Top iPad keyboards: 2013 First Edition

Top iPad keyboards: 2013 First Edition

Summary: Using a keyboard with the iPad is not for everyone, but if you're looking for one you should check out the top models included here. Don't miss the bonus for iPad mini owners.

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TOPICS: iPad, Reviews
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  • ClamCase Pro

    For those wanting the ultimate typing experience on the iPad the ClamCase Pro certainly delivers. It is a full keyboard dock for the iPad that turns it into a MacBook Air clone. It is constructed out of aluminum like the MacBook Air and looks just like a laptop with the iPad inserted.

    It's not cheap but operates much like a laptop with a standard laptop keyboard. According to the web site it will be available in March 2013.

    $169.99 from the OEM

  • Brydge

    Another laptop dock for the iPad is the Brydge which began as a Kickstarter project. The Brydge is now shipping and like the ClamCase in the previous slide it turns the iPad into a full laptop clone.

    It has several model available, including two made of aluminum (with and without Bluetooth speakers) and a polycarbonate that is lighter and cheaper.

    $130 - $220 from the OEM

  • ZAGG Mini 9

    Owners of the iPad mini needn't feel left out of the keyboard/case world as ZAGG has introduced a couple of them for the littlest iPad.

    The Mini 9 case shown uses the same keyboard used in the cases for the larger iPad. The iPad mini snaps securely in the case which completely protects the tablet. The case has a built-in stand for use with the keyboard.

    There is also a Mini 7 case from ZAGG that is only slightly bigger than the little iPad mini. Making it that size forces a compromise on the keyboard which is smaller than the Mini 9. The Mini 9 keyboard is comfortable for fast touch typing but the Mini 7 keyboard is likely too small for that purpose.

    $89.99 from ZAGG

    Don't miss the full review by James Kendrick of ZDNet

Topics: iPad, Reviews

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  • Question for you regarding the ZAGGkeys Flex

    "It also works with Android devices making it a good mobile solution for most popular tablets."

    Would this also work with the Microsoft Surface RT? I'm wondering because it has been mentioned before that it is impossible to type on the Microsoft Surface RT in portrait mode yet if this works with the Surface RT and can prop it up in portrait mode, that would be extremely useful information for all Surface RT owners who have been dying to type in portrait mode.

    Thanks James.
    toddbottom3
    • You would lose the precision pointer device

      I forgot that since these are mostly marketed at the tablets that have absolutely no support for precision pointer devices, you would lose the use of the fantastic track pad that comes with the Microsoft Surface keyboards.

      Oh, that's okay, I just rememberd that the Microsoft Surface RT supports bluetooth and USB wired (and wireless) mice so you could use the ZAGGkeys Flex and a mouse (or even something like the apple magic trackpad (how incredibly ironic that this works with the Microsoft Surface RT but NOT with the ipad).

      So yeah, this actually does look like a fantastic solution. And the great news is that we don't have to worry about this being a bulky mobile solution that is bad because you have to carry around a big bulky keyboard in with you in the bag. After all, if this was the case, you would have mentioned it, right?
      toddbottom3
      • Not sure

        It may work with Windows but I haven't tried it. What the iOS/Android toggle does is convert the top row of keys to work as special control keys for those two platforms.
        JamesKendrick
        • Pity

          It is a pity that you don't have a Surface you could try this with. Perhaps your byline should be edited to make it clear that you can only discuss mobile gadgets that don't run MS OSs? That would save your readers a lot of time.
          toddbottom3
      • irony

        ((( "... (how incredibly ironic that [the Apple Magic Trackpad] works with the Microsoft Surface RT but NOT with the ipad)." )))

        No irony whatsoever. Apple created an operating system for the iPad that is entirely touch-centric, and does not require a mouse. By contrast, Microsoft kludged Windows onto its Surface RT in such a way that some programs [i.e. Office] require a pointing device like a mouse (or are at a strong disadvantage without one), while others don't. The real irony is that Microsoft created a touch-based tablet that requires a mouse.
        buddhistMonkey
      • It's almost like the Asus transformer minus some good stuff

        If only the ipad was allowed to use a mouse/pointer it would be even more usefull. Add a couple of slots and usb support and it would be even better. Then again I think I'd look at a new transformer (mines is the 101) and I have the ipad mini now for other stuff. It all complements each other and the mini was from work so no cost impact.

        Why oh why can't we be allowed to use mouses? It's pointless outputting to a big monitor whilst connected to my work PC remotely. A mouse would transform that but Apple know best and they know it wouldn't be of any benefit to me.
        johnmckay
  • I'm VERY interested in the ClamCase Pro

    "turns it into a MacBook Air clone"

    That's amazing how adding this $170 keyboard turns your ipad into a $1000 os x laptop. That is a fantastic deal. Buy an ipad, buy this keyboard, install Windows 8 on it (after all, you can install Windows 8 on a macbook air and you are claiming this is a clone) and for $670 you would have yourself a fantastic competitor to the Microsoft Surface Pro.

