Kensington adds keys to iPad

Keyfolio keypad: An iPad version of a netbook
Keyfolio keypad: An iPad version of a netbook

One of the best additions I’ve made to my iPad this year has been the Kensington Keyfolio keyboard. It’s a Bluetooth keyboard that includes a nice protective, leather case for the iPad. It also adds a stand capability to the iPad, one which works just great to browse the Web from bed in the morning if you’re getting a pre-dawn start on your work day. In a way, this adds the touch interface of the iPad to the concept of a netbook. The weight of the combined keyboard and iPad comes in at 2.75 pounds, so you’re right into the netbook weight category.

The Keyfolio has a great battery saving feature, pulling itself offline when you stop using it for an extended period. It doesn’t need to be resynced often, and you can bypass it by simply switching it off to use the iPad onscreen keyboard.

It’s a great product in the Kensington tradition: well built, lightweight, protects your iPad. Even can be used in a non-keyboard setting (i.e. just a case to use while reading your iPad.) Some say you can’t use it on your lap, but a nice lap desk (think Levenger) makes that possible, too. Big improvement over the on-screen keyboard.

Only the Apple iPad dock has better speed, but it’s not a traveling tool like this one. This keyboard recognizes and includes the cursor arrows, unlike some iPad writing apps whose softkey keyboards do not. I wish there were a shift key on both sides of this keyboard, and the apostrophe key has its own key that’s not in an intuitive place. You type a bit slower at first while using it, but get used to having those keys in unusual places. So far, very happy with this product. In a way, this makes the iPad a great alternative to the new MacBook Air, which at first glance seems like an iPad with an attached keyboard. The Air weighs a little more than the Keyfolio combo, and of course, it’s a full Mac. Just doesn’t have that touch interface, but a lot richer field of applications.

Keyfolio is $69.99 at Amazon today and worth every penny. I bought an Apple Keyboard Dock in the very first month of the iPad’s existence, but the Apple device doesn’t offer a landscape mode like the Keyfolio does. (Keyfolio won’t do portrait, in contrast.) But the Apple keyboard isn’t portable and won’t act as a stand for Netflix movies. There’s a lot to like here.