Review: Why Bluetooth Keyboards Aren't Always Better When It Comes to iPads

Review: Why Bluetooth Keyboards Aren't Always Better When It Comes to iPads

I work with a lot of schools, and increasingly, iPads are replacing iMacs. That's great, but many of those iPads need keyboards in order to be practical in class, especially if students need to do a lot of typing. But wireless keyboards present their own set of problems. First, being wireless, and expensive, they can be stolen or misplaced. They need to be charged. And each keyboard needs to be paired with a specific iPad. This can be difficult as most iPads are locked away in a charging storage cabinet when not in use. They would have to be paired up with the same keyboard each time and that's not always practical.

Sunrise Hitek has an answer, with its iPad Wired Keyboard ($45). This keyboard is modeled after Apple's original wireless keyboard but it comes with a Lightning cable that plugs directly into the iPad's Lightning port. There is no pairing or software required; it just works. Thanks to the wired connection, the keyboard offers speedy response time and it even includes special keys for iOS such as the Home key, a key to launch the software keyboard, playback and volume keys, and more.

Master your iPhone in one minute a day:

Sign up to iPhone Life's Tip of the Day Newsletter and we'll send you a tip each day to save time and get the most out of your iPhone or iPad.

One downside is that there is no "pass through" for the Lightning port, so you can't charge the iPad while the keyboard is plugged in. However, because of the iPhone 7 and its lack of a headphone jack, providers like Belkin have introduced Lightning splitter cables, so it might be possible to charge the iPad using such a splitter while also using the iPad Wired Keyboard. But given the educational focus, where the iPad would be used eight hours or less a day, and charged at night, this might not be a concern.

Pros

  • Speedy response time
  • Special keys for iOS
  • Affordable
  • Great for education

Cons

  • No way to charge iPad while using

Final Verdict

If you are looking for a way to connect multiple iPads to multiple keyboards, the Sunrise Hitek iPad Wired Keyboard is an affordable and easy option. 

Master your iPhone in one minute a day: Sign up here to get our FREE Tip of the Day delivered right to your inbox.

Todd Bernhard is a bestselling (6+ million downloads) award-winning (AARP, About.com, BestAppEver.com, Digital Hollywood, and Verizon) developer and founder of NoTie.NET, an app developer specializing in Talking Ringtone apps including AutoRingtone. And his profile photo is of the last known sighting of Mr. Bernhard wearing a tie, circa 2007!

An iPhone is almost always attached to his hip or in his pocket, but over the years, Mr. Bernhard has owned an Apple Newton, a Motorola Marco, an HP 95LX, a Compaq iPaq, a Palm Treo, and a Nokia e62. In addition to writing for iPhone Life, Mr. Bernhard has written for its sister publications, PocketPC Magazine and The HP Palmtop Paper.