it comes down to it.

Recently, I went to Best Buy, to look around. I walked over to the Apple section to take a gander. I tried out one of the new Macbooks Pros. After typing on the keyboards. I was shocked, how horrendously, bad it was. It felt like, I was typing on a hard table.

The Macbook keyboard, is the worst keyboard, I have ever used. It has no key travel, no tactile feedback, nothing. You minus well, just type on a rock, for writing essays. How can Apple sell so-called, premium laptops, with such awful keyboards?

Although, laptop keyboards are all subjective. The Macbook keyboard is just objectively bad. I could not imagine owning a Macbook, and having to type anything longer than 2 sentences on it.

What is Apple thinking?

What are your thoughts about the Macbook keyboard?

Comments (48)

48 responses to “Worst Laptop Keyboard of all Time! (Opinion)”

  1. Bob Shutts

    YMMV. Personally I'm typing much faster on the MacBook keyboard. It is a shock when you first start using it, I'll grant you that.

  2. rob_segal

    Despite its small key travel, the new MacBook keyboard feels snappy and responsive. It was more comfortable to type on than the Dell XPS 13 keyboard. At least, when you pressed a key on the MacBook, it registers the keystroke consistently across the entire surface of the key. The XPS keyboards do not do that. The way the XPS key bottoms out feels worse to me, too. Overall, I don't like Dell's laptop keyboards. Asus is also not great, but I haven't typed on one in several years.

    The worst thing about the MacBook keyboard could be its thin keystroke and reliability. If dust can cause a key to fail over time, that is pretty bad.

  3. bkkcanuck

    IBM PC Jr. chiclet keyboard.... nothing in my memory has ever come close. (and it did not have the excuse of fitting into a laptop)

  4. argrubbs

    Oh, easily the iPad Pro keyboard folio. It just has no feedback on the keys at all. I would be typing and realize a word or two down the line that there are at least two letters missing from those words. You can go through the motions of typing on that thing, but it's up to a random number generator as to whether or not your key registers.

    The new Magic Keyboard is such a substantial improvement.

    Honorary mention: Dell keyboards from the late 90s and 2000s. Somehow more garbage than the Optiplexes they were attached to.

  5. hrlngrv

    For me, virtual keyboards on screen are worst. Any physical keyboard is better.

    I haven't tried a Mac laptop keyboard since before the pandemic. My wife has an aging iMac with the standard keyboard from the time, and it sucks compared to the fairly dated Logitech keyboard I use on my home PC.

    As for laptop keyboards, I can forgive a lot of crappy tactile feedback as long as there are 6 cursor/navigation keys on the bottom-right corner of the keyboard, that is, [PgUp] and [PgDn] keys above [Left] and [Right] cursor keys, respectively, and on either side of a full size [Up] key above a full size [Down] key. Which pretty much means I can't stand ANY HP laptop.

  6. phil_adcock

    I have the 16-Inch Macbook Pro and I must say I don't mind typing on the keyboard. The only thing I get frustrated with by it is the lack of a number pad...I knew this when I purchased it but I actually have a separate Logitech keyboard that I use when I'm doing a lot of typing. But If I'm sitting in my recliner with my Macbook on my lap I just use the built-in keyboard.

  7. yaddamaster

    Worst laptop keyboard: 2017 Macbook Pro. It was horrendous. Double strokes captured all the time. No travel. No resistance. I eventually managed to get my company to take it back and give me a 2019 model. The keyboard still sucks but at least it's more accurate.

    Worst keyboard of all time: anything with a membrane keyboard. Timex Sinclair, Atari 400 all come to mind.


    I absolutely love it. When I go back to other keyboards I'm immediately frustrated by how far you have to push a key down to record a keystroke. The MacBook key travel is very shallow but they keys are bigger and easier to hit with fast moving fingers. I actually make fewer typing mistakes now, than I did on the previous generation of MacBook keyboards.

    The worst part is that now I am officially corrupted and can't find a single keyboard for my PC that doesn't suck.

  9. wright_is

    The 2017 was worse, but the worst I've ever used was the ZX81, followed by the Atari 400, but the modern Apple Macbook keyboards certainly fall in my top 5 of all time worst keyboards - and I've used hundreds of keyboards over the years.

  10. winner

    My Toshiba Portege was bad. Not only did it have flat chiclet keys, they were glossy so that your fingers could more easily slide off them. And then once it got old, the keys started to skip.

  11. jimchamplin

    Any keyboard that isn't my Apple Extended II.

    I mean, my Das Keyboard, my Model M, and my Razers are perfectly fine, but... yeah. All notebook keyboards suck since none of them have any decent tactile feel. Maybe if someone knew what a good keyboard felt like lol

  12. 2ilent8cho

    I have a 2019 13" Macbook Pro with the 3rd Gen butterfly and a 2020 M1 13" Macbook Pro with the traditional keyboard as personal devices. I seem to be grabbing the older 2019 Pro more, why? Butterfly keyboard is just so much better, i type faster on it and it feels better. Just wish i could retro fit it to the M1 Macbook as the M1 is better in every other way.

    Now my 2017 Macbook 12" that has the older Butterfly i'm not too keen on, but i think by the time they hit the 3rd version the feel was perfect.

  13. waethorn

    Surface RT Touch Cover, or any rubber button keyboard like those washable ones or a ZX Spectrum style.

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to Waethorn:

      I tried a Touch cover at a Best Buy way back when, and I asked myself why? As in why did MSFT bother with this POS? Well, I suppose there has to be a Microsoft Bob every decade.

