I was quite late to the tablet game as I had been burnt by my 2 previous attempts to force a mobile device to do more than it was designed to ( the devices being the Palm III and the Nokia N-Gage) and being more than happy to jump from android phone to full size laptop for my different computing needs, but as I am doing more and more with my Nexus 7 (including writing this blog) I thought I would note down something that I have found to be at odds with the what everyone else seems to be doing.
Data entry on tablets has improved hugely, the smart soft keyboards are brill, I personally think Swift Key on the android is a work of genius and know of at least one occasion where it has lead to someone moving from apple to android, these meet the requirements of most people, BUT I still think there is a place for a proper keyboard and by proper I don’t mean one of those naff portable keyboards that fold up, I have tried 3 different ones and they all compare poorly against the soft keyboards. the only thing that is actually better than the modern soft keyboard is your actual laptop keyboard, and that strangely is the answer.
I have ended up with the Lenovo thinkpad usb keyboard, and quite simply its perfect, its full size with all the proper keys, this is no wonder as it is basically one of the award winning think pad laptop keyboards in a ultra thin case, nipple mouse and all, it is exactly A4 in size so fits in any A4 folder meaning that not only does it fit nicely with any of your papers but cases are easy to get and cheap.
before you scoff, and I get the inevitable “well why not just use a laptop” bare in mind I use a Lenovo W Series so
At IBM connect there were a couple of times when I pulled out a full size keyboard that I generated a moment of mirth that moved to a ‘Ooooo’ when I simply plugged it in and started typing on my lap with no fuss or compromise
An extra advantage for me is that as I also use a think pad laptop the keyboard is exactly the same so I feel completely at home, If you are a Mac boy I would perhaps recommend the apple blue tooth keyboard and get the same advantage
The second thing is cases and stands for the nexus 7 and other small tablets, I tried a fold over case and reckon that unless of the highest quality and the tablet is designed for them (Such as with an IPad) they are a pain in the arse, a 7 inch tablet will fit in a jeans back or jacket pocket just fine without a case, but when I tried a case I started leaving it behind as it was just that bit too bulky, it was easier that for the life of the product I simply take care of the darn thing as I do my phone. but there are times when you do need a stand (I’m using one as I type) for this I found the tiny,cheap but perfect Igo mobile phone stand to be just perfect (despite what the guy in the shop insisted)