Sometimes, gadget reviewers need to turn to their test products in an emergency. I found myself in that very predicament last week when I was on deadline for CNET--just as the hard drive on my MacBook Pro decided to pack it in permanently.
Editors can't print your whining about computer glitches, and you don't get paid much for plaintive cries of "I'm working on it." So when said laptop died on me with only a couple hours left to hand in my commentary on the anniversary of John F. Kennedy's "moon speech," I had to look to my iPad to get the piece written and turned over to the news desk.
You can get any number of word-processing programs for the iPad. For better file swap between my tablet and MacBook Pro, I turn to Pages. Though some say there are better app options, I figured Apple's native program would help me pound out several paragraphs mourning the current state of the American space program. But I can't use that pop-up virtual keyboard the iPad provides for entering text for anything more than an e-mail or a Facebook post. I've tried, and I end up with typed-up pseudo-English that resembles a code pumped out by the Nazi Enigma machine.
You've heard the cliche about an infinite number of monkeys with an infinite number of typewriters eventually creating all of Shakespeare's works? That simian scribble is what comes out of my iPad if I can't hear the comforting "click" of keyboard strokes.
After realizing all of that, I unpacked the five keyboards I had on hand to review and loaded them up for use in this order: the Bluetooth Laser Virtual Keyboard from ThinkGeek, Logitech Keyboard Case by Zagg for iPad 2, the Apple Bluetooth Wireless Keyboard, the Omnio Wow-Keys and the ThinkGeek Bluetooth Keyboard Case for iPad.
These are hardly the only options on the market, and some of them have already been reviewed by the gadget crew here at CNET. But my personal crisis offered an excellent test as to how fast I could get these items out of the box and working with President Kennedy and the Apollo Crew waiting. … Read more