Here’s How and Why I Use a Bluetooth Keyboard

It’s National Novel Writing Month once again, time to challenge yourself to write 50000 words in 30 days, no easy feat! But with your Android device by your side, you can keep working on your novel or non-fiction book anywhere and anytime. Throughout this week, we’ll share our best apps, thoughts, and tips to help you achieve that writing goal.

Earlier today, my colleague Abhimanyu Ghoshal reviewed Thumb Keyboard and explained how it’s helping him write on-the-go with nothing but Nexus 7. I, on the other hand, have bought and use a bluetooth hardware keyboard. As a matter of fact, I’m typing this on my Nexus 7 using it.

In this article I’m going to explain the benefits of using wireless keyboards with your Android device and show how much easier you can make your everyday life.

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I’ll start this review by pointing to the keyboard that I actually use. It’s the Logitech Bluetooth Keyboard For iPad. You probably just wondered why I’m using an iPad optimised keyboard on an Android device. Well, there are three reasons for this. First, and in general, iPad and Apple accessories are usually a lot better quality-wise and have a better availability. Second, the only parts which are specialised for the iPad on this keyboard are the eleven hotkeys on the top bar. Admittedly, only seven actually work with my Nexus 7, but these are the ones that I actually need and use.

The Logitech Keyboard.

The final reason is the design. The Logitech Keyboard’s look is really sleek and elegant, making it something you would actually want to use. It isn’t a bulky design with keys crammed together, instead, it’s a beautiful piece of hardware which comes in a very complimenting case that doubles as a stand.

How to Set Up a Bluetooth Keyboard

When my keyboard first arrived, I was skeptical as to whether it would actually work and how easy it would be to set up. But when it came down to it, it took me less than twenty seconds to have everything up and running – quite a pleasant surprise!

Bluetooth screen on the Nexus 7.

One of Android’s advantages is that connecting new bluetooth devices is really simple. It’s a 4-step process:

  • Turn on the Bluetooth on your phone or tablet.
  • Tap on your device’s name to make Bluetooth visible to all devices for two minutes.
  • Select Search For Devices and when your new keyboard appears in the list, tap on it.
  • You will be asked to type in a specific code on your keyboard. Do it and you should be up and ready to write your next masterpiece.

Typing in the specific code.

Why Do I Prefer This Method?

My Nexus 7 has quickly become my third arm. I use it everywhere I go, and text entry is the most frequent activity. Whether I’m talking to my friends over Facebook Messenger, writing my newest Doctor Who fanfiction or delivering a new article to Android.Appstorm, there’s a considerable amount of typing required. To be honest though, small tasks such as messaging and searching the web work well on the onscreen keyboard. But when it comes to larger text entry, typing 1000+ words on the standard Android Jelly Bean keyboard would take forever despite the predictive input.

Speed isn’t essential for a writer, but a compatible and comfortable method is, especially for longer writing sessions. Another thing worth mentioning is the fact that using a bluetooth keyboard leaves the whole screen available for whatever you’re working on. Compared to software keyboards which hide half the screen, having more of your text visible with better access to all the editing functions is a great advantage.

The keyboard I use isn’t small either. I usually find it extremely annoying when keyboards aren’t responsive enough, or when their keys aren’t well spaced. The Logitech gives my fingers space, and allows them to drift over the keys. And unlike an onscreen keyboard, there’s enough feedback for me to know a key has been pressed and to type without looking. The design actually resembles an Apple Keyboard — one of the best keyboards to date — and should be second nature to Mac users. For others, it’s simple enough that it won’t take long to grasp either.

So whether I’m working on fiction or non-fiction, having a bluetooth keyboard brings a major improvement to my workflow, at a relatively small investment cost.

Wrap Up

Nexus 7 aside, my keyboard was one of the best purchases I’ve made this year. It allows me to write anywhere I want, and is portable enough that I don’t always have to be trapped in my study staring at a desktop for hours. So far, I’ve used it on the train and at Starbucks — I’m not really the adventurous type, but I’m getting there.

For those who travel frequently and wouldn’t like to carry a laptop around or would prefer the versatility of a tablet, having a bluetooth keyboard seems like a perfect solution. You can easily turn your device into the perfect netbook, while still having the portability of a tablet, reducing the weight and increasing the simplicity.

What’s your take on text input on Android tablets and phones? Do you use onscreen keyboards like Abhimanyu or have you bought a bluetooth keyboard like me?

  • Joe Casabona

    Nice write up! Have you see this one:

    It looks like pretty much the same thing, only billed for Android. I might pick it up to see how well it works!

    • Samuel Scott

      Hey Joe, Thanks.

      I was actually unaware of an Android version actually existing before this point in time. It’s probably exactly the same keyboard, but, maybe it will be compatible with more Android devices than my one,

    • Milind

      Nice article & useful suggestion in the reply. I use Dell XPS ultrabook as my portable laptop (can’t stop using Windows yet-:) and Samsung Smartphone (Galaxy SIII) as my cell phone. Am happy & satisfied with both of them. Agree with you that touch screen key board has limitations and a wireless keyboard is an excellent solution.
      Will this logitech wireless keyboard for android work with my smartphone?

  • Steve Heinrich

    It’s so weird because I just started looking into this topic today! I am getting a Nexus 7 this holiday season and I started looking for a bluetooth keyboard.

    What writing apps do you suggest? Something like Google Drive?… anything else that’s good out there?

  • Godson66

    Skip all that and get a Asus EePad…. TF101, TF201,TF300, TF700…..

