Saturday, September 23, 2023

Best iPad Keyboard 2021: Turn Your iPad into a Laptop

Must read


As brilliant as the iPad can be in many ways, it’s hard to say that a giant touchscreen keyboard is anything beyond simply functional. It almost doesn’t matter how much you use your iPad, building muscle memory for a keyboard that offers no real tactile experience is all but impossible, and that makes the iPad on its own hard to use for anything that requires any significant amount of typing. That’s why an iPad keyboard is going to be a must-have accessory for many, particularly if the iPad is meant to replace a laptop.Some iPad cases perform double duty by serving both to protect the iPad and integrating a keyboard that’ll go everywhere your iPad goes. And, you can even pair some of the best keyboards with your iPad. But, if you don’t want to go the case route and want a keyboard that puts an emphasis on portability, you’ll be looking for something a bit more specific.

We’ve rounded up some sleek keyboards that will make for a big improvement over your iPad’s touchscreen keyboard, and unlike integrated case keyboards, many will also function with a wide variety of other devices, like your iPhone or gadgets running different operating systems. Have a look at our top picks and stay tuned to the end for details on what you should ensure your getting from an iPad keyboard.

TL;DR – These are the Best iPad Keyboards:

1. Logitech K380

Best iPad Keyboard

You don’t have to look too far into Logitech’s portfolio of products to find a great keyboard for just about any setup, and that’s the case for the iPad as well. Logitech’s K380 is an excellent, portable companion to your iPad. It’s fairly light at 14.9 ounces (though not the lightest), and doesn’t cramp together its keys too tight or skimp on useful keys. It’s worth noting that Logitech uses rounded keys here, giving it a distinct aesthetic but a feel that might not be for everyone.

You get the controls you need for Windows, Mac, and mobile devices, and the Logitech K380 can quickly switch between three connected devices using its clearly labeled shortcut keys. Another big part of what makes this keyboard a great portability companion is its battery. With up to 2 years of battery life available from a pair of AAA batteries, this keyboard might last as long as your iPad upgrade cycle.

2. Sparin Bluetooth Keyboard

Best Budget iPad Keyboard

commerce artwork

Sparin Bluetooth Keyboard

On Amazon

You’re unlikely to find a keyboard priced more inexpensively than the Sparin Bluetooth Keyboard. Though keep in mind that when you’re spending less than two Hamiltons, you’re not going to get a ton of functionality. What won’t you find here? LED backlighting, the ability to quickly switch among multiple devices, a rechargeable battery, or even a super rugged design.

Even so, this keyboard can get the job done. It’s close to full size, so the keys are spaced comfortably. The white finish is reminiscent of Apple’s aesthetic, so it’ll look like it fits in with your iPad. And you’ll get about a month of use out of the keyboard before needing to swap out the pair of AAA batteries.

But keep in mind that it has limited compatibility. Don’t expect to use the Sparin keyboard with a Windows PC or MacBook Pro, and there are other incompatibilities as well, such as there’s no Escape key if you insist on trying to use it with a MacBook. But you can use the Sparin Bluetooth Keyboard on any iPad or iPhone, and if that’s all you need from a keyboard, then this sub-$20 keyboard can get the job done.

3. Arteck HB030B Keyboard

Best Backlit iPad Keyboard

commerce artwork

The Arteck HB030B is one of the more eye-catching keyboards made for the iPad. It’s got a strong LED backlight that can be switched among any of seven different colors and varying levels of brightness. And the color isn’t just for aesthetics; you can easily use this keyboard in a dark room.

Power comes from an integrated rechargeable battery. You get about 10 days of runtime on a charge, and the battery can be fully recharged in about two hours. If you don’t use it often, the battery should hold a charge between work sessions – it will run for up to six months if with two hours of daily use. And while the keyboard does have a power switch, it will automatically go to sleep when inactive.

This somewhat-compact keyboard is highly portable and small enough to slip in whatever carrying case you have for your iPad. But in addition to using it with your iPad, you should be able to connect this travel keyboard to any of your Android phones or a Windows PC; there are a set of keyboard shortcuts that let you switch among them.

4. iClever BK03

Best Folding iPad Keyboard

commerce artwork

There was a time, when mobile devices were newer, that unusual portable keyboard designs like the iClever BK03 were much more common. Keyboards folded, collapsed, and rolled up. Some would strap to your wrist like a sci-fi gadget. There was even a line of laser projector keyboards that displayed a keyboard on the tabletop. These days, most of those exotic keyboards are extinct and we need to get by with the iClever BK03.

This device is interesting because it folds up for travel to something resembling a deck of cards (5.75 by 3.5 by 0.75 inches), but then unfurls to 10 by 3.5 by 0.3 inches. Unlike most of the other keyboards you’re going to find for the iPad which are made mostly of plastic, this model is made almost entirely of aluminum. That shows in the weight – 6.3 ounces – but also in aesthetics, ruggedness and durability.

Open it up and it powers on automatically, and it goes to sleep automatically after 15 minutes of inactivity to conserve battery life. It’s equipped with a rechargeable battery that iClever claims runs for over 80 hours of continuous use and can hold a charge while asleep for over 200 days. And while compatibility is limited, it can connect to iOS, Android, and PCs, and you can switch among three paired devices with a keyboard shortcut.

In actual use, it has one Achilles Heel – since the unfolded keyboard doesn’t lock rigidly in place, you can only really use it on a hard surface like a desktop. Most one-piece keyboards will work perfectly fine on a mushy bed or even in your laptop, but not the iClever BK03.

