Five best iPad Air keyboards (hands on): April 2014

Five best iPad Air keyboards (hands on): April 2014

Summary: It’s a common sight to see folks using the iPad Air with keyboards and, with the introduction of Office for iPad, that’s likely to happen even more. These are the best we’ve tried.

TOPICS: Mobility, iPad, Tablets

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Topics: Mobility, iPad, Tablets

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  • Seriously?

    So you buy a tablet...ANY tablet...because you don't want to lug around a laptop, or netbook, or whatever...then you go out and purchase an add-on keyboard to make it a laptop, or netbook, or whatever...because typing on a virtual keyboard is one large PIA as we all know.

    Why didn't you just buy a laptop, or netbook, or whatever in the first place?
    • Simple - and my purchase of Office for iPad confirmed it to me

      Laptops are big and heavy, netbooks are slow. Office is SO 20th century for mobile business, where custom apps have exploded.

      Add a keyboard to an iPad and you get a small (2 lb), fast laptop you can run continuously on a transatlantic flight on the center seat tray table. The retina screen is fantastic.

      I bought Office for iPad with a $99 purchase of Office 365, even though I already owned Office for Mac 2011 because I wanted better iPad compatibility with PowerPoint than I got with Keynote. It's a slow, piggy program. Word is inferior in formatting to the $9.95 DocsToGo Pro emulation and much slower than Pages. Dropbox is vastly superior to OneDrive. Lightroom for iPad will be nice, if it comes, but I suspect it will be inferior on iOS to Photogene, which closely emulates Photoshop Elements.

      In short, a good keyboard (I use Zaggfolio) makes the iPad the perfect executive "laptop."

      I just wish Apple would make a true 11-12 inch iOS laptop with a retina screen.
      • You Obviously Haven't Tried a Macbook Air

        It's very thin, light, and performance is excellent.
        • Precisely!

          All the lightness of a tablet with the add-on keyboard, because once you add the keyboard, you are bringing the weight of the iPad right up to, or over, the weight of the MB Air. And you will also have a FAR more capable machine than any tablet.

          For the same money...or maybe even can get a 128 GB MB Air that will outperform any iPad with an add-on keyboard by a long shot. And have far more I/O options as well.

          And wouldn't have wasted your money on Office 365. You could have installed Office for Mac 2011 on the MB Air, and not spent twice for the same program.
          • It's not about the keyboard

            Leave the keyboard off and you have a 1 pound tablet. No keyboard required.
    • Yes! Seriously!

      For those times when you don't need or want the extra bulk, a remove keyboard is most desired. I only use my keyboard when needed at work in a production environment. Outside of work, I get along just fine with the virtual keyboard. But then again, I have XXL hands and my thumbs are fast!
    • Converted and happily typing away

      Okay - so I've had three iPads and would read the blogs and forums where they discussed the best keyboards, etc. for the iPads. I was always like you - really? Why weigh down that beautiful sleek iPad with a silly keyboard. I would snicker away.

      That was until last week. I was at a seminar and lo and behold watched a colleague at our table, pull out an iPad, attach her computer and typed away intermittently during the day. Appeared very effortless and non-obtrusive. And then there I was - pulling out the big ole laptop during a break so I didn't encroach on others space to check a few e-mails. Then at the end of the day, my colleague packed up her little iPad and keyboard in her purse and was on her way - all caught up. I still had almost a day's worth of e-mails to trudge through. So maybe, just maybe this is what all the talk of keyboards is all about.

      So off I went to join the iPad and keyboard crowd. No more snickering now from me.
      • correction

        Meant attach the "keyboard" not "computer". The keyboard works fine - which I could say the same about my mind. LOL.
  • Consistent Informatin

    It is good to read the series of articles on tablets that update already useful information but I think it is very important to give the same information about each product, especially, in the case of keyboards, the weight and thickness - the two most important items apart from useability facts. The Zagg keyboards have more than the necessary info and all the rest have none!
    • You are right

      It's true, it should be all the time the same information. I'm thinking about getting a keyboard for my tablet too, but I need to know which tablets can be connected somehow to one. Also, which keyboard is better for the Google Nexus 7? (not very expensive please) I leave here the complete specs of this products Id appreciate any advice thanks?
  • Give it a Rest Folks!

    If you want a MacBook Air - get one. Don't tell everyone they are idiots for getting an iPad Air and a keyboard. You can't do touch on the MBAir; the screens suck compared to an iPad; and NO ONE is really advocating an iPad as a 100% alternative to a laptop or desktop - James has been over this numerous times - only a very few folks, in highly specialized niche markets, can live and die by iPad alone. Slapping on a keyboard just simplifies those "between times" when you can use the iPad to fill the gap - trust me, I've got the top of the line Surface Pro 2 and Type Cover, and the iPad Air is much more convenient as a tablet, and much less satisfying as a laptop (Zaggkeys Cover) - but it will do in a pinch.
  • ZAGG iPad Air cover keyboard and iPad mini with retina display

    The ZAGG and the mini are perfect for me. I probably spend 95% of my screen time on the mini.

    I use the mini as a tablet most of the time. Keyboards only get in the way for reading
    the newspaper or watching videos. I can't play Catan on a MacBook Air. Reading Kindle books on the bus or train is awkward on a MacBook Air and doing so in bed is ridiculous.

    I have LTE available when I'm out of my office or home with no extra hassle. The on-screen keyboard is fine for small stuff like email and messages. If I'm working on a more significant document I pull out the ZAGG cover keyboard and pop the mini in. (Mini keyboards are too small for me). It's very comfortable--I can type as fast on it as on my laptop. I can adjust the screen to any angle--important for avoiding glare in different environments. I use a large screen laptop for heavy content creation--presentations, spreadsheets and hours-long text document creation sessions. I use the mini for pretty much everything else including editing that other stuff.
  • How many "best keyboards for" posts do you need to make?

    This blog is starting to feel like the movie groundhog day. But less funny.
  • Why not just add Swype

    The on-screen keyboard on iOS is pathetic, hence the need for aftermarket keyboards. If Apple allowed Swype (or similar) it would improve one of the worst aspects of iOS.

    Seriously the soft-keyboard doesn't even change between upper and lower case letters on the keys - it's like a bad joke.