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Bluetooth keyboard with trackpad allows you to turn your iPad into a laptop.
Here are the best Bluetooth keyboards with a trackpad for iPad that you can buy today.
Facing issues with your keyboard? Find fixes and troubleshooting guides by visiting our Keyboard Issues Hub.
Looking for more buying guides? Explore our dedicated Accessories and Peripherals section.
Apple’s transition from using iOS for iPad to creating a new iPad OS has made it possible for the the popular large-screen device to be compared with laptops.Whether you want to use your iPad as a laptop replacement or not, the added mouse support does make the device convenient to use.
To make use of the new feature, Apple introduced its Magic Keyboard with a trackpad for iPad Pro. While it does most of the things right, it is expensive like everything Apple. This is where the third-party Bluetooth keyboards with a trackpad for iPad presents their case.
There are plenty of Bluetooth keyboards with trackpad to choose from for your iPad. We have listed some of the best Bluetooth keyboards with a trackpad for iPad below.What are the best Bluetooth keyboard with trackpad for iPad?
Good wireless range
Supports older iPad
Keys are not backlit
The Logitech K600 is the best alternative to Apple’s Magic Keyboard and offers almost everything for less than half of its price. It features a full keyboard layout and a trackpad of the right size.
This thin and lightweight keyboard features chiclet-style keys that sit closely together and but do not feel cramped during use.
Backlit keyboard and trackpad support
Well built case
Easy to put on and take off
Average quality keyboard keys
The touchpad features three hotkeys for volume control. Although low profile keys, Logitech K830 offers a good typing experience. The backlit keys can adjust the backlight for the keys depending on the room’s lighting conditions.
Logitech K830 connects via Bluetooth and comes with a 10-meter range offering enough range to operate it from your couch.
Good build quality and design
Foldable structure for greater portability
Precise trackpad with gesture support
Charges using Mini USB cable
The Jelly Combo Wireless Keyboard is an affordable Bluetooth keyboard with a trackpad for iPad 8, iPad 7, and iPad Pro. The foldable design of the keyboard makes it an ideal portable keyboard that you can fit in your backpack.
Jelly Combo Wireless Keyboard features a relatively large touchpad for the form factor that offers all the conventional features of a trackpad including double-tap, hold and drag a file.
The keyboard keys are small but do not feel cramped when typing. Although, the key travel is limited due to their low profile nature.
Good build quality and design
Excellent trackpad with gesture support
Keys are not backlit
The iClever BK08 supports 4th and 3rd Gen iPad Pro 12.9. It comes with the latest Bluetooth 5.1 support and a sensitive touchpad with dedicated volume control buttons.
iClever Folding Keyboard allows connection up to 3 Bluetooth devices at the same time. You can switch among different devices easily with a single tap on the function key.
Comfortable typing with scissor keys
Good multi-touch trackpad
Long-range Bluetooth connectivity
Keylock does not function
The Fintie Wireless Keyboard is an ultrathin 4mm wireless Bluetooth keyboard that works with Bluetooth supported devices including iPad and iPhone.
The built-in touchpad comes with all the conventional trackpad features. It sticks magnetically to the back of your iPad case, converting your iPad into a laptop.
With its deep mouse and trackpad integration, Apple has made the iPad a laptop replacement for many. However, the Magic Keyboard for iPad is an expensive accessory, that may not be worth it for everyone.
We have listed a few affordable Bluetooth keyboards that offer similar functionalities as the Apple Magic Keyboard but for a fraction of the cost.
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Written By Don Melanson
Updated Mar 15, 2023 6:26 PM
Whatever type of Mac you have, there’s a good chance you could see some real benefits from a keyboard upgrade. For laptop users, adding a full-size keyboard can boost your productivity and make your workspace more efficient and more comfortable. And, boy, will your wrists thank you. Even Apple’s iconic Magic Keyboard, while sleek and familiar, lacks the features and creature comforts of the best keyboards for Macs, especially if you prefer the tactile feel of mechanical keys.
