Pros: Light weight, compact, full sized keys, iPad specific functions, easy setup, black color, mechanical sliding power button, great value.
Cons: Flexes in center, power switch on top (instead of bottom).
As "magical" as the iPad is, to be really productive with it you are going to need a keyboard. You'll probably gravitate to one of three solutions: Apple's iPad Dock with Keyboard, Apple's Bluetooth Keyboard, or this Targus bluetooth iPad keyboard. I have extensive experience with the former and will address them briefly before reviewing the Targus.
Apple's iPad Keyboard Dock: This works well enough for the 1st generation iPad, but it suffers from two serious deficiencies. First, it has a stand built into it, making it less portable, and allowing only portrait mode (which is lame for email), while not allowing for an iPad case (not even the thin Apple case). Second, though it works well with the 1st gen iPad, it is extremely difficult to get a 2nd gen iPad mounted on the stand; the curved back makes inserting the dock connector into the iPad 2 frustrating, at best.
Apple's Bluetooth keyboard: It was made for their desktop computers and lacks iPad specific function keys (while not a deal breaker, I miss them). Also, although there is a power button on the unit, it is ambiguous whether it is on or off. Turning it off requires a three-second button press and careful observation of the indicator LED. This is a real issue because, being portable, the iPad often wanders away from the keyboard but stays connected to it wirelessly which disables iPad's virtual keyboard - requiring either a trip back to the keyboard to power-off; or a virtual trip to the iPad's configuration menus: GeneralSetting/Bluetooth/Off. Annoying at first, aggravating later.
Finally, the Targus Bluetooth iPad keyboard: It has several advantages to its Apple cousins. First, it's customized for the iPad, having iPad specific function keys. Second, it's very portable - significantly smaller and lighter than the Apple BT keyboard - while still sporting full size keys. You can use it with any case. It permits both portrait and landscape mode. It has a mechanical, sliding on/off switch. Its F5 key toggles the on-screen keyboard (just press F5 and decamp to the sofa, then it won't even matter if you're still connected to the keyboard wirelessly).
The Targus is very easy to set up. First, make sure your iPad is on the Bluetooth setup screen. Then, turn on the keyboard and press the little connect button (a toothpick works great). The iPad prompts you to type a 4 digit key number. Done. This procedure will probably never need to be repeated (unless you restore or replace your iPad).
The keyboard has a decent feel; good key travel with medium amount of noise. It is made of black plastic, which is both a plus and a minus. I like the looks of the black keyboard with the black iPad. Use of plastic also keeps the weight down - nice for traveling. Four rubber feet keep the keyboard secure. My one complaint is that there is some flexing toward the center of the keyboard. It takes some getting used to, but doesn't really seem to affect my typing.
I'd pick the Targus keyboard even if it were the same price as the others. As it is significantly cheaper the decision should be easy.
One last note: I've had both the first gen iPad and now the iPad 2. I really like this keyboard paired with an iPad 2 sporting a "smart cover". The smart cover gives me the quick landscape orientation that the Mail program deserves; and the Targus supports it seamlessly - with or without power, no futzing with stands - while looking good. A nice setup!
on March 28, 2011
First, the technicals on my side : I tested this keyboard with a first generation iPad, 32gb, WiFi/3g model. I used it on the notepad and playing a NYT crossword puzzle. I also used it to navigate around my device.
Stated plainly, this is a great product and really enhanced the iPad's usability. I highly recommend this iPad accessory.
The Set-up / Pairing the Keyboard to the iPad - It was VERY simple to set up and the four step directions were clear and easy to follow. Using the directions, the keyboard was quickly paired via BlueTooth to the iPad in, literally, just a few minutes - and that's from opening the packaging to actually using the keyboard. Nice!
1. Super easy and fast set-up. All you need is a pen to depress the pairing button on the back of the keyboard ( onetime, on initial discovery only ).
2. The keyboard really does have a great feel to it. The keys are good sized and have a genuine tactile feedback. Typing is easy and hand/finger placement feels natural.
3. The keyboard has a quality feel without being too heavy. It's lightweight but not cheap feeling!
4. No fold-out feet that typically end up breaking off. The keyboard "slant" is lightly weighted and contains the battery compartment.
5. There are multiple, very helpful SmartKeys, including a "Return To Home" button.
6. Multi-tasking is supported by double clicking the HOME button. Nice touch here.
7. Very long battery life - box states up to 7 months... there's a low battery warning indicator as well, so you won't get caught unawares.
8. Batteries are INCLUDED ( two AAA batteries ).
Con's : Really I can't complain, but if I had to find some, they're very minor ...
