Best iPad keyboard case: 6 top cases to choose from

iPad cases with built-in Bluetooth keyboards

The original iPad is a wonderful tools for working on the go: it's lighter than laptops and have great battery lives that will put most portable PCs and Macs to shame.

Bung them in protective cases and off you go. But if you're doing loads of typing on your iPad, the on-screen keyboard isn't ideal; an external one is faster and more comfortable to work on.

So why not kill two birds with a single stone, or, in this instance, a case with a built-in Bluetooth keyboard? This way, your iPad is protected when you head out the door, and you've always got a keyboard with you when you want to do some serious typing.

There are quite a few cases available, so we've picked a selection to try out for you.

You connect the keyboard to your iPad wirelessly using Bluetooth. First time round, you'll need to pair the two by switching the keyboard into pairing mode (the instructions will tell you how to do this), and then going into the Settings app on your iPad, tapping General, then Bluetooth. The keyboard will appear in the list.

To use it, tap its name, wait a moment, then type the passcode that appears on the iPad's screen on the keyboard and press Return.

You'll only need to do this the first time round - each subsequent time, as soon as you switch on the keyboard, your iPad will pick it up, enabling you to get started instantly. Just remember to keep the batteries in the keyboard charged!

The Bluetooth link means you can use the keyboards with the iPhone and iPod touch too, of course, as well as with a PC or Mac if you wish.

1. Kensington Keyfolio Expert Multi Angle Folio & Keyboard

Price: £70 GBP / $100 USD

This keyboard and multi-angle stand is good in terms of functionality, but doesn't have the finesse that other cases here have - it's essentially a hard rubber folio that you can assemble into shape with a keyboard on one end. A suction lip means it can fit all the various iPad models, which is great, while the multi-angles are useful if you don't want to spend out for the Belkin, but the whole thing doesn't really look as smart as it should.

2. Photobox Personalised iPad Photo Case

Price: £50 GBP / $80 USD

This hard shell case slips onto your iPad 2 or later and is made from lightweight aluminium. But being from photo printing site Photobox, the trick is that you can personalise it with a photo of your choice on the other side. Indeed, you can even create a collage should you so wish. The keyboard charges via USB and can work for up to 100 hours on a single charge. Like some other cases here, it also fits onto your iPad magnetically.

3. Archos Bluetooth

Price: £40 GBP / $65USD

This Bluetooth keyboard is not only low cost, it's also one of our favourites here. Why? Because it's super thin at 5mm and fits onto your iPad 2 or later by magnetism. It isn't extremely light at 240g, but it's a fine accessory that complements the aluminium finish of your Apple device. The only downside is that it holds up your iPad by means of a sail-style fin that sticks out of the rear of the keyboard. It does the job OK, but isn't the most stable option.

4. Scosche Keypad iPad Case With Keyboard

Price: £70 GBP / $80 USD

The Scosche case is the solution for you if you want an iPad keyboard case that looks like you mean business. It's by no means thin, but the leather folio is certainly protective, while it incorporates not only the keyboard, but also a strong kickstand. The iPad clips into the folio using magnets and the keyboard features a long 75-hour battery life. The only downside is the keyboard itself, which isn't as good as some here.

5. Belkin Ultimate Keyboard Case

Price: £100 GBP / $100 USD

This extremely expensive 6.5mm-thick Bluetooth keyboard case has a few tricks up its sleeve, not least the ability to manage its own power - there's no on or off button. It's easy to charge via USB, the keys are nicely spaced, and it's a smart cover, too, so you can wake your iPad up when you open the case. The case is also designed to passively focus the iPad's sound towards you, and there are three angles of keyboard position, too.

6. Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover

Price: £70 GBP / $100 USD

Available in different colours - black, white and this hugely bright red, the 10mm-thick Bluetooth-based cover has only one downside - it's not quite as ultrathin as its name suggests. As a cover, it's super tough, and has the benefit of waking your iPad when you open it and sleeping it when you close it. It also attaches with the same sort of magnetic lip that the Apple Smart Covers do. Again USB charged, it also boasts an incredibly long battery life of up to six months and offers a comfy typing experience, too.




Dan (Twitter, Google+) is TechRadar's Former Deputy Editor and is now in charge at our sister site Lifehacker UK. Covering all things computing, internet and mobile he's a seasoned regular at major tech shows such as CES, IFA and Mobile World Congress. Dan has also been a tech expert for many outlets including BBC Radio 4, 5Live and the World Service, The Sun and ITV News.