Finding the best keyboard for you, however, isn’t always easy. Maybe even more so than any other piece of computer hardware, there is no one best keyboard for everyone. For Mac users—whether a MacBook Air or a Mac Studio—the options are a bit more limited, especially if you want a keyboard with a Mac-style layout rather than the usable but less-than-exact Windows “default.” Thankfully, there are plenty of great options designed with Mac users in mind. While there’s no one size fits all solution, the half-dozen choices below should meet the needs of most average Mac users who want to pick from more than the Magic Keyboard.How we chose the best keyboards for Macs
As someone who types for a living, I’ve put a lot of thought into keyboards over the years and have tried plenty of different options, from mechanical to ergonomic keyboards and most things in between. To pick the keyboards for this list, I drew on my experience as a writer who has covered technology for sites like Engadget, Popular Mechanics, and Reviewed. I further relied on a range of other sources—from professional reviews to enthusiast forums and user impressions—to determine the best options currently available for Macs.The best keyboards for Macs: Reviews & Recommendations
Our picks for the best keyboards for Mac attempt to cater to as many use cases as possible in just a handful of selections. They range from portable and affordable, to high-end productivity gear, to feel-driven choices for enthusiasts. Since all of these keyboards feature a Mac layout, you may find a couple of conspicuous omissions—even Mac-compatible gaming keyboards, for example, rarely come in a Mac layout, for example. These are all excellent keyboards, however, so you will not go wrong with any of these picks.Best overall: Logitech MX Keys for Mac
Why it made the cut: Maybe the most Mac-like keyboard made by someone other than Apple, the Logitech MX Keys offers a premium feel and is particularly useful in multi-computer setups.
Form factor: Full-Size
Dimensions: 17” x 5.2” x 0.8”
Connection types: 2.4GHz wireless, Bluetooth (USB-C for charging only)
Key type: Scissor-switch
Backlight: Yes (white)
Battery life: 10 days (5 months with backlight off)
Other features: Proximity, ambient light sensors, Multi-device support
Easy switching between multiple devices
Fast USB-C charging
Appearance matches Macs
Laptop-style keys not for everyone
If you’re generally happy with laptop-style keyboards, but would like a few more features and a bit more comfort, the Logitech MX Keys for Mac will likely tick all the right boxes for you. The Mac-centric version of Logitech’s elite “Master” keyboard enhances the conventional “magic keyboard” experience with sculpted, concave keys designed to fit your fingers and make typing more comfortable. Flexibility is another big selling point here, as you can easily connect to as many as three devices (or a Mac and an iPad) via 2.4GHz wireless (USB dongle required) and Bluetooth, then switch among them with the push of a button. The MX Keys is the rare third-party Mac gear that feels at home paired with a MacBook or iMac aesthetically (both in color and features like smart illumination) but offers very clear efficiency upgrades over the first-party Apple alternative. Plus, it’s the personal pick of our associate managing editor, who has carried it around the country and currently has it on a desk at home, as shown above.Best Apple keyboard: Apple Magic Keyboard with Touch ID and Numeric Keypad
Why it made the cut: Apple’s Magic Keyboard delivers the best version of the Apple keyboard experience Mac fans are used to but with extra keys and Touch ID.
Form factor: Full-size
Size: 16.5” x 4.5” x 0.8”
Connection type: Bluetooth (USB-C charging)
Key type: Scissor-switch
Battery life: “About a month”
Other features: Touch ID, Multimedia keys
Built-in Touch ID
Great build quality
Flat, low-profile keys not the most tactile experience
Touch ID support for M1 Macs only
Apple’s newest signature Magic Keyboard, updated in 2023, has a very welcome feature that makes it feel like … well, magic again. It has a Touch ID key in the top-right corner that lets you log in quickly and make secure purchases with the push of a button, a feature you normally have to give when using a third-party keyboard.
The full-size version, which features a complete suite of keys and a number pad, offers the biggest change from a standard laptop keyboard. There’s also the standard compact model if desk space is more of a concern. Both have a built-in battery with USB-C charging, which should give you a month of use or so on a charge.
