Skip to main content

Want to type on that tablet? Here are our favorite Bluetooth keyboards and cases

Tablets make great consumption devices for video, books, magazines, and pictures, but they’re also good for productivity with a little help. A Bluetooth keyboard is a must if you want to get some work done that involves a lot of typing – just know that not all keys are made equal.

Tablet keyboards often lack key features that make “real” keyboard so easy to use, like good travel (how hard you have to press) and tactile feedback (the springiness or responsiveness of keys), well-sized and spaced keys that won’t have you mashing two or three at once, and access to often used functions. Good keyboard designers can incorporate all of these even into small devices. Here are some examples of the best:

Best Bluetooth Keyboard for iPad and Android Tablets

iWalk ExecutiveStandalone keyboards aren’t bound by the size of a specific tablet and thus are more versatile. For instance, the iWalk Executive Bluetooth keyboard ($60) works just as well with iOS as it does with Android tablets and smartphones. We like that it’s light and thin while still offering decent tactile feedback, key travel, and key size. No oddly placed or smushed-together keys here.

The Executive’s cover is also the tablet/phone stand and keeps the device close so you don’t have to reach far for taps. The kickstand allows for a few different angles, though the range isn’t wide. For something so light it lasts a long time on one charge. Even though the faux-leather look isn’t as classy as the MiniSuit for the Nexus 7, the overall aesthetics are above average for Bluetooth keyboards in this price range.

Best Keyboard Case for iPad Air and iPad Mini

ZaggKeys FolioTo protect both the front and back of the iPad you need a folio case, and Zagg makes a great one. The ZaggKeys Folio for iPad Air and iPad Mini ($74 – $80) has a sturdy back to snap the tablet into and a hinge that allows for multiple positions. It’s close to a clamshell design but without the bulk and weight associated with Windows 8 keyboard docks.

The keys themselves are well-sized with only a few shrunken ones and none in odd/awkward places. They offer good travel for a case so thin and are backlit in blue to boot. We also really like the control key row above the number row that give you one-touch access to media controls, lock screen, even Back and Forward.

There’s a similar case for iPad generations 2, 3 and 4 with the same keyboard but a different folio design.

Best Keyboard Case for Nexus 7

MiniSuit Keyboard Stand Case for Google Nexus 7Just as with the iPad Mini, keyboard cases and folios for small Android tablets have to compromise on size to fit with the screen size. So you want a case that mitigates this problem the best it can. The MiniSuit Keyboard Stand Case for Google Nexus 7 (2013) ($28) offers good balance between size and typing comfort. The keyboard portion of the folio is thick enough that keys have deeper travel than you’ll find on most portable keyboards and a good size battery so you won’t have to charge it as often. It’s not so thick that the case becomes unwieldy.

The case itself is made of a leather-like material that looks good and offers moderate protection. Your Nexus will stay snug in the upper pocket whether you’re using it or just carrying around. Bonus: opening and closing the folio turns the screen on and off. The kickstand on the back only offers one position which is ideal for typing, just not always for watching video. You can fold the keyboard under the tablet for touch-only use, but if you’re going to use it this way for a while it’s still better to slip the tablet out.

Best Keyboard Cover for the iPad, iPad Mini, and iPad Air

Logitech UltrathinLogitech’s Ultrathin covers for the iPad and iPad Mini ($75) have always been a big favorite due to the slim and lightweight design and the convenience of attaching it to the tablet on the magnetic edge, just like the Smart Cover. After the iPad Air debuted Logitech made a version for Apple’s newest tablet ($100) that is just as great as previous models. The thinness means that key travel is shallow, though that is not a very big problem when you’re going for ultra portability above all else. Keys are a good size and well spaced on the large versions; even touch typists will be able to get up to speed after a short time getting used to them. The Mini’s keyboard is somewhat cramped due to the size of the tablet. This compromise is necessary if you want a keyboard and cover in one.

As a cover, the Ultrathin protects the screen but not the back of the iPad and turns the display on and off. The metal back looks enough like the iPad’s own aluminum finish that they blend aesthetically, keeping things classy even when you’re getting work done.

Best Clamshell Case for the iPad

ClamCase ProAre you jealous of all those Android and Windows 8 2-in-1 devices that go from tablet to laptop-like clamshell with only a click? Apple hasn’t seen fit to jump on this bandwagon, so you’ll have to turn elsewhere for this functionality. The ClamCase Pro ($170) is such a best – a keyboard case made from aluminum and plastic that turns your iPad or iPad Mini into a laptop-like device (an iPad Air version is coming).

