I’ve been trying out various keyboards for the iPad air and thought I’d review them as one review…
We’ll be reviewing the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard, the Logitech Ultrathin Folio and the ZAGGKeys Folio Backlit Keyboard Case for iPad Air.
There’s also the usual Apple keyboard with Origami Workstation, but that hasn’t changed from when I first reviewed it, so I won’t review that here.
I’m actually writing each section of this review using the specific keyboard I’m talking about…
ZAGGKeys Folio Backlit Keyboard Case for iPad Air
Well do the worst first… This case has some promise you fitted the iPad into a case with attached keyboard, but that’s where the promise ended…
The idea is you put your iPad inside the case and it works similar to a laptop, open the lid, go to work. Nice idea, ZAGG has made several cases like this one over the years, and I’ve liked them, but this time, they failed.
One thing they missed, was the “tablet” mode, this mode is where you fold the tablet over the keyboard and hold it in portrait or landscape mode as a regular keyboard. ZAGG has included this on nearly all of their previous keyboard cases and it’s the feature everyone likes, but they decided to leave it off this time.
The case itself is made of plastic and feels very plastic-y, you expect it to actually break at anytime.
Another problem is it’s very top heavy, you can watch the iPad nearly fall over when you take your hands off the keyboard.
The only saving graces to this keyboard case are the lit-up keys to make it easier to type in low-light, and the final nice feature is that the laptop-like layout gives you plenty of angles to view the screen from, but that’s where the nice features end.
Basically, give this one a pass, unless you like the light up keyboard…
Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover
Another old-faithful, my previous Ultrathin keyboard case traveled with me to several conferences and served me well so I definitely wanted one for the iPad Air.
And I have to say that Logitech did not disappoint with this case either, following along my previous Ultrathin review, this keyboard case is definitely a recommend.
Logitech Ultrathin Folio Keyboard Case
Logitech’s Ultrathin Folio keyboard case is interesting, it follows the same idea as the Ultrathin Keyboard case, but actually wraps the entire iPad in a protective cover, so that you don’t have to detach the iPad from the keyboard cover, you instead just open and let the magnets do the job.
This Keyboard case also features the “tablet” mode that the ZAGGKeys folio case was missing, so that is a plus.
I found the keys work similar to the regular Ultrathin, with one difference..
For some reason, Logitech, in deciding to make this case a little longer, decided to remove the caps lock and tab keys and instead tie them to the Q and A keys using the fn key.
This means that if you want to tab something, then you hit fn + Q and if you want to enable caps lock, then you hit fn + A.
This was an odd move, but once you get used to it, it works pretty well and is hardly noticeable.
I do like that the keys are a little bit bigger than the Ultrathin keys, it’s a slight increase, but it makes a difference when you are typing things, like a chapter for your next book, or a review.
In closing, stay away from the Zagg Air Folio, and choose between the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover or the Logitech Ultrathin Folio Keyboard Case and you’ll be a happy camper when it comes to keyboards for your iPad.
If you want full protection for your iPad, take the Folio, otherwise, I’d go with the Ultrathin Keyboard.
I haven’t mentioned any Kickstarted projects lately, but Nock Co. is a new startup by Jeffrey Bruckwicki and Brad Dowdy focused on creating beautiful, functional pen accessories.
Their initial Kickstarter project features numerous products. Ranging from the The Chimneytop, a mini pop-up case with a single zipper for 6-7 pens to The Brasstown, a zippered roll case for pens, pencils, small tools and more.
All of Nock Co’s items are handcrafted in Georgia, USA out of the highest-quality nylon and other materials. A starting pledge of $15 gets you in the door with the Hightower case shown in the picture above.
In less than an hour after going live, the project already got funded, but as of right now, all backing levels still have spots available.
Editorial for iPad, released this week, is a long-awaited Markdown text editor and workflow automation tool for iPad — and it is powerful.
Developed by Ole Moritz – the developer of the popular Pythonista app for iOS – Editorial looks like your typical iOS text editor on the surface. It has the standard support for things like Markdown previews (including real-time syntax highlighting), Dropbox sync, TextExpander snippets, and even a built-in web browser. But from there it starts to get a little more powerful..
In addition to the file browser and text editor, Editorial contains a complete Python console and a tool for creating tons of automated workflows. You can do simple things like convert some Markdown text into HTML, or converting a selection of text into a numbered list. But you can also get into some very advanced territory, as Federico Viticci outlines in his very large review. Also, make sure you check out Gabe Weatherhead’s review.
Editorial for iPad is just $5 on the iOS App Store. If you do a lot of writing work from your iPad, you need this now.
My favourite Markdown text editor before Editorial was Byword, but I’ve switched to this app and have been loving it.
With the SodaStream Jet Starter Kit, you’ve got everything you need to turn tap water into sparkling water in 30 seconds–saves your money. This black/silver SodaStream Jet soda maker comes with one CO2 cylinder that will make up to 60 liters of sparkling water. With no batteries or electricity, you can use your soda maker in your kitchen, outdoors on your patio or deck, or on your boat or R.V.