1. The Keyboard doesn't have a sleep button. It's on or off.
2. A bag or carry case would have been nice.
I'm not sure if it will matter to anyone, but I thought I would mention that the keyboard is slightly longer than the iPad ( when the iPad is horizontal ). I didn't mind it at all - the keyboard seems a perfect size.
Big thumbs-up on this keyboard, it's a winner and will make using your iPad an even more enjoyable experience.
While the screen keyboard of the iPad is certainly easier to use than that of an iPhone, it isn't the best if you are typing a lot, such as taking notes or writing an article. For that, nothing beats a real keyboard, and the Targus Bluetooth Wireless Keyboard is a quite decent one.
The keyboard itself is compact and lightweight, with large "chiclet" style plastic keys that are similar in appearance to what you'd find on a MacBook. As this keyboard is specialized for iPad and Mac, it has the Apple-specific option and command keys, plus a row of dedicated function keys that are mapped to Home, Search, start slideshow, audio controls and lock. It paired easily with both my iPad 2 and iPhone 3GS, but it can pair with only one device at a time. The feel of the keys is decent with good travel, again much like on a MacBook, and the layout and even the legend fonts match that of a MacBook.
The only negative I found was that the center front of the keyboard was a bit bouncy - there is a small plastic tab that sticks out from the underside of the keyboard but it doesn't quite reach the surface it is resting on. There are four rubber bumpers on the corners. If you press down on the space bar you can feel it flex and perhaps hear a small tap as the tab hits the table.
The downside of using a keyboard with an iDevice is that you'll still have to touch the screen for many functions. For example, while I could do a search, I could not select any of the found items with the keyboard. I had hoped I could use the arrow keys for that. This is not a knock on the Targus keyboard - it's just the way the iDevices are designed - and in normal use it is not likely to be a hindrance.
I am typing this long review using the Targus keyboard and that in itself explains why one would want to have this keyboard. It would take much longer to type this on a tablet alone with the touch screen. For the executive summary, you can skip to the last paragraph of my review. For a more detailed description, I have offered many specfics in the body of the review.
I am not really certain why the title of this product only specifically mentions the Motorola Zoom and the Samsung Galaxy. Perhaps, waving the white flag to iPad users searching for proprietary Apple keyboards or in an effort to use keywords for shoppers searching for keyboards specific to the also popular, and main iPad competitors, Zoom or Galaxy tablets. As explained a little further down the product page, and in the product documentation, this keyboard will, in theory, work with any tablet that is Bluetooth capable and runs on the iOS (iPad / MAC X v10.4 or later), Windows (7, 2000, XP, Vista) or Android operating systems.
This was very quick and easy to synch to my iPad. The Targus keyboard has an on/off bottom on the bottom of the keyboard (nice to conserve battery power... it takes two AAA included Energizer batteries) as well as a "Connect" button to synch up the keyboard with your tablet. When one hits the connect button, there is a flashing blue light on the keyboard that will signify the keyboard is in discovery mode. Just ensure you turn the Bluetooth capability on in your tablet of choice in order to synch the keyboard to your tablet. On Apple products this can be done with the Bluetooth icon on the desktop or in the system bar (just click the icon and select "Turn Bluetooth On."). On Windows products, go to the Bluetooth Places icon on your desktop or use the system tray. The iPad quickly found the keyboard and asked me to create a four-digit password. The manual claims a seven-month battery life and there is a low power battery indicator light that blinks twice every second when the power level is below 15 percent.
For the duration of this review, I am going to compare the Targus keyboard to the Apple iPad Keyboard Dock since the iPad is the best selling tablet on the market and such a comparison facilitates the ability to highlight the pros and cons of the Targus keyboard. This is a long review; however, if you are on the fence between the Apple Keyboard dock and a Bluetooth keyboard such as this Targus model, as I was, I have simply listed a broad range of features in separate paragraphs with the first word in each paragraph being the feature title in CAPS. I then compared the features of each keyboard so you can scan the list to find a particular feature of interest if you do not want to read the entire review:
WEIGHT: This is perhaps the best feature of the Targus keyboard. It weighs in at only 9.4 ounces (without the two triple AAA batteries). The Apple keyboard weighs in at over double that weight at 20.8 ounces.
SIZE: Very comparable to the Apple keyboard. The Targus keyboard is 12.25" wide (vs. 12" for the Apple). The Targus keyboard is just over 5.75" deep (vs. just under 5.5" for the Apple). They are both ultra slim. See note below on connectivity differences and how the permanently attached dock on the Apple adds considerably (2.75" higher and deeper) to size.
