In a world of Siri and Dragon voice recognition, the longtime fantasy of completely ditching the keyboard is still pretty much that for folks who spend considerable time transferring words from their brains into their devices. Most are happy with the slim little Apple offerings that offer slick designs, but are less than optimal for touch typists. If you’re interested in moving up into something that is pure pleasure for your fingers, the Matias Laptop Pro is a Bluetooth version of their third-generation, mechanical keyboards that are popular with writers, data entry workers, and anyone who earns a living putting words to screen.
Apple makes excellent pack-in keyboards--unlike the bizarro world of PCs and their cheap-as-possible extras. But even Apple’s standard can be beat, and Matias’ new Tactile Pro 3, a USB 2.0 keyboard with a decidedly old-school feel, does just that. Mechanical springs and switches let you feel the action as you type, subtly improving your accuracy and comfort while you’re in front of your Mac.
We’ll admit it. We’re still having a hard time typing on the iPad--in particular, serious work in Pages, Bento, or other productivity apps cries out for a hardware keyboard. While we quickly adjusted to thumb-typing on the iPhone, iPad is a horse of a different color. In portrait mode, the keys are a little too spaced out to comfortably type with two fingers--and in landscape, forget it! Meanwhile, our traditional 10-finger typing is hampered by the lack of tactile feedback and having to hover over the virtual keyboard. Luckily, the iPad supports Bluetooth keyboards out of the box, so we rounded up the most interesting options to test as companions to our iPad.
We’re keyboard snobs, and writely so. (Ouch!) If you are too, and don’t like your laptop’s keys or wish you had a fully extended key layout you could take with you anywhere, consider the Folding Keyboard. The device lives up to its name, folding over itself into a thin package that’s not much longer than a typical paperback. While this is easily one of the best solutions we’ve found for road warriors who need an external keyboard, a handful of minor problems detract from an otherwise nimble product.