Posts Tagged ‘Bluetooth Keyboard’

Microsoft Wedge Mobile KeyboardIn my reflections last spring on a semester of electronic grading I noted that, “At the end of each assignment I typically used the iPad’s on-screen keyboard to type some longer comments, the speed of which would have been greatly increased with the purchase of a Bluetooth keyboard.” A new academic year has brought new assignments and I did not want to spend another semester fumbling with the iPad’s on-screen keyboard, so I went online to search for a Bluetooth keyboard. I settled on the Microsoft Wedge Mobile Keyboard, largely because it was cheap (about $30).

Opening the box, I was surprised at Microsoft’s advances in presentation. Apple seems to have had a positive influence in packaging design. Although the specs don’t specifically mention that it works with iPads, I was able to pair it just fine and haven’t had any problems with operation. They keyboard itself is fairly small and thin, probably too small to comfortably type on for a long period of time but still infinitely better than an on-screen keyboard for a paragraph or so of comments at the end of an essay. The design also resembles Apple’s older iPhones and current iPads, with its metal sides and chamfered edges (it would match my iPad even better if the front of my iPad were black). Most of the keyboard is roughly the same thickness as an iPhone. The only awkward part is the bump:

SideAs you can see, the back of the keyboard has a significant bump, which holds the two AAA batteries that power it and helps it stand at a nice angle. This makes storage more difficult but I’ve found that I can place it on top of my iPad with the bump overlapping the edge to sit relatively flat in my bag.

In terms of functionality, the only downside is that there is no dedicated power button, so turning the keyboard on and off (which I do frequently since I only use it to write comments at the end of papers, not throughout) requires holding down the function and escape keys for several seconds. Otherwise, the keyboard works well for what I require of it.

CoverOther than the bump, the only other issue is that the keyboard’s cover is a bit of a pain to line up. The cover is made of a thick rubbery substance, with tabs that lock over the keyboard ends. If Apple had designed it it probably would have been held on by magnets, making it easier to align and quicker to put on and remove. The cover does have a useful feature: it can be folded and the tabs can be used to hold up a tablet:

Cover StandI have an iPad cover and don’t need to stand it up to type a few sentences anyway, but this could be convenient for those who don’t have a separate tablet stand. I’ve never actually bent my cover like this because there is actually quite a bit of resistance but it is a nice option to have as long as the bending mechanism can stand up to heavy use.

Overall, I think that this is $30 well spent, as the number of mistakes I make while typing has been greatly reduced compared to last semester and it is easy to use the keyboard only when needed. Now all I need is for my students to actually read the comments that I write!

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