Kasperian Moving Parts

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In Search of a Decent Bluetooth iPad Keyboard


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.

Author: Jason 'vanRijn' Kasper

My name is Jason 'vanRijn' Kasper. I am the ring leader of the amazing Kasper family. I am unashamedly a Christian Nerd. These are our stories....


  1. I played this game 6 months ago. Tried and returned the Verbatim folding one, and one of the built-into-a-case models. Both were worse than the onscreen keyboard, so what’s the point?

    I settled on http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0054L8MR8/ref=cm_cr_asin_lnk. It’s bigger and heavier, but it’s actually nice to type on, and that’s the whole point. And the case is actually useful as a stand.

    It’s probably not what you want, since it’s even bigger and heavier than the Apple bluetooth keyboard. But after trying several alternatives, I convinced myself anything smaller is not a sufficient win over the onscreen keyboard, so if you want to go light, type onscreen, and if you want to type, carry a real keyboard, and there is no relevant in between.

  2. Hey Matt,

    I was thinking that maybe I’ll just buy another Apple Bluetooth keyboard, since it’s what I use for work every day. But that kills the “hey, I’ll just carry this keyboard with me everywhere because it’s small and if I want to type something long, I can just pull it out and use it anywhere” thing.

    Did you look at or try this: http://www.amazon.com/Logitech-Fold-Up-Keyboard-iPad-920-003544/dp/B005FKK8NO ?

    I keep holding out hope for something relevant in between a real keyboard and the onscreen keyboard (which is really driving me nuts lately as it’s missing keystrokes like crazy), but I’m just not seeing anything. How hard can this truly be? The iGo Stowaway folding keyboard is 99% perfect! If only they would have made a dedicated number row! And the vaporware Jorno keyboard would have been perfect, had it seen the light of day. Argh!

  3. (wandering in late to the party as usual) I wound up getting http://amzn.com/B00VRCKF5K this year — it fits in the pocket of my Jacket of Holding with room left over for a little makeup bag and a couple of pens. It’s not good for typing at full speed, but it doesn’t have the lock button problem that plagues my case mounted keyboard. (There’s nothing like typing along at 70+ wpm in a meeting and then finding that instead of backspacing, you’ve locked your iPad.)

    Feel free to give mine a spin the next time you’re in Palo Alto.

  4. Ooh thanks Azure!! I ended up with exactly the same keyboard, although I paid $100 for mine as I backed the Jorno Keyboard Kickstarter. It’s sad because there are still flaws but it is the best I have found so far. Thanks for letting me know!!! =:)

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