The aesthetics here might fool you into thinking it’s an Apple product since the package looks very close to a MacBook Air with the iPad inside. One big difference: the 360 degree hinge makes the whole thing work like the Lenovo Yoga. Fold it back completely for tablet use, or use the base to prop the iPad up for viewing mode. Compared to the iPad alone, the ClamCase is relatively heavy at 3 pounds, though that solidity means it’s tough and durable; an acceptable trade-off.

Best Bluetooth Keyboard for Android and Windows 8 Tablets

Logitech Tablet Keyboard for Android and WindowsWe’re starting to see more Windows 8 tablets that are truly tablets and not part of a 2-in-1 package with a keyboard. That doesn’t mean you won’t still need physical keys (especially considering the annoying Windows on-screen keyboard). Per usual, Logitech has the answer. You might recognize the company’s Tablet Keyboard for Windows and Android ($63) because it’s almost exactly the same as the one made for Android and iPad from a couple of years ago. This model is made to work with Windows 8 and RT plus Android 3.0 and above (including smartphones) and includes special keys like the Start button and media controls.

This is not the thinnest or lightest keyboard we’ve used, but if you’re going to do a lot of typing you will appreciate not only the size of the keys but the travel and tactile feedback. The keyboard is light for it’s size and slim enough that it won’t take up too much room in your bag. The cover does double duty as a tablet stand and will hold screen sup to 13 inches.

Editors' Recommendations

K. T. Bradford
Former Digital Trends Contributor
K. T Bradford is a lover of gadgets and all things geek. Prior to writing for Digital Trends she cut her teeth on tech…
There’s only one reason I’m still using an iPhone in 2023
A green iPhone 15 lock screen.

It's not an understatement to say I am an Android smartphone fan, as an Android phone has been my faithful companion ever since I started using the HTC Desire in 2010. I've bounced from phone to phone in the 13 years since, and I've experienced good and bad phones alike. But in all that time, I've never spent much time with an Apple iPhone. I'm obviously not unfamiliar with iPhones, having used them during my time as a tech writer grabbing screenshots, downloading apps, and testing games — but never having used one as my primary smartphone is something of a blind spot.

The Apple iPhone 15 is a good reason to end that. After all, if I'm going to use an iPhone, it might as well be Apple's latest. Two weeks after booting it up and transferring my data to it, it's been ... a journey. While I can see the iPhone 15 is an excellent smartphone, too many of iOS's idiosyncracies rub me the wrong way. However, there's one feature I've grown to really love, and I'm going to struggle to live without it.
The iPhone 15 is a mixed bag

Read more
Google Maps got a major update, and people hate it
Google Maps running on a Pixel 8 Pro, showing the new colors as of November 2023.

Over the past few weeks, Google has been quietly rolling out a fresh coat of paint for its popular Google Maps app — and it’s been creating havoc over the holiday travel season.

While some people may understandably be frustrated at any changes made to such an established and widely used app, there seems to be more to this than just people being put off by unfamiliar colors. The many folks taking to social media to voice their displeasure with the redesign have been joined by professional user interface (UI) designers expressing similar, but more nuanced observations. Even a designer who once worked on Google Maps is pillorying the new design as a backward step for the service’s usability.

Read more
I found the perfect Android tablet to buy this year
Man holds Blackview Active 8 Pro rugged Android tablet in black color with a leather strap.

The iPad primarily dominates the market for tablets despite an exceptionally powerful battalion of great Android tablets. In the lower price ranges, however, Android dominates with countless offerings — often from lesser-known brands. With Google's reignited interest in the tablet segment, brands like OnePlus put up great competition -- even challenging the iPad -- in the sub-$500 segment. But as you go lower in price, you may find brands cutting costs to stay profitable in the competitive market.

The Blackview Active 8 Pro feels like an exception, with solid and reliable hardware, an everlasting battery, and a desktop-like experience that isn't seen on tablets higher up the price ladder. For just $360 (and potentially even cheaper during the holiday shopping season), this tablet feels appropriate whether you have an active lifestyle, are just looking for a secondary device to feed your appetite for sofa-tainment, or dedicate a device for your kids.

Read more