I’ve been looking for a good external Bluetooth keyboard for my iPad for a while. While the on-screen keyboard is okay for typing a couple of words at a time, it is very much not acceptable for much more than that.
A while ago, I managed to find an old iGo Stowaway Bluetooth keyboard and have been using it with my iPad for the last couple of years. The keyboard itself is absolutely wonderful. The keys feel like real keyboard keys and the build quality is very good. Unfortunately, it does not come with a dedicated number row, so to type the number 4, for instance, you have to hold down the blue function key and press “r”. To type the dollar sign ($), you have to hold down the green function key and press “r”. So that kind of stinks and means that touch-typing on it requires at the very least some extra thought when it comes to anything other than A- Z.
Of course, the Holy Grail solution would be buying one of the beautiful (and bulky) Apple Bluetooth keyboards and taking that with me everywhere I go, but that’s a non-starter just because of how big and bulky and heavy the little beast is. Since I take my external keyboard with me everywhere I go, thrown in my UnderArmour SackPack, having as small and light of a keyboard is important to me.
So I finally broke down and bought a Verbatim Bluetooth folding keyboard. I should have known better, especially after reading all of the negative reviews it got. But I was weak. I’m typing this blog from the Verbatim Bluetooth keyboard on my iPad right now. Let me just tell you, this keyboard is worse than I imagined it could be. The keys offer next to zero press feedback. The keys repeat and skip sporadically. My thumb absolutely cannot use the split, goofy space bar. The shifted and very small “g” and “b” keys mean that I cannot find those by touch typing at all. And the position of the left shift key means that I hit the up arrow every time I start a new sentence that begins with a letter on the left side of the keyboard and start typing in the middle of the text above. The number row is completely unacceptable. All of the number keys are shifted around, are smaller than all of the other keys on the keyboard, and are not positioned where any touch-typist would expect them, which completely defeats the purpose of having a keyboard. If I have to look at the keyboard to see what keys I’m pressing, I might as well not have an external keyboard at all.
So this thing is going back, for sure. Buyer beware. Maybe this post will help some other desperate soul out there. If only the jorno keyboard would have made it to market!!!
I’m curious if anyone else out there has found a good solution for this. The Jorno keyboard looked perfect but never came to market. The Matias looks good, but it’s really big, even folded, and I can’t find anyone who sells the iPad/iPod keyboard. I don’t want a keyboard that is integrated into an iPad case, since I like how my iPad looks already and don’t want to always have a bulky thing that I’m using. Would love comments and suggestions.