What's the best *portable* bluetooth keyboard for iPad?
July 6, 2011 6:19 PM   Subscribe

Best bluetooth keyboard for iPad?

Well I've been pecking away at the iPad's virtual keyboard since I got it 9 months ago, but now I'm trying to seriously get into writing a book and I need a portable bluetooth keyboard. I write here and there, on the run (trying to trick myself into believing that I'm not really writing) and so this keyboard needs to be portable. I was looking forward to getting the jorno portable folding keyboard, but the shipping date has now been moved to March 2012 (gee I'm glad I didn't give them any money in advance) so I want alternatives.

The folding keyboards I'm seeing have rubber keys and I'm thinking that's not the way for me to go. I need real keys, hard keys, large keys. I could buy the Apple keyboard but it doesn't fold and it looks sort of large. Ideally I'd like a keyboard I could fit the iPad into, that will hold it upright in place (this, in addition to portability, seemed to be the beauty of the jorno).

Can you say something about what keyboards you are using when you are out and about? thank you.
posted by DMelanogaster to Technology (15 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Just go for the Apple one (of if you want to save $10, the Targus one if you REALLY need the $10), and use a normal-size messenger bag or whatever. You'll appreciate it when you're typing away.
posted by Little Orphan Ennui at 6:26 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

I use the Apple bluetooth keyboard. A woman with an etsy shop made me a slipcase for it that matches the iPad cover she made me, which makes it easy to carry. It doesn't seem large at all; I've been surprised by how thin it is and what a small footprint it has despite being a full-size keyboard.

I use a Stump iPad stand. I find that this combination works well for me; it's very modular as the stand is useful for, say, my kids to watch video when there's no need for the keyboard, but the stand holds the iPad at a very comfortable angle for viewing. I use this setup a lot for writing and don't find carrying those three things together especially burdensome, and it is a very sweet setup for writing.
posted by not that girl at 6:36 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I have the Apple bluetooth keyboard for my iPad, and I think it's great. It's not tiny, but I never felt like it is too large. I carry it around (when I carry it around) in my little 8.5x11 or so briefcase.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 6:47 PM on July 6, 2011

Response by poster: Cute Stump.

Here's another question about this whole setup: since there is no mouse for the iPad, do you find that when you type on a real keyboard you are frequently putting your index finger on the screen to mark your position as you edit? (that is, using your finger as a cursor)
Because, if so, I guess you'd need to really stabilize the iPad so your finger won't knock it down, right?

(currently I use a standard black Apple case for my iPad (it's the original iPad) -- wondering if that will suffice for typing when I am using my finger as I mentioned -- OR can you somehow use the keys of the bluetooth keyboard to move around as a kind of cursor?)
posted by DMelanogaster at 6:56 PM on July 6, 2011

Nthing the Apple Bluetooth keyboard. I use it with this Marwave case; I find that tapping the screen is easy when it's in the second position back, almost vertical.
posted by OneMonkeysUncle at 7:04 PM on July 6, 2011

The Zagg Case is amazing, and I use it every day in class.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 7:33 PM on July 6, 2011

The Stump stand I use holds the iPad securely enough to use the finger-cursor method, especially in landscape orientation. It's a little more wobbly in portrait. But the keyboard also has arrow keys that I use quite a bit when navigating within a document.
posted by not that girl at 8:17 PM on July 6, 2011

Apple Bluetooth Keyboard- it was the most durable and portable to me, because I was worried about a dinky folding mechanism- I actually traveled across Russia, Mongolia, and China with it. Just put it in its own plastic bag or something because the letters can pop off when rubbed against other objects. Also, the arrow keys let you move around and Alt-Arrow jumps from word to word. (This is common across all keyboards, though.)
posted by suedehead at 8:29 PM on July 6, 2011

+1 for the Zagg case, it's really fantastic.
posted by masters2010 at 12:36 AM on July 7, 2011

I've tried a few, and I've been happiest with the Microsoft Bluetooth Mobile Keyboard 6000. It feels more like a real keyboard to me.
posted by LonnieK at 4:25 AM on July 7, 2011

The apple keyboard is great. Be aware iOS doesn't support an external keyboard very well. Many keys don't work, like the control key (essential for Unix terminals). There are few keyboard accelerators in the iOS UI: their absence is annoying. And when the Bluetooth keyboard is paired the on screen keyboard doesn't appear unless you press eject on the keyboard: so you can really only use one or the other, not both interchangeably. But if you want to type lots of words, the Apple keyboard does help.
posted by Nelson at 7:04 AM on July 7, 2011

Response by poster: Thank you all. I'm exploring different options. Can I ask another question? What's a simple word processing app to get? This is for straight text, chapter by chapter, with cut and paste.
posted by DMelanogaster at 2:03 PM on July 7, 2011

Best answer: For basic text editing, try PlainText. For more advanced text editing, try Pages.

If you need an easy way to keep your documents synced between your Mac/PC and your iPad, try Dropbox. The upcoming iCloud should also support that kind of thing.
posted by Georgina at 5:09 AM on July 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

For full word processing support, I use Pages, but I'd also highly recommend GoodReader, not only is it the best PDF reader there is,but it has built-in DropBox sync and can view, create, and edit plain text files. Until iCloud is generally available, managing Pages files involves a bit more work.
posted by OneMonkeysUncle at 9:00 AM on July 9, 2011

Response by poster: I got the free version of PlainText (with the ads) and I absolutely love it. I already had DropBox, so this is really great, with the syncing. It's so easy! In fact I haven't even bought the bluetooth keyboard yet, and somehow the landscape orientation of the virtual keyboard is enough with this nice plain "page." I also love that you can tap on the left of the text and the "cursor" goes left; and you can type on the right and it goes to the right. So simple. Thank you!
posted by DMelanogaster at 11:12 AM on July 9, 2011

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