One of my favorite gadgets of not only this year, but also all time is the iPad. The hardware is elegant and the technology is amazing and cutting edge. There are some limitations or concessions that must be made using the iPad instead of a conventional computer. One of the main changes is the use of the software keyboard. We have all learned to use software keyboards and I actually prefer them on a phone. The iPad is somewhat different since it is able to be used for tasks commonly performed on a laptop or desktop computer. Several options are available to connect a keyboard to the iPad when heavy typing is needed. The folks over at EFO Gadget Shop were kind enough to send me their new iPad Bluetooth Keyboard with folding leather case. This entire review is being typed on the keyboard on my iPad. Let’s take a look.
The Bluetooth Keyboard is combined with a folding leather case keeping the entire unit in one attractive package. The case is made of black leather and is of high quality. All of the seams are sewn perfectly and the cuts seem to be exact. A pocket for the iPad holds it safe and snug. When the iPad slides in, a flap flips over the iPad and tucks behind it to hold it in place. The iPad slides in easily, but is held tightly in the pocket. I was quite impressed how well the iPad fits as well as how tight and secure the flap holds it in place. When the case is closed, a flap holds it shut with a magnet. A small amount of thickness is added at 1 12″ but remember, that includes the Bluetooth keyboard. The case part of this unit is of high quality and gives users great protection for their iPads. In fact, the iPad fits better in this case than several I have that were considerably more expensive and without keyboards.
Once the iPad is installed, it needs to sync with the keyboard. Simply turn on the keyboard and click the connect button found on the top right of the keyboard. I also opened my Bluetooth settings and tapped on the device. Instructions will appear on the screen to type in a password then press enter on the keyboard. Once this is complete, the two devices will be automatically synced each time the keyboards is turned on. It literally took seconds to pair the devices once the initial setup is finished.
Now that the iPad is installed and the keyboard is paired, it is time to type away! The keyboard is a full QWERTY arrangement with full capabilities, but you will have to become familiar with a where some of the keys are placed. It literally took minutes for me to be typing away at full speed once I got used to the smaller size and the key placements. I have been typing at near the speed I do on my MacBook Pro. They keyboard is made of silicone and is soft, has grip for fingers and near silent. Even with these features, just the right amount of feedback from the keys keeps typing comfortable.
All of the usual keyboard functions are found with this product. To fit in the tighter space, a few of the keys are moved to alternate positions. For instance, there is only one shift key found on the left side. It took a little practice, but using only one shift key is not very difficult. The only trouble I found was typing a capital A, Z or Q. The top right key that looks like a square acts as a home key. I found this to be extremely handy. F10-F12 will adjust the volume of the iPad and mute. F7-F9 works to play and change tracks with music apps. The keys did work with third party apps such as Pandora also. F6 is brings up the iPad search screen and F5 brings up the software keyboard. I did not find any actions that could not be found on the keyboard.
If you are a user who types a lot and would like to use your iPad more without having to use the software keyboard, EFO’s Bluetooth Keyboard with Case should be a perfect solution. Having the unit paired with the case, carrying the iPad and keyboard is convenient and easy. New users will have to note a small learning curve in typing on a slightly smaller keyboard with some of the normal keys in alternate positions. It literally took me minutes to adjust to the size and layout. I plan on using my iPad much more and leaving it in the case so I can type at anytime. This product is by far much cheaper than similar solutions and I would call the quality excellent. Check out more details or order your own here at the EFO website.
What I like: Amazing quality for the price. Turns my iPad into a stronger work machine.
What could be improved: I wish they could have fit two shift keys.