Even for shorter things, such as text messages, instant message chats or brief emails, a separate keyboard speeds you up no end.
As well as actually typing, you can manipulate your text more quickly because iOS lets you use shortcuts for commands such as copying and pasting, and Shift+arrow keys to select text. You can also use the arrow keys on their own to move the cursor around, so no more dragging your finger and squinting at the on-screen magnifier to position it.
Apple sells a dock for the original iPad with a keyboard attached to it, but a Bluetooth model gives you more freedom, both in terms of the devices you can use it with (these keyboards should work with Macs and PCs, too) and when it comes to your setup.
So you could pop your iPhone in a dock on a shelf at eye-height and the keyboard on your desk. Or, when you’re on the train with your iPad, stand it on the table and pop the keyboard just in front. The possibilities are endless, and you’ll be able to type away for hours, provided you pick the right keyboard for your needs.
Do you need something that’s small and easy to slip into a bag, or does size not matter, so long as you can type on it for long periods? Four of these run on batteries, so make sure you carry spares with you. The only exception is the iGo, which has built-in batteries that charge using a micro-USB connection. Lastly, the iGo Bluetooth Keyboard was also formerly known as the Adapt ADK-200; some sites still sell it as this.
What we tested are follows:
Apple Wireless Keybo ard – £57
Freedom i-Connex – £60
KeySonic KSK-3201MacBT – £38
Macally BTKeyMini – £70