The next best Keyboard

Hi Guys

While I wait for my Textblade to perhaps arrive one day.

I’m keen to invest in the next best keyboard for use with my iPad.

I’m a Plank Lite user so happy to explore quirkier options.

Portability and robustness are my prime considerations.

Any feedback welcome.

Justin

1 Like

I have a Logitech K380. It is big and heavier than what hear about WT, but it is here. I have been using it for over 1 year now. It is pretty easy to setup and it is capable of working with 3 devices. I paid $29.99 and it does the job that I need it to.

Yeah, definitely some big differences in size! Of course, being able to get one is a big advantage. But the TB, even when not stacked for travel, is only about 8x3 inches with a really tiny thickness. So, even in use mode, it is small than the Logitech. And the weight is about 1/10th the Logitech. I can carry it in my pocket all the time and mostly not really notice it.

I don’t know how they measure battery life, but with 2 AA batteries in the thing, I would assume with the same usage it would be more than the TB.

Connecting to 3 devices is good for most common needs, though the TB already has 6 and supposedly will have 12. I think, while it may be more than most “need”, that people will find more use than they may expect. I figure a lot of people will use it with their home computer, another computer in the office, and a tablet. But add in a phone, or maybe you have a home computer and laptop and you already could use more. And in my case, since I use dvorak, I’d like additional slots for anyone who wants to use it to already have qwerty slots. Speaking of which, just having a slot I don’t use at all, but if I wish to pair to a random device once (like when I go into an apple store or go to a friends place), it would be nice to have one slot set aside just for that situation so I don’t have to later re-pair a slot to my normal stuff. True, not a biggie and for many no need at all. But I’m glad to have it. And when we can have keys send just modifiers (which are sometimes used in games by themselves), I’d take advantage of more slots for that as well.

The Logitech price is very good! But, as with all keyboards, I wish I could compare typing feel.

I know many people are concerned about the money, if they never get the TB. Certainly a valid concern! My concern, which would be the same whether I got to use a TB regularly or not, once I actually got to see what a great concept it was, is that such a great product doesn’t get released. It is just such wonderful device that I’d hate to have it never be available to everyone.

1 Like

Hi DBK, thanks for your response. I am not even trying to compare my K380 with TB. But, I can type on my K380 and even after 5 years and 2 months, my TB seems as elusive, if not more, as before.
To respond to your comment about battery, I am in the first set, I have read comments it lasts for up to 2 years. I will most likely let you know in another year, as I have a gut feeling I won’t receive my TB before that.

It is interesting to notice that there isn’t even a single line about COVID-19 in their website. So, if WT’s team live in this world, they should have been impacted but this crisis. If getting information from them regarding updates was already like difficult, now with this disruption, I don’t think we will hear much.

I personally wish them well during this difficult period.

Oh, I was just following up on your comment about weight differences :slight_smile:

I certainly agree that the TB seems elusive, including the part about being even more so. After all, it is one thing to be a year, or even two years, late. But every year more is naturally going to make people really wonder.

I can imagine plenty of possible things that could cause the delays, beyond the obvious that rewriting firmware takes a lot of time to do and test. The virus certainly isn’t going to be any help! Even if they are satisfied with internal testing, I suspect that it would at least slow GR or how fast they can fill orders once they start. But I hope when they feel it is ready, they will say so, even if shipping is delayed.

Heck, now that I think about it, even some of those other possible causes, if they are actually part of the delay, may be even worse because of the effect of covid19 on those processes!

Thanks for the logic tech recommendation I’ll have a look at that .

I’m using the K380 too. It’s pretty good. I could use four slots, though: iPad, Mac mini, Raspberry Pi, Windows desktop. But I’ve ordered the Magic Keyboard for my iPad, so my K380 will be fine for the other three now. Sometimes I use Screens (VNC) or Blink (ssh) on my iPad to access one of the other machines. That’s nice if I’m not at my desk.
I have to say, it’s nice to have a keyboard on order that I can actually expect to receive.

Hi Justin,

I’m curious - is there something you dislike about the Planck Light? The reason I ask is that my current daily driver is an Anne Pro 2 (White Kailh switches), and while I love it, the smaller size and weight of the Planck Light (if modded to add Bluetooth) would be attractive.

I also own a K380, btw - it’s a meh experience for me, but it gets the job done when I need a silent light keyboard for long-distance travel.

Ha, I love my Planck Light and it sits tethered to my iMac on my desk. What it cant do is move about the world with me and my iPad. That position is supposed be filled by the TextBlade, however we all know that story.
So hence my asking, However the K380 seems to get a few votes :wink:

Justin

I also use the Logitech K380, and like rubenrp it’s a meh typing experience for me. Much bigger and heavier than what I’ve seen of the TB online, and requires slightly more pressure to depress the keys than any keyboard I’ve ever used before, but it gets the job done.

It jumps seamlessly between the 3 devices that I’ve paired it to, and it’s easy to swap another device into any of the 3 slots. I’ve had mine for about 2 years now as my main keyboard and it’s still going on the batteries it came with. So all in all, it does exactly what I need it to.

It sure isn’t a Textblade though, from what I can tell.

Looking at the new keyboard for the ipad pros and wondered how a TextBlade design could be used. One thing of note is the stuff about it being HEAVY. I assume that is largely because the lighter it is, the more tipsy the ipad would be. As such, the advantage of the TB’s light weight may make it harder to have a design that would serve as a cover and keyboard/trackpad.

