I remember a time when they said tablets would revolutionize how we work and play. They even said one day they would replace laptops. In the end, I believe they were both right and wrong. Of course tablets and smartphones have changed how we work and play, but they have been unable to completely replace the laptop. Would you like to know why? It’s all in the keyboard. The lack of keyboard on these devices makes them more difficult to use for true work.
To combat this, there have been many keyboards released for tablets over the years. Some of them good, some of them not so good. But, there are benefits to using a keyboard on your tablet, and, as you may have guessed, a few drawbacks as well. Today, let’s examine both the good and the bad of using a tablet keyboard so you can decide if owning one is right for you and your tablet.
If you follow any of my articles, you know I always start with the good. After all, you may as well begin positive. Am I right? Below I have a few benefits of buying a tablet keyboard. I believe, when you realize these benefits, you will also think that a tablet keyboard is worth it.
The first, and probably most obvious reason to get a keyboard is to be able to type better. While the touchscreen keyboards are good, I don’t know anyone that can type as fast on them as they can a traditional keyboard. The fact is that a traditional keyboard is the best way to enter text and has ruled supreme since the invention of the first typewriter. If you want to get real work done on your tablet, and you won’t to get it done fast, get a keyboard. It will make creating document, responding to emails, and much more so much easier than if you stick with the touchscreen.
Better Tablet Control
Admittedly, I have found this to be more true on keyboards with Android or Windows 10 than on an iPad, but even Apple’s keyboards have a few bells and whistles that make controlling your tablet much easier. These controls will vary depending on the keyboard you choose, but most keyboards include special keys for home and back that will help you navigate your tablet OS with just the push of a button. One could argue that the touch interface is already easy, and that’s true. But if you are typing away and you need to do something quickly, having access to a few bonus keys for frequent commands can save you time from stopping and swiping away on your screen.
I know using a tablet is already one of the most comfortable experiences you can find today. Really they are touch to beat. You can use them at a desk, on the couch or even in bed and be pretty darn comfortable. Still, if you want to use your tablet for work over longer periods of time, you will find that having access to a keyboard will make your tablet even more comfortable. The fact that your wrist and hand won’t be constantly elevated and in motion will help you use your tablet over longer stretches without tiring. And in a productivity environment, anything that will give you added comfort is always a huge plus.
And now that we have covered the good, it’s time to look at the bad. Well, bad may not be the best term for it. In the end, it’s really just a few minor drawbacks. But it could be enough for you to decide that a tablet keyboard isn’t right for you.
No matter how small they make these keyboards, they are still about the same size, shape, thickness, and weight of your tablet. That means that you are essentially doubling the size of your tablet. While that still isn’t too much, it really can impact how portable your device really is. I know, at the end of the day it is still very portable, much more so than a laptop. But, you have to keep in mind this added weight when you are taking a trip or even just using it during the day. In some cases, you may find that your tablet is too heavy to be as comfortable to use as it was before you bought the keyboard.
I don’t know about you, but I like a full-sized keyboard. There is something about it that just feels right. Unfortunately, tablet keyboards are rarely full size. In most cases, the keyboards have been sized to fit the tablet you are using. That means that if you have a 9.7-inch tablet, your keyboard will have about the same width and height of that tablet. But, you still have the same amount of keys. So, manufacturers have shrunk the keys down to fit in the space allowed. This can make typing on these keyboards somewhat awkward and downright difficult at times. If you have large hands, they may not be very useful at all. So be careful when buying a tablet keyboard and make sure that the keys aren’t too small for you to use.
This is one of the big ones. There aren’t many regular tablets out there that come with a keyboard. In most cases, you have to buy these as an addon for your tablet or hit up a third-party manufacturer such as Logitech to get the keyboard you want. On top of that, you often get what you pay for. Some of the best keyboards will cost you anywhere from $100-$200 or more. When you add that to the high price you already paid for your tablet, and you start reaching price territory that rivals a regular laptop. This can cause many people to think twice before buying. After all, if you are paying the same price, shouldn’t you get the same functionality? But, there is something to be said about the cleanliness of a tablet operating system, so it may be worth it. If you want a tablet keyboard, however, be prepared to pay for it, and be sure you get a good one. If you skimp to save a few bucks, I promise you that you won’t be happy with your purchase.
Remember, it all comes down to how you use it. Tablet keyboards may be smaller and add extra costs to your tablet purchase, but they can go a long way into transforming your tablet experience. In some cases, you may not ever need a laptop again, depending on your usage. But, like everything, you have to take the good with the bad. There are great reasons to buy a tablet keyboard, and a few reasons that may give you pause. Look at how you use your tablet and decide for yourself. If you believe that a tablet keyboard could improve your overall experience, then by all means grab one. I’m betting you won’t regret it.
Do you use a tablet keyboard? If so, what do you think about them? Have they helped you transform your device into a true productivity machine? Tell me about your experience in the comments below.