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Meant to emulate standard computer keyboards' toughness and durability while working with iPads and iPhones. Rechargeable battery. Number pads are convenient for coders and teachers. Butterfly button ensures minimal pressure needed for every keystroke.
Only works for Apple products. No backlight is a nuisance for night writers.
Compatible with most Bluetooth devices with special care given to iPads. KM13 design means quieter typing. Automatically goes to sleep after 10 minutes of silence, making AAA battery replacement rare. Stand works for phones.
Standard quality concerns for such a cheap keyboard. Some problems with Samsung devices.
Compatible with all major Bluetooth-compatible operating systems. Adjustable brightness for different environments and battery life. Rechargeable battery is convenient and long-lasting, with some reporting 6 months between charges.
Some experienced disconnecting and typing error issues. Company is quick to send replacements.
Slim design with easy-to-press keys for seamless typing. USB-enabled wireless capabilities add more power and range than most Bluetooth competitors. Easy setup, with plug-and-play convenience out of the box. Two AA batteries have months-long battery life with proper care.
USB port needed, though converters are cheap. Hotkeys not compatible with Mac.
Lightweight and easily transportable. Can be used with up to 3 Bluetooth-enabled devices, including mobile phones with keyboard functionality. Wireless range is 10 meters. Keyboard has circular keys that minimize noise while typing. Has long-lasting battery power.
There is sometimes a lag when typing fast, according to a few reviews.
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In an age when every screen is a touchscreen and mobile apps are just as powerful as their desktop equivalents, the lines between devices are blurring. With laptops, that means including touchscreens to make what the industry has dubbed “two-in-one laptops.” With smartphones and tablets, it means there are more keyboards and keyboard cases to provide you with a laptop-like experience. In fact, with the right keyboard, you can turn your tablet into a workhorse that’s fast enough to keep up with you at work or school and portable enough to go anywhere.
Finding the perfect tablet keyboard can be a little tricky, however. While they all cover the same basics — they connect via Bluetooth and let you type more comfortably than you can with an on-screen keyboard — there’s a wide range of features, models, and prices to consider. Some are smaller, to match tablets with diminutive screens; others have a built-in stand so you can keep your screen upright while you type. There’s a lot to consider!
That’s what we’re for. Here’s our best advice on finding the perfect tablet keyboard, whether you’re writing the Great American Novel or you just need a more convenient way to type. Check out our favorites, too.
Before you start shopping, think about how you’ll use your tablet keyboard so you can get an idea of what features you’re looking for. Start by answering these questions.
If you’ve got a name-brand tablet like an Apple iPad, Microsoft Surface, or Amazon Fire, start by checking out the company’s “official” matching keyboards. Buying the branded matching keyboard for a tablet usually means two things: you’ll get a high-quality Bluetooth keyboard with access to exclusive functionality (like keyboard shortcut buttons), and you’ll pay a lot more (sometimes up to three times as much) than buying a case made by a third party. Our take is that manufacturer-made tablet keyboards are typically made to higher standards than other cases, so they’re not a bad idea, but depending on the price point, they’re also not as good quality.
Some of the best available tablet keyboards are part of a case, but if you’re planning on using a different case with your tablet, they won’t work. But before you dismiss them, check out a few models — tablet cases with built-in keyboards are incredibly handy for keeping everything together, and in many instances they go a long way toward creating a laptop-like experience.
Most tablet keyboards are built to match the width of your tablet, so they’re smaller than standard keyboards. Think about how much typing you’ll be doing, and whether your hands can comfortably fit on a tablet-sized keyboard. If typing on an on-screen keyboard feels cramped and uncomfortable to you, you may be similarly frustrated by a tablet-sized keyboard, in which case a full-size tablet keyboard is your best bet.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the hundreds of different tablet keyboard models available. Here are the features that matter most.
Many tablet keyboards can connect to different devices and then let you easily flip between them. So, for example, if you have a tablet, smartphone, and desktop computer, you can connect your keyboard with all of them simultaneously and then use a physical dial to select which device you want to interact with. Keyboards like these are perfect for instantly flipping between text messages, spreadsheets, and documents on different devices.
If you’ll be using your tablet keyboard in darker spaces, consider getting one with backlighting. Backlighting illuminates the keys with colored lights, which makes them a lot easier to see in the dark.
Any Bluetooth keyboard can be a tablet keyboard, but if you’re buying just for that device, then getting one with a built-in kickstand is a good idea. Some keyboards have an open slot at the top that’s just big enough to fit your tablet, while others have an adjustable stand that allows you to see your tablet from a variety of different angles. Consider this a must-have feature.
Between $15 and $30, you’ll find a lot of solid options, so long as you’re okay with a tablet-sized keyboard, which is smaller than a standard keyboard. If you’re in the market for a tablet keyboard that you can take with you, or you simply need one that doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles, there are plenty of options in this price range.
Between $30 and $80, tablet keyboards offer the basics plus some key benefits. Models in this price range often support multi-device connections or are made of higher-quality materials. If you want a tablet keyboard that will last for the full life of your tablet, plan on spending this much.
Tablet keyboards that cost more than $80 are usually part of luxury tablet cases designed around transforming your tablet into a laptop. Paying this much for a tablet keyboard can be a bitter pill to swallow, but if you’re serious about productivity, it can be worth it.
Learn the shortcut keys. If your tablet keyboard includes shortcut keys, learn about them so you can use them for faster tablet navigation. Many tablets include dedicated keys for common functions like copy and paste. This is one of those times where it really pays to read the manual. Knowing the right shortcut keys can help you work a lot more efficiently.
Keep food and drink away from your tablet keyboard. Whether it’s tiny crumbs or the occasional spill, keyboards are pretty susceptible to dirt and grime, and that can cause problems ranging from sticking keys to some keys not working at all. Keep your tablet nice and clean and it will last a lot longer.
A. Yes, so long as it’s a Bluetooth keyboard. Apple makes its own iPad keyboards, which often include exclusive functionality, but all iPads work with any standard Bluetooth keyboard.
A. It depends. Most tablet keyboards are powered by replaceable batteries (usually AA or AAA) and can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months on a single set of batteries. Others have internal rechargeable batteries, which last almost as long, but are a much cheaper alternative in the long run. Keep in mind that if you buy a tablet keyboard with an internal rechargeable battery, it will eventually stop holding a charge, so your tablet keyboard could stop working after several years.
A. Yes, so long as your desktop or laptop supports Bluetooth. If you’re interested in using your tablet keyboard with other devices, make sure to buy one that can easily switch between them. Multi-device keyboards make switching as easy as turning a dial; otherwise, you’ll be stuck unpairing and repairing your keyboard each time you want to change devices.
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