If you haven’t followed my last couple of iPad mini keyboard posts, I’m on the hunt for a good portable writing setup. With the regular iPad I became a a big fan of touch typing in landscape, but the iPad mini’s smaller size is just a little too little for me.
So far I’ve tried the Zagg Mini 9 keyboard and Wingstand, and found both wanting. The Zagg felt rushed to market and restrictive, since when I’m not writing I prefer to use my iPad (mini or otherwise) bare. While the Wingstand is a good, compact stand for the iPad, I found Apple’s keyboard, designed for OS X but not iOS, to be the setup’s ironic downfall.
My latest attempt is the Logitech Tablet Keyboard For iPad, and it’s an altogether different approach. Instead of a restrictive iPad case like the Zagg, the Logitech Tablet Keyboard is really just a full-size bluetooth keyboard wrapped in a solid case that doubles as a stand for the iPad. The keyboard itself is full size, which certainly doesn’t hurt, and when you set the keyboard case up, a plastic piece flips out to support any size iPad in portrait or landscape.
By focusing on the keyboard itself, Logitech devised some clever solutions for the mobile iPad writing setup. The keyboard can float separately from the iPad, so I can sit at just about any angle I want, or even set my iPad up on the coffee table and sit back or stretch out on the sofa to write. Plus, Logitech’s keyboard has a power switch and is wrapped in the aforementioned hardcase while in transit, which negates accidental keypresses or simply locking you out of your iPad after too many incorrect passcode attempts.
As for the keyboard itself, it’s good by Logitech standards. I’ve been a fan of Apple’s thin, low-travel chicklet keys for years, so Logitech’s keys are a little too tall and travel is too long for my tastes. But it’s definitely doable, and I’ve written plenty of things, including this entire post, just fine. It has all the standard iOS-friendly keys, as well as ⌘ and ⌥ for some of the secret OS X text shortcuts that came over.
If you’re aiming to slim down your bag along with your writing setup, remember that the Logitech Tablet Keyboard is indeed a full-size keyboard. That means it might be too tall to fit in some iPad-specific bags like the STM Stash for iPad or my old nylon version of this Booq Cobra courier XS that I’ll add to my store when I reopen it. I’ve wanted a little more room to handle more day-to-day stuff and small grocery store stops anyway, so I picked up the Booq Mamba Courier 11, which fits any size iPad and the Logitech keyboard in its case just fine, with decent room to spare.
After using the Logitech Tablet Keyboard for a couple weeks, I can say it’s good, setup is pretty easy, and I don’t have to shackle my iPad to a big case that’s a pain to take off. With the exception of Logitech’s upcoming Ultrathin Keyboard mini, which I’ve preordered, I’m inclined to say my search is probably over. The Ultrathin could be an even more convenient option, though that keyboard looks mighty netbook-y. I’ll get a review up as soon as I can.