As 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.