Despite the popularity of mechanical keyboards, Mac-specific keyboards are still relatively rare. By Mac-specific, I mean keyboards that have Mac keycaps and support macOS shortcuts out of the box - no need for any pesky software or remapping service.
Fortunately for Mac users, there’s a new Mac-specific keyboard on the block and it comes from Mistel, a relatively new brand in the mechanical keyboard scene. The keyboard in question is the MD870 Sleeker. It comes in two sizes, regular 108-key full-size and 87-key tenkeyless. It is also available in the usual Cherry MX switches of red, black, blue, and brown. The unit that I have is the tenkeyless version with Cherry MX Brown switches.
At 1.4kg, the MD870 Sleeker is one of the heaviest and sturdiest keyboards I have handled. Its chassis is in fact made out of two pieces of thick solid aluminum. The switches themselves are also mounted through a stainless steel plate for extra rigidity. The end result is a keyboard that would not flex or wobble even under the heaviest key poundings.
A gripe I have about the keyboard is that it does not have kickstands. Instead, what you get are two additional feet that have to be screwed on to the bottom. Also, the feet only raise the keyboard by a fixed amount, and that fixed amount, I find, is not sufficient. That said, this is an issue that plagues many other mechanical keyboards too, and I don't consider it a dealbreaker.
The MD870 Sleeker comes with thick PBT keys, which are more resistant to wear and are pleasant to the touch. Thanks to the solid construction of the chassis, each key press is rewarded with a reassuring thud, not unlike the sound you get when you close the doors on a premium German saloon. Simply put, it feels nice to type on this keyboard.
Speaking of keys, the keyboard also comes with extra Windows keycaps for Windows users. Although the keyboard works with Macs, it can be easily be remapped for Windows machines by pressing Fn and Space Bar together.
The MD870 Sleeker has backlighting too, but no fancy RGB here, just plain white lights that pair well with the design of the keyboard.
Overall, the Mistel MD870 Sleeker is an excellent mechanical keyboard for Mac users. It is solidly constructed, pleasant to type on, and its overall aesthetics complement Mac devices well. The lack of height adjustability is a bit of a bother but that’s something I think most users can get used to.
The final thing I want to touch on is price. At S$259, it is, admittedly, pricey. But if you are a mechanical keyboard-loving Mac user, I think it is well worth every penny.
This article first appeared in the May 2018 issue of HWM.