Turning my iPad mini into a laptop

sharkkAs I’m starting to prepare for PAX in a couple of weeks, one of the things I was fretting about was the thought of lugging my huge laptop all over the convention center if I couldn’t secure a locker for it in the media room.  I love my laptop, as it’s got a big screen and plays my games, but compact it is not.

So it was fortuitous the other day that one of my Massively colleagues was talking about how she brought a little keyboard for her tablet to SOE Live and used that to take all of her notes.  That was the “aha!” moment that I needed — I could turn my iPad mini into a functional laptop and ditch the laptop while I was on the convention grounds.

I ended up purchasing the Sharkk iPad mini keyboard case from Amazon for a few reasons.  It had good reviews, it was a complete case (instead of a floating keyboard), and it looked rather slick.

I’ve been playing with it for a few days now and I have to say that I love it — and I think it’ll be a great asset for my trip.

The iPad itself clicks right into the frame with minimal hassle, and docking it via bluetooth was a breeze (it is, in fact, the first time I’ve ever used bluetooth anything).  I have to charge the keyboard separately, but it’s got an off switch so I won’t be wasting power unless I need to type.

If you think of this as a transformer, the case-iPad combo has three forms.  There’s the closed form, where the hard plastic shell protects it and a little tab keeps it from just flying open.  It can be opened and quickly swiveled to use as a standard tablet.  This is fine, although it’s a little thicker and more awkward than it used to be with my old slip cover.

Then if I want to use the keyboard, I slide out the back hinge and set the tablet at an angle in the groove.

The keyboard itself is small, as befitting the width of the iPad mini, so it’s take a little practice to use.  It reminds me a lot of my old netbook, although perhaps a little smaller.  I have the most difficulty accurately hitting backspace and enter, although the keys have great feedback.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to taking this on the road.  It’s all small enough to fit inside my small shoulder satchel, which is just perfect for what I’ll be needing that week.


4 thoughts on “Turning my iPad mini into a laptop

  1. carson63000 August 14, 2013 / 11:23 pm

    Interesting, full-sized iPad case/keyboard combos were extremely popular at a place I used to work (for people to take to client meetings and the like). I’ve never seen one for an iPad Mini before. I’m a little surprised that you could use a keyboard that small comfortably, but I guess compared to using the onscreen keyboard it’s awesome. 🙂

  2. Nathan Blake September 16, 2013 / 5:28 am

    Personally I prefer a proper laptop for working and an ipad for playing. I too was unaware you could get keyboards for the ipad mini. I think I would probably stick with my little netbook when concerned about size / weight on my travels. That way I know everything is compatible with my proper laptop, and also it would suffice if my laptop was broken whilst it was being repaired. How did you get on at your conference in the end? Was the keyboard OK?

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