iPads, or tablets in general, aren’t only used for checking out social media notifications or games. To some, it doubles as productivity tools. With the right apps, a tablet can be useful to get work done, send emails, finish reports etc. To me, the perceived advantage of tablets over traditional laptops is its convenience to carry around and their batteries tend to last longer compared to most laptops. So you can sit in a coffee shop, sip your drink and do your thing, without having to worry about finding a plug.
Aside from productivity apps, another thing you might need to finish your tasks faster is a physical keyboard. As we know by now, typing with physical keys is faster, more accurate and more engaging than having to tap away a long email reply on-screen. I am actually typing this entry on a Bluetooth keyboard. Another advantage of having a keyboard is having to work with the whole screen as the on-screen keyboard is hidden from view. I decided, since I have the time today, I will make a short review of this keyboard.
This Bluetooth keyboard isn’t branded. It just says “Bluetooth keyboard for iPad” on its box. It’s definitely made in China and can be rebranded. There are two things that made me consider this over other keyboards in the market. One, it’s fairly cheap, two, unlike other offerings, it makes my iPad look like a mini MacBook.
It may look like its made of metal, but it’s actually just painted plastic. I don’t mind and have come to expect it, especially considering the price point. The keyboard is held together by screws and adhesive, and you will hear creaking sounds when you apply enough pressure to it. Needless to say, the build is ok.
You slide the iPad on the swiveling part and will be held in place by thick rubbers. It’s very tight, especially the first time (wipe off that grin). Just be careful as it is fairly hard to insert the tablet at first try. More on that later.
Whats good with this setup is you aren’t limited to certain positions, compared to some hybrid folio cases/keyboard which you need to use exclusively on hard surfaces. This setup allows you to use it on your lap while sitting or even when you are laying down and being lazy.
The keys are tactile and raised high enough so typing on it feels natural, like typing on a laptop keyboard.
It has rubber guards to ensure the display won’t accidentally press the keys when closed. The back side also features rubber feets to ensure surface grip. Also to add, it automatically puts the iPad to sleep when you close it.
The keyboard connects to your iPad through, you guessed it, Bluetooth. There is a small switch to turn it ON as well as a button that activates the Bluetooth connection. Unfortunately, there isn’t any battery indicator nor lighting on the keys.
The initial setup is fairly easy. Simply turn the keyboard On, long press the connectivity button until it blinks. Then on your iPad, enable your Bluetooth, wait until it finds the keyboard, and click on it on the list of available devices to establish a connection. What’s good with this keyboard is it’s not limited to Apple devices; it also connects to Android and Windows devices as well.
The keyboard supports shortcuts. There is a home button key which, when pressed once, brings you to the home screen. Press it twice and it will take you to the app switcher view. Other supported shortcuts include media playback controls, volume controls, adjusting of the backlight, activate search function, activate the on-screen keyboard (why would anyone do that?) and locking the device. Windows commands like CTRL+C and CTRL+V doesn’t work on the iPad.
Charging and Battery life
The keyboard is fitted with a Micro USB charging port so you can charge both your iPad and the keyboard using a regular charger or a power bank. The keyboard comes with its own short micro USB cable, but we already have enough of those, don’t we? The battery life is impressive on this keyboard. In my two weeks of using this keyboard, I haven’t dried up the power, yet.
Of course with every gear, there is bound to be flaws, because we have high standards.
First, you have to be very careful fitting your iPad in it as it tends to “open up” in some parts, at least mine did, on the charging port area, of all areas. Nothing a drop of Mighty Bond couldn’t fix.
I am also partly at fault here as I did exert strong pressure while trying to fit the tablet and keyboard together, because of reason number two.
The second flaw, it won’t go deep (wipe off that grin). I can’t even explain it through words. Just look at the photos.
This could get fixed but requires changing the rubber pads to thinner ones. I’m not sure if this is the case for all, or I am simply an unlucky sunnapabits.
Lastly, the keyboard is light weight, even lighter than the iPad Mini. It can only support the tablet at certain angles. Channeling my inner Sheldon, calculations resulted to around 125 degrees, give or take.
Give it a little nudge and the tablet will fall over. I bypassed this problem by attaching an iRing on the tablet to support it when I give it tough love.
Even with the flaws mentioned, I am quite happy with this Bluetooth keyboard. It does a lot of things to overcome its shortcomings. It acts as a stand, protects the display and allows for a better typing experience. I also like the fact it automatically puts the iPad to sleep when closed and connects not only on IOS devices but Android and Windows as well. Lastly, it also makes the iPad like a MacBook, because that’s what ultimately matters right? Not to mention it’s cheaper than most Bluetooth keyboard in the market.
For readers in the Philippines, this Bluetooth keyboard is available thru Lazada. I scoured Lazada for you guys and will only post the links with the lowest price. I am no way affiliated with the stores.
For our International readers, eBay links are as follows:
Check out my other reviews here