Choosing A Tablet Keyboard

Dave Zatz —  November 20, 2011

logitech-keyboard3

While saddling a touch-optimized tablet with a physical keyboard may seem like sacrilege, there are those who prefer the speed and tactile feedback of true touch typing as slates displace netbooks in the market. I’m not quite sold on tablets, but to maximize performance on my wife’s iPad during short weekend getaways I picked up Logitech’s Bluetooth keyboard (~$60). It’s not as compact as some and not nearly as sturdy or elegant as Apple’s aluminum offering, but it strikes the right balance between appearance and performance. In fact, industry analyst Ross Rubin came to a similar conclusion. Unlike the Apple keyboard, Logitech’s features an on/off slide — meaning it won’t accidentally trip in your saddle bag and kill the battery (of the keyboard or the tablet). The Logitech keyboard also ships with a semi-rigid pastic sleeve/case that doubles as a stand… which ended up on our junk drawer (and I highly recommend the convertible Incase Magazine Jacket to more effectively protect and prop up one’s iPad).

Logitech offers two version of this keyboard – the iPad edition that I purchased (with a half off coupon) and an Android-centric variant featuring their OS-specific function keys. Indeed, Logitech mistakenly shipped the Android one and their phone rep attempted to convince me the keys and functions were the same. Fortunately, I knew better given my hands on experience with the incorrect model and insisted on what turned out to be a tedious exchange. Amazon for the win?

Overall, I’ve been pleased with the Logitech keyboard which pairs nicely with various other devices in our household. So while the hot Asus Transformer Prime sets the bar high for tablet/keyboard integration, most tablet owners interested in occasional keyboard use would be well served by this wireless accessory.

7 responses to Choosing A Tablet Keyboard

  1. The keyboard is not natively rechargeable and requires two AAA batteries. I should also add that I appreciate not losing screen real estate to a virtual keyboard when using the BT one.

  2. “I’m still not quite sold on tablets. Which is probably why I’m enjoying Logitech Bluetooth iPad keyboard”

    You ought to check out this new form factor device called a “laptop”.

    It’s just like a tablet, expect the keyboard is built-in. And instead of using a touch interface, you use a revolutionary new “keyboard/trackpad” interface, which lets you interact with the device in a more elegant manner. It’s insanely great.

    Old folks are having trouble getting used to this new “laptop” form factor device, but the kids catch on quick.

  3. Dave,

    Picked up the same keyboard myself after seeing a friend (with a Samsung Tablet and the Android variant of the keyboard) using one. Its certainly small enough, and since I don’t use it much has the advantage vs. a keyboard case which you’d have to put on/take off. It does weigh quite a lot though, more than you’d expect.

  4. If you do decide to go with a small wireless keyboard for your iPad, not not use the small keyboard that was built for it. I’m not sure about other tablets, but I’m an apple guy and this solution works for me.

    Cheers!

  5. I am finding that I want an 11″ Air that has a touchscreen / ipad mode. That is, I actually want both OSX and iOS on the same device. Both have useful functions. No need for two devices.

  6. Andy,

    Yeah, right now Apple doesn’t have something like that. Certainly the Asus Transformer series comes closest to this idea, and presumably with Windows 8 Microsoft will have various models that ‘transform’ between slate and keyboard-attached laptop.

    If you really want a ‘laptop’ with keyboard that runs iOS there are of course numerous cases with embedded keyboards that are available for the iPad. For the best reviews I’d look to iLounge as usual. From my reading this looks like the current best option:

    http://www.ilounge.com/index.php/reviews/entry/belkin-keyboard-folio-for-ipad-2/

    But that’s just because for me the iLuv keyboard makes the common but unacceptable mistake of shrinking the size of the right shift key…

  7. Refurb for $29.99 at 1saleaday

    http://1saleaday.com/wireless/