Since I got my first iPad in 2010, I have been ambivalent about buying a separate wireless/bluetooth keyboard to be able to use it. I’ve since taught myself to use the iPad itself for long periods of typing – but the accuracy of touchscreen typing leaves a lot to be desired, especially if you have auto-correct turned on.
When I first heard of the Adonit Writer Plus keyboard, I couldn’t resist giving it a try, and the $100 pricetag, intimidating as it is, turned out to be worth it. I simply knew Adonit as a good brand for iPhone/iPad accessories, and I am a big fan of their beautiful Jot stylus. The finishing, quality and attention to detail are to me, very, Apple-like. Having learned of this award-winning bluetooth keyboard with case for the iPad, I decided to check it out for myself. Here are my thoughts on Adonit Writer Plus:
There are three variants – black, blue and red. I bought the black one because I wanted the look and feel of the Macbook Air keyboard. The material used on the outside and inside of the case looks and feels like the original Apple iPad case, however. Initial hours of use with this black case have already attracted specks of dust – much like the original iPad case.
The keyboard is small, light, and evokes the slim and sleek form factor of the Macbook Air. Keys are spaciously laid out, and despite their smaller size, typing is fast, easy and smooth. The first row of keys are keyboard shortcuts similar to the Macbook, but designed for the iPad. For example, you can easily switch to the home screen, pull up the search button, cut/copy and paste text, or play music from your iTunes library. However the aluminum finish looks a bit dust-friendly and over time, I can imagine little brown specks and motes will be visible.
If you’re worried that the keyboard would have a negative impact on your iPad screen given their close proximity, then you should invest in a sturdier screen protector. I suggest that you invest in the Glas.t tempered glass screen protector
by SGP, which I am also using.
As a keyboard folio case, folding up the iPad into one neat netbook looking package has its advantages and disadvantages. The case is a bit loose, to accommodate different viewing angles. You can move the iPad for different viewing angles. Since there are magnets inside the case and on the hinge connecting the keyboard to the iPad, you can rest easy knowing the keyboard or iPad will not slide away from you while typing. However, adjusting the iPad to get your desired viewing angle is a bit awkward and precarious.
The case can also be used standalone if you’re not comfortable with your iPad and keyboard all bundled up wherever you go.
In any case, the iPad is easily detachable from the case (just press the plastic flap on top!), while the keyboard is also fairly easy to remove.
The miniature keyboard is fully featured and functional. You only need to pair your iPad with the Adonit keyboard only once. Getting to the tiny on and off switch behind the keyboard is a bit of a challenge especially once you’ve already set up your iPad. In any case, the cool thing is once you close the case, both your iPad (if turned on in the settings) and the keyboard will go to sleep, preserving the battery. If bluetooth is a bit iffy, just press the dedicated (+) button to refresh the connection.
The keyboard shortcuts are incredibly useful. It would be nice to have a dedicated key to pull up the multitasking bar, but the lack of it is no biggie. The present available shortcuts to adjust the volume, play a photo slideshow or even pull up the onscreen keyboard are incrediblyl useful already.
Battery life is said to last 2 weeks. Since I just started using it this week, I can’t confirm this yet.
Another huge plus for me is the fact that the keyboard is rechargable via USB. The next thing I need to know is where I can hook up the keyboard – do I need to do it via my laptop or can I plug it into the wall charger? The manual doesn’t quite spell it out for me.
I never imagined that pairing an iPad with a bluetooth keyboard would be this enjoyable. I had the impression that typing and then using the iPad for its touchscreen functions in the middle of it would be counterintuitive and tedious. I was wrong. As I type this, I realize that I could have been able to blog extensively had I decided to invest in a bluetooth keyboard much earlier. In any case, with the iPad in its third iteration and wireless/bluetooth keyboards evolving just as well, Adonit Writer Plus is at its best yet. My only minor complaint is that the shift key is too small on the right side. More often than not I end up hitting the cursor button instead.
If you prefer typing in portrait mode, you should know that Writer Plus only works with landscape only orientation.
Personally, the advantage of having a keyboard case set up over say, bringing a MacBook Air is the fact that the pieces are independent of each other, and if you get tired of typing, you can always choose to just play with your iPad. That kind of freedom is limited if you constantly bring a laptop around. Of course, for certain things, having a laptop is truly convenient. As the iPad evolves, then you will find even more uses for the Writer Plus in addition to its typing functionality.
A quick survey of the branded bluetooth keyboard cases made for the iPad will show that the prices don’t vary that much – expect to shell about $100 for a keyboard and case, say, if you want to buy Belkin case with keyboard. I am assuming that these keyboards will vary according to size, quality and degree of seamless integration with the iPad’s functions. For the record, I have not tried other brands of wireless keyboards for the iPad. I don’t know if I still need to, though, considering that based on reviews and awards, the Writer Plus is head and shoulder above the rest.
My quibbles about the Writer Plus are relatively minor. These are not dealbreakers, but suggestions to improve future builds of the Writer Plus. As it is, I am a very happy camper, and I’m glad I decided to buy an external keyboard after years of cramped, inaccurate typing.
If you want to truly maximize your iPad for work and play, then you really should invest in a bluetooth keyboard. If you want style, portability and incredible functionality, then Adonit Writer Plus comes highly recommended.
PROS: Gorgeous, slim, lightweight and incredibly functional
CONS: Case is a bit of a dust magnet, shift key on the right is too small, adjusting the viewing angles of the iPad is a bit awkward
On a scale of 1 to 10, I’m giving Writer Plus a solid 9.5. It’s a must buy!
Where to buy:
If you’re in the Philippines, check out a Digital Hub/ Digital Walker branch near you – retail price is P4990.