  14. Edward Grego

    I just bought my first Mac, a 2017 15" MacBook Pro, I'm coming from a Surface Book, I gotta tell you, I like this keyboard a lot! I don't like it more or less than the SB, it's different for sure, but not bad by any stretch. What else I REALLY like, is apple gave me choices for keyboard backlighting, that has frustrated me since the first Surface RT, however, the first keyboards had proximity sensors.

  15. seapea

    Have you seen the Chromebook Pixel keyboard? I've seen photos and do not see:

    delete key

    caps lock key

    function keys

    page up/down keys

    and subjectively, to me it seems that the touchpad would get in the way of typing.

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to seapea:

      Depending on how one holds one's thumbs while typing, nearly all touchpads can be problems. Not unique to Chromebooks. There are equivalent combinations for everything else in your list except [F11] and [F12]. That said, I don't like the now-standard layout, so my nearly 4-year-old Chromebook (pre-standard) will be my only Chromebook.

    • jimchamplin

      In reply to seapea:

      Caps Lock is such an unneeded key. I wish Windows would let you easily remap it to control.

      • seapea

        In reply to jimchamplin:

        Where I work one of the main programs is an old DOS based COBOL program that requires all characters to be in caps.

        And yes, there is a lot of inadvertent SHOUTING in instant messages :)

        • hrlngrv

          In reply to seapea:

          When it comes to COBOL, one must ask whether DOS means MS-DOS or DOS the mainframe OS from the 1960s?

          If it's MS-DOS based, you could in theory load ANSI.SYS and use it to remap all lower case letters to upper case, eliminating the need for Caps Lock that way.

          • seapea

            In reply to hrlngrv:

            MS-DOS running COBOL object files.

            hmm, remapping with ANSI.SYS - interesting idea, wonder how feasible that is in W7 and W10. I hope to look into next week, thanks!

      • hrlngrv

        In reply to jimchamplin:

        There are ways to do this via REGEDIT, but Windows could use its own analog to xmodmap. Wouldn't hurt if there were also a Windows analog for xdotool.

  16. PincasX

    My initial reaction to the newer MacBook keyboard was not positive but after a year of use I have found the initial reaction kind of fades away the keyboard is perfectly fine. So, for me at least, it was more about getting used to something different than it actually being a bad keyboard. When it comes to Apple laptop keyboards I think the second or third generation G3 Laptops had the worst.

  17. rameshthanikodi

    The Macbook keyboard really is quite terrible. And it's loud. The thing is, Microsoft has managed to make a keyboard with decent travel on what is basically a fabric cover, does Apple really need to shave off whatever little millimeter of travel such to make the Macbook thinner? Even then, the Surface is thinner with the cover on, so what the hell?

    The only saving grace of the new Macbook keyboard is my imagination - I just imagine that i'm typing on a touchscreen, on glass, and then ta-da! Problem solved.

  18. jwpear

    I find the new Macbook and MBP keyboards odd too, but like you, I've only been able to test drive at the store. The keys do seem flimsy and the travel is very short. While I don't love it, I'd probably eventually get used to it. It is a compromise that shouldn't be there, in my opinion. My impression is Apple is cutting corners rather than improving the experience or quality.

    I'm still using a 2012 MBP and find its keyboard to be decent.  Keys wobble more than I like, but it has nice travel and good feedback. I'd love a MBP with a better display, but the keyboard and my light use keep me on the 2012 model.

    My absolute favorite Apple keyboard, in terms of key feel, is the older Apple Wireless keyboard (with the AA battery tube). It just feels so good--has just the right amount of tactile feedback and key travel. My typing is very fast and accurate with it. If I didn't suffer from carpal tunnel, I'd use it as my daily driver for desk work.

    At the office, I use a MS Sculpt Ergo keyboard. I didn't love the keys on it at first, coming from the MS Nat Ergo 4000. Keys tend to bottom out too easily and my accuracy has suffered. But I've gotten used to it.

    If my full-time job were writing, I'd use the MS Nat Ergo 4000 keyboard exclusively for desk work and 2012 MBP for lap work.

  19. Vladimir Carli

    it's absurdly bad. It's the reason I'm holding on my old macbook and considering to switch to windows. I have no idea what they are thinking, maybe they just want to kill the mac.


  20. Patrick3D

    Nothing could possibly be worse than the Ctrl key being in the wrong place on IBM/Lenovo keyboards.

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to Patrick3D:

      Bit of a tangent, for the last 2 decades at least, has there really been any reason for a dedicated Caps Lock key? Haven't all computers been able to accept something like holding down both [Shift] keys for 2 or 3 seconds to set it, then pressing both together to unset? Detecting the duration a key has been pressed has been baked into Windows for several versions now. Why not put that to better use?

      • Lauren Glenn

        In reply to hrlngrv:

        As someone who periodically programs with Oracle databases and Linux systems and to this day I will never understand why someone would WANT two files named "1.txt" and "1.TXT" to be separate or two separate fields of Envelope and ENVELOPE to be different, I find many foreign keys for tables with text references are often typed in all caps in my databases so it's convenient to have that button where it is for me. On rare occasions have I needed this option in SQL Server where it had to be case sensitive but when I needed it, you can manually specify this collation option when running the query when you actually need it.

        I mean, keyboards still have a Scroll Lock key. Now that's a vestigial button if there ever was one. Only one program I know uses it and it's Excel.

        • hrlngrv

          In reply to alissa914g:

          Picky: LibreOffice Calc also uses Scroll Lock. Probably most locally running spreadsheets do.

          FWLIW, there used to be utilities which, when loaded, would only allow console windows to scroll just one screenful when Scroll Lock was enabled. Once console windows gained the ability to scroll back, no more pressing need for those.

          Anyway, few laptop keyboards still have dedicated Scroll Lock keys, so it's disappearing at a slow rate.