External Keyboard or Virtual Keyboard? – Poll & More

Writer Michael DeLisi and I are curious to see how many of our readers actually like the iPhone’s virtual keyboard. I, personally, have heard tons of complaints about the keyboard being “too small”, “too responsive”, or something else of the same nature. Me? I love the virtual keyboard currently on the iDevice and couldn’t think of anything as an alternative. Even so, I have highlighted a few external keyboards below, and there’s a poll for you guys.

UPDATE (6/27): Well, thus far the virtual keyboard has been the apparent winner; I guess it’s only a small population who dislikes it. Unless there’s a miracle, external probably won’t be making a comeback in the poll above. I’m not going to close the poll, anytime soon, so keep on voting people!


Vote for your preference:

Do you prefer an external keyboard over the iPhone's or iPod Touch's virtual keyboards?

View Results

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External Keyboards That Are Available:

About any bluetooth enabled keyboard that you can also use for desktops/laptops:
When Apple released iOS 4, the support for bluetooth keyboard connectivity was added. You can use the built in bluetooth on your iPhone or iPod Touch to pair your device with a bluetooth enabled keyboard. To turn on bluetooth: go into Settings—>General—>Bluetooth

Keyboard Buddy Case for iPhone 4 (Our Review)
For people that truly lack the ability to type on the iPhone’s virtual keyboard, the Keyboard Buddy case from Boxwave in a case that instantly transforms your iPhone 4 into everyday slider phones. It’s got a full, slide-out QWERTY keyboard. It does give you functionality, but it also gives you a little bit more bulk and takes the originality away from the iPhone’s design, making it another “average” phone. Plus, the case is going to run you $69.95.

ThinkGeek iPhone Case with Flip-Out Keyboard
Ever seen the T-Mobile Sidekick? This case from tech-lovers ThinkGeek turns your iPhone into a device with similar mechanics. Although it doesn’t quite make your iPhone look like a Sidekick, it makes the keyboard function like one. The case swivels counter-clockwise to reveal a flip-out, bluetooth-connected keyboard, which can then be used for typing on your iPhone. When not in use, the keyboard is stowed under the part of the case that houses your iPhone, making your phone look a bit bulkier. Considering it’s made my ThinkGeek, the quality is probably decent and the design sure does look interesting. You can purchase a case for your iPhone 4 or iPhone 3GS at the above link for $39.99.

Verbatim Bluetooth Mobile Keyboard
This 12.5 in. long, QWERTY, folding keyboard connects to mobile devices (including an iPhone) via bluetooth. It’s nothing special in terms of design, but since the iPhone is special, the keyboard comes with an iPhone stand to make typing easier. It’s not something that you’d want to, or could, carry in your pocket, but with the included Carrying Pouch, you can take the keyboard with you in a backpack or suitcase worry-free. If you’re willing to spend $99.99 on a keyboard that makes typing on your iPhone easier and also maintains the good looks of the iPhone, then Verbatim’s solution is for you.

Jorno: The Folding Bluetooth Keyboard:
The Jorno, which will be available to the public soon this year, is a full 8.5 in. qwerty keyboard that can be folded to be stowed easily. Its design lets you easily carry it around in your pocket in the form of a petite, little square, which can then be unfolded and used as a bluetooth keyboard. Also included with it, is a detachable cradle which will house your device at a position easy to view while typing. You can preorder the Jorno for $99.99. See compatibility:

Apple® iOS 4.0 and greater
Android™ OS 1.6 and greater
Blackberry® 4.0 and greater
Windows® Mobile 5.0 and greater
Symbian™ 1.0 and greater
WebOS™ 2.0 and greater

Any thoughts? Know of any other external keyboards for the iPhone or even the iPod Touch? Leave your questions and comments below.