    • ActionAl

      Right on. And my Asus TF700 keyboard has a full size SD port, regular USB port, and an extra battery to double life up to 18 hours of use. Kicks iPad arse.

  • C.Reese

    As Joe stated I have the same keyboard but its for android. It actually reads android 3.0+ on the box.

  • Dan Sullivan

    I’ve used the Microsoft Bluetooth keyboard on my iPhone, iPad, laptop, etc. for about 18 months now. I love it. I agree with you that an extra keyboard is big and bulky, but sitting a phone down between me and a client and being able to TYPE notes is far better than putting up a big laptop screen wall between us.

    I just sit down my phone (start evernote) and put my keyboard on the table. The notes are a litte rough, but far better than what I’d have with pen & paper.

  • Greg Alonso

    Type type up. I’ve been using an old foldable Bluetooth keyboard that doesn’t really cut it. One thing I liked using before was a Bluetooth mouse, but ever since my upgrade to ICS on my Droid the cursor is small and hard to see

  • Bob M

    Why bother with a tablet if you need a keyboard? Surely your requirement is for a netbook – tablet and keyboard equals netbook????

  • Nick

    I use a Bluetooth keyboard for my motorola zoom tablet. It’s great for typing up longer emails or other documents. It is not too bulky to take on the road with you either. I leave the laptop home and strictly use the tablet and keyboard when on the road.

  • Robb R.

    To be completely honest, the authors three reasons for using Logitech’s iPad Bluetooth keyboard are entirely idiotic. First, when it comes to accessories made by 3rd-party companies, there is NO difference in quality, ESPECIALLY when the company makes the same product for more than one line (ie. both Apple & Android versions, in this case). Second, to use said product when you know that only 7 of a certain group of 11 keys won’t function is even more idiotic. Finally, the Android version of the keyboard is just as “sleek & elegant” as the iPad version…only BETTER, as ALL keys function.

    The truth is, except for the labeling on a few of the keys, the two keyboard look EXACTLY alike (and the quality is 100% IDENTICAL). Now, I’m not calling the author of this article an idiot, but his comments, as well as his reasonings behind using the iPad version, instead of the Android version, are 100% idiotic. It’s obvious to me…as it should be to anyone else reading his article…that he is nothing more than your typical iSheep fanboy, & will use any excuse to promote Apple, Apple products, & products made for Apple devices by other companies, even when writing an Android-related article.

    • Rita El Khoury

      Yes, he writes for Android.Appstorm, has a Nexus 7 yet is an iSheep fanboy. Brilliant deduction.

  • Bruno Rodrigues

    Hello, thank you for the article.
    I use a small bluetooth keyboard myself, but I have a problem when I use it with my Galaxy S3. When wifi is conected and when I’m surfing the net and put a url in the browser it gives me repeatdly strokes and Im not cliking in it. Do you had the same experience? I read that are some people with this problem and is related with bluetooth and wifi conflicts. Thank you for yur input.

  • Ray

    I have a galaxy note that I use for work and to edit PhD theses. I use the same logitech keyboard at home and a roll up keyboard on the go. It keeps me lightweight and productive, and has the added entertainment value of causing one poor guy to fall over a neighbouring table in a coffee shop because he was to busy gawking at my miniature set up.

  • Siggi

    Too bad BT-Keyboards and Android works only with US-layout.
    Tried a few combinations but none worked wih german keyboard settings properly.

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  • sanju

    How do you type in so much of words in such a small screen? What about the fact that the screen would go blank from time to time?
    It must also be difficult to adjust and edit the texts sans a mouse.
    BTW Sam…how is your progress with Nano? Would love to share ideas and experience since I am also doing it.

  • Gernot

    Does it work to pair a bluethooth keyboard and a bluethooth headset at once? I use a hama stereo headset (great sound) and a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1.

  • rock

    why don’t you use voice to text feature available in all on screen keyboards

  • Rykel

    I am about to get a Bluetooth Keyboard too but it seems like NONE of them works universally With Android, Windows AND Linux.

  • Ashraf83

    No and no, i dont need a bluetooth keyboard since my smartphone sony xperia pro comes with a qwerty keyboard. Been using my phone for email, messaging and even for invoices or estimate. I dont think bringing along a keyboard would be easy as i travel alot to meet a client, i wish if only apple decided to make iphone with qwerty keyboard, that would be nice since i love iphone design alot and hardware but it didnt match up with my preference, so i pick up sony xperia pro as a mobile business user

  • Jon

    How do I get back to the standard keyboard from a Hotkey keyboard
    I have an Andriod Tablet with iPad kebooard and pushed the wrong keys
    somehow. No manual was included.

  • Shwetank Bansal

    Thanks for the great review.
    I’d like to know if this keyboard would work with a desktop with windows too ?

  • paul dare

    I have a Droid Pro running Android 2.3.4. Do you know if the Logitech bluetooth keyboard will pair with this phone? I get to the “Type PIN to pair…(try 000 or 1234) but the keyboard strokes will not register in the window so I can’t get them to pair.

    Any ideas?

  • Facebook User

    I have a HTC V 4g. I love the on screen realestate but the keyboard was taking up so much room. Now, with a bluetooth keyboard, I can even control the music functions on the keyboard (Logitech 920-003976). I am looking forward to taking it to school instead of lugging my laptop around campus.

  • Rene Massengale

    I have 2 issues and 1 keyboard: 1st) My LG android says there is an HID issue (2) my tracfone says wrong code. $ digits tried all of the same number and now where. Tried 6 digits all of the same number and still nowhere. So what is the CODE??

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