One of the major holes with the whole “use a tablet instead of a computer” philosophy is that software keyboards SUCK compared to old fashioned, hardware keyboards. It’s just really tough to beat that tactile feel of a key, plus all those years or decades of keyboard practice you’ve built up.To make up for the loss, many manufacturers are building Bluetooth keyboards for Android tablets and iPads. Some come as part of a case or sleeve, while others leave your tablet alone. The Logitech Tablet Keyboard is a bit of both, offering a Bluetooth keyboard and a keyboard case that doubles as a tablet stand. At $70, I thought I’d give it a whirl.
Setup itself was as easy as I imagined it would be. I had to pull two well labelled tabs to engage the batteries, flip the on switch, search for bluetooth devices on my Galaxy Tab 10.1, select the keyboard, and punch in a numerical value on the keyboard. That sounds like a lot, but I can assure you it took less than a minute. Turning the keyboard off then on again results in the tablet quickly re-pairing with the keyboard automatically as expected.
I LOVE typing with this keyboard. It’s thin, but the keys are well spaced out and I found it a breeze to hit some really good typing speeds. I always thought of tablets and phones as slow input devices, but this keyboard has shown me the way. I have a Dell mini10 netbook next to me, and that keyboard SUCKS compared to this one. Where the Dell’s keys are cramped and flush mounted, these keys stick out and have some space between them. Striking depth on the actual keys is reduced compared to a regular keyboard, but I don’t really miss it.
Actual use of a tablet keyboard like this should be limited for most people. A tablet is afterall, a device of convenience designed for maximum portability. Lugging around even a sleek keyboard like this one is not really what they’re intended for. But for the times when you need to crack out a lengthy email, or a blog post like this one, it’s unbeatable. The real reason I bought this tablet was to see if it was possible to get rid of the Dell Netbook. The netbook provided some great portability, and when it came to content creation, it still beat the pants off the tablet. With this keyboard, that’s no more. With a few other peripherals like the USB host and SD card adapter, this tablet should handily take the place of a laptop or desktop for most home users.
1. The keyboard comes powered by AAA batteries, and I see that as a blessing and a curse. A blessing, because in 3-4 years when a built-in battery would be starting to die, this keyboard can still be running strong on fresh, off-the-shelf AAA batteries. A curse, because I can’t imagine AAA’s would last longer than a well integrated rechargable lithium battery pack.
2. The keyboard does not lock into the keyboard case, it just kind of hangs out in there. It trades convenience for a really sure lock on the keyboard.
3. The keyboard comes with some extra functions like media starting, home, browser, etc. Like the extra function keys on my regular keyboard, they will never ever be used. The keys are only ever hit by accident, and I’m almost always pissed off when I do. My keyboard at work in particular, has a sleep button placed right over the arrow keys. A great example of why I hate them. In any case, the function keys on this keyboard are mostly kept out of the way by use of an Fn button, but there’s still the home and back buttons that camp out right next to the space keys. Time will tell whether these are useless or despised.
I think that’s about it. I haven’t had a chance to play with a lot of tablet keyboards, but if they’re all like this, wow. I used the Logitech Tablet Keyboard to type out this post, and it worked like a hot damn. I think that netbook’s days are numbered.