iPads (and other Tablets) have spawned a big business in portable keyboards. Despite what some still say about Tablets only being consumption devices, accessory makers seem to know that some of us do like to use our Tablets for typing occasionally. They’ve certainly invested in a number of keyboard solutions to take advantage of this. Heck, even Apple was advertising its own Wireless Keyboard as an accessory when the first iPad debuted. And of course you can find keyboards in cases, or as a standalone or that will fold up, or even stick to your Tablet.
You may remember that I recently reviewed the Touchfire Keyboard, which is one of those keyboards that stick to your Tablet. Well, here’s another review of a similar but different product, the iKeyboard.
Well, actually before I get into the review let me say this about stick on keyboards in general. For my usage there is an inherent flaw in the concept. I use my Tablets without a keyboard most of the time. When I do use a keyboard, I’ll pull out one to get some work done. The flaw here is that stick on keyboards, well, they require sticking them onto the Tablet face. And then when you want to use your Tablet as a touch device again, you need to remove them. Essentially there has to be some sort of magnet or sticky attachment to make this work, and in either case, this becomes more of a chore than something easy to do. With both the Touchfire Keyboard and the iKeyboard, the manufacturers advertise how easy they are to clean. If you ask me, when you have to use that as a marketing bullet point, you’re already doing something wrong. So, I’m personally not predisposed to this type of keyboard concept. You may be.
That said, the iKeyboard, for those who may find this type of typing to their liking, is a better alternative than the Touchfire keyboard in my opinion. Like the Touchfire it attaches to your iPad and overlays the virtual keyboard. Unlke the Touchfire it uses sticky surfaces (the Touchfire uses magnets that have their own sticky surfaces) to do the attaching. It is easy enough to remove the iKeyboard, but that means you need to hang on to the film that protects the sticky surface if you’re planning on carrying it around apart from your iPad. Again, not an optimal solution for my use case.
As far as typing is concerned, the iKeyboard has a rigid outline of a keyboard that contains membranes that fit over the virtual keyboard. I can say that I was able to type better with the iKeyboard than I was with the Touchfire Keyboard. Your mileage might vary.
The iKeyboard retails for $35.00. It does indeed work with Apple’s Smart Cover. The iKeyboard is very light and I appreciate its rigidity and how it attaches to the screen.
Again, this isn’t a product I would use. But that’s as much about me and my typing and Tableting style than it is the solution that iKeyboard offers. If you’re into virtual keyboarding on your iPad, you might want to give this a look.