In addition to making fizzy water, SodaStream also offers more than 25 regular, diet, energy and caffeine-free flavors of syrup (sold separately). Each 500ml soda mix bottle makes the equivalent of 12 liters of soda (about 33 cans). And with over 25 flavors, the possibilities for creative beverages are limited only by your imagination. How about a Creamsicle (Orange and Cream Soda), or a Japanese Beetle (Ginger Ale and Lemon-Lime)? The regular soda mixes contain no high fructose corn syrup, while the diet soda mixes contain no aspartame.
I picked up this SodaStream a week ago, and I’ve been using it non-stop since.
I love just plain carbonated water, and this machine is as good as any water you buy in stores.
I’ve also tried out a few flavors: raspberry lemonade, diet root beer, and the myWater flavors.
In the end, this is my new favorite kitchen gadget and there is nothing like a fresh bottle of carbonated water on a hot day.
The Kato Tactical Mini-Messenger For iPad from ThinkGeek is the ultimate iPad messenger bag.
This bag features a back pocket made perfectly for your iPad, and then a big pocket that can hold an 11 inch MacBook Air, and a bunch of other items.
I’ve carrying my keyboard in it’s Origami Workstation case for the past week in the big pocket, and it’s worked well.
The other pockets make this bag flexible while still keeping a small foot print.
- Extreme bag for your iPad or tablet… and weapons
- Easy access quilted tablet pocket on back
- Unique 3D flap pocket for fast access on the run
- 3D flap pocket has locking-capable zipper sliders
- Large Velcro panel on the front
- Large locking front buckle for quick access
- Quality materials will stand up to frequent and rugged use
- Textured, vented handle for a secure grip
- Vented MOLLE-topped padded shoulder strap w/stabilizer (can hold pouches)
- Two sets of strap D rings for flat over/under use
- Modular MOLLE web field can double capacity
- Flap conceals the gear mounted on the MOLLE
- Large side pouch with MOLLE and accessory loop
- Zippered side pouch fits anything from a hand grenade to a small soda bottle
- Access the main bay through a unique flap-zipper
- Can be worn as a 3-point chest pack
- Movable padded inserts hold and protect DSLR cameras/lenses
- Main material: DuPont Cordura 1000D
- Overall exterior dimensions: 11.8″ x 9.4″ x 3.5″
- Main compartment: 12.1″ x 9″ x 3.1″ (can accommodate a 11″ Macbook)
- Back compartment: 12″ x 9″ x 0.75″
If you’re looking for a small messenger bag, then this is one to look at..
The best writing tool is the one you’ve got with you. For a lot of us writers, that means the iPad.
It is easy to write on the iPad, but harder to make it work well. With writing apps to fit your style and needs, the right accessories, and helpful tools for research, you could end up realizing that your iPad is the modern typewriter.
Thord Daniel Hedengren is a published author with several books in print right now. He’s a journalist and columnist, a former editor, and a regular contributor to several magazines and sites. The majority of everything Thord writes is written on an iPad.
So was this book. The Writer’s iPad is the definite guide for writers who want to utilize their iPads. No matter if you want your iPad to be a secondary writing device, or your primary one, this book is for you.
I picked up the Writer’s iPad this week and read it from cover to cover as soon as I got it.
The book is a nice read, and is packed with discussion on iOS’ built-in apps, third-party apps, keyboards and details about cloud services.
In the book, he builds the case that iOS — and the iPad — is a great writing tool. The one-app-at-a-time model can cut down on distractions, and the iPad’s great battery life makes it a product you can carry with you all day long.
I also like that Thord is a fan of the Apple Bluetooth keyboard and Origami Workstation setup, over some of the other keyboards. This is also my favorite keyboard set up and seems to be the common theme amongst a lot of other iPad owners as well.
The SurfacePad for iPhone is a smart cover for your iPhone.
Made from luxury Napa leather at 1/10th an inch thick, the SurfacePad sports a built-in stand for hands-free iPhone use. The case itself gently wraps around the device, but does not interfere with the buttons, ports or camera on the iPhone.
I ordered this case as soon as it came on the market simply because it looked cool, and after a week or so with it, I can now give a good review..
And the result is… I like this case :)
It folds over the screen nicely to protect it, and the adhesive back is quick to remove and put back on. You can also fit an olloclip on the corner to take quick enhanced photos.
The guys at Twelve South have made another great Apple accessory.
The fold of the case also works as a stand, so that is also handy for viewing videos.
Go check this out and grab one for your iPhone 4/4S or iPhone 5 now.
Recently, I decided to try out a Windows 8 tablet that wasn’t a Surface, and I decided to try the VivoTab Windows 8 tablet from Asus.
I found the tablet to be nice, it’s got a good weight ratio, and is pretty fast.
Essentially, this is the Windows version of the Asus Transformer tablets for Android, but it’s faster.
