The Apple Wireless Keyboard is designed to work with desktops. It’s full size with excellent key separation and travel, and can go for months on a pair of AA batteries. It’s an ideal way to enter large amounts of text.
But while it is a great keyboard, it’s not a great iPad keyboard. Fortunately, the nimblstand changes that. The creators of this accessory clearly saw an opportunity: as Apple’s keyboard lacks some features needed to work well with an iPad, the company set out to make a product that adds these features.
Build and Design
Given its name, it’s no surprise the nimblstand’s main function is to hold a tablet up so the screen can be seen while typing in either portrait or landscape mode.
This stand can be used with a wide variety of models: the iPad, iPad mini, Samsung’s Galaxy Tab and Galaxy Note series, and more. This includes devices in their cases, as long as these aren’t too bulky. And it’s future-proof: even if the next iPad is smaller than the current one (as is expected), this accessory can still be used with it.
There’s only one angle offered, and that angle varies based on which device you are using. Our test subjects say the designers picked a good one for the full-size iPad.
You slide the Apple Wireless Keyboard into a slot on one side of the nimblstand, where it is held quite securely. A small cut-out lets you see the keyboard’s status light, and the on/off button is easily accessible.
Once you are typing, you see the advantage of this arrangement: a full-size, no-compromise keyboard. Most mobile keyboards are about 20% smaller, which makes them roughly the size of the ones built into laptops. They don’t offer the same key size or key separation.
There’s a removable brace that slides into the opposite side of this accessory. This creates a base that’s wide enough that you can easily type with keyboard and tablet sitting on your lap. This brace also has a slot that makes it easy to carry the nimblstand like a briefcase, and the brace can be hidden underneath the keyboard when not in use.
If you turn his accessory around, it still holds the tablet up, but at a much lower angle. In this configuration, the stand and tablet are intended to be used for drawing, with the tablet in landscape mode.
In our tests, we found this to be a good option for sketching. It was less so for taking hand-written notes — our test subjects preferred to have the tablet laying flat on a table for that.
When in the drawing configuration, there’s a slot just to the right of the tablet that holds a stylus at a good angle. When in typing configuration, this slot is on the left, and the stylus is held in such a way that it interferes with typing — it’s clearly not inteded to be used this way.
In the center is a slot to hold a Wacom Bamboo Stylus solo. The nimblstand can be purchased with one of these included or separately.
The combination of the nimblstand and the Apple’s keyboard isn’t small, even with the brace in its slot under the keyboard. Still, it fits easily into the space in a computer bag designed to hold a laptop. And it’s quite lightweight.
Tablets make great productivity tools, but those who need to enter lots of text are better off with a physical keyboard. And although the Apple Wireless Keyboard was only designed to be used with desktop Macs, the nimblstand converts it into a fine option for iPad users.
This accessory might be right for those who would prefer to use a full-size keyboard with their tablet, or those who already have an Apple Wireless Keyboard and don’t want to buy a second keyboard specifically for their tablet.
The nimblstand is $50, or a version with the Wacom Bamboo Stylus is $67 — a $3 savings vs. buying them separately. The Apple Wireless Keyboard is available from Apple for $70.