There is one downside: The new magic keyboards only work with newer Macs that have Apple’s M1 chipset. If you’re using an older model, Apple still sells the old Magic Keyboard without Touch ID.Best mechanical: Das Keyboard 4 Professional for Mac
Why it made the cut: The Das Keyboard 4 takes some guesswork out of mechanical keyboards with a high-end, off-the-shelf solution that offers plenty of perks.
Form factor: Full-size
Size: 13” x 5.7” x 1.4”
Key type: Mechanical (Cherry MX Blue or Brown)
Battery life: N/A
Other features: Volume knob, media controls, 2-Port USB 3.0 hub
Choice of Cherry MX Brown or Blue switches
Built-in volume knob, media controls, and USB hub
Thin by mechanical keyboard standards
No backlightingBest budget mechanical: DROP ENTR
Form factor: 80% (87 keys)
Size: 14.2 x 5 x 1.25 inches (WDH)
Connection types: USB-C
Key type: Mechanical (multiple options)
Backlight: White LEDs
Battery life: N/A
Other features: Adjustable brightness
Comfortable key travel
Quiet relative to other mechanical keyboards
The world of mechanical keyboards is deep, but if you’d like to experience one without falling completely down the rabbit hole, DROP’s ENTR is a good choice. This was the first mechanical keyboard I’d used since the mid-2000s, but my muscle memory kicked in immediately. I knew how much higher to raise my fingers to hit the keys relative to the chicklet-style keyboard on my MacBook Pro or Satechi’s Slim X3, my Bluetooth keyboard of choice.
If you’re a Mac user worried about a Windows key on the bottom left-hand side of the keyboard, rest easy: the DROP ENTR is fully compatible with macOS. No software is required to make it work, either. One adjustment you must make when using a Mac is holding down the function key to access your volume and screen brightness controls. Additionally, the ENTR doesn’t have glyphs denoting which function key does what, so you’ll have to know that F11 is volume down, or F2 is brightness up.
I had no issues using the DROP ENTR to write stories; every keystroke was correctly recognized, and there was no latency, or lag, between pushing a key and seeing the character appear onscreen. This was true regardless of how quickly I was typing or whether I was making liberal use of the backspace key while re-writing a section. Part of the ENTR’s responsiveness comes down to the fact that it’s wired, meaning you’ll need to keep it plugged into your machine at all times.
This is fine if you work on a desktop or a laptop docked to a monitor. If you’re the type who likes to kick back in a chair with a keyboard on your lap while you work or occasionally connect your computer to your TV to play PC games, the ENTR may not be for you. Still, this mechanical keyboard offers a lot of value, given its price.
Why it made the cut: A split mechanical keyboard built with customization in mind, the Kinesis Freestyle Edge RGB is a no-compromise option for those equally concerned about comfort and typing quality.
Form factor: TKL, Split
Size: 15.5” x 10.25” x 1.25”
Connection types: USB
Key type: Mechanical (multiple options)
Backlight: Yes (RGB)
Battery life: N/A
Other features: Dedicated programmable keys, customizable lighting, detachable palm rest
Fully split, ergonomic design
Multiple mechanical key switch options
Loaded with features
Mac key set costs extra
It may be a gaming keyboard first and foremost, but the Kinesis Freestyle Edge RGB’s combination of a mechanical keyboard with an ergonomic layout will please anyone simply looking for the most comfortable typing experience possible. The RGB in its name refers to the keyboard’s colorful backlighting, which can be customized with a vibrant pattern, or turned off if you don’t want too much of a light show. Like other top-of-the-line gaming keyboards, it features a slew of extra features, including dedicated macro keys that you can customize for any game or app.
The Freestyle Edge comes in four different mechanical switch options to suit your typing preference, but you’ll, unfortunately, have to shell out a bit extra for a set of Mac keycaps you can swap in.Best compact: Keychron K12
Why it made the cut: Small and versatile, the Keychron K12 offers wireless capabilities and plenty of customization options, all without breaking the bank.
