Making the iPad an Even More Powerful Productivity Tool
Jan 2, 2012 (Updated Jan 2, 2012)
Review by Chris Ellis
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Compact size, easy to set up, feeling of a traditional keyboard
Cons:Navigation arrow keys are a bit smaller than others
The Bottom Line: If you do a lot of typing on your iPad, this keyboard will help you tremendously.
Just over a year since receiving it, I can't imagine life without my iPad. From getting a jump on checking mail (or catching up on a show I missed) while at the gym to the portable Internet access in a convenient size, it's been remarkable how attached I'vee become to it.
Recommend this product?
One of the most important areas of life in which I use my iPad is work.
While I do have a company laptop, let's be honest: there are times it's not all the convenient to set up the laptop. Airplane and Amtrak seat trays may technically be able to hold a laptop, but as a practical matter, they're incredibly hard to actually use. The significantly thinner iPad, though, makes a good substitute for reading and making basic edits to documents if you have Apple's iWork suite. I also find the iPad a more helpful tool for taking paperless notes at meetings and conferences (which I can then convert to PDF for archiving).
While useful for those functions, I did find the on-screen keyboard a bit of a challenge to use. It got the job done, but I found I was making far more typos than on a traditional keyboard. I'm certainly used to on-screen keyboards from my mobile phone and iPod Touch, but using those, I tend to type at a slower pace, in smaller chunks. Note-taking and writing full documents tend to be a much faster activity, and I was slowed down by the inadvertent missteps with the virtual keyboard.
Enter the ideal solution: Logitech's Bluetooth wireless keyboard (also compatible with iPhones and iPad touches). The keyboard is a bit smaller than a typical computer keyboard (with no separate number pad on the right side, and no row of function keys along the top), coming in at about 12 inches wide and a bit under six inches "tall" (from the space bar row "up).
Unlike some fold-up keyboards I saw, the appealing aspect of this Logitech model was its "solid" feel, with full sized keys that respond as they do on a traditional keyboard, with roughly similar spacing to a typical layout.
The keyboard stores in a carrying case that doubles as a simple iPod stand. Once you pull the keyboard out of the case, you pop out a small plastic shelf that snaps into place, propping up the iPad (in portrait or landscape position). No need for a separate stand, and since the keyboard and case are separate, you can set them up as close together, or far apart, as is convenient for you. This is convenient for me in my office, as I also use my iPad to manage my to-do list; having the keyboard nearby makes it faster for me to update existing or add new items without having to call up the virtual keyboard.
Pairing the keyboard with my iPad took all of about a minute. By going to the iPad settings, and making the device "discoverable" in the Bluetooth settings, I then followed the prompts that came up and was up and typing in no time. From then on, I simply turn on the keyboard, and am ready to go once the initial pairing is complete.
Beyond my primary objective of being able to write and take notes more easily with a minimum of extra space, the Logitech keyboard has built in controls to control the basic functions of your music or videos (which will be convenient on the days I travel and also use my iPad for background music). Several of the keys along the top row double as "function" keys, enabled by using a function key on the lower left side of the keyboard. You can pause, skip forward or backward, manage the volume and even start a slide show (assuming you've stored photos on your iPad).
I also like that there is a "home" button on the keyboard that mimics the one on the iPad itself. That does mean you would then need to select your next app by touching the screen, but it's easier than the awkward process of trying to double-tap the home button when the iPad is on a stand. Along the same line, there is a search button towards the lower right that brings up the iPad search tool with one touch--good thinking, and a nice, handy feature.
The keyboard's power is provided by two AAA batteries, and a starter set is included from Logitech so you can get to using the keyboard right away.
All in all, the iPad wireless keyboard from Logitech can help you become even more productive with the amazing iPad, whether it's composing a business document, using email, composing a blog post or just about any other function that involves typing text.
Amount Paid (US$): 60
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