What kind of keyboard to get - Docking or Bluetooth

Discussion in 'iPad Accessories for iPAD 1, 2 and 3' started by pluto6, Feb 3, 2011.

  1. pluto6
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    pluto6 iPad Fan

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    I am going to be a student once again, I would imagine that some of what happens in class will just be using a stylus to take notes, but I type faster than I can write with a stylus (never thought I would be able to say that)...

    So I kind of like the bluetooth ability to have either portrait or landscape, but I guess they require batteries, and there could be hook up problems etc...

    Besides the general type - what brands / models are people using with good success? Are the folding ones good? Do they hold up?

    Have you found the keyboards of either type to be helpful / useful?

    Thanks for the help!
  2. tzimisce
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    tzimisce iPad Addict

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    I've been able to use some (but not all) generic USB keyboards with my iPad through the 30 pin-to-USB plug in the Apple camera connection kit. The device shows a popup window warning about incompatibility, but after dismissing it I can use the keyboard, including arrows, just fine.

    (I also have a BT keyboard, but as you point out, they need to be charged or require batteries.)
  3. twerppoet
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    twerppoet iPad Legend

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    I use Apple's bluetooth keyboard on my iMac, and in the four months I've had it I've only changed the batteries once. It is light and very portable. However it isn't terribly tough. If you are going to use one I recommend having a padded pocket or sleeve to pack it in. I'm not a writer, but I do use it everyday for at least an hour or so.

    The keyboard I got with the iMac had already seen a year as a demo unit. There were some minor problems. The Expose key came off and one of the cursor keys was touchy, as in barely touch it and it works. Not knowing exactly what the keyboard has been through I can't say whether this is typical or a sign of abuse.

    So I recently bought a new keyboard for the iMac and re-purposede the old one for the iPad.

    The few tests I've done show it to work very well. I understand (but have not tested) that a few of the special keys will work with the iPad. So, this route offers some slight functional advantages.

    I wouldn't want to carry the dock, myself. It just isn't designed to fit neatly into a pack.
  4. Tim SPRACKLEN
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    Tim SPRACKLEN iPad Legend

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    I use iGo's Stowaway folding BT keyboard. It's very small when folded and comes in a faux soft leather case that is padded to protect it. It's powered by two AAA cells. There's no on/off switch; it automatically powers down after a couple of minutes of inactivity and wakes up again as soon as you start typing. While it's powering up and re-establishing the BT link with the iPad it buffers anything you type. This takes about one second. It's a full-size keyboard but has one row less than a normal one; numbers and symbols are accessed via function keys on the bottom row combined with a simultaneous press of the appropriate key on the top row.

    As other members have commented, the problem with a docking keyboard, such as Apple's (I have one) is that (a) you're restricted to portrait view, (b) it's a pain to carry around. Advantage (a) access to 'special' iPad functions ('Home', brightness, volume etc), (b) no battery required, (c) can charge iPad at the same time, (d) audio out. Not really practical on the move or on an airplane (BT keyboard coupled with the Apple iPad case, which tilts the iPad up slightly in landscape view, works just fine). Personally I virtually never use my Apple docking keyboard, even at home, because you can't dock the iPad with it if it's still in its Apple case and it's a tight fit in the case (which is good), which makes it a nuisance to get in and out frequently.

    Tim
    Scotland
  5. Spongebob
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    Spongebob iPF Novice

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    Although my school days are long over, I have the Zaggmate and can't say enough good things about it. I know it is small and I have not done a lot of typing on it, but it sounds like something that would work well for you. You can use it in either orientation, easily charged via usb, and is a case to boot. If you were worried about it getting damaged, just throw it in some sort of sleeve.
  6. MarkK
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    MarkK iPad Fan

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    I have a ZAGGmate, but the quality is appalling.
    As mentioned in a different thread, even after two exchanges, i.e. with the third one I got, it still doesn't work.
    The 'craftsmanship' is bad, the inside is stock together with adhesive tape, the soldering is bad and the charging socket is badly soldered on, this will tear loose after a while.
    My recommendation: Take the Apple-keyboard, at least there you get value for money.
  7. jtrosky
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    jtrosky iPad Fan

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    Wow... I've been using my ZaggMate daily for months and never had a single issue!
  8. BrennB
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    BrennB iPad Addict

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    I've had my zaggmate since Christmas and use it daily. It rarely needs to be charge so no worries on "wear and tear" of the port unless you're just brutal with it. I have had zero issues with the craftmanship nor the usage. About the only frustration is sometimes having to reset the connection after long periods of no use... but its a simple process and I think its more of an ipad issue than a zagg issue.