CONNECTIVITY / DOCKING / PORTABILITY: The Targus uses wireless Bluetooth. The Apple connects physically to the keyboard dock. Needless to say this is a huge difference and a matter of personal preference. The advantage of the Targus is this results in a much more portable, and flexible, option. On the bottom back of the Targus keyboard is the guts of the Bluetooth technology and the battery holder. This does result in an extra 0.50" in height for the back 1" of width of the keyboard. However, this is nice in that since the back portion of the keyboard is slightly higher than the front portion, it slants the keyboard more towards the user for a more comfortable, ergonomic typing angle; whereas, the Apple is perfectly flat. The Apple has a stand / docking station at the back of the keyboard that is much taller at 2.75", and much deeper (another 2.75") and unfortunately it does not fold flat and the protrusion of the dock creates challenges when traveling. While the Apple keyboard is aluminum, the base on the back of the keyboard is plastic and presents an odd shape to slip in one's carryon bag where space is a premium. Obviously, the added size of the Apple keyboard is a result of the built-in stand on the Apple that is lacking in the Targus. One could buy a stand very cheap and pack it separate from the keyboard which to me seems a much more attractive option in terms of portability. On the rear part of the dock on the Apple keyboard, one can charge the iPad while it is docked; however, no charging cable is included with the keyboard (one would have to use the 30-pin cable that came with the iPad).
VIEWING ORIENTATION OPTIONS: The Apple dock requires a physical, rather than wireless Bluetooth connection, thus one is limited to only portrait mode orientation (vertical viewing) as landscape (horizontal viewing) mode orientation is simply not an option. Being able to use both portrait and landscapes on the Bluetooth Targus is a big advantage to me.
CASE / SKIN OPTIONS FOR TABLET: Just about any type of case, including ironically Apple's proprietary cases, would have to be removed to utilize the Apple keyboard with the iPad since it requires a physical connection to the dock. This is not an issue with the wireless Bluetooth Targus where one could always leave their tablet in its protective case...another big plus for me.
PLACES CAN USE: As is, out of the box, the Targus offers more options as the Apple keyboard would only be feasible to use on a desk, tabletop or other perfectly flat surface; otherwise, it could easily wobble and lose the connection to the keyboard, or worse fall out and break. This is a clear advantage to the Bluetooth Targus. However, if you are on a plane, where and when Bluetooth is prohibited, the Apple would have the edge. Although, I don't know if I would trust the loose gravity reliant connection of the tablet to the keyboard when utilizing on the fold down tray in the event of turbulence, or worse yet the inconsiderate passenger in the seat in front of you who thinks he/she is at home in a rocking chair. On the Targus, the manual claims a 33 feet (not that you would really need it) range with Bluetooth.
DURABILITY: The Apple clearly has the edge here. Put them in your hand side-by-side and one can see the aluminum one from Apple is of higher quality. However, as previously mentioned, the quality comes with more weight.
KEYS: This one is obvious; the Targus has more Windows features on the keyboard while the Apple is more of an Apple features keyboard. The Apple keyboard also has slightly less play in the keys.
STYLE: This is a matter of personal preference. The black Targus keyboard blends in well with most Tablets and is low profile but more likely to show dust. The brushed metal finish and white keys of the Apple is more bold in appearance, but more likely to show dirt / oil.
ATTACHING OUTSIDE SPEAKERS: The Apple has an audio line out connection to connect to outside speakers while the Targus does not offer this option at all. However, using this line out on the Apple keyboard means you can no longer control volume from either the iPad or the dock; it can only be controlled by the speakers you connect.
Bottom line, they are both great keyboards that make life much easier, faster and comfortable than tapping the tiny letters on the touch screen tablet keyboard. The Apple will be better for you if you prefer the brushed metal / white keyboard style, higher quality build, built-in stand, wired synching and an Apple themed keyboard with shortcut keys for the iPad and if your primary use of the keyboard will be on a flat surface. The Targus will be better for you if you prefer traditional black components and are looking for something much more lightweight and portable. The Targus also has the added benefits of being able to use both portrait and landscape modes on your tablet as well as being able to leave your tablet in its case for protection; both very important features to many. Thus, each has their pros and cons and I will continue to use both. If I were to place one of these on my desk at home, I would choose the Apple. If I were going to pick one to put in my carryon bag when going on a trip, or to use on my couch or other non-flat surface, I would choose the Targus. However, overall the Targus is a much more flexible and portable option due to the Bluetooth connectivity.
on January 7, 2012
Finally: a keyboard that works for Android. But first a few caveots: Make sure that you get Model Number AKB33 - not 32. 32 is for the Ipad only. The keyboard itself should show AKB33AP. However, when you go online, including Amazon, the last two letters may be different. Amazon shows AKB33US. That is fine. Just make sure the first 5 characters are AKB33. This will work with both Ipad and Android.
