iPad Video FAQ: How Good is the Typing Experience?

While the iPad is primarily a content consumption device, it’s certainly not lacking keyboard options. There’s the onscreen keyboard (portrait and landscape), the optional external keyboard dock ($69), and the iPad Case ($39) that folds back to prop up the device for a more comfortable pecking position.

In the video below, we tested all of the above. While the on-screen keyboards work fairly well, they do take a bit of getting used to. We found it was easier to use our thumbs–smart phone style–on the portrait keyboard. But the landscape keyboard is decent when you’re using the iPad on a table or in your lap.

Check out the video below for all of our typing adventures.

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  1. Adam Wolf Says:

    I don’t think its fair to review the iPad typing experience if you’re going to only type with your index fingers.

    Proper style can get you up to 50-60 wpm. Use all of your fingers!

  2. BT Hathaway Says:

    Years ago I had a PalmV and at the time you could buy a beautiful near-full-sized, fold-up keyboard which acted as a doc for the Palm. It packed well, traveled well. All in all it was quite elegant and I typed many notes and emails with that attachment.

    I’m wondering if someone will put out a similar Bluetooth version for use with the iPad. The doc is too cumbersome to travel with, and the Apple wireless keyboard—though elegant—won’t travel all that well either, but I could see myself packing a fold-up keyboard along the lines of what I used 10+ years ago, prop up the iPad in its case and get plenty of work done while traveling.

    It is also interesting to note that Tim Gideon wrote his entire 4200 word iPad review using the onscreen keyboard. I have know idea what sort of typing style he uses, but he was quite clear that if the typing experience had been poor he would have switched back to a regular keyboard. He seemed to think you could get a lot of work done with it.

    Still speculating for myself. My unit is still at the local UPS distribution center at this hour (10:30 AM) and I wonder if it will arrive today at all. But I suspect there will be a way to semi-touch type with the landscape keyboard with a little practice.

    Can’t wait to try for myself.

  3. Chris in CA Says:

    I find the typing experience using the onscreen keyboard remarkable. It may be because I am an iphone user and have become quite a good typist on that. Specifically, the feeling of touch typing on glass is a little strange at first (but I got used to it with my iPhone) and there is not a dedicated number row on the on screen keyboard and typing symbols is quite different than a regular keyboard but pretty much exactly the same way its presented on the iPhone… So if you have iphone experience you’ll be busting out some pretty wicked fast typing speeds.. And if you don’t have any experience i would say if you stick with it you’ll get up to speed pretty quick.. One thing that the keyboard doesn’t have at all which i am just realizing how much i use are arrow keys.. So you cant tap tap tap tap back with the arrow keys and then tap tap tap back to where you were..

    I think typing in the way the reviewer did isn’t rally fair.. Its a bit like reviewing a rope’s ability to tie knots and then say you aren’t good at making knots so you just used one hand when trying to tie knots for this review….

    I love it.. Its great for typing on..

  4. Mike from North Carolina Says:

    The review would be a better viewing experience if the font size of the sample text being typed was larger and therefore viewable. So the reviewer making comments several times that he made some typos was meaningless since what he typed wasn’t discernible in the video. Just a bit annoying not to be able to see the words being entered.

  5. Jordan Says:

    After using an iPad for a few months I have found a few annoyances with the onscreen keyboard.

    1) No control key. On a website? Want to do ctrl-f to search for something? Too bad.

    2) No arrow keys. I could position the cursor more easily with arrow keys.

    3) No function keys. I can VNC into my work computer but I can’t do work without function keys.

  6. Robert Says:

    @Jordan

    What use would the CTRL+F combination have if there is no Search function for Websites in Safari?

    ;)

  7. Andrew Says:

    I think maybe if humans evolved to have much smaller hands to type with then we would have no more problems deciding on the best computer input method ;)

  8. Kris Says:

    Okay if you are looking for an ipad portable keyboard I would suggest checking out thinkgeek.com they have an excellent one that also functions as a case.

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