    Very portable and if you add the leather skins it looks great! I bring the combo everywhere and I don't need a separate packing unit etc to protect the keyboard which is a definite plus for a student you'll have heavy books and such too lug around.
  9. pluto6
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    pluto6 iPad Fan

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    I have concerns about Zagg quality, and customer service. I bought my son a Zagg screen protector, and it started peeling after a short time. I contacted CS and after multiple contacts, and emails, I never got a replacement. I know a lot of people are happy, but there are a lot of the experiences the likes of MarkK as well.
  10. tzimisce
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    tzimisce iPad Addict

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    The most important consideration for me with -any- keyboard is its ergonomics and comfort, so the touch and weight of the keys and the comfort of my hands and fingers comes above anything else.

    For portability, I'd use the most comfortable of my compact keyboard (I have a couple of them) and connect using the USB adapter (plus, a lesser chance of problems with connecting using Bluetooth.)
  11. jtrosky
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    jtrosky iPad Fan

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    I had the official Apple bluetooth keyboard, which is a great keyboard, but I found that I never had it when I needed it. That's what is so nice about the ZaggMate - the keyboard is part of the case, so you ALWAYS have the keyboard with you! ANd when you don't need the keyboard, you get to use the iPad as it was meant to be used - without any cases that add a ton of bulk and weight to the iPad.

    I've found that the quality of the keyboard in the ZaggMate is very high quality. It doesn't have those "rubber" keys which just feel un-natural. It has normal netbook-type keys - very nice feel to the keyboard. Being that the ZaggMate is sold locally at Best BUY Stores also allows you to "Try before you buy"!
  12. Mickey330
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    Mickey330 Administrator Staff Member

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    I take my Zaggmate to college (great protection for when the iPad is in the backpack). My college has teeny tiny desks. If I'm not using the keyboard, I put the hinge up on the Zaggmate and rest the iPad in it. That way it's at a slight angle for viewing my e-textbook.

    When/if I want to type something, I put the iPad in the case and start typing away. So far, knock on wood, it has performed flawlessly.

    I sympathize with the people who got a "lemon," but, to date, I'm SO glad I got a Zaggmate. Very handy to use and when it's acting as a case, I don't worry about the iPad while crammed in my backpack with my books and such. I have a skin on both the case and the iPad, so I don't worry about scratches while the Zaggmate takes care of the iPad.

    Marilyn
  13. David79
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    David79 iPad Junkie

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    The only thing I didnt like about the Zagg was it only has 1 adjustment for angle correct? I like having a few different angles not just 1. I like the size of it but thats about it. I would say just get a cheap BT portable keyboard from online if you already have some kind of case, if not then get one of the multi angle cases with built in keyboard for the same price or less then the Zagg.
  14. Wokiebear
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    Wokiebear iPad Fan

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    Zaggmate has several angles u can adjust it to. U can also use the specialty

    Keys to get back to home and others keys like on the Apple docking keyboard that the other keyboards don't have, like theApple wireless keyboard. Been very sturdy 4 me.
  15. David79
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    David79 iPad Junkie

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    I thought it only had 1, my bad, thank you for the info.
  16. kc2ped
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    I have a ZAGGmate and love it. The iPad can be positioned in it in either landscape or portrait mode. My battery lasted 3-4 weeks on the initial charge. The keyboard doubles as a case that affords great screen protection. The keyboard is a little cramped but I adapt to it quickly even after recently typing on a MacBook. Autocorrection does not work most of the time when using the keyboard but ZAGG says that is a limitation placed by Apple so should be the same for all Bluetooth keyboards.
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2011
  17. jtrosky
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    jtrosky iPad Fan

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    Actually, you are both right! The ZaggMate w/keyboard only has one angle. The ZaggMate (w/o keyboard) does have multiple angles..

    To be honest, the single-angle issue had been a non-issue for me. I usually only use the keyboard when sitting at a table or desk, so that single angle is ok for me....
  18. Tim SPRACKLEN
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    Tim SPRACKLEN iPad Legend

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    You mention that autocorrection does not work most of the time. Although I don't think you were referring to the point I'm about to make, it might be of interest. In another thread, a Forum member pointed out a really neat way of updating the iPad's dictionary with specific words that keep getting 'corrected' incorrectly by the iPad. He noted that the iPad always checks the Contacts list for the names and details of contacts that you have and doesn't try to correct these. So he suggested entering spurious contacts which contained lists of words that might be specific to your particular interests - perhaps technical terms. I tried this (I write a lot of technical stuff on the iPad) and it works just fine.

    Tim
    Scotland
  19. iVan
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    iVan iPad Ninja

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    I have the Apple Bluetooth keyboard and I stopped using it because I can't find out how to use it with other languages. I regularly alternate between English and French and there are at least 20 characters missing or out of phase with those indicated on the keys. So I wasn't typing faster than with the virtual keyboard.

    Sent from my iPad using iPF
  20. FastT
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    FastT iPF Novice

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    i put stickers on my Zaggmate. there are key map stickers for all common languages on the web, so you can localize your keyboard to your native language. the only thing, you can't switch between languages, so you have to decide if you prefer english or french layout.

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