    Do you need an ipad 4 for this to work or will this turn my ipad 2 into a Windows 8 macbook air clone?
    toddbottom3
    • LOL. ;-)

      n/t
      Ram U
    • Clone in appearance only

      I suspect you knew that. Can't install Windows on an iPad.
      JamesKendrick
      • Unfortunately

        he is little more than a flame-baiting troll . . . and yes, he knew that.
        Wakemewhentrollsgone
      • Oh, you should be more careful with your words

        So this isn't a macbook air clone at all. It can't run os x apps, has no precision pointer device, it is just a big, bulky, heavy ipad with a keyboard.

        Seriously James, you need to be MUCH more careful with your words. You are very good when it comes to highlighting every single little thing that certain other tablets can't do but when it comes to the ipad, we get these vague: this is a laptop replacement, an mba clone.

        I hope you understand I'm just doing your readers a service. It would be very easy to read your blogs and if you didn't read very carefully, you might get the impression that the ipad + keyboard was such a good laptop replacement that you wouldn't need to also buy a Chromebook for overnight trips. Speaking of which, you still haven't explained what the ipad fails at that you need to keep a Chromebook at your side to accomplish.
        toddbottom3
    • careful with your words

      ((( "Do you need an ipad 4 for this to work..." )))

      What's this "ipad 4" that you're talking about? I just went to the Apple Store, and the only iPads they had there were the iPad mini, the iPad 2, and the iPad with Retina Display. No "ipad 4" anywhere to be seen. Are you sure that an "ipad 4" even exists? If so, what company makes it, because Apple doesn't have any products called "ipad 4." Is it some sort of Chinese knockoff, because the word "iPad" is all lowercase, and they use a number that Apple isn't using for its iPad line? What are the specs of the "ipad 4," and how do they compare with Apple's iPad with Retina Display? Thanks, toddbottom3.
      buddhistMonkey
  • One last piece of information that would be VERY useful to your readers

    Being the owner of an ipad 2 and a Logitech Zagg keyboard case, one huge disadvantage I noticed was that the keyboard was NOT a full size keyboard. The letters were slightly cramped making it extremely difficult for touch typists to use proficiently. After years of using regular keyboards, my muscle memory is tuned to the standard size and spacing of keys. One fantastic feature of the Microsoft Surface RT is that the keyboard uses the standard size and spacing for its keys. This is probably why the Microsoft Surface RT is widely recognized as the BEST tablet for people who do a lot of typing (not to mention being the only one with Microsoft Office on it).

    So James, would you be so kind as to let us know which of these keyboards use standard size and spacing of keys and which ones cram the keys closer together so that going back and forth between a regular keyboard and a tablet keyboard becomes a HUGE muscle memory issue?

    Thanks James. This must have been a lot of work for you to put together. It is amazing how many keyboards there are available for tablets nowadays, especially considering how some people insist that tablets + keyboards are tweener devices. You and I both know better though, right?
    toddbottom3
    • good question

      n/t
      Ram U
    • Almost full size

      I believe all the keyboards covered are 93% of a full size. I have large hands and can touch type without issue.
      JamesKendrick
      • There aren't any full size keyboards for ipad?

        Oh dear, that really does make it a non starter for anyone interested in doing any typing on an ipad. 93% of full size is 100% useless for a touch typist.

        "I have large hands and can touch type without issue."

        That's interesting. So you have no issues precisely hitting tinyk, cramped keys on an ipad keyboard but you simply could not avoid hitting 1 tiny home button on the Microsoft Surface RT while you held it. Amazing how the dexterity in your large hands completely changes with the make of the tablet that you are using.

        Too funny.
        toddbottom3
    • Whole new level

      I must say I am impressed. I love reading your posts probably more than any other poster here. I read these blogs for information and entertainment. I am constantly doing searches on terms and acronyms that I haven't heard before. I don't watch or read regular news to much because it is too depressing.

      You have taken these last four posts to a whole new level. Fantastic!!!
      calfee20
    • The toddbottom3 fan club?

      All of a sudden we have a couple of apparently new posters singing your praises (Ram U and calfee20). I am not quite sure about calfee20, because it could easily be a post highly sarcastic of your incessant MS "shilling" here, in which case I welcome his/her type of humor. If it is not sarcasm/humor however, one seriously has to question his/her mental state, reading your posts instead of "regular news".

      Anyway, the ridiculousness continues and I have to admit that it is actually getting more entertaining, as bizarre as that may sound. Perhaps you and the other MS shills should make sure you continue this farce. Once you are placed in the "lunatic fringe" category, laughing at you instead of getting irritated becomes quite easy.
      D.T.Long
      • The real awesome thing about it

        is that todd is becoming a parody of himself. Love it!
        CowLauncher
      • I can setup a fan club for you too

        you Google paid shill. Admit it that you have vested interest in Google and they pay you to troll against Microsoft.
        Ram U