In terms of Windows itself, I found it to be interesting. The performance was better than on the Surface I tried, and the difference between RT and just 8 are pretty noticeable.
One thing I found lacking however, was the lack of a USB port. With a Surface, you can plug in a keyboard or mouse and use those. Here, you are limited to bluetooth devices, which is fine, but can be annoying if you don’t happen to have a bluetooth mouse around.
In desktop mode, I found that you kind of want to have a mouse, the tablet is great as a touch device when your in the start menu (formerly known as metro mode), but when you go to desktop mode, it’s lacking. The touch targets are still made for a mouse, more than a finger, so it’s easy to miss.
Otherwise, I would highly recommend this tablet over a Surface if you are looking for a Windows 8 tablet, and the price puts it on par with the Surface RT.
Actually, price-wise, this 64 gig tablet is the same price as the 32 gig Surface RT, which considering the vivotab is running windows 8 makes it a lot more attractive than the 32 gig surface RT.
Update: it was pointed out to me today that you can use an OTG Micro-USB to USB adapter to connect keyboards and mice to this tablet, so my one complaint has been rendered null and void :)
Recently, I spent a week using a Surface RT tablet.. I decided that for that week, the Surface would be my main tablet device and I would do my best to use it the same way I use my iPad..
First of all, yes, I am a mac / Linux guy, but I was a windows user for years, so I did my best to keep an unbiased opinion.
On first glance, the Surface is very nice looking. The tablet itself is pretty light while also being sturdy.
When I first booted it up, I had about 24 updates I had to run to make the tablet usable, but after they finally finished, I got started.
I spent a couple days not using any keyboard cover first to try to use it as just a tablet, and that is fine in what was formerly known as “metro” mode, but once you went into Office or did anything using the Desktop, it had issues. Basically, the surface is a touch device as long as you don’t go out of touch mode.
The kickstand is actually nice. It’s probably the best feature of the Surface. It’s perfectly angled so that the keyboard works well.
Then there are the keyboard covers.. I tried both the touch cover and the type cover. And both of their good and bad features.
The touch cover has more of a Smart Cover type feel, where you can fold it over and use the tablet without it, but for typing, it’s too slow. The lack of feedback when you push keys is actually painful.
The type cover on the other hand, is great for typing. On par with my iPad keyboards and works pretty good.
The biggest problem with these covers is the price. $129 for the touch and $139 for the type.. That’s probably the most expensive single case for a tablet I’ve ever bought.. And that is saying something.
Now, onto the actual system..
The Surface looks nice, as I said before, and it runs pretty fast. One of the bigger problems is the lack of apps. If I wanted to use the Surface to actually do coding work, then I’d have to install multiple apps to do it and none of these worked all that well.
Desktop mode was handy, but slowed the system down quite a lot, and you find yourself going between the two more often than you would think.
Now the main thing is the resolution.. This tablet was clearly made to be used mostly in Landscape mode, and Portrait mode just looks awkward.. Too long.. Too narrow.. The 16:9 resolution is better on a laptop than a tablet device.. Which was clearly the intent when you consider the kickstand and the keyboard covers..
Over all, I might consider a Surface Pro, since this was the RT.. But right now, a Raspberry Pi is more useful than a Surface RT is.. (and yes, that is a hint about some upcoming post topics)
In our house, we have three different media streaming setups:
1) Apple TV in our living room
2) Boxee box in the bedroom
3) Roku in my office
Each of these is good in their own way, and each has their short comings.
The Apple TV connects to netflix and iTunes plus lets you use AirPlay from your iOS devices which works nicely.
One of the biggest things we use the Apple TV for is the AirPlay actually, we connect via iPad or iPhone and watch movies, shows or play games. We also use it with netflix a lot, as well as watching hockey on the NHL app.
Your choice of available programming straight from the device is limited though, which is its biggest drawback.
Boxee Box also connects to netflix and also provides links to watch shows from the websites of many providers such as ABC, CBS, NBC, Global, etc. This works nicely. It also has NHL and AirPlay support, as well as a full app center with lots of apps to choose from.
But it only does 720 and it’s quite a bit slower than the Roku and Apple TV. Some of the apps also don’t come in as sharp. For example, the NHL app on Apple TV, Roku and Boxee Box, look best on Apple TV and Roku.
Roku is kind of a all-in-one kind of device. It features netflix, it also has support via its apps to stream TV shows, movies, podcasts, etc. It doesn’t have as broad a range as the Boxee does, but that isn’t its biggest drawback.
One big bonus over the other devices though is speed. Roku is Fast! You can get up and running in seconds compared to the other two boxes. It also features 1080p, which the Apple TV 3 also does but the Boxee Box does not.
Lack of AirPlay is the biggest drawback for the Roku. And one which many complain about.
So, what’s your pick of favourite media streamer?
I’d have to choose the Apple TV simply because of the AirPlay and the nice picture. Roku would be second due to speed and channel options and Boxee Box would be third.