iPad Keyboard Case: Tablet to “Netbook”

I find myself doing much more work on my iPad. It’s lightweight, extremely portable, and simply fun to use.  I decided to buy a keyboard case because I do extended writing with iPad these days. Though I have become adept at using the onscreen keyboard, I simply couldn’t type as fast as with a physical keyboard. I tried using an aluminum Apple bluetooth keyboard, but that was unwieldy when transporting. A keyboard case seemed to be a solution.

After spending quite a bit of time investigating, I settled on one sold by ThinkGeek. The iPad slips easily into the cover, much easier than my Apple case. It sits are a reasonable angle when used at a desk. The cover folds back so you can hold the iPad like you would without the keyboard, though it is a bit thick and prolonged use may not be comfortable. The case and iPad weighs in at 2.75 lbs. USB charger is included. The Bluetooth keyboard case also fits nicely into my  STM Scout XS iPad bag. It has a “spill proof” silicone cover over the chicklet style keys (Thankfully so as I write this while eating egg drop soup and spring rolls!) It has several specialized keys for controlling the iPad. The home key works like that on the iPad, click once to return to the home page, or double click to switch to open the multitasking bar. Though Apple has done a fine job with touch-based copy and paste, it’s nice to have the familiar keyboard shortcuts to handle these operations. Arrow keys make it easy to move through text.  Keys to control the iPod are a nice addition.


If you’re looking for the stability of a laptop, you’re looking at the wrong solution. It’s a bit unstable sitting in your lap while typing, but not terribly so.  The angle at which the screen sits is a bit to vertical for me when on my lap, but fine at a desk. And the closing flap is a bit uncomfortable when typing in your lap.  The only major downside is the awful fumes that the case is off-gassing out of the box. The smell is dissipating after 24 hours of “airing”.

Some will think it blasphemous to add a keyboard to a touch device. But for me, it’s made my writing time much more productive. The iPad easily slips out of the case to convert back to tablet form factor. Having become interested in a minimalist approach to life and work, the iPad and keyboard case  are perfect fit.

About Michael Ritter PhD
Professor of Geography at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, science textbook author, educational technology blogger, podcaster, and freelance media consultant.

3 Responses to iPad Keyboard Case: Tablet to “Netbook”

  1. andrewshears says:

    I actually saw this keyboard/case in Wired, and it’s really begun sparking my interest in the device. How is it for downloading / reading / taking notes on academic journal articles? For a while I had a Kindle DX that I purchased for that purpose and it was a miserable tool for it.

  2. The thing about using a keyboard case is that you are still using touch to interact with the iPad for several operations. So for downloading, you are still navigating and initiating downloads, by in large, with touch in Safari. Once you bring down a article, say in pdf format, you can open it in an app like GoodReader. Once in GoodReader, I find typing notes much easier with the physical keyboard. The other advantage of the physical keyboard is that you have more screen real estate to view.

  3. Pingback: ZAGGfolio for iPad 3 Review | The Digital Professor

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