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~An easy to use iPad keyboard and dock~
The Apple iPad being the wondrous thing of beauty that it is, makes surfing the net and downloading the latest must have apps anywhere around the home or office a very real option for those who previously may have been put off buying a high priced Apple laptop or desktop computer. As a fan of Apple computer products I decided that when I bought my iPad I wanted to be able to use it not only as a super duper portable touch pad (which is great fun), but also as a mini desk top style computer that could be used along with a nice soft touch Apple keyboard. Having looked at the Apple store I found this iPad keyboard which came complete with an easy to use dock that allows me to simply slot my iPad in place and then type away using the lovely little Apple keyboard, which makes typing large amounts of text so much easier than when using the on screen keyboard on the iPad.
~Price, options, packing~
At a price of £56 right now you can purchase the same model that I have which comes in a variety of language options including British, International English, Dutch, Spanish, French, German and Italian. I feel this allows for a wide range of iPad users to be able to use one of these keyboards alongside their iPad to maximize its range of abilities. The keyboard and built in dock come well packed and presented in a sturdy well formed box that can be used to store the item in when not in use if you don't want it out on show, or sat about collecting dust when not in use which is what I have used it for.
The item comes as a one piece product that has the low profile keyboard at the front and the slightly raised docking section at the back, with it feeling strong and well made as well as looking rather stylish. The dock has the usual iPad compatible connector which makes it easy to get used to using. The dock connects using a standard Apple connector which is reasonably sturdy and strong but should be used with care. I really like the way that iPads, iPhones and iPods share this same connector type as it means that many of the chargers and complimentary Apple products can be used alongside each item, as this means you need less cables and connecters hanging around the home or office.
~Using the product~
The combined dock and keyboard enable you to charge an iPad with ease once it is set in place and the full sized soft touch Apple keyboard comes with a number of keys that activate certain iPad features. You can also use the product with Apple products such as the iPad camera connector kit which can be a useful feature. There is an audio jack which lets you connect up to your home stereo or set of speakers if wanted, although you may have to buy a separate audio cable if you don't already have one. I have found that you can also sync your iPad to your Apple computer using this if wanted.
One of the uses I have found helpful is being able to sit the keyboard dock and iPad on a table or desk to watch videos through, which is perfect for times when you don't need or want to watch these on a larger desk top computer or tv. Sound and pictures seem as good as they are when using the iPad in portable mode as far as I am concerned. You can also set the two items up together and watch slideshows of your favorite snap shots if wanted using this product, as the viewing angle when the iPad is set in to the dock is quite easy to look at.
The main use of the product is of course as a keyboard to type on rather than as a simple charging base or viewing stand. This makes your iPad in to an instant mini Apple desktop which can be used for writing documents with which I feel is very helpful. Of course you will need compatible software to be able to make full use of all of the range of uses if writing documents, however costs for the main software products are fairly low in my opinion. When you have an iPad in situ in the dock the whole set up feels safe and secure which I am pleased about and I am able to move the two items once connected up as one if I need to move them around. The base of the keyboard is weighted towards the back so as to have enough weight behind it to ensure that the iPad won't topple over and cause the whole thing to tip when in use which I feel gives a good degree of safety and stability.
The keyboard itself is made from the usual sleek and smooth Apple finishes such as the anodized aluminium that I have come to expect, with the soft touch low profile keys being just as easy as ever to use. The keyboard layout is almost the same as a standard Apple keyboard apart from the addition of the top row of function keys which can be used for a number of shortcuts if wanted which can be rather useful. One thing that I feel has been over looked with this product is the fact that there is not a built in track pad. I do feel that Apple missed a trick here as so many times I have forgotten that I am not on an Apple laptop and gone to use the track pad only to swiftly realize that there isn't one to hand.
Having used this item I feel that at the very least, a compatible iPad mini mouse would be something that could enhance the versatility of the product, as it really would improve the ease of use of both iPad and keyboard dock in my opinion. Other than that I feel this is a good product that can enhance the way you use your iPad which is why I am going to give it a 4 star product rating. Price wise this isn't the cheapest keyboard in the world that you can buy, but as this is an Apple product I did expect it to carry a premium price tag to match its stylish good looks and slinky finish. The price is still a little high though which is why the product lost 1 star. The product is worth consideration if you intend to write regular text documents using your iPad.
When I first received my iPad I was unsure what to make of it to be perfectly honest with you, and I wasn't quite sure what to use it for. It was this exploration into it's uses that led me to this product, the iPad keyboard dock. This is essentially a regular apple charging dock only it has a keyboard attached to it, which allows you to use your iPad more like a laptop than a tablet.
In general I have found this dock to be a bit hit and miss, and most of that is down to it's general design. The main problem with this is that when typing, I find that the general best layoutnis landscape, as you see the page in bigger, clearer font. However the design of this does not allow you to view your iPad in landscape as it attaches via the apple port at the bottom of the device and cannot rotate in anyway. I find this to be a real pain as I have to constantly zoom in (as I don't have the best eyesight in the world) and then consequently scroll across the page as I go.
Another problem I find with this is that it does not seem to fit in with the general feel of how the iPad is supposed to be used. Since day one I have always used my iPad when lying on bed or when sitting on the sofa or even in the backseat of the car, as this is just how it feels the product has been designed to be used. However this product does not feel like it is designed to work like that, needing a table or some kind of surface to sit it on in order to use it properly, as it is a bit clumsy and top heavy for lap use and it's difficult to see both keyboard and screen without it being on a table.
I also feel that it makes the iPad a lot less portable than it has been marketed as being, as to fully take advantage of the dock on this product you need to be near a plug socket and it's just another thing to fit in you bag on the way to work or school etc.
I mean don't get me wrong, in the right environment is thing is a pleasure to use. The dock works perfectly and charges your device while in use and the keyboard is very well made. Each key is light to the touch and it's very easy to type on. The special addition of 'hot key's is also a very good feature, allowing you to assign certain functions or apps to certain keys. Once you get the hang of that it really is very useful, especially if you work quickly on your iPad like me.
But despite all of those good features I just feel like this product has not been thought through very well and I feel it greatly limits the potential of the iPad. And more to the point, what's the point of having an amazing, futuristic touch screen keyboard if you are just going to stick on ordinary keyboard on instead and use that? I havn't used mine for months and to be honest I don't expect I will use it again, it simply doesn't suit my relationship with my device.
One of the items I first bought with my ipad was this keyboard/charger. I intended my ipad to possibly fully replace my laptop and some of the activities I do on here require a lot of typing so I really needed a keyboard. I paid £79.99 for this at the time and although I consider that pricey it has been worth it.
Basically this is a flat white keyboard on which you rest you ipad via a connector turning the whole system into something akin to a normal laptop. The whole device is solid, well made and strong and you have no fears of it falling over of the ipad being top heavy. As with everything apple to its solid. Obviously you cant carry it round like a normal laptop but typing on your lap or a desk is secure.
The keyboard also acts as a charger which is handy as you can be working or having fun as it charges. It is a fast charging until and seems to charge the ipad faster than the usual device. A bonus!
The keyboard is the main reason I bought it though and it works a treat with soft keys and its a joy to type on as well as looking super stylish. Also there are keys on the system that mean you can access features on your ipad with one touch and you can also assign keys to specific programmes which is time saving and useful once you master it and have it set up the way you want it.
All in all this is a superb device for anyone who intends to do typing on an ipad or wishes to use it as a more laptop like device. It is costly but worth the money!
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