Category: iPad Bluetooth Keyboards

Review: Amazon Basics Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard for iPad

The Amazon Basics Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard for iPad ($45) really is designed “for the iPad” in the sense that it has several iPad-specific keys. A “home button” key works just like the iPad’s home button, bringing up the home screen when pressed and the iPad’s task bar when double pressed. The keyboard’s Spotlight Search key brings up, what else, the iPad’s Spotlight Search. The keyboard’s key arrangement also imitates Apple’s own keyboards, with special Apple keys like Command and Function, so it works great with Macs, too.

At $45, and with a slim, sleek profile, the Amazon Basics Bluetooth Keyboard makes for an inexpensive imitation of Apple’s own popular Wireless Bluetooth keyboard, which costs about $25 more ($69).

I took the Amazon keyboard for a spin for a few weeks with my new 3rd-gen iPad (and wrote most of this article on it), and compared it with the Apple Wireless keyboard, which I use on a daily basis. Check out my video and text reviews below.

Video Review

Text Review

Typing. I found typing on the Amazon Basics Wireless to be comfortable, but not quite as comfortable as a regular desktop keyboard. The keys are slightly smaller and more cramped than the Apple Wireless keyboard, but the tighter spacing did not impede my accuracy or typing speed.

Just like most modern Apple keyboards, the Amazon keyboard keys are very quiet, with none of the reverberating clickity clack of conventional keyboards (although some people do love their old-school clickity clack). If you haven’t used a modern Apple keyboard, the “Scrabble tile” style keys take some getting used to. There’s a flat, dead feel to them at first. But in the long run, you’ll discover the keys require a lighter touch.

Weight. The Amazon Basics Wireless is an extremely lightweight keyboard, the lightest full keyboard I’ve used. It weighs only 9.6 ounces. That’s a few ounces lighter than the Apple Wireless, which weighs around 11.5 ounces.

Size. The keyboard is 10.4 inches wide, 4.6 inches tall, and 0.7 inches in height. For comparison, the Apple Wireless keyboard is 12 inches long, 6 inches wide, and .75 inches tall. Both are small when compared to desktop keyboards. The Amazon Basics keyboard will fit easily into any bag and maybe even a large purse.

Special iPad Keys: The Amazon keyboard comes with some special iPad keys, each labeled according to their functionality:

  • Home Button key (F1): Pressing the Home Button key (F1) does what pressing the iPad’s home button does: brings up the home screen. You can quickly double press F1 to bring up the iPad’s app-switching task bar. The F1 key is decorated with the same rounded square as the iPad’s home button.
  • Spotlight Search key (F2). Pressing the Spotlight Search key (F2) brings up Spotlight Search on the iPad (are you starting to see a pattern?), where you can search for apps, contacts, etc, depending on what your Spotlight settings are. The F2 key is decorated with a magnifying glass.
  • Music/Video Controls (F3-F8). With this set of keys you can play, pause, skip forward, skip back, mute, increase volume, and lower volume. The keys are decorated with the corresponding track control symbols.
  • Battery Indicator (F11). The Battery Indicator (F11) key has a status light that will briefly glow green when you turn on the keyboard to let you know the battery is good. They key as an image of a battery on it.
  • Bluetooth Indicator (F12). The Bluetooth Indicated key (F12) has a status light that will briefly glow blue to let you know either if it’s searching for a connection or when its connecting.
  • The Keyboard key. Located next to the F12 key, this key simply has an image of a keyboard on it. Pressing it will bring up the touchscreen keyboard on the iPad (when available), and pressing it again will close it.

Key combinations. Some key combinations don’t work with the iPad, and some do. Command + i (italicize) doesn’t work, and Command + b (bold) doesn’t work either. But there are plenty of key combinations that do work. Here are a few.

Key combinations that do work on the iPad:

  • Command + c = copy
  • Command + v = paste
  • Command + z = undo
  • Command + a = select all
  • Command + Shift + arrow = select all text in a line and jump to beginning/end
  • Shift + arrow = select
  • Command + arrow up = move cursor to home
  • Command + arrow down = move cursor to end
  • Command + arrow left/right = move cursor to beginning/end of line
  • Option + arrow = places cursor at end/beginning of a word

Other Notes:

The Amazon keyboard for iPad has a nice on/off switch on the bottom of the keyboard. This is worth mentioning only because, annoyingly, the Apple wireless keyboard’s on/off button is poorly designed and can easily be accidentally pressed when stored in a bag, running down the battery.

The keyboard is powered by 2 AAA batteries. A pair are included with the keyboard.