Also, the Keyboard is HID Bluetooth based. HID stand for Human Interface Device. Some, but very few android tablets/phones run on bluetooth SSP - Serial Port Emulation. All blackberrys run on that. There is the Freedom Pro Bluetooth dual profile keyboard which has a switch so that you can use either. If you have a blackberry or other SSP device, you will need that. Also, I tried the Freedom Pro Dual with my Android HID devices and I had some problems.
However, if you are looking for a keyboard for Android 2.2, 2.3, 3.0, 3.1, 3.2; this Targus is for you. I am typing on it "write" now. The keyboard is actually better than the keyboard on my older Asus EEEPC, which has a scaled down keyboard and tiny shift keys. This keyboard has exellent size keys and control, shift, etc buttons. It has a dedicated number line.
I get no bluetooth "lag" when typing. This keyboard does not fold, so it is very stable.
OK- Now for the Bluetooth pairing issues: Personally, I cannot stand bluetooth. Pairing and connecting can be a real pain. And yes, you have to be patient here as well, but it works.
You must start at the beginning when you hook up to your device and thereafter. It will not be like using a bluetooth earpiece with a phone. If you are looking for immediate pairing with no work, you may be frustrated.
Essentially, you have to start at the beginning each time you use the keyboard. Turn on your device bluetooth; make it discoverable; make sure the keyboard is turned on and then hit the little back button on the keyboard so it can search.
Once the device recognizes the keyboard, hit the pairing box, or press for the pop up. You are trying to make your device ask you to input a code "0000". You should input the code into your device. Here is the catch: As soon as you input the code into your device and hit "done" or enter, etc; then type the code on your keyboard and hit enter. It should then connect.
Some devices will ask for a special numeric code with no input box popped up on your device. If so, type the code on your keyboard and hit "enter."
Patience is a virtue and bluetooth devices are no exception. I honestly love this keyboard. I am using this with my Samsung Infuse phone; a Le Pan tablet and a Color Nook that I have converted to 2.3 on the N2A CM7 sd card. This is a "keeper."
on May 11, 2011
While other reviewers here feel otherwise and laud its quality, I respectfully and strongly diagree. In my view, this keyboard has a cheap insubstantial feel. It clacks, bends,and vibrates as you type. There is just not enough support on this keyboard. For someone who types w/any intensity, the keyboard bounces around and will likely annoy adjoining passengers on a plane. The lack of even support under the keyboard is unfortunate and a poor design.
Also the right shift key is located in such as way that's its hard to reach.
I compared this keyboard to another I have been using. "Generic Bluetooth Wireless Keyboard for Apple iPad (AAA Battery replaceable)" which can be found on Amazon. Its $25.00 and is rock solid w/hard plastic and a nice silver finish on the back. The differences in build quality are striking. There is no vibration and no unwelcome give in the Generic. The keys are white and easier to read. That keyboard uses a lithium rechargeable battery - for me a drawback - thus I considered the Targus as a replacement.
The package says the Targus battery lasts 8 months. We'll see (well we won't as I am going to return it). And let's hope so because the on-off switch is dysfunctional, located underneath the keyboard. Who wants to turn a keyboard over to shut it off? If the switch was located in an easily accessible area such as the side, the unit would be much more functional.
Inexplicably, the F2 and F3 key are not used. On generic wireless clones, these keys work for brightness. Why didn't Targus do this?
-Cheap build and lack of heft which might cause weariness in hands or long term damage to keyboard
-poor implementation of on-off switch
-No brightness function for F2/F3
-clatter and excess vibration on keyboard due to uneven surface mounts
-no sleep mode
on June 21, 2013
The keyboard is a nice size (100% scale), sits at a slight tilt towards you, and has REALLY nice, solid keys with plenty of travel. It's actually a lot more comfortable to type on than most ultrabook keyboards and is as good as the chicklet/island keyboards in most full notebooks.
I haven't used this one extensively because of the layout. I bought it along with a Perixx Bluetooth keyboard (see my the product and my review here http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005F7RO20/), which does have its own challenges, to replace an old Amazon Basics keyboard that would eat through a new set of batteries in a day. Because I haven't used this Targus keyboard extensively I do not know what its battery life is like. However, it lacks some good features of the Perixx keyboard (and others):
1, there are no shortcut keys. On the Perixx there are shortcuts for switching applications, navigating to the home screen, and 'esc' matches the 'back' button in Android. The Targus just has standard 'esc', function keys, and no shortcuts. The net effect is that navigation requires you to use the mouse a lot more for Android devices that have the standard back / home / switch application soft keys, or for Samsung phones that have actual buttons on the device for back / home / switch application, requires you to tap on the device to perform basic navigation in the operating system.
