These days tablets are one of the best selling technological devices on the market. Tablet keyboards combine many of the advantages of a computer, without the inconvenience of the tiny screen size of mobile phones. They are ideal for professionals who often work away from the office, although they are also popular with people who simply use their tablet for fun.
People who are accustomed to typing often struggle getting accustomed to using to a tablet with a touch screen, and miss having a physical keyboard. This is especially true of professionals, academics and students who need to create and edit documents in Word or Excel formats. For these people, tablet keyboards are the ideal solution, being practical, portable and mobile.
- 1 Key Facts
- 2 Ranking: The best tablet keyboards on the US market
- 3 Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about tablet keyboards
- 3.1 What is a tablet keyboard?
- 3.2 How does a tablet keyboard work?
- 3.3 Why is a tablet keyboard useful?
- 3.4 What are the advantages and disadvantages of a tablet keyboard?
- 3.5 What do experts think about tablet keyboards?
- 3.6 Can I use any tablet keyboard with my device?
- 3.7 How are keyboard tablets powered?
- 3.8 How much do tablet keyboards cost?
- 4 Shopping Criteria
- 5 Summary
- Tablet keyboards are pieces of hardware that fulfill the same function as a keyboard used with a desktop computer or one that is integrated into a laptop.
- They are very popular with tablet users who use their device for office tasks or as a work tool.
- The compatibility of a particular keyboard is determined by the specifications of the tablet.
- One of the main advantages of a tablet keyboard is the compact size. They are usually lightweight and easy to transport along with your tablet.
Ranking: The best tablet keyboards on the US market
Now that we know what these devices are for and why they can be so useful, you will notice that there are some interesting options available on the market. Comparing some of the latest models that are available for sale, we can compare the differences of each one and the particular features they offer. It is important that you have an idea of the different models and all the functions they can perform, so that you are able to find the product that best suits your needs.
Best backlit tablet keyboard
This tablet keyboard definitely has the coolest design of any of the options on our list. The blue LED backlight has two adjustable brightness levels, and seven different color options (deep blue, soft blue, bright green, soft green, red, purple, cyan) making typing that much more enjoyable and the keyboard awesome to look at. The backlight will automatically turn off when idle, to conserve power for when it is needed most.
Best tablet keyboard with a case
This tablet keyboard comes with a detachable leather case and has a slim design. It is specially designed for business users who often travel. It is compatible with Bluetooth enabled tablets and smart phones, running iOS, Windows or Android. With the special stand, you can adjust your tablet to enjoy an easy and comfortable typing and viewing experience.
Best tablet keyboard for people with multiple devices
This keyboard allows you to simultaneously work with your phone and tablet, thanks to its unique design. It has a cradle that can accommodate both devices at the same time, and a switch allowing you to easily control up to three devices. This is the perfect keyboard to have in your office, allowing you to manage all your devices at once. It is also compact enough to take with you, whenever you step out to go to a meeting.
Best foldable tablet keyboard
This is a very practical device, that is easy to take with you thanks to its super compact foldable design. It has a touchpad, which is unfortunately not compatible with iOS devices, but great for Android or PC. Fast charging speed of only two hours for over 500 hours of standby time. Dual connection modes, using either Bluetooth or USB. Solid and durable build quality, made using aircraft-grade aluminium.
Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about tablet keyboards
Before buying a tablet keyboard you need to know about its features. Not all models are the same, and some offer extra functions not found in other models. You also need to be sure you are buying a keyboard that is compatible with your tablet. In this section we answer the most frequently asked questions about tablet keyboards, so that you have all the information you need to know before making your purchase.
What is a tablet keyboard?
A tablet keyboard is a peripheral device, which means that it is not integrated into the physical structure of the tablet. Just like a conventional keyboard, it uses alphanumeric keys, as well as others with specific associated functions. It allows remote typing and lets you compose or edit texts on a tablet.
How does a tablet keyboard work?
Tablet keyboards most often use a wireless connection. This means that they do not need to be connected using a USB cable, as was the case with early models. Most commonly, the wireless connection is established using Bluetooth technology, which is a great option that will connect the keyboard quickly to the tablet. These days the latest models incorporate Bluetooth 3.0.
Why is a tablet keyboard useful?
Tablets have lots of big advantages over desktop and laptop computers, but they also have a few disadvantages. They are an option that is positioned somewhere between a computer and a mobile phone. Without the additional use of a physical keyboard, many of the extra features tablets offer are somewhat limited.
Connecting an external keyboard to your tablet makes it a much more useful work tool. It will allow you to create and edit Word documents, or even make writing a long email a simple process, whereas using the touchscreen can be a nightmare. We can save lots of time and type more accurately if we have a physical keyboard. Even if you just use your tablet at home, having a peripheral keyboard will make your device easier to use and allow you to access more functions.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of a tablet keyboard?
When deciding whether you should purchase a tablet keyboard, one of the first steps is to objectively assess all of the advantages and disadvantages that these devices offer. What extra functions will it offer? Will it improve the performance of your tablet? Will you be able to take advantage of it? Is it worth the necessary investment? In the following list, we weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of these gadgets:
What do experts think about tablet keyboards?
It is always a good idea to listen to the experts when considering purchasing a new tech gadget. Joanna Stern is an technology journalist who writes for the Wall Street Journal. She has extensively studied the benefits of tablet keyboards, and recommends them to anyone who often needs to type out long emails or compose or edit documents. A tablet keyboard is the perfect solution for anyone who has an issue when trying to type using a glass touchscreen.
