Admit it. Typing anything of importance on an iPad or Windows tablet is an entirely unfulfilling experience, right? Cramming your hands onto a virtual keyboard is a constant reminder that tablets by nature are consumption devices. Enter Bluetooth keyboards that can connect flawlessly to your iPad and do the one thing that tablets can’t: let you type the way you want to type. Finally!
If you’re new to Bluetooth there’s a comprehensive wikipage here that we can sum up in five words: Bluetooth is awesome and invisible. And it lets your tablet connect via radio waves to what you need most right now: a real keyboard. If you’re not sure whether your tablet has Bluetooth capability check here, but most recent builds have it. There are also USB adapters that can give instant Bluetooth capability to any device with an available USB port.
But first things first, answering some basic questions about your keyboard quest will quickly eliminate dozens of time-wasting options:
- Do you expect to be using this keyboard mostly at home?
- Or do you want to be mobile and expect to travel with your tablet/keyboard combo?
We ask because this blossoming side industry is split into two main categories: standalone keyboards VS. mobile keyboards (and carrying cases). Standalone keyboards work best in more controlled environments and are usually closer to full-sized. Mobile keyboards will have some type of tablet stand or carrying case and will in general be more compact. Delineating between the two will put you miles ahead of the crowd and make your choice simple.
One last thing to consider before looking at choices: the most common question people ask before buying is….Will my iPad work with this Windows keyboard? Will my Nexus tablet work with this Apple keyboard? And the answer is…for the most part, yes. You lose a little bit of keyboard functionality because of the differences between the Mac and PC keyboard layouts (Windows and Alt keys VS. Command and Option keys), but the basic typing functionality is cross platform. BUT you can always remap the keyboards if you want it to mimic the layout you are most comfortable with.
One important thing to remember regarding travel and carrying cases. Most of these are model specific. The dimensions of iPads are vastly different than Samsung tablets, so if you want to be mobile please that most of the travel and carrying cases are model specific, so you’ll need to find the appropriate iPad or PC version before buying.
Remember, our primary goal is to offer recommendations on keyboards that vastly improve the tablet typing experience, not just a little, a lot. With so many companies competing for your hard-earned dollars you have the option of being extremely picky with your final choice. Our final list of the Top Bluetooth Keyboards takes into account typing feel, build quality, product reliability, company history, and user feedback. Happy hunting!“iPhone with keyboard” photo courtesy of Beau Giles CC2.0 flickr
Keyboards Guide 2014 Best iPad/Tablet Keyboard
|Logitech K810||Backlit, can pair with multiple devices, Bluetooth||$$|
|Apple Wireless Keyboard||Flawless Apple design, AA batteries, Bluetooth||$$|
|Logitech Tablet Keyboard||Functions as stand and cover, AAA batteries, Bluetooth||$|
|Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard||Functions as stand and cover, USB charging cable, Bluetooth||$$|
|New Trent Airbender||Hard clamshell case, USB charging cable, Bluetooth||$|
And the K810 is a step ahead of it’s competitors. It pairs with multiple devices so you can toggle between typing on different devices. You can be at your desk typing on your PC, and with the push of a button type an email into your iPad, and then type some notes into your smartphone. So cool!
And did we mention it is backlit? Fully illuminated keys, but only if you need them, you can adjust backlighting manually or using preset modes.
Completely wireless keyboard, it comes with a USB cable for charging.
Available in both a Mac and PC version. The K810 is for PC and the K811 is for iPads/Macs. But many users report success pairing with both Mac and PC devices at the same time, you’ll just lose a little bit of keyboard functionality.
Easily detects any Apple computer, iPad, or iPhone. Setup is painless and you’ll be typing within seconds of turning it on.
It has the impeccable design and functionality of an Apple product. Slightly angled up and powered by two AA batteries. But don’t worry, you’ll be surprised at how long the batteries last. No user complaints about battery cost and maintenance.
Surprising build quality for a Bluetooth keyboard at half the price of some competitors.
Compact keyboard (12.3×5.6×1.2 inches) but it comes with Enter and Backspace keys double-sized, and Shift keys triple-sized, so it holds up well for users accustomed to touch typing.
Powered by 4 AAA batteries. Comes in a PC version as well as a Mac version.
Coming in at 11.7 ounces and specifically designed for iPad products , the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard prefers to be on the go. During travel a magnetic clip secures the keyboard and doubles as an iPad protector.
Also functions as a stand for typing convenience. Once unhinged you place the iPad in a grooved slot at the top of the keyboard.
Aluminum casing and solid build quality gives the keyboard a surprisingly sturdy feel despite being so thin (0.9 inches).
The Airbender secures the iPad in a hard clamshell case and attaches to a fully functional keyboard (9.6 inch width), essentially turning your tablet into a mobile laptop.
Viewing angle fully configurable in both landscape and portrait mode thanks to a sturdy, hinged arm. Powered by micro-USB charging cable.