How to choose an iPad Keyboard


Chosing the Right Bluetooth Keyboard

I thought about buying a keyboard for a long time. I am fairly fast at typing on the iPad but there are still times that I would like to have a physical keyboard…to be able to feel the keys on my fingers. Over the past few years I have written 95% of my blog posts on my iPad using Byword, Drafts, and/or Blogsy and have also grown very fond of QuickOffice Pro HD. For these apps a dedicated physical keyboard is much more efficient.

Zaggfolio keyboard

As with all things iPad, the decision on the right keyboard is not an easy one. When I am traveling with the family I generally take my simple and elegant Apple Aluminum keyboard, which works great; but is not as portable as some others. I have seen many people using the Zaggfolio keyboard (picture above) which seems nice enough, but it only has one viewing angle and completely encases the iPad. Call me a design nerd, but sometimes I like the idea of interacting with a non-encased iPad without the trouble of a difficult removal process.

—–> Buy the Zaggfolio keyboard from Amazon here

Zagg Folio Case and keyboard

Zagg Folio Case and keyboard

Logictech Ultrathin

At the other end of the spectrum are the minimal keyboards like the Logictech Ultrathin. Seems cool, but in doing some research it appears that the keyboard only supports one viewing angle and there have been reports that it is not durable enough for people like me.

—–> Buy the Logictech Ultrathin Keyboard and case from Amazon here

Belkin Keyboard case

Belkin Keyboard

 

The good news is that Best Buy is starting to carry a wide assortment of keyboards and does carry most if not all of the Logitech Options along with the Zaggs. And, what Best Buy does not carry seems to be carried by Brookstone where I have seen many of the Belkins (pictured above) well as some of their Brookstone-branded units.

Read also – my review of the adonit writerplus keyboard 

Brydge Keyboard

Brydge Keyboard

Brydge

Another cool keyboard I have run across is the Brydge. You can find all the specs from here. This keyboard originally came out of a funding campaign on Kickstarter and delivered late in 2012. I am not sure how much I like the Brydge yet not having seen or interacted with the keyboard, but I can say that I am very intrigued. It appears to be a cross between clam-shell-like keyboard and the Logictech Ultrathin but without the limitations of each. May be an interesting option if you want the flexibility of multiple viewing angles, portability of a minimalist unit and the convenience of the Apple Smart Cover.

—–> Buy the Brydge Keyboard From Amazon here

Touchfire keyboard

The Touchfire keyboard with magnetic silicone casing

TouchFire

What if you could have a keyboard that is there when you need it and out of the way when you don’t, that didn’t weigh anything nor take up any space when not in use, that was so small that it could stow away on the Apple Smart Cover? Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, it really isn’t…sort of. What I am describing is the someday to be released TouchFire, yet another KickStarter Project. This “keyboard” is a simple piece of silicone that sits on top of your iPad keyboard and provides just the type of tactile feel that the iPad screen keyboard is missing. I have to say that I love the idea of this product and would surely own one if it was actually available. Read here if you want to learn about why this excellent idea is still in “production”.

—-> Buy the newest version of the TouchFire Keyboard from Amazon Here

Logictech Solarfolio

Logictech Solarfolio keyboard

Read more – My Review of the Logictech Solarfolio Keyboard

Still Not Sure Which One to Go With?

As you can see, the decision to buy the right keyboard is not an easy one. In fact, there really is no perfect keyboard for all uses and users. This is why the best way to pick a keyboard is to take a look one each of them in person and try them out if possible. Here is a simple mind map I created that lists some of the decision points and tradeoffs of the various keyboard types that will hopefully make your decision easier. This map was largely researched via this excellent post on Macword which can be found here.

iPad Keyboard Inforgraphic Flowchart

Find your ideal iPad Keyboard by using this Flowchart (Click to Enlarge)

Which one did I pick you ask?

Stay tuned for a review next week on my chosen keyboard!

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Chris Lee

About Chris Lee

I am a healthcare administrator interested in being productive. I believe that the combination of a tablet (iPad Air 32GB) and a smartphone (iPhone 5 in my case) can drastically improve how we do work without adding too much complexity. The “how” of accomplishing this productivity is the focus of this blog. Here are just a few of the topics I hope to cover.Even though I use iOS devices currently I am in no way totally tied to Apple. I have used a Surface 2 for an extended time and am currently considering replacing my HP laptop with a Surface at some point, so keep reading to find out when this happens. Heck, I may even write a post some day on getting efficient with a Kindle Fire HD given that my daughter just got one for her birthday awhile back.
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15 Comments

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  5. Thanks for the informative post, Chris. I’ve concluded that there is no “ideal” keyboard, and you seem to confirm that. 🙂 I’ve been using my Apple keyboard and origami case. It allows multiple viewing angles on the iPad, and travels well, but it is an extra item to lug around. I don’t see your mind map. Am I just missing it, or is the link missing?

  6. Pingback: Logictech Solarfolio Review, going back to Bestbuy! « Reviews « tabletproductive

  7. I use the Logitech Ultrathin, and find it to be quite durable. Battery life is excellent. The magnets that hold the keyboard on like a smart cover are a little weak, but does hold the keyboard in place as a cover.

    • I have thought about that one lately again as well. I just need a bit more protection than the Ultrathin provides.

      Thanks for the comment.

      – Chris

    • Jason,

      I am thinking that a Logitech may be my next keyboard but my Adonit continues to work great and I love how compact it is. I have heard that Logitech has a keyboard that can integrate with several computers and devices at one time so that I could switch between my iPad and my work computer.

      We will see.

      Thanks for the comment.

  8. Pingback: Adonit WriterPlus, the best iPad Bluetooth Keyboard? [REVIEW] « Ipad « tabletproductive

  9. I haven’t seen the Bryge either but when you read the comments on Kickstarter you will learn that people are quite unhappy with it. There is a comparable product on the market, the ClamCase Pro (http://clamcase.com/bluetooth-ipad-keyboard-case.html). It is a good product yet costly. The feel of the ClamCase is quite cheap since it is made from pure (cheap) plastic. It protects the iPad from both sides. The keyboard is outstanding.
    I personall use the ZAGG SlimBook (http://www.zagg.com/eu/en_eu/keyboards/slim-book-ipad-air-2). The keyboard is very good but not as good as the ClamCase. It is much lighter and less bulky, though. The keyboard’s battery lasts “forever” (I use it daily and didn’t have to recharge it in 4 weeks), it provides a backlit keyboard and you can detach the iPad if you want to use it in portrait mode.
    Both are worth their money and highly recommended.

  10. One of the superior items i’ve seen this week.

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