Logitech Tablet Keyboard for iPad
While it's technically possible to write on an iPad, for most people, laptops are still the mission-critical writing machine of choice. It's all about the keyboard: a virtual keyboard simply can't cut it.
Keyboard cases help, but they come with their own compromises. The Logitech Keyboard Case by Zagg was one of our favorites, but the slightly compressed keys might turn off serious writers.
Enter the Logitech Tablet Keyboard for the iPad. Like Apple's own white Bluetooth keyboard, Logitech's keyboard is a standalone Bluetooth device that can technically be used with any computer. It looks a lot like Apple's Bluetooth keyboard, too, except cast in black plastic instead of white. Like Apple's keyboard, Logitech's runs on batteries instead of using a charger (four AAAs).
What makes this keyboard iPad-specific, then? Well, the Tablet Keyboard wasn't just made with iPads in mind; Logitech in fact sells another version for Android tablets with slightly different buttons. But the advantages here come in terms of the keyboard's set of iOS-specific buttons, as well as the keyboard's ingenious convertible case/stand.
The microfiber-lined plastic shell magnetically opens up, and a small plastic stand clicks between both halves, forming a sturdy tabletop stand for portrait or landscape mode, with either the iPad or iPad 2. The stand's roomy enough to accommodate some back shells we've used. A slide-out tray gives the iPad extra tilt, which was fantastic for at-the-desk writing with the keyboard in our laps. In normal stand mode, my iPad 2 was elevated like a picture frame. In the extended-out stand mode, the iPad viewing angle changes to nearly 45 degrees.
Across the top number keys are a set of iPad-specific functions, activated by holding down Fn on the lower left and pressing. The 5 key doubles as a picture-gallery shortcut; the 7, 8, and 9 keys alternately rewind, play/pause, and fast-forward music tracks; volume controls are on the end. These basic functions mirror what's on other iPad keyboards, including Apple's. A search button is tucked away to the right of the Option key, and it launches Spotlight search. Alas, you can't keyboard-click searched-for apps and documents--you'll have to tap on the screen. A Home key on the top right works like the one on the iPad.
You could also use the Logitech keyboard with an iPhone, if you so choose; iOS 4.3 supports keyboards, and we were able to use it on our iPhone 4 without a hitch. Music and volume controls worked, too. You could even rest your iPhone on the elevated stand. It's an odd pairing, but doable.
Logitech's keyboard is high-quality, too. We used it to write this review, in fact. It feels great, with every key being where it should. The direction-arrow keys also enable zipping through docs without reaching up to touch the screen when making line edits. That's the difference in our opinion between a keyboard case and a full keyboard like this one: writing on a full keyboard makes the experience feel nearly indistinguishable from sitting at a computer.
The fact that we wrote this whole review on it and never got tired is the best recommendation we can give. At $69, this keyboard's well worth the money, unless you prefer Apple's solution and don't mind forgoing the stand. Think carefully about that choice, though; a stand matters more than you think.