The keyboard will also work with the iPhone and most computers, basically anything that is HID bluetooth-profile compatible. Because the key configuration is of the Apple (Mac) variety, there will be some awkwardness when used with a Windows computer (although still quite usable).

The keyboard comes with a 1-year warranty.


Review Summary

I can recommend the Amazon Basics Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard for iPad to anyone looking for a cheap, small, lightweight, but still comfortable bluetooth keyboard for the iPad. While the Apple bluetooth keyboard is slightly bigger, roomier, and has larger keys, the Amazon keyboard’s advantages are its cheaper price ($25 or more cheaper), its on/off switch (see my complaint above about the Apple’s on/off switch), and the fact that its keys are labeled with their corresponding iPad functionality (for example, the home button key has the home button symbol on it), which the Apple keyboard lacks.


  • Comfortable to type on.
  • Light, thin, and portable.
  • Special iPad keys.
  • Relatively cheap $45 price tag.


  • Keys are slightly smaller and more cramped than an Apple Wireless Keyboard

7-2-2012 Update: While everything in my review still stands as concerns using this keyboard with the iPad, I started to use the Amazon keyboard with my iMac when my Apple Wireless conked out and find it to be a terrible keyboard for that purpose. If the keyboard goes to sleep after not being used in a while, there is about a 5-second gap from when you type on the keyboard until the iMac registers anything. Often, what you initially type is lost or becomes jumbled. The Apple Wireless keyboard, on the other hand, always works the instant you start typing, regardless of how long you’ve been away from the keyboard.

Chicago Sun-Times Reviews Wireless iPad Keyboards

Andy Ihnatko of the Chicago Sun Times recently published a nice roundup of recommended wireless keyboards for the iPad. Although he breaks his recommendations down into some pretty vague categories (see below), his top recommendation seems to be the Apple Wireless Keyboard, which I also reviewed for this site and can recommend. The Amazon Basics keyboard is also interesting as a cheaper clone of the Apple Wireless, in case you wanted to save $30.

Ihnatko’s list:


Review: Zippy BT-500 Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard With iPad

If you’re looking to write the next Great American Novel on the iPad, good luck using the iPad’s touchscreen keyboard. You’re going to need a physical keyboard. And wireless bluetooth keyboards are the current solution for connecting a traditional tactile keyboard to the iPad to get some serious typing done.

The Zippy BT-500 ($50) is such a bluetooth keyboard that can connect to the iPad, although with its cramped keys, it doesn’t end up improving much upon the touchscreen typing experience.

The Zippy BT-500 is an ultra-compact keyboard: just under 9 inches in length and 4 inches from top to bottom. It is much smaller than a normal desktop keyboard. The compromise the Zippy BT-500 makes for this smaller size is that its keys are smaller and more cramped than a normal keyboard. And that is where the rub lies with the Zippy BT-500.

At times, I found using the Zippy BT-500 only a slightly better experience than using the iPad’s touchscreen keyboard itself. The BT-500’s keys are too close together, and my fingers (which are pretty slender for man hands, by the way) too wide to accurately hit the keys. I found myself making just as many mistakes with the Zippy as with the iPad’s touchscreen keyboard. I was, however, able to increase my accuracy by using a slower hunt-and-peck method—where you use just your index fingers to slowly select and hit each key.

I can’t recommend the Zippy over the Apple’s own wireless bluetooth keyboard, which I’ve reviewed in the past for use with the iPad. The Zippy is cheaper at around $50 or less, compared to $70 for Apple’s bluetooth keyboard, but with Apple’s keyboard you get full-size keys, and at around 10 ounces compared to the Zippy’s 11+ ounces, the Apple is a little lighter as well.

That’s not to say the Zippy BT-500 doesn’t have some redeeming characteristics. It has the full 82 keys, including a Windows key that doubles as the Apple key—sacrilege for all the Mac users out there.

The BT-500’s signature feature is that it allows you to instantly switch to up to 6 bluetooth devices. For example, with just a press of a few keys, the keyboard can switch between the iPad and iPhone. A neat feature, but likely only useful to a handful of people.

The Zippy is powered by two AA batteries, which can easily be replaced via a removable access panel on its back. There is also an on/off switch next to the panel as well as a reset button.

Review Summary:

The Zippy BT-500 ($50) Wireless Bluetooth keyboard is impressively compact but makes too many sacrifices in the size and spacing of its keys to be comfortable to use. I found myself making just as many typing errors with the BT-500 as I did with the iPad’s own touchscreen keyboard. For just $20 more, you can get the Apple Wireless keyboard, which gives you full-size keys and a much more accurate and comfortable typing experience.