Best iPad Air keyboards (hands on): January 2014

Best iPad Air keyboards (hands on): January 2014

Summary: The ultrathin iPad Air is tailor made for a good keyboard. These are the best so far.

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TOPICS: Mobility, iPad, Tablets
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  • Top keyboards for the iPad Air

    The iPad Air is a writer's dream when paired with a decent keyboard. Quite a few keyboards are available, a testament to the third-party accessory ecosystem given the short time the iPad Air has been available.

    The keyboard covers in this collection have been used extensively by the author, and have collectively been used to write thousands of words. All of them meet the three requirements for a good keyboard solution for the iPad Air:

    1. Thin and light — Apple has produced the thinnest and lightest iPad yet in the Air, and it deserves the same in a keyboard.

    2. Good keyboard — It stands to reason that those using a keyboard with the iPad Air want one that is good for touch typing.

    3. Long battery life — Keyboards connect to the iPad Air via Bluetooth, and that means they have a battery inside.

    All of the keyboards in this collection are outstanding, and any will serve buyers well. They each have different features and designs so choosing the right one is up to the individual. Multiple views of each is shown on the following pages to help make that decision easier.

    Keyboard roundups for other iPad models (including the mini):

  • Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover

    The Ultrathin Keyboard Cover is the thinnest and lightest in this collection. It connects to the iPad Air via a clever magnetic hinge that forms a protective cover for the tablet when closed. 

    To use the keyboard you detach the tablet from the cover and place it in the slot above the keyboard. The iPad Air is secured in the slot by a magnetic connection that makes the combination stable during use.

    The keyboard is nicely laid out and provides good tactile feedback when keys are pressed. As is the case with all keyboards for the iPad Air, it is not full-sized but close enough for rapid touch typing.

    The top row of keys are special control keys for the iPad, including cut, copy, and paste. The screen can be turned off by the lock key and there are media player keys for controlling that function.

    It charges via microUSB and lasts about three months on a charge.

    The Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover is a solid accessory that won't disappoint. It's available in retail outlets and from Logitech for $99.99.

    Don't miss the full review on ZDNet.

    Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover specs:

    • Dimensions: (L x W x H): 240mm x 169.5mm x 7.3mm, 9.44in x 6.67in x 0.29in

    • Weight: 330g, 0.73lb

Topics: Mobility, iPad, Tablets

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14 comments
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  • iPad Keyboard

    Hey James. I like reading you but... is it necessary to write about iPad keyboards monthly? Don't get me wrong, a good let's say yearly article about it could be useful for newbies or a new iPad owners or even pros but even if someone could consider the iPad to be the most important computer on earth, I don't see the point. Why would I want to reconsider my keyboard on a monthly basis ?

    I bought my tablet with it's click-in keyboard and I never had to say to myself... mmmm it this the right one ? is it good enough ?

    Convince Zdnet to have a permanent chart of the Best Keyboard around for the iPad. Settle the score and allow people to vote on your score. That should do it.
    gbouchard99@...
    • Just skip it

      Thanks for reading my stuff. As for your dislike of the keyboard coverage, may I suggest you simply skip them if you don't need the information.

      This roundup is the first I've done for the iPad Air, which due to its new form requires cases that fit. Based on the correspondence I receive about them I know that many readers are indeed interested in this coverage.

      I only due these every few months so again, just skip them if you don't want the information. Many appreciate the reviews and roundups I do so that's why I do them.

      Thanks.
      JamesKendrick
      • You got me wrong

        .... Since you feel there is a need for continuous update on the mater, I suggest that a Chart would serve us better.
        NothingButThesun
  • Click bait

    James, you recycle this topic enough already. Let it rest.

    I know it was your top click generating article several times last year, but enough already. Find something current to write about.

    This horse is dead, the stick has broken and adding the gallery just makes it worse.
    Emacho
    • Actually

      I just got an iPad Air for Christmas so this is timely for me. As the author suggested, just skip it if you don't want to read it. It's actually less difficult for you that way.
      DontUseMicrosoftAtAll
  • So Where is the Apple Keyboard?

    There was a lot of speculation of a "Surface-like" iPad Air keyboard from Apple, and like the iWatch and iTV, nothing of it. Wouldn't a second screen (perhaps even thinner than the Air itself because it would have minimal electronics and battery) not give you the best of all worlds - an ever changing keyboard configuration with maximum screen space on the Air itself?
    dksmidtx
  • Check out this low cost keyboard on Amazon

    I've been pleased with this keyboard on my daily commute. At $25 and 6 ounces, it's light enough to carry all the time in your bag.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00EDYX51A/ref=oh_details_o06_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    The right shift key takes a little getting used to, but the trade-off in size, weight, and price is worth it.

    Enjoy!
    psichel
  • Never Mind Physical Keyboards

    Where is the Swype-like app for i-machines?
    louishelps
  • Am I the only one who finds a keyboard only solution insufficient?

    James, I appreciate the information on the keyboards though some real comparative performance characteristics would be appreciated. Am I the only person who finds the keyboard only solution a bit unsatisfying? They don't make the ipad easier to carry and offer little to no protection. Having dropped my ipad several times, I was deeply appreciative that the case absorbed the spill. Perhaps you could write on keyboard/case combos that are both thin, lightweight, and effective?
    ajrmd
  • Keyboards for iPad Air

    I appreciate the information on a keyboard for an iPad Air. And if it's a topic you review often, I guess I can either look or not look. Thanks for helping me make an informed choice.
    Jammer3617
  • Ipad air keyboard reviews

    Keep the keyboard reviews coming as new styles come out. This is my first Ipad and love it, a keyboard would be handy when using a flash browser.
    Just wish Belkin would get their heads out of their arse and get the thin type out on the market...
    tbalt14
  • Consider adding the Anker Ultra-Slim case and Bluetooth Keyboard

    Good review James! Ignore the trolls, I like to hear about new tech. The keyboards all looked good. Have you seen the Anker Ultra-Slim case and Bluetooth Keyboard for the iPad Air?
    TechGerd
  • Logitech keyboard

    I will never buy another Logitech keyboard for the Ipad. I purchased one about a year and a half ago for my Ipad 2 based largely on some great reviews it had gotten in tech magazines. It is a piece of crap. The Ipad keeps falling out of the hinge constantly. As I looked online, I find more and more people reporting this fact, and a number of destroyed Ipads have resulted (the glass cracked on mine). I do not know if they have changed the design for this new keyboard. If not, do not buy this product. Even if they have, I would have a hard time trusting them after the fiasco of their last Ipad keyboard. I still can't believe the number of good reviews the keyboard for Ipad 2-4 received, as opposed to the actual results from actual users. It makes me skeptical of all reviews. Just curious about what you have heard about the Logitech shell case/keyboard for the Ipad 2-4, and if the awful performance of that keyboard makes you suspicious at all of this current incarnation
    Vernezze
  • Ipad air news

    Hi James, thanks a lot for your informative information. I just got an ipad and really need a good keyboard case to go with it. Your article has helped a lot. Keep 'em coming.
    Sinnarman