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.
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 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!
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.
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.
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?