Mini Review and Pros & Cons of Various BT Input Devices
For my desktop text input I've chosen the BTKey by Macally. Overall, this is a fantastic keyboard that is a pleasure to type on.
For me, the decision was not so much 'iPad onscreen keyboard vs Bluetooth' as it was "Which bluetooth keyboard I am going to get?"
I imagine many of you have a similar situation. Initially, I narrowed the list down to:
1. Apple Bluetooth Keyboard Dock
2. Apple Bluetooth Keyboard (+/- stand)
3. Foldable universal keyboard like the one Dieter reviewed on TiPb
4. Third party iPad-compatible Bluetooth keyboard
Ultimately, I went with option 4 and chose the BTKey.
To give you a better idea, let's just run through those four options and compare and contrast briefly.
Options 1 and 2: Apple Bluetooth Keyboard Dock and Standalone BT Keyboard
This is a compelling option for many because of its sleek profile and ability to simultaneously charge your device while keeping it upright. Not to mention it's the official Apple option.
I ultimately decided against this, though, because of its price and positional inflexibility. I use my iPad primarily in the landscape position and prefer to get my real typing (such as this review right now in Pages) done that way.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, at $70, this is a full $24 more expensive than the BTKey.
Pros: Gold standard for Apple purists, charge/sync functionality (dock), sleek industrial design, high angle of elevation (dock)
Cons: $70, locked in portrait mode (dock)
Option 3: Freedom Universal Foldable BT
First of all, thanks to Dieter for providing that informative writeup and video on the Freedom Universal.
This was really attractive to me primarily because of its quite literal universal compatibility. The fact that you could literally switch between HID and whatever that other mode was -- now that's fantastic.
However again the price ($100) prevented me from what was almost an inevitable purchase from the get go.
Freedom Universal Foldable -- Pros and Cons
Pros: Gold standard for compatibility, unsurpassed portability, satisfying tactile feedback
Option 4: Third party iPad-compatible Bluetooth Keyboard
Macally has a good reputation for providing high-quality, affordable input devices and general peripherals for the Mac. And with the BTKey, their high attention to detail and compatibility upholds that reputation.
The typing experience is fantastic, with low-noise, low-profile, yet highly tactile keys that provide a satisfying punch with each keystroke. It definitely beats the sensation of typing on the low-profile, gentle, moderately tactile keys of the Apple Aluminum Keyboard.
And at a price of $46 on Amazon, it's a highly compelling option for budget-minded iPad enthusiasts.
Macally Pros and Cons
Pros: $46, satisfying tactile feedback, high compatibility and quality
Cons: Average looking appearance, initial pairing was somewhat jittery, low portability
Richmond, Virginia, United States
Unibody MBP 15" 2.4 C2D, 10.6
iPhone 3GS 16GB, 3.1.2JB
iPad WiFi 16GB
Current games: Plants vs Zombies HD, NOVA HD, Pinball HD, Labyrinth 2 HD