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

    pluto6
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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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    Wow... I've been using my ZaggMate daily for months and never had a single issue!
     
  8. BrennB

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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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    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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    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.)
     

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