5. Omoton Ultra-Slim Bluetooth Keyboard

Best Desktop iPad Keyboard

commerce artwork

Omoton Ultra-Slim Bluetooth Keyboard

On Amazon

Another low cost keyboard, this model from Omoton does everything you need a keyboard to do – as long as your needs are limited to typing on your iPad. That said, it also has limited compatibility with other devices as well. While Omoton doesn’t certify that it’ll work with Windows, it actually does connect to Windows-based PCs just fine. Don’t count on compatibility with Macs, though.

You get a full-size keyboard in the Omoton that feels comfortable on a desktop, and yet is still thin enough to pack easily in a travel bag. It sits at an ergonomic angle, as well, which is good on your wrists. That angle comes from the fact that the bottom holds a pair of AAA batteries which give you about a month or so typing between battery changes.

And despite the very affordable pricing, the keyboard looks pretty snazzy as well, mimicking the standard Apple white aesthetics. It may scratch and scuff easily, through, so you’ll want to be careful with how you pack and care for the keyboard.

6. iClever BK06

Best Ergonomic iPad Keyboard

commerce artwork

iClever BK06 Bluetooth Keyboard

On Amazon

If you suffer from repetitive stress injury (RSI) or just prefer the feel of an ergonomic keyboard, you’re generally out of luck when it comes to portable keyboards for the iPad — most keyboards are as straight as a ruler. The iClever BK06 is a split keyboard with an angled ergonomic layout, though – which might be perfect for your needs.

The BK06 divides the keyboard more or less in half, with 1-6 and Q-T on one side, and 7-Delete and Y- on the other. If you’re not already a split keyboard user, it will definitely take some practice to get used to; you’ll need to retrain some of your fingers to know where to find certain keys. But once you hone your muscle memory, you might love the more comfortable angle.

It’s not just an ergo keyboard; it also folds for travel, sort of like the BK03, also from iClever. But while the BK03 is all aluminum with mechanical hinges, the BK06 is a rubberized affair with a flexible membrane serving as a floppy hinge. It’s not as elegant, but it’s essentially unbreakable. It goes from 12.9 x 4.0 x.23 inches when unfurled for business to 6.2 x 4.0 x .5 inches when folded for travel. The keyboard also includes a rechargeable battery, and can run for about 40 continuous hours, or 30 days of standby.

And the keyboard is compatible not just with the iPad, but all iOS devices as well as Windows computers. You can connect to up to three devices at once and switch quickly among them with a keyboard shortcut.

7. Logitech Slim Folio

Best iPad Keyboard Cover

commerce artwork

Logitech Slim Folio

On Amazon

If you’ve got an iPad and want to turn it into an effective laptop, you’ll want a keyboard cover, and Logitech has the best option. The Logitech Slim Folio is a case for your iPad that includes a proper keyboard for all your typing needs. The keyboard pairs with the iPad wirelessly over Bluetooth LE, which allows it to sip energy from two coin cell batteries for up to four years, assuming two hours of typing each day.

The Logitech Slim Folio makes it easier to use your iPad in general by serving as a stand to prop it up for better viewing angles. There’s also a sleeve for holding a stylus like the Apple Pencil. And, Logitech even included a row of iOS shortcut keys to make various actions on the iPad easier, like changing the screen brightness or controlling media playback. We’ve linked out to the Logitech Slim Folio for the 7th- and 8th-gen iPad, but you can also find a model for the earlier 5th- and 6th-gen as well as the 3rd-gen iPad Air.

What to Look for in an iPad Keyboard

When Steve Jobs introduced the original iPhone, he envisioned a radical device that had neither a keyboard nor a swipe zone for entering text via Graffiti-like gestures. Instead, the iPhone relied entirely on a touch screen for input, and a virtual on-screen keyboard when typing was needed. The iPad inherited that design philosophy, and it works well enough for limited amounts of text entry. But if you have enough typing to warrant getting a standalone keyboard, you need to make sure it’s one that’s convenient and comfortable.

Start with size. Many iPad keyboards are well-short of a full-size desktop keyboard, which means the key spacing will be tighter. Can you type on it without introducing lots of typos? Also consider how it’ll pack for travel. Some fold up and can literally fit in a pocket; others need to be slid into the same backpack or bag as the iPad itself. Whatever you choose, make sure it fits in with your lifestyle.

Since you’ll spend your time pounding on the keys, it’s important that you like how they feel. That’s generally determined by the kind of switch under the keycap. Mechanical switches generally are not an option in a portable keyboard, but you may be able to choose between membrane and scissor-style switches. Scissor switches usually have a much shorter travel than membrane-based keys, which means the keyboard can have a lower profile for portability; they’re also quieter and require little force to depress. The good news? Virtually all iPad keyboards rely on short-throw scissor switches.

All iPad keyboards are Bluetooth devices, but some can pair with as many as three devices and you can fast-switch among them with just a key press. If the keyboard is somewhat universal or multi-platform – able to work with your phone, tablet, and PC, that extra convenience might be important.

And don’t forget about the battery. Standalone keyboards can’t draw power from the iPad itself, so they’re going to rely on batteries — either built-in rechargeable battery, or disposables that you’ll need to swap out occasionally.

More Expert Tech Roundups

Dave Johnson has been writing about gaming and tech since the days of the Palm Pilot. See him shout into the Twitter void @davejoh


- Advertisement -spot_img

More articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -spot_img

Latest article