The market for Bluetooth wireless keyboards continues to explode since the release of Apple’s iPad tablet, leaving manufacturers scrambling to make the most portable keyboard without losing points in functionality. Luckily, both the iPhone and the iPad support Bluetooth wireless technology. And why do you need one at all?Well, let’s face it, the on-screen keyboard on the iPhone and iPad can frustrating for anything longer than a text message, especially if you’re a touch typist. With a portable keyboard you could efficiently send e-mails, write blog posts, type business reports… essentially turning your iPad into a laptop. So if what you need to get the most out of your iPhone or iPad is a portable keyboard , here’s our roundup of currently available portable keyboards that operate on the Bluetooth wireless platform and are iPhone/iPad compatible.
Here is our round-up of the best keyboards for the iPhone:
Apple Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard For iPhone
This wireless keyboard from Apple now comes standard with every new iMac, but is also available for purchase separately. Weighing in at just one pound, it’s ultra-thin, compact design would make for a great choice in a portable keyboard to slide into your bag. It takes up 24% less space than a standard keyboard yet the keys themselves are the same size. The Apple wireless keyboard has a similar feel to typing on a laptop. It does sit at a slight angle, but may not be right for those who prefer the more ergonomic type keyboards. Also lacking is a number pad, which frees up space and is not missed if you don’t normally use those keys, but if you use your number pad frequently, say for spreadsheets, then you may want to go with a different option. Since it is an Apple product, Mac users may feel more comfortable sticking with a keyboard that’s familiar. You’ll also need something to prop your iPhone or iPad such as a docking station or you could use a simple book stand. Though thin, the Apple keyboard is made from durable aluminum with crisp, responsive keys. It runs on two AA batteries and automatically conserves battery power when not in use. Just start typing to power it back up and use the on/off switch for longer periods without use. The Apple wireless keyboard has received a 5 star rating from 90 Amazon reviewers.
Sells for $69.00 on Amazon.
i-Go Stowaway Ultra-Slim Bluetooth Keyboard For iPhone
The i-Go Stowaway keyboard is the highest rated bluetooth keyboard which is compatible with iPhones and iPads. On Amazon, it got a rating of 4 out 5 starts from 365 customer reviews. This keyboard has full-size key spacing, but for storage it can be folded in half. The folded dimensions are 5.5 x 3.9 x 0.5 inches. Reviewers say that, unlike other folding bluetooth keyboards, the mechanism of the i-Go Stowaway works quite well. They also agree that the keyboard works reliably with an iPhone or iPad, and it turns off automatically when you fold it. So if you are looking for a truly portable bluetooth keyboard, this one should probably be your first choice.
The i-Go Stowaway keyboard sells for $199 on Amazon.
Jorno Bluetooth Keyboard For iPhone
The newest kid on the Bluetooth keyboard block is the portable Jorno Bluetooth Keyboard from Cervantes Mobile. Set to be released in early 2011, this keyboard seems to scream efficiency. It’s 15% smaller than a standard keyboard yet folds up to fit in your pocket at 3.5 x 3.5 and weighs 8.8 ounces. Unfolded, the keyboard sits rigidly on a desk or lap. It includes an adjustable, detachable cradle to hold your iPad or iPhone in portrait or landscape mode. A rechargeable lithium battery powers the unit with up to 1 month wireless use on a single charge. Includes a micro USB cable for charging as well as a low battery indicator and on/off switch.
The Jorno Bluetooth Keyboard is available for a special pre-order price of $79.00 here.
Matias Bluetooth Folding Keyboard For iPhone
The Matias Bluetooth Folding Keyboard offers the benefit of a full-sized keyboard that folds for portability. This keyboard contains all the needed keys for those who use everything on their keyboard: an enhanced number pad, full set of function keys, and the Mac-specific command keys. Folded, it will fit nicely into a small bag along with your iPad, though it does weigh a pound more than the Apple keyboard. With no locking mechanism, reviewers have noted that it works better on a flat surface as it tends it fold up on you when placed on your lap. It runs on 3 AAA batteries. Though a bit more pricey than the other options, it’s one of the only choices if you need a full size keyboard.
Sells on Amazon for around $85.00.
Microsoft Bluetooth Mobile Keyboard 6000
The Microsoft Bluetooth Mobile Keyboard 6000 is similar in size and compactness to the Apple. It offers the curved ergonomic design for those that prefer that style, but it lies flat unlike the Apple, which is slightly raised. However, this does make it slightly more portable enabling it to lie flat in your bag. What it has that the Apple doesn’t is a separate portable number pad that you can bring along or leave home. The layout is more familiar to PC users, with a Windows key in place of the Mac command keys. It runs on 3 AAA batteries with a low battery indicator and an on/off switch.
The Microsoft Bluetooth Mobile Keyboard 6000 is on sale for around $55 on Amazon.
On sale at Amazon for $29.99.
Kensington Apple iPad Bluetooth Keyboard and Case Accessory
This keyboard by Kensington has been certified by Apple for use with your iPad. Ultimately, it turns the iPad into a laptop, though actually using it on your lap is tricky since the iPad doesn’t connect to the keyboard. A simple lap desk could cure this problem. The iPad slides into the faux leather case to provide a 3-position portable stand and protection for travel. The iPad can sit in portrait or landscape position. The keys are rubberized which protects them from spills and keeps the screen from getting scratched when folded. Though it includes iPad specific keys, it should be noted that there is no right shift key, which could be the deal breaker for touch typists. The battery can last 90 hours on a single charge and includes a micro USB cable and port on the side as well as a LED battery gauge.
The Kensington Apple iPad Bluetooth Keyboard sells for $74.99 on Amazon.
ProMini Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard
The ProMini Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard gives you the ultimate in portability as a handheld device. Though not Mac-specific, this keyboard will enhance the typing power of your iPhone or iPad for sending texts, e-mails, short blog posts, or other small projects, but would begin to get tedious for any extensive typing. It features a touchpad that can be used with computers, but not your iOS device. It also features a laser pointer which would make a great tool for teachers or anyone needing to give a presentation. With LED back lighting, it can be used in dim lighting. The keyboard is powered by a lithium-ion rechargeable battery.
The ProMini Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard is sold on Amazon for $48.00.
iPazzPort Mini Portable Wireless Keyboard
This is the 3rd generation and newest version of the iPazzport portable keyboard. Though primarily designed for home theater use, it’s also compatible with iPad and iPhone as well as Playstation 3, Xbox, and Wiii. It’s been updated with quicker keys, a touchpad, and laser pointer. This hand held device features a Qwerty keyboard with full function keys, multi-media keys, and back lighting. The rechargeable lithium battery lasts up to 2 weeks on a charge and fully charges in 2 hours. Like the ProMini, it’s a good choice for lighter typing needs and would be easy to carry around with your iPhone.
The iPazzPort Mini Portable Wireless Keyboard sells for $35.99 on Amazon.