Apple Wireless Keyboard
As a baseline reference, I started with Apple’s own wireless keyboard (MSRP $69.00).
The Apple wireless keyboard is intended for use with Macs, not iOS devices. It works with the iPad, and has display- and sound/media-play control keys, but doesn’t have any iOS-specific keys. It also does not provide any stand or support for the iPad, so you’d either need to provide a stand, or type with the iPad flat on the surface.
The on/off switch is at the back right, opposite from the battery cover at the other end. Unlike most of the other keyboards, this switch is a nice, satisfying, easy-to-press big button. A small green light comes on briefly to let you know it’s on.
The Apple wireless keyboard paired quickly and easily with my iPad and is powered by two AA batteries. The keyboard comes with batteries already in it, so you can start using the keyboard immediately. To replace the batteries, simply twist the cover off — using a quarter or nickel may probably be easier do to this with than a screwdriver.
Overall, the key feel is decent. The keys span 10.75 inches — close to full-size. The slight tilt provided by the battery bulge at the back provides a nice angle for the keyboard versus flat-on-the-table. Key size and spacing make for instant intuitive touchtyping, and all the non-alphanumeric characters (e.g., <>?/$%#*) are in their expected big-keyboard places.
If you don’t feel the need for iOS HOME/SEARCH keys, for around-the-house/ office use, this is a good keyboard. It’s a little bulky for travelling — about an inch and a half longer than the iPad. Plus you’d probably want some cover or container, even if just a Ziplock, to keep dirt and other schmutz out.
iLUV Professional Workstation Portfolio Case with Bluetooth Keyboard
iLUV’s Portfolio Case with Bluetooth Keyboard (MSRP $129.99) looks nice with its black leather. The cover/display holder bends back easily, so you can use the iPad in tablet mode (if you don’t mind the keyboard facing down). The keys are a good plastic and include iOS HOME and SEARCH, plus media/sound control FN keys. And the entire keyboard and its leather cover come away from the case bottom and reattach easily — thanks, Velcro!.
However, the iLUV case has too many negatives.
Shutting the case doesn’t put the iPad into Sleep mode. The “stand” is a small fold-out section (115o), which may not work well on some perches; landscape orientation only.
Plus, I can’t touch-type accurately on the iLUV keyboard. The keyboard is just a little too small — a mere 10.25 inches. And the Space bar is shorter than most because there are COMMAND and OPTION keys on each side of it. I keep hitting the CAPS LOCK by accident, along with making too many typing errors.
And one mild annoyance: there’s a Velcro flap to hold the case shut, which, when you open the case, has to be swung around so it doesn’t flop over the top of the display.
Not recommended, unless the “cons” aren’t a problem for you.
The Rest of the Rest
In part two of this series, I look at other leading iPad keyboards and declare which is the best iPad keyboard.
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