Seven best iPad Air keyboards (hands on): June 2014

Seven best iPad Air keyboards (hands on): June 2014

Summary: The iPad is making its way into the workplace in ever greater numbers. A good keyboard can make the difference between a mediocre work experience and a good one. These are the best keyboards for the iPad Air we've tried.


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  • Belkin QODE ThinType keyboard

    The thin profile of the Belkin is evident from every angle.

  • Belkin QODE ThinType keyboard

    The battery hump on the bottom of the cover provides a comfortable typing angle not found on other cases.

  • ZAGGkeys Folio

    ZAGG has been making keyboards for the iPad for years, and the patented hinge on the back of the ZAGGkeys Folio makes it operate much like a little laptop. The hinge supports using the iPad Air in a range of viewing angles, and its position allows ZAGG to spread out the keyboard.

    The Folio encases the iPad Air completely for transport, although it's not ruggedized. It's easy to pop the iPad Air in and out of the ZAGGkeys Folio as desired.

    The keyboard on the Folio is as good as any, with nearly full-sized keys producing a very good typing experience. Pressing keys feels as good as it does on many laptops, and very fast touch typing is possible.

    The top row of keys has control keys for iPad operation, along with Copy, Cut, and Paste keys.

    The keyboard is backlit, with seven colors selectable in three brightness levels.

    ZAGGkeys Folio for the iPad Air specs:

    • Length: 6.82 in (173.2 mm)
    • Width: 9.55 in (242.6 mm)
    • Depth: 0.697 in (17.7 mm) closed with iPad
    • Depth: 0.299 in (7.6 mm) keyboard only
    • Weight: 18.87 oz (535 grams)
    • Battery: 950 mAh rechargeable lithium polymer

    The ZAGGkeys Folio is available from major retailers and direct from ZAGG for $99.99.

Topics: Mobility, iPad, Bring Your Own Device

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  • No Mousing in iOS

    I know that when people compare a Windows 8 laptop with touch to a MBP without touch, the common retort from the Mac apologist is that who wants to touch their notebook screen and its pointless, etc.

    Well if you're turning your tablet into a laptop by adding a keyboard, same comment. I actually find myself using touch on a W8 laptop all the time but not 100% of the time because most of the time a mouse is just a better input method when working in spreadsheets and other detailed work.

    There is no reason for iOS not to have mousing as it can be added in with jailbroken devices. This just reminds me of the whole one button mouse BS that Jobs inflicted on Macs for years till finally giving in to a second button. Its pointless.
    Rann Xeroxx
    • Here's the problem with your argument

      All the people who criticize Windows 8 requiring touch in a laptop are NOT calling for the iPad to become a laptop. They are the people who state that tablets and laptops are used differently and thus should have different interfaces.
  • Driving a Square Peg in a Round Hole

    I know you are expecting this reply, so here it comes - why do folks keep on insisting on driving the square peg (iPad Air) into the round hole (laptop compatibility). After a weekend love affair, I have found the new Surface Pro 3 does it all with flair. I've carried MacBook Air, iPad Air with ZAGG cover, ThinkPad Tablet 2 with keyboard, and a host of other convertible solutions; NONE hold a candle to the Surface Pro 3. Even if that is not your cup of tea, how is the iPad + keyboard better than the MacBook Air 11"? Before you say it - NO, it is not because you can still use it as a tablet, because if that is the case, then back to the Surface Pro 3 or any number of convertibles/hybrids. If you really love the iPad Air, and I know you do, then fine. But why keep encouraging folks to use a crippled solution?
    • Encourage?

      I make it a personal policy to not encourage anyone to do or use anything in particular. I didn't here, either, just listed the best accessories for those interested. Obviously you aren't so no big deal.
    • Why do you feel the urge to tell people

      that your solution is the only solution?
      • Perhaps for Balance

        Because so many tech writers and commenters seem to think iPad is the only solution?
  • I have to agree with dksmidtx.

    I am not even using a Surface 3. I have the original Surface Pro. The type and touch covers, even on my older Surface, are the same size and feel as my MacBook Pro. Comparatively speaking I have found typing on those keyboards cited in this article much less satisfying than the experience I get from the Surface. I did spend a bit more for mine, $109, but its quality is excellent.
    The Heretic