When the iPad first came out, some of the biggest questions were “how well does the keyboard work?” or “is typing on the screen fairly easy?” In fact, I still get asked that question repeatedly. My answer is usually short and sweet, “Great!” I always say, and that is normally because I’m deep in note taking or writing a blog post and simply can’t stop or slow down to provide a mini review of the iPad. There is not such thing as a mini iPad review anyway.
After about 2-3 weeks of typing notes and writing blog posts and emails on the iPad, I must say that I have gotten fairly quick at pecking away on the on-screen keyboard. It is a slightly odd experience because you simply do not get any type of tactile feedback when you type a key, or like when you use an iPhone, but you simply get used to it over time. My advice to new users of the iPad and iPhone is just start typing and let the iPad or iPhone auto correct for you and learn your words. After a while you can really type quite quickly.
However there are always those user who will complain about there being “no physical keyboard” or those who need to work on a lengthy piece of writing or those who have set up their iPad as a desktop replacement using an easel or monitor adapter and external monitor. (I’m still looking for the best way to position the iPad for writing longer article – some cases do a pretty good job and I will be reviewing those later.)
Luckily, Apple had the wisdom to allow the connection of Bluetooth keyboards to the iPad (and, with iOS4, the new iPhone operating system, to iPhones). When I and others heard that fact, there was much rejoicing. For writing purposes on the iPad, being able to use the full screen and not have half of it taken up by a large keyboard is much better and efficient.
So let’s cut to the chase here. There are obviously many different types of Bluetooth keyboards in the market. But, I was looking for something that was VERY lightweight, had a good form factor, was extremely portable, but was also comfortable to type on. I found the Microsoft Bluetooth Mobile Keyboard 6000 from Microsoft to match that criteria pretty much to the mark.
What is nice about this ultra-light keyboard is that while it is very thin, it does respond to key presses the way larger keyboards do (or laptops), springing back instantly to ensure you know that keys had been pushed. Also, it is almost a full sized keyboard, complete with a separate number pad that is Bluetooth enabled as well. I see this feature to be a plus for any number crunchers out there. You could potentially turn your iPad into an oversized calculator (using the appropriate app) and just the number pad. The number pad has its own carrying case to, so you can leave it protected in a bag if you don’t need it.
An obvious comparison that comes to mind is between this Microsoft keyboard and Apple’s Wireless Keyboard:
The Bluetooth Mobile Keyboard 6000 is ergonomically curved to better match a natural typing position. Typing is very comfortable as the keyboard size has a only slightly smaller form-factor compared to a standard keyboard. The keys are soft-touch without much sound when they are press, which for me is important as I can’t stand loud keyboards. The range is pretty good (but for obvious reasons, you will probably want to have it within 1-4 feet of your iPad or computer). Battery preservation is important as well (there is a physical on/off switch) and the keyboard and number pad are powered by standard AAA batteries.
Remember that the Bluetooth Mobile Keyboard 6000 is a standard Bluetooth keyboard which means that you can use with an iPad or iPhone (once iOS4 is available) as well as on any other device that has Bluetooth connectivity support for keyboards. There may be some function keys that are not supported on the device as this keyboard is primarily geared towards Windows users, but it is fully compatible with Macs and other devices.
The MSRP of the Bluetooth Mobile Keyboard 6000 is $89.95 and it currently retails on Amazon for $53.50 which puts it at a very competitive price compared to the Apple Wireless Keyboard (which is on Amazon for $67.99) . But remember, with the Microsoft keyboard, you also get a full number pad as well which is also wireless.
One way or another, having a small portable Bluetooth keyboard like the Microsoft Bluetooth Mobile Keyboard 6000 really can be a great asset to those people on the road who don’t want to lug around larger keyboard or computers. This keyboard paired with the iPad really make a great team!
Disclosure Text : I have a material connection because I received a gift or sample of a product for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was/am not expected to return this item or gift after my review period. More information can be found in my About page as well as here.
HTD says: Who says that Microsoft and Apple can’t get along! The iPad paired with the Microsoft Bluetooth Mobile Keyboard 6000 is a great technology match!