Can I use any tablet keyboard with my device?
The simple answer to this question is no. However, these days there a many universal keyboards for tablets, that are compatible with any operating system, available on the market. But this is still the exception, not the rule. When comparing different models, you need to be careful about comparability. For example, many tablet keyboards are not compatible with iOS, while others will only work with Apple devices.
Most tablet keyboards will work with Android operating systems, especially the cheapest products on the market. The market share occupied by keyboards for Windows devices has also grown in recent years, due to the release of some interesting models. The general rule is that most keyboards will be compatible with Android/Windows, but may or may not be able to work with iOS.
How are keyboard tablets powered?
Tablet keyboards are powered using several different methods. Older models may need a cable connection to a power source (such as the tablet for example) or use an internal rechargeable lithium battery, or disposable AA or AAA batteries.
The latest and most advanced tablet keyboards on the market today work using an integrated lithium battery. These offer a much longer operating time (up to 100 hours of use in some cases) and an ultra-fast charge. An integrated lithium battery will eliminate the hassle of having to constantly replace the batteries, are more environmentally friendly, and do not require the additional expense of always purchasing new AA or AAA batteries.
How much do tablet keyboards cost?
The best thing about these products is that they are relatively cheap, so as long as you don’t opt for one of the more high-end devices available on the market. There are many affordable options these days, so the financial outlay need not be as big as you might have thought.
From a starting price around of around $15 up to about $30, you can purchase any of the more standard models which all have very similar technical specifications and physical design. If you opt for a popular brand, you can expect to pay over $100. Some of these models are manufactured for use with a specific brand or model of tablet, so don’t buy an Apple keyboard if you have an Android tablet for example.
There are a few criteria that you should consider before deciding which tablet keyboard is best for you. Although most tablet keyboards may seem very similar, you should check the following features of a device to help ensure you make the right choice.
- Size and weight
- Ergonomics and convenience
- Combing your tablet with a keyboard
- Design and style
Size and weight
Keep in mind that as the keyboard will occupy an additional amount space in your backpack, travel bag or briefcase if you travel frequently, or on your desk if you will be using the tablet in your office. The measurements and weight of the keyboard are important factors to consider when making your purchase.
Most products are of a fairly standard size and weight. If you are looking for something as compact and lightweight as possible, you should have a look at the foldable and ultra-thin models, because you will hardly notice any additional weight in your bag.
An ultra-thin, ultra-fast and ultra-modern keyboard with all the latest features will be useless, if it doesn’t work with your tablet. This means that you need to know the operating system of your tablet. This may seem obvious, but you also need to consider that the version of your operating system (as well as any updates) may also be a factor.
Most people have an Android, Windows or iOS (Apple) tablet. You should either buy a keyboard that is specifically compatible with your operating system, or opt for a universal model. The advantage of a universal keyboard is that you will not need to replace it, if you upgrade to a new tablet.
Not all products have the same technical specifications or offer the same features. Depending on how you plan to use your new tablet keyboard, you will prioritize certain features over others and look for either more simplicity or more functionality. Some keyboards only offer us the most basic alphanumeric keys, but others have lots of hotkeys and shortcuts.
If we are only going to use the tablet keyboard to create and edit documents and emails, an alphanumeric keyboard is enough. However, if you are planning on navigating around the screen and using some of the more advanced features of your tablet, you may be interested in a keyboard which can execute more complicated or repetitive tasks with a hotkey or a combination of keys.
Ergonomics and convenience
When using electronic gadgets, user comfort is always an important aspect. Just as we take care of our posture in front of a computer to avoid back and neck pain, you should choose a keyboard that is comfortable to use for extended periods.
The main characteristics to consider are the physical design, the space between the keys, the sensitivity of the keys and if the device has some support for resting your wrists while you type. All these factors will affect our muscles and joints after frequent and prolonged use.
Combining your tablet with a keyboard
Although a tablet keyboard is a peripheral device, it must be integrated with a tablet to be used. Just as we try to match a tie with a suit, or our socks with our shoes, we should try to do the same when combing these two elements together.
The color, the size and the ease that you can transport the keyboard in the same bag or briefcase as your tablet, are some of the factors to take into account. If we are going to use our keyboard together with the tablet away from home on public transport, libraries or shared offices for example – this may be something that is important to you.
Design and style
When considering the design of the keyboard itself, there are lots of very different options in terms of the style you can go for. You may prefer a classic keyboard, with traditional black and white colored keys. Or you could make a bolder choice and find a model that has bright colors or patterns.
Backlit tablet keyboards are a very interesting option. Not only because they look very cool, especially if you choose a model that has unique colors, but also because they will help you work in dark environments where there is poor lighting.
There is a wide-range of different products available on the market, so the best tablet keyboard for you will depend on how you plan to use it and your specific needs. Think about whether you want something you can take with you when you are away from home, or if will remain on your desk. Of course, always make sure the device you are buying is compatible with your tablet.
We hope that you have found this guide useful, and it has helped make your decision about which tablet keyboard to buy much easier. Please be sure to leave us a comment and share the article with anyone you think may want to learn more about these amazing gadgets.
(Source of featured image: Pavalanski : 46507885/ 123rf.com)