I am a big advocate of the iPad as a portable computer which can satisfy most of the needs of most computer users most of the time. Combine the iPad with a keyboard, and it becomes even easier to use. The only downside has been the cost. The Apple Wireless Keyboard sells for $69, and is pretty expensive for most people. However, before now, I didn't know of a less expensive alternative that I would recommend to people.
The AmazonBasics Bluetooth Keyboard for Apple iPad, iPhone changed that. It is a low-profile keyboard with solid key action. It is almost half the price (currently US$37.30, but I've seen it as low as $29.99), slightly narrower, and feels lighter (it uses two AAA batteries compared to the Apple keyboard's two AA batteries). It does not feel as "solid" as the Apple Keyboard.
The top row of function keys have several which are labeled for different features: Spotlight search, play/pause, forward/reverse, volume up/down/mute. One even serves as a "keyboard" button to use to toggle the on-screen keyboard, and there's a Delete key for those who aren't satisfied with Backspace. On the back, there is an on/off switch and a button to initiate pairing with new devices.
Speaking of devices, while the item description lists the iPad and iPhone, it will also work with the iPod touch. In fact, it should work with any Bluetooth-enabled device. The iOS-specific elements are (as far as I can tell), just the aforementioned labels on the function keys.
The only (potential) drawback is that the keyboard layout is slightly smaller and there are a few layout changes. Apple's Wireless Keyboard is the same configuration and size as a MacBook, which makes it easier to go back and forth between typing on a Mac and an iPad. Obviously this won't be an issue for everyone.
You don't need a keyboard for an iPad, but if you decide that you want one, the AmazonBasics Bluetooh Keyboard is light, thin and easy to slip into a bag. The power switch keeps if from activating in your bag, but most importantly, it feels good while typing. All of that for about half of what you'd pay for Apple's Bluetooth keyboard.
- Key specs
- Form factor Tablet
- Operating system iOS (8)
- Screen size 9.7 inches
- Storage type Internal storage (16 GB, Flash)
- Maximum battery life Up to 10 hours
- Dimensions 9.4 x 6.6 x 0.24 in
- Weight 0.96 lb
- Announced 2014-10-16