2, and this just kills me, the "Delete" button is where "Back Space" should be, right beside the "+ =" button. On ANY other standard English keyboard int he world, the key immediately to the right of the "+" and above the \| key, is a backspace. On this Targus keyboard, it's a full-size delete key. I have no idea how a mistake this big could have made it into an actual finished, market-ready product, but it's not a matter of preference - it's just plain wrong. The "backspace" key on this keyboard is a small button in the top-right that can't be reached without taking your fingers off the home key area.
Between these two deficiencies, I turned off the keyboard after two days of trying to get used to it and put it on the shelf. As I mentioned, it's a full-size, solid, comfortable keyboard, which makes it a shame that such obvious shortcomings are built in to it. These are physical defects, design errors, not just firmware - so the product is, unfortunately, bad. Unless you're wanting to get accustomed to a different keyboard layout and deal with a lot more hands-off-the-keyboard navigation, you will simply want to move on and find another keyboard that is better matched to the Android OS and that has a standard English keyboard layout.
on August 25, 2011
I love this keyboard. The size is perfect for me. Big enough for full sized keys (laid out in about as much area as my regular desktop keyboard, but overall it's small (approx. 1.75 " larger than my iPad in Landscape orientation). The special keys (Home, Lock, etc.) work well in a variety of apps. I especially like the arrow keys. The keyboard seems solid to me; I have had no problems with bending or flexing, using the keyboard on various surfaces, including my lap. I can easily type my awesome 20-30 wpm on this keyboard (which is as good as I get on any keyboard). I don't plan to travel much with this keyboard, but I agree with other reviewers that it would have been nice if it came with a protective case/bag (although I don't think other comparable keyboards come with a case). Great value for relatively little $.
on April 1, 2011
When it comes to bluetooth peripherals, I often find I am far more disappointed than excited about the product. All too often, the syncing is troublesome and glitchy. I could say the same thing about non-Apple peripherals in general, bluetooth or not. This little keyboard is absolutely the exception to my complaints. Not only does it pair seemlessly on both my iPad 2 and iPhone 4, but it features an excellent typing experience. Unlike a lot of keyboards, its tactile function is very satisfying. I don't lose my fingers on the keys or miss letters as I type. Despite it's small, light footprint, it gives almost the same experience as using the standard Mac keyboard. Obviously it is smaller, but the keys are the same size and I don't feel cramped on the keyboard.
The function keys are a nice little addition. I love being able to turn the iPad/iPhone off at the click of a button and the playback functions work well. The arrow keys alone make it worth its weight in gold. No more stopping to fiddle with clicking to the exact point on the screen to edit, I can use the arrow keys to navigate. Furthermore, the keyboard is light enough to toss into my purse or backpack without even noticing it is there. My only complaint, and it really isn't a complaint, is that it would be nice if it was available with a case or jacket to store it and the iPad together.
If I seem overly effusive about the product, understand I rarely give such good reviews to technology products. This really is a fantastic little keyboard. I can't recommend it enough. In fact, this review was typed into my iPad using the keyboard.
I was given this same keyboard by an elderly relative. It was purchased in a store in another city about 800 miles away. Upon taking it out of the box, one of the keys popped off - I hadn't even touched it. Perhaps it was a return or damaged when packaged .. who knows.
I contacted Targus and they said that I could send it back to them at my own expense. Since it was brand new, I did not want to pay the postage, probably close to half of the Amazon price. They were very nice and said if I could get a receipt, they would pay for the return postage. Since it was a gift from an elderly relative, I did not want to burst the gift giver's bubble and tell her that it was defective from day one. Since she purchased it in a store, I am sure that she paid much more for it than the Amazon price. She was so pleased when she gave it to me for my brand new iPad. It was worth the loss to spare her feelings.
I do understand Targus' policy, however since I didn't want to tell my aunt, I did not pursue it with Targus. I have read reviews about the keys coming off, and I only used it for a few minutes (minus a key) and then I ordered another one myself since it was so cheap on Amazon.
I guess my opinion of it was tainted even before I received it and that I would have had to pay to return the original one to Targus, sans receipt. I tested it this one a bit and truthfully I was afraid that more keys would come off. You get what you pay for and it seemed cheaply made. Maybe not the most sensible thing on my part, but I decided not to keep it and I am therefore returning it to Amazon.
In hindsight, it would probably have cost me about the same to send the defective keyboard back to Targus and pay the postage, and receive a new keyboard, than to send it back to Amazon .....