If you've done any shopping for a tablet lately, you’ve probably realized that they are not one-size-fits-all devices. While one person may use his tablet for business meetings and presentations, another may use it for watching movies and playing games. Some people prefer a smaller, 7-inch model while others want a larger 10-inch screen. Then there’s the choice of OS with Apple’s iOS, Android, and Windows all competing for a slice of the pie. Regardless of how you use your tablet, though, there are plenty of tablet accessories that can add to the enjoyment and functionality of your device.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the most popular and useful accessories you can buy for your tablet. Some of these accessories are universal so even if you upgrade tablets later on, you’ll still be able to use them without having to re-invest in something new. Things like cases and a few other accessories are generally specific to a particular model, but many of the most popular designs are available for a number of different tablet models.
Probably one of the most obvious accessories people think of when it comes to tablet accessories is a case to protect the device from whatever life has to offer—drops, spills, scratches, and other hazards. Tablet cases come in all shapes and sizes and have a number of different features.
Kensington KeyCover Hard Shell iPad Keyboard (K39785)
If you’re looking for something that can add protection to your iPad while also adding utility, the Kensington KeyCover Hard Shell iPad Keyboard is a good option. You can snap an iPad 2, 3rd generation iPad, or 4th generation iPad into this case to protect the screen and corners of the tablet. While snapped in the shell, your iPad’s ports and volume controls are still accessible. One thing to note: when snapping the iPad into this case, you’ll want to make sure to orient the tablet so you can still access the ports—the tablet will snap in either way, but will be much harder to remove if you snap it in the wrong way. When the tablet is snapped into the shell, it holds the iPad very securely.
When you’re ready to work, remove the iPad and rest it on the pop up stand to use the keyboard. The stand will hold your iPad in either landscape or portrait mode. This keyboard connects with your iPad wirelessly through Bluetooth. The KeyCover Hard Shell iPad Keyboard has rubber feet to keep the shell from sliding on a desk.
The keyboard is very comfortable to use and features scissor keys that are optimized for a touch typist. Above the number keys, you’ll notice this keyboard supports various commands including media playback controls and volume options. Kensington says the rechargeable battery in the KeyCover Hard Shell iPad Keyboard should last for 200 days of standby time or 120 hours of working time.
Kensington KeyFolio Expert Folio & Keyboard
For someone who swaps tablets regularly or wants a universal case and keyboard, the Kensington KeyFolio Expert Folio & Keyboard is a great option. This case is compatible with basically any tablet, regardless of whether it’s running Android, Windows, or iOS. Tablets with a 10-inch screen or similar will work best, though there’s nothing that would stop you from using this keyboard with a smaller tablet other than the fact that there will be extra room inside the case.
The KeyFolio Expert Folio & Keyboard wraps around your tablet and stays closed using magnets. The cover has predefined spots that flex, kind of similar to the iPad smart covers. In fact, the KeyFolio Expert Folio & Keyboard can prop your tablet in much the same way as an iPad smart cover with a triangular stand behind the tablet. Other positions are supported as well.
To keep your tablet secure, there’s a multi-suction grip pad that supports landscape and portrait viewing. This suction works very well to hold the tablet in place. In fact, the tablet didn’t even move when we closed the folio and put it in our bag—the grip pad held the tablet perfectly.
The keyboard is very comfortable to use. You’ll notice this keyboard is designed with Android and Windows in mind—after examining the keyboard a bit, you’ll find a Home key as well as a Windows key. These keys work well for their intended use. We also had no problem using the keyboard with an iPad.
According to Kensington, the rechargeable battery found in the KeyFolio Expert Folio & Keyboard should last for a working time of 80 hours or up to 60 days in standby mode. You can recharge the battery using the included microUSB cable.
Poetic offers a number of different cases designed to fit specific tablets. The company’s Revolution line offers more protection than many cases on the market today, making it ideal for users who are rough on their devices. We took a hands-on look at the Poetic Revolution for Google’s Nexus 7 tablet. This case features a hard plastic shell for protection as well as a silicone textured exterior that makes it easy to grip the tablet. The Revolution also includes a touch-sensitive water-resistant screen guard. Although the case adds a bit more bulk to your tablet than other ultra-slim cases on the market, we feel the added protection this case offers is worth the trade-off in size.
We really like the kickstands and loop hole found on the Revolution cases. When you flip the case over, you’ll see two kick-out stands that enable multiple viewing angles. There’s also a loop hole so you can attach the case to your clothing or backpack using a carabineer. After using the main kickstand multiple times, we noticed it didn’t always sit flush with the back of the case when not in use. It seemed to catch due to the detail of the Poetic logo that’s cut out of it. It wasn’t a huge issue to us but users may want to be aware of it.
During use, we had no issues with the touch-sensitive water-resistant screen guard – the tablet functioned as well as if the guard wasn’t even there. All of the ports on our Nexus 7 tablet were protected by the Revolution yet still accessible by removing the flexible covers. Poetic currently offers the Revolution for the Kindle Fire HD 7, Nexus 7, Nexus 10, Samsung Galaxy S 4, and Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0.