The iPad has a nifty virtual keyboard, but there are many reasons you may need a physical keyboard for your tablet.
Don’t get us wrong. Apple has great tech when it comes to virtual keyboards. They’re easily one of the best in the industry, with multiple cool little features to make their on-screen nature more palatable.
Still, they don’t truly replace a physical keyboard.
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What is Better About a Physical Keyboard for the iPad?
For one, there’s no beating the efficiency and speed of a physical keyboard.
Plus, virtual keyboards don’t have the same feel. Literally. You might have gotten used to, and grown fond of, the feel of keys under your fingers. You don’t get that feeling with virtual keys.
There are downsides, such as having to tote around an extra item in addition to your iPad. But there’s no reason to sacrifice your wants and needs just to use an iPad.
You can have the best of all worlds.
Why Do I Need a Keyboard for My iPad?
If you type a lot, which is fairly relative but you know who you are, then you need a keyboard for your iPad.
Let’s take a look at why you might need a keyboard, and later, we’ll talk about what you should consider when searching for your future keyboard.
|Virtual Keyboard||Physical Keyboard|
|Slower to type||Faster to type|
|Less efficient||More efficient|
|Not much feedback, bad feel||More feedback, better feel|
|Customization is limited||Fully customize to your needs|
|Comes installed||Costs extra|
|Easy to Transport||Harder to Transport|
If You Use Your iPad for Work
It especially makes a lot of sense if you use your iPad for work.
An iPad can do a lot, especially with word processors headed to the cloud nowadays and cloud or app-based office suites available from Google and even Apple.
With minimal peripherals, you can effectively transform your iPad into a workstation.
If You Use Your iPad to Write
Gone are the days of only laptop owners being able to head to coffee shops and write their screenplays. Now, tablet owners can join in on the stereotype.
Same goes for those destined to write the next great novel.
Although the keyboard on the iPad is very usable compared to some tablets on the market, it doesn’t hold up to long periods of typing. No virtual keyboard can.
Eventually, you’ll need a keyboard to unlock your full writing potential.
If You Use Your iPad to Search… a LOT
Searching for things on the Internet is a pastime for many of us.
But some of us basically do it full-time. In fact, it may even be worked into your job description, cleverly hidden under “research duties” and other synonyms.
Although voice search is a tool on-hand, it can get annoying real quick when Siri or your chosen voice assistant repeatedly misunderstands you.
A keyboard for your iPad makes rapid-fire searching of all kinds a breeze. It could even make it easier to search for movies, TV shows, books, and games.
What Features Are Important for an iPad Keyboard?
Okay, so you’re convinced you need a keyboard for your iPad. But what kind of keyboard should you get?
It’s important to look at the features you’ll need and find a keyboard to match. Otherwise, you’re bound to waste time on trial and error. This can be especially costly if your reason for needing an iPad keyboard is for work.
Also, evaluating features can help you confirm whether you need a keyboard in the first place.
That being said, let’s take a look at some of the most important features to consider when selecting your iPad Keyboard.
The 10-key keypad, or number pad, is a quick way to enter long strings of numbers. Simply due to its efficient layout, it makes an arduous task a relative breeze.
But this is an area in which you’ll find the iPad lacking.
For large scale data entry or anything where you’re logging lots of numbers, consider looking for a keyboard with an attached number pad. You can even buy a standalone 10-key keypad if that’s the only feature you require.
The iPad’s virtual keyboard has a nifty feature where it can turn into a trackpad when using two fingers.
But if you switch to an external keyboard, you’ll be missing this functionality, unless you feel like darting your hand up and down every time you need to use the iPad’s trackpad.
One solution is to just get a keyboard with a built-in trackpad. Something like this:
Bluetooth vs Corded
Do you want to run the keyboard wirelessly via Bluetooth or hook the keyboard into the iPad?
One advantage of using the corded option is you may have an old keyboard laying around somewhere. You can actually use it with the iPad.
Just hook up the iPad Camera Connection Kit, which basically turns your lightning port into an USB port. Then, plug it in and voila.
Of course, this works especially well if you’ve already got the connection kit laying around.
Another benefit of having a wireless keyboard, rather than a wired one, is you won’t have to worry about replacing or repairing any broken USB cables when it inevitably breaks or gets chewed on by a pet!
Case Combo vs Standalone
One slim option is to forgo the bulkiness of most keyboards and get one sleekly engineered inside an iPad case.
Of course, this means foregoing your favorite iPad case, if you’ve already got one picked out. But for those needing both a case and a keyboard, it’s a clever solution.
The only drawbacks are that the keyboard will likely be minimal due to the sleek design, thus it might lack a little functionality.
You’re going to be typing on your new keyboard, so it’s important to make sure it’s friendly to your hands.
Not all keyboards are made equal in terms of ergonomics. If you’ll be using this keyboard for long writing days or data entry sessions, choosing the right keyboard for extended use is critically important.
Portability, cords, and everything else is very important. But in the end, you want something that’ll aid you instead of giving you more obstacles to overcome, such as wrist pain.
That about wraps it up for our take on whether you should get an external keyboard for your iPad.
We hope this has helped you make a decision. Please feel free to take a look around the site. There are plenty of articles sure to help you with learning all about keyboards as well as finding the right one for you.
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