Will the Chinese keyboard feel the same as the original?

Posted Wednesday, April 9, 2014

We received this question from Youtube, and I figured I’d share with the audience.

I’ve been watching your video on the a1466 keyboard replacement debating on whether i need to replace it so I decided to ask you directly. I broke my tab key as in i broke the metal clip that holds the plastic scissor mechanism so now if i push the tab anywhere else than the middle it will pop out… I’m a programmer so the tab key is pretty important to me so replacing the whole keyboard seems like the only solution. Now i can’t find any replacement keyboards for the a1466 on your site or other sites like ifixit, so the next place to look is ebay and i’m wondering about the quality of those keyboards and the quality ill get in general after replacing the keyboard. For some reason most of them write stuff like 95% new or tested etc.. Seems kinda sketchy but i realise that macbooks are assembled in China so there’s a good chance that these keyboards are the same ones supplied to apple so maybe i should look at the pricier ones or is there no difference at all?
After replacing the keyboard will it feel the same or will it become more flexible because of using screws instead of rivets or some other thing that will make it feel any worse? I understand that these are small dome keyboards but i’m afraid i’ll exchange a somewhat solid keyboard for a crappy one just for one key… Also can i buy a different language one if the layout is the same? Right now i have a norwegian keyboard but i’d prefer the English international one since they keys looks to be the same size and layout as my current keyboard.

TL;DR: will the keyboard from china feel the same as the original one or will it feel inferior?

My reply:

A couple of things.

Firstly, eBay sucks cock and balls for laptop parts purchases, most of the time. People who sell on eBay sell to the lowest common denominator – their demographic are people who don’t notice & don’t care for quality, for defects, for issues. You will be treated like a second class human being purchasing laptop parts off of eBay. DO NOT BUY SHIT OFF EBAY UNLESS ABSOLUTELY FUCKING NECESSARY! Very often, you may even pay the same to purchase on eBay as you would if you had a discount account with a real vendor.

I mean, buy off eBay if the item you seek is some little plastic tab that no one in their right mind would sell outside of eBay. Buy off eBay if it’s some little button or thingamajigie that is not sold in volume, that would only be available because someone is parting out their machine. Something where there are no “grades” of quality. But don’t buy keyboards off eBay. If you are ok with it being ripped out of a broken laptop and cleaned with windex and it never being tested, sure, use eBay. If you are ok with the keyboard having keys that don’t work because they came out of broken laptops that were returned because, maybe, they had BAD KEYBOARDS, use eBay.

Otherwise, use a serious vendor. Pay an extra $10 to not get stuck with garbage.

Secondly, there are no knockoff keyboards for Apple laptops. There isn’t enough volume for there to be demand. Knockoff iPhone screens, sure. Knockoff batteries, sure. These items are both difficult to find, expensive, and have very high demand. However, original keyboards are easy to obtain new for cheap, so there is no need for knockoffs. Further, there isn’t the same volume with them as there are with other parts – so there are no knockoff keyboards for Apple computers. There are used and new, there are broken/semi fucked up ones and working ones, but there is no “this doesn’t feel the same because it’s a Chinese knockoff.” There is no market, and no demand, for knockoff keyboards to Apple computers, in spite of what you may hear from uninformed fucktard AASPs looking to scare you out of fixing your own computer.

The layout you can buy is totally based on the top case of your machine. Some have squiggly keys towards the side. Check that to make sure it’ll fit. Reconfiguring the OS so it sees your layout, I’ll be honest, I have no idea. I just don’t deal with it enough to recall from experience how it works.

How the keyboard feels totally depends on the job you do removing the old rivets and how hard you screw the new one into the case, not on the keyboard you buy. Getting the new keyboard to sit the same as the original in an air is difficult because it utilizes far fewer screwholes than the standard Unibody model. You will see sections where screwholes are skipped and wonder why they are, because that’d be a great place for a screw.