Product Type: Apple keyboards
Newest Review: ... The dock has the usual iPad compatible connector which makes it easy to get used to using. The dock connects using a standard Apple con... more
A useful keyboard dock for your iPad
Apple iPad Keyboard Dock
Member Name: SoadFan
Apple iPad Keyboard Dock
Advantages: Makes your iPad in to a mini desk top computer
Disadvantages: May not suit all uses
~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.
Summary: Worth considering if you regularly write text documents on your iPad
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