I’m not an engineer, but if anyone has any ideas, I’d be interested.

I am one of the people who have been waiting over 5 years to receive a TextBlade but your message made me go and look at my iPad in its cover. I can stand my iPad up to read and if I had a TextBlade I could type messages by laying the TB on the cover extension, my question is with the way the cover is made I would only have 2 3/4 inches for the TB to sit on the cover. I also have an Apple Pencil in an elastic holder on the iPad and if I move the Pencil to the inside of the case that would give me 3 3/4 inches to set the TB and my iPad would still stand now fitting against the Pencil. How much width do I need for a TextBlade?

The textblade, one set up, is 8 inches long by 3 inches deep at it’s most extreme points.

I’m always watching for any comments on the Textblade from places other than this forum too and over time, those people complaining (which is fine, depending on what they are saying - sometimes they just make stuff up) tend to periodically make statements about how the TB will be too late to the market and technology will have passed it by.

Most of us here know the most common tech “advances” that are supposed to make the TB meaningless - that being voice dictating. So I’ll start with that one.

First, we are not nearly close to that happening. Even if a phone, etc, could handle all the different ways people talk, there are all kinds of errors that pop up in grammar (two, to, too) or (they’re, their, there), not to mention words that are just not typically included for a given place. Just try to dictate some words we use a lot in Hawaii, especially locations, and watch the unrecognizable results! Then we have the human problem. When I type, it is pretty easy to think what I want to say just ahead of what I’m already typing. Trying to dictate, even if it is accurate, requires some training of the person doing the dictation. It feels extremely uncomfortable to me. We don’t usually think about how often we pause, say, “uh”, etc, in normal CONVERSATION, but you sure will notice that awkwardness when dictating! After all, this isn’t like the old days where an executive may dictate to a recording machine which a secretary later types up, removing all the odd stuff.

We are also seeing people acting like the iPad’s new keyboard will kill the TB. Well, I’ve written about that and certainly many people will be happy with it, especially since it includes a track pad. Fine. They may not want a TB. The fact that the magic keyboard costs far more may be justified by that trackpad being included. And that you don’t have to assemble anything to use it. Just open the iPad. Same advantage with the old keyboard covers, but even better. Also heavier. A lot.

OTOH, you can only use that with one ipad. And you also have the question of, when you later upgrade to another ipad, even if similar size, will there be a point where you simply can’t use the same magic keyboard for a new ipad? You certainly can’t go to a different size ipad! So that can be an additional cost, besides the starting price.

Nor can you use it with anything else. But let’s say I really like that ipad keyboard, buy it, and am happy with it. Does that render the TB meaningless? Heck, does it render any decent standard keyboard meaningless?

Nope, not even close. Using my own case as an example, here are some advantages of still having a TB:

  1. I can use it 6 devices (apparently 12 in the new firmware so I’m going to go with that). So I can use a single keyboard with my Mac, my laptop (granted, it’s from 2008 and I don’t normally use it except for a couple things new versions of the OS don’t let you do anymore), my Apple TV, my 9.7 inch ipad pro (the apple keyboard won’t work with this), my ipad mini, my main iphone, an older phone I keep as a backup in case something happens to my main one. Oh, and one connection to a dongle so I can always plug that into any computer. Let’s see, that totals 8 devices from one keyboard. Which means it leaves me 4 more. Well, I may want one or two with a standard qwerty map in case someone wants to try my TB but doesn’t know dvorak, which I use. And I could set some specialty layouts for games or something. Now, just that one item has a ton of advantages for the TB. Moving on:

  2. There is an inherent advantage to only needing to use one kind of keyboard for all typing. No need to adjust when switching from a laptop, to an ipad with magic keyboard, to my desktop, etc.

  3. Then we have the advantage with RSI. I don’t see how any keyboard that makes you reach more for keys can be as good for this as the TB.

  4. Customization. This is a tricky one since I gather there are apps that will let you customize other keyboards even if they do not have that capability built in. Still, this is somewhat of an advantage for the TB.

Some will argue that the extreme portability of the TB doesn’t matter to them. Which is fine. But my TB usage is close to 100% on my desktop where I have no need for portability. The only extensive time I use it with my ipad or iphone is when I fly to the mainland for a couple weeks and take just my ipad instead of the laptop that I used to take. Much easier.

In summary, since regular keyboards will still be with us for years, the TB certainly has not had technology pass it by!

Of course, it still has to actually get to GR, but that is a different discussion.

1 Like

I’m wondering how the MouseBlade (or whatever it will be called) will affect that. I guess it would be the combo of TextBlade and MouseBlade used with an iPad.

It might, but the advantage of a small trackpad built-in means one less thing to carry. For desktop use (which is my typical usage), the mouse may be just fine. After all, I don’t normally use my track pad since it doesn’t set up well for my situation.

I still wonder if a trackpad could be included in the structure we have now. Some have mentioned using the space blade. But I look at the key blades. It would, I guess, be more complicated since you have those gaps between key caps, but could not firmware theoretically handle that? For that matter, maybe just having one cap (the index finger ones - whichever side you prefer) be used? Yes, it is a pretty small area, but a lot of times you aren’t moving the cursor very far - and there are other ways to move long distances (page up and down, etc).

2 Likes