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The second we laid eyes on the Magic Trackpad, we had one thought: “Please oh please let it magnetically snap onto Apple’s Wireless Keyboard!” Alas, it was not so, which is why we lit up again when we heard about Twelve South’s MagicWand, a simple-seeming doodad that links those two peripherals. Unfortunately, disappointment once again followed as the MagicWand can sometimes be surprisingly difficult to set up.
It shouldn’t be. It’s just a silver, half-moon-shaped plastic tube. The keyboard and trackpad both snap in with ease, but that’s when the problems might start. Once they’re joined in that tube, the two peripherals flop around a bit. That’s fine if you’re working on a desk, but for couch or lap use, Twelve South included an “H-beam”—an H-shaped plastic strip that slides between the edges of the keyboard and trackpad, linking them together and stabilizing the duo.
The MagicWand’s made of polycarbonate, just like the regular MacBooks.
Problem is, it can be punishingly hard to install. With one of our Wireless Keyboards (its aluminum is 0.59mm thick), the H-beam slid on lickety-split. With another Wireless Keyboard that’s 0.16mm thicker, we had to press the H-Beam hard into the desk to try to slide it into place, slowly exerting a large amount of force while thoroughly cussing it out. It was so difficult, we’re shocked we didn’t snap the H-beam in half. Clearly, the H-beam’s design doesn’t account for miniscule differences in the thickness of otherwise-identical Wireless Keyboards (Apple didn’t reply to our query on the matter, so we can only speculate that they’re caused by manufacturing variances). And that means the MagicWand’s ease of use hinges on the thickness of your particular Wireless Keyboard. Got some calipers handy?
Once that battle’s won, the power button of one peripheral and the battery cover of another are now blocked. We can’t imagine wrestling with this dang thing every time we need access, so we prefer to use the MagicWand with the H-beam discarded and both peripherals left floppy and disconnected—a disappointing compromise for a $30 piece of plastic. For that money, Twelve South should’ve included a couple different sizes of H-beams—or used a material that has a little more give.
The bottom line. If you want your Wireless Keyboard and Magic Trackpad conjoined like twins, the MagicWand does the job with an elegant, seamless look. For image editors and creative pros, it can pay off by helping them more easily use a trackpad and mouse for two-fisted content editing and creation. Just make sure the kids aren’t in the room if you need to wrestle with that #$%@!$ H-beam.
MagicWand Keyboard and Trackpad Connector
Apple Wireless Keyboard and Magic Trackpad
Makes a two-handed approach to cursor control more practical. Slim, Apple-esque look. If your Wireless Keyboard’s the right size, setup’s a cinch. Can be set up for right- or left-handed use.
If your keyboard is a whisker too thick, setup’s a bear. Seriously overpriced. Makes access to battery compartment and power switch a hassle.