Could a tablet with a decent physical QWERTY keyboard replace a laptop when travelling in Finland and abroad? That’s a question many people seem to ask. For long, I had not seen a good enough keyboard accessory, but things have improved.
Some time ago Lenovo introduced their Android 3.1 based ThinkPad tablet which is quite promising based on the first minutes of playing with it during their press meeting. I just have to wait until I really get it on my hands before I make any final judgements.
Yesterday my brother showed me his new iPad 2 plus a Logitech case and Bluetooth keyboard which he had bought from the Finnish online store verkkokauppa.com. I was immediately astonished. The initial impression was very good, although it’s quite an expensive accessory, about 100 euros in Finland. If you’re from the Nordics and want to buy it cheaper elsewhere, it’s worth checking if there are Scandinavian characters too. The model sold in Finland has Ä and Ö keys where they are on the regular Finnish keyboard layout.
The keyboard feels robust, and keys give a decent physical feedback. I might even say they’re better than my 11-inch MacBook Air (Spring 2011 model) has, but maybe not, because the layout is a bit smaller. Definitely the keyboard is better than on most small netbooks.
This accessory also works as a protective case for iPad 2. However, that does not apply to the first iPad due to their little different physical size. The Bluetooth keyboard itself works with both iPad models and many other tablets et cetera.
The keyboard has many hotkeys for iOS and OS X, such as main menu, search and volume controls in iOS, and Spotlight, Option, Cmd and so on in OS X.
The combination of this keyboard and a tablet actually so tempting I’m now seriously thinking about getting iPad 2. (I dropped my first iPad in a sink full of water and swore I would not get a new one.)