The Adonit Writer (approximately $99) is an iPad case with an integrated bluetooth keyboard. Originally a Kickstarter project (which is how I purchased mine), the Writer (for iPad 1) becomes available for purchase from Adonit’s website at 9:00 a.m. Pacific on June 10. Adonit Writer turns your iPad into a touchscreen notebook computer that you can carry in one hand. And, finally, you can get some real writing done on your iPad without having to use the touchscreen keyboard.
The Writer comes in simple packaging with equally minimal instructions, but it’s pretty obvious how to use the device. You put three triple A batteries in one side of the round part of the keyboard, insert your iPad in the frame, and turn bluetooth on in your iPad settings. Hold Writer’s power button down until you see the bluetooth connection dialog on your iPad. Make the connection, and that’s it. You’re ready to type. You only have to go through this process once. After you’ve done the initial setup, all you have to do is turn the Writer and iPad on.
The Writer keyboard is teeny tiny, so it’s a bit hard to get used to at first. One annoying thing is the placement of the shift key on the right side. It is over on the far right and if you don’t reach far enough, you accidentally hit the up key and find yourself typing on the wrong line. I’ve done that quite often, and I suspect I’ll keep doing it until I get really familiar with typing on the Writer. All the other keys are in their normal spots, so hitting the wrong key isn’t as big of a problem. That said, because the keyboard is tiny, your hands feel quite cramped, and, if you have big, beefy fingers, you might find the tiny keys difficult to work with.
One cool thing about Writer’s keyboard is you can use function keys to change volume on your iPad, switch to the iPad’s keyboard, search, etc. You’ll also discover that Writer’s keyboard includes Apple’s option and command keys. There’s also a lock button that shuts off your iPad and turns it back on. On the far left is a key that sends you to your iPad’s home screen where you can select apps. The Writer can be situated at various viewing angles simply by moving the keyboard forward or backward. And the case provides enough support that you can use it on your lap.
When you’re done writing, simply turn the iPad off and close the case. The Writer’s keyboard automatically turns off and on when you shut or open the case, and Writer for iPad 2 will act just like Apple’s cover, also turning the iPad off and on when you open and close it.
When you shut the case, your iPad’s screen is protected from the keyboard by three rubber feet. Simply stretch the rubber band closure over the top and your iPad is securely in its case. You can charge your iPad while it’s in the case and all the other openings and ports are accessible. The Writer has an easy eject system, so if you want to watch a movie or read without the keyboard in the way, it’s easy to get your iPad out.
The Adonit Writer is a wonderful keyboard/case combo. It’s light, small, and ingeniously made. If you are a writer or a student or a person who prefers typing on a real keyboard, you’ll love this device. You don’t have to carry around a separate keyboard, and when you’re ready to write, open the case, turn the iPad on and you’re off. The case/keyboard combo adds very little weight to your svelte iPad, and the case itself provides adequate protection from dust and scratches. I don’t know how well it would protect your iPad if you dropped it on the ground, however.
When I first opened up my Writer, I admit, I was a little concerned about the quality of the case. The frame into which you fit your iPad is plastic and the cover itself feels like thin cardboard. My first thought was, “This thing isn’t going to last very long.” However, even though the plastic frame feels a bit flimsy without the iPad inserted, it is actually very strong. I found this out when I had to switch out my original keyboard with another because of a problem with the battery door. In order to remove the keyboard, I had to pop open the frame, and it took a lot of force. I was impressed at the frame’s strength. As for the cover, the materials used are supposed to be thin in order to keep the case light. An additional plus is that the entire case is recyclable.
My only other complaint is the size of the keyboard. Obviously it has to be small to fit the case and the iPad. But, it is cramped, and, as I said above, the shift key is in an awkward position. Still, typing on Writer is far, far better than trying to type on the iPad’s screen. My main reason for getting an iPad was its small form factor, but typing quickly and accurately on the on-screen keyboard is next to impossible. The Adonit Writer provides the solution: a light, form-fitting iPad case and a keyboard all in one.
Adonit Writer is currently available only for iPad 1, which will disappoint those of you lucky enough to own an iPad 2. The company is working hard to get iPad 2 units ready for early July, but an exact ship date has not yet been posted.
The Adonit Writer is the perfect companion for people who want to do some real writing on the iPad. In essence, it completes the iPad, making it the productivity tool it was intended to be. As Adonit’s website says, it’s the “keyboard your iPad always wanted.”