Well, it looks like the New Years' festivity is gone. Then again, the biggest of the celebrations of the new year is at midnight, the night of New Years Eve. Anyway, I hope to post on this blog regularly this year. I at least want to post something every 3-5 days, like my old aim was, or, at most, one a day. Today's post is a review of another item I got for Christmas, which is the Brookstone Bluetooth Keyboard for iPad 2.
The product essentially turns the iPad into a convertible tablet. I would not say that it exactly does this though, as most convertibles have both a desktop and a tablet operating system interface on the same system. It does provide a keyboard though, like most convertible tablets.
At first, I was not really crazy about it, but I did like how much better it was for typing things up. The keyboard shortcuts that I am used to on my laptop, such as copy and paste, all worked without a hitch. Of course, I had yet, at that time, to test the functionality of the function keys though. No wonder I was not crazy about it. The product is great for typing.
However, now that I have tried out the functionality of the function keys, I do enjoy it. I can easily lock my iPad, when not using. Yes, I could do so before, but the button to do so is covered by the area the area goes in that it just barely makes an appearance. I also enjoyed how quick it was to start and stop something, as opposed to going to the player's controller, which apparently is not always in the same place on an iPad as it is on the iPhone or iPod Touch. Again, it was already simple, but it is convenient. The home key on the keyboard works just like the button at the bottom of the iPad, if held in vertical position with camera on top. It is also great for taking pictures. The iPad 2 has and front and rear camera that can used to take pictures, but if you need to take a picture of yourself, for some reason, it is best to have something to hold the iPad and the case does a good job that. It is kind of similar to taking photos from my laptop, in my eyes. As for the convertible part, instead of swiveling, I just fold back and fold in the smaller flap, which separates the keyboard from your hand. I like this because it hide the external keyboard when I do not need it. The keyboard provides a lot of functionality that was already simple, but the case aspect provides a good stand for taking photos.
As much good as I find it now, there are things that I find a bit annoying or just do not like. For example, though it makes a lot of simple tasks easier to use in a keyboard mode, as long as the keyboard is on, I find it annoying that the keyboard has a key to display the touch screen keyboard. Honestly, who needs the touch screen keyboard, when they are using the keyboard of this product? I certainly do not, though I prefer to accomplish the things I need via touch screen on my handheld devices. Besides, almost every key on the touch screen keyboard, including the .com key, is on the external keyboard. In addition to a useless key, I do not like how I cannot navigate my iPad from the keyboard, like I can a laptop or desktop. This means that all of the tasks usually relegated to a pointing device or arrows, with exception to typing programs, of course, must all be done from the touch screen. I just do not see what the fuss is about needing an external keyboard for a slate tablet, when navigation from arrow keys is simply not possible, as is the case for the iPad. Yes, this is most likely because of the OS and/or BIOS/EFI. I do not know as much about tablets though to say either way, whereas it would most likely be OS in a desktop or laptop situation, since BIOS pretty much all support arrow keys for navigation, and only few support a mouse. The OS only controls how a keyboard works in the OS itself, while the BIOS controls the keyboard's basic functions before the OS boots. This may contradict what I said in an earlier post, but an OS can be configured to use BIOS drivers, which only provides the basic functions of a keyboard. The other thing that kind of annoys me is that the pictures for this product, when viewed from a point-of-view of a person who has not used this kind of thing before, makes it seem like the iPad is being turned into a laptop. If that were the case, there would be something like a track pad or track point, but there is not, which also counts against this product. It is best to do research, like I did with the Apple TV, before purchasing, but then again, there probably would not be any reviews out there, if people did this regularly. The keyboard does not really add any new capabilities and the presence of a key to display the touch screen keyboard is useless.
While many things are made easier and I have enjoyed it, I do not really see it as a useful product for the average person. The fact that the iPad can only be navigated via touch screen really brings that home. Unless you do a large amount of typing on your iPad, I suggest you avoid this product and keep the iPad as it was meant to be, a slate.
What your opinions on this product? Do you agree or disagree with me? Feel free to comment.
Use an app on your phone (e.g. Scan for Android) to capture the image above. If successful, you should be taken to the web version of this article.