Apple’s iPads were the hottest gift of the year, with sales topping 15 million during the Christmas holiday, but there is one thing that many users complain about – the virtual keyboard.

To solve the problem, companies have created iPad-specific keyboards with real buttons. Consumer Reports tested several costing between $70 and $100.

“We found most of these keyboards have pros and cons,” said Consumer Reports’ Paul Reynolds.

Testers said the Menotek keyboard is lightweight and can be rolled up, but they found its’ small, soft keys hard to use.

“The RocketFish and Belkin keyboards we tested have convenient, tablet-specific buttons, like ‘Home’ and ‘Lock Screen,’ and they have shortcuts to do tasks like running a slideshow,” Reynolds said.


The RocketFish keyboard serves another purpose. It’s a case and a stand, but at more than 2 pounds, it’s pretty heavy. The Belkin case is so snug, it’s hard to get even the thinner iPad 2 in and out of it.

Consumer reports says a better option is the ZAGGfolio keyboard for $100.

“It’s not quite as snug a fit, and it has a versatile keyboard and handy iPad-specific buttons and shortcuts,” Reynolds said.

Those who want full-size keys, Consumer Reports says to try Apple’s wireless keyboard. At $70, it costs less than the others tested, but users need to pay extra for a stand and case.

Consumer Reports also tested keyboards for Android tablets, such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab. They liked the $70 Logitech keyboard. They say it is lightweight, has full-size keys and has customized tablet controls.

Web Editor: Kelly Hinchcliffe