|Jan 20, 2013, 06:19 PM||#1|
$26 Bluetooth keyboard + Smart Cover mod
I ordered one of these $25.80 Bluetooth keyboards for my iPad mini:
I have to say, I'm very surprised! It's cramped, like all iPad mini sized keyboards, but other than that it's a great chiclet style keyboard that pairs and works without any issues.
I did however end up going to town on it with my DIY ideas. The keyboard is designed to be used without a case, so you just snap it onto the entire keyboard to protect the iPad mini when not in use. I use a case for my mini, so I cut off the clips that were there to hold the iPad, one of which also blocked the space bar.
Then I took it one step further and added magnets to the side of it so that it would work with an iPad mini Smart Cover, as well as the black third party cover I had lying around. Finally I blocked off the part on the top with the pop-up stand with a piece of high quality cardboard from a ring binder. I used the DIY air-curing rubber material Sugru for both the magnets and for securing and merging the cardboard piece with the keyboard.
The cardboard piece just hides the top part of the keyboard. Originally that part has both the cut off clips, fold-out stand, two rubber pads, and two plastic "access panels" or whatever they are:
Originally the plan was to have the smart cover on the keyboard just for keeping it dust free and smooth in a bag, but I quickly realized that it had many more uses. Because I now have both an iPad mini and a keyboard for it that has smart covers on them, I can attach them to eachother in different ways. I found a handful of useful "configurations", as well as some that didn't work, but my two favorite ones are:
This one is useful for transport, since you end up with one "lump" of gear instead of two pieces that flop around.
It's hard to see it in the image, but the keyboard's smart cover is here folded partly underneath the keyboard, leaving one of the three flaps sticking out the back. The Mini's smart cover then magnetically attaches to that part of the keyboard's cover. The result is a much more secure setup where there's no way the iPad mini is tipping over, because it's being held down by the keyboard's cover.
I don't like keyboard cases, as they assume you want to always have the keyboard with you. This setup allows me to snap the keyboard onto the mini in various configurations when needed, and just be a completely separate unit when not.
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