When the iPad first came out, Apple released a tablet version of their wireless Bluetooth that came with a dedicated dock. We thought it was a pretty useless accessory. Ten months later, we still are of the same mind. A keyboard with a dedicated dock for the iPad is just a waste of money. However, having written a few RainyDay articles using the iPad with the virtual keyboard, we are willing to concede that a physical keyboard could be a useful accessory for some situations. After receiving a bunch of emails from readers asking for recommendations, we realized we are not the only ones. There are many physical keyboard options for the iPad and we have looked at a few (Stowaway, Azio) already. So, after some discussion, we have decided it was time for another Best-Of-Breed (BOB) series. Today is a preview.
The iPad is all about portability. The problem with a separate keyboard is that they are not convenient to take along. For readers who are seriously considering a keyboard for their iPad, a case with an integrated keyboard makes the most sense. After looking at all of the ones available at the end of 2010, we settled on three case/keyboard units, Sena, ZaggMate, and ThinkGeek.
The Sena unit is very similar to the regular Sena leather folio, but with a Bluetooth keyboard built into the cover. The ZaggMate keyboard is different in that it is a cover, stand, and keyboard all in one. The black leather folio unit from ThinkGeek is similar to the keyboard on the Sena, but the case is very different. We’ll compare the features, build quality, and feel of all of the units in more detail in the Best-Of-Breed review. We’ll also have a lot more photos so you can get a complete look at all of the cases. Most important of all, we will have used them each for a month and you will get our impressions of how they performed InTheWild.
There are new cases coming onto the market all the time. We would love to know about them. If there are ones you feel should be part of this Best-Of-Breed series, let the interns know and they’ll take a look. We will add them to the BOB review if they have something unique to add to the mix. The Best-Of-Breed series will be published in the iPad issue of RainyDayMagazine in the Spring. Look for the issue in the App Store in April.