Form factor: 60 percent
Size: 11.7” x 4.2” x 1.5”
Connectivity: Bluetooth (USB-C charging)
Key type: Mechanical (multiple options)
Backlight: Optional (White or RGB)
Battery life: Two months (non-backlit version), 68-72 hours (White, RGB backlight on)
Other features: Multi-device support, fully customizable
Plenty of customization options
Can be used wired or wirelessly
Compact, streamlined design
Design may be too compact and streamlined for some
Whether desk space is a concern or you’re looking for something that’s easy to move around and take with you, there are plenty of reasons to consider a compact keyboard rather than a full-size board with a number pad. The Keychron K12 60% keyboard pares down its layout to the bare essentials—no number pad, arrow keys, or function keys, compressed into the smallest space possible.
Though the layout is barebones, the keyboard design is not: The Keychron K12 is wireless and will let you connect to three devices and switch between them. Like Keychron’s other keyboards, there are also plenty of hardware customization options, including backlighting, adding an aluminum frame, and your choice of mechanical and optical switches.Best budget: Logitech K380 for Mac
Why it made the cut: The Logitech K380’s slim size and versatile features make it ideal for a range of uses, and it won’t break the bank.
Form factor: Compact
Size: 11” x 4.9” x 0.6”
Connectivity: Bluetooth (2 x AAA batteries)
Key type: Scissor-switch
Battery life: Two years
Other features: Multi-device support, White or Rose color options
Small and light
Small, round keys won’t be for everyone
Uses AAA batteries
As inexpensive, take-anywhere, do-anything keyboards go, Logitech’s K380 is tough to beat. It’ll easily suffice as a daily keyboard in a desktop setup, but it’s light enough that you can pick it up and toss it in a bag alongside your iPad when you need to get some work done on the go. Like Logitech’s MX Keys, the K380 will let you switch between three different devices at the press of a button.
Nothing comes without caveats at this price, of course. Like many cheap wireless peripherals, the K380 relies on disposable batteries for power, which generates e-waste over time. That said, one pair of AAAs should last up to two years, so it isn’t as if you’re throwing batteries in the trash regularly (and we know you’re actually properly disposing of any old power cells). It also features round keycaps, which some people love, but isn’t for everybody.What to consider when buying the best keyboard for Macs
The keyboards we selected for this list are all either designed with Mac users in mind or at least have Mac-specific keys that you can swap in. Beyond that, they vary considerably. They range in price, size, and features. That means it’s worth putting some serious thought into just what you want from a keyboard.
Some of our picks, including the mechanical and ergonomic options, represent a big shift from the thin, laptop-style keyboard Mac fans may be used to. You’ll also want to consider where and how you use your keyboard. If you regularly pair it with multiple devices or move it around a lot, wireless connectivity should be a high priority. If you leave your Mac and keyboard at a desk-bound setup with an external monitor, it may make more sense to go for a wired option.Keyboard size
Some keyboards simply make keys smaller to save space, but “compact” designs keep the full-size keys in place but pare down the number of keys. The most common sizes, 60% or 65% keyboards, will definitely save space but may rely too heavily on shortcuts and key combos for some folks.Wired vs. wireless keyboards
There are far fewer technical trade-offs that come with picking a wireless keyboard than there were even five years ago, but there are some nuances to what makes wireless worth it. There are also still good reasons to stick with a wired option.
Wireless keyboards are more convenient and reduce clutter, but Bluetooth keyboards may still suffer from interference when there are many wireless signals present. Gamers and others demanding an imperceivable amount of lag should look for wireless keyboards that can connect using a 2.4GHz RF connection via USB dongle. While it requires an open USB-A port—which can be an imposition on some Macs—the signal is usually snappier and more reliable.
There’s also always the issue of battery life. Some wireless keyboards use standard AA or AAA batteries, which will give you months of use but generate e-waste when they eventually die—so make sure to get some rechargeable batteries if you go that route—while others feature an internal battery that you can recharge via USB.
Of course, wired keyboards never suffer from wireless connection issues. They also never need to be recharged. That still makes a wired keyboard the most reliable and dependable choice. They are also frequently more affordable. Having a wired cable seems like a pain, but it only adds a minimal amount of clutter in most permanent or semi-permanent computer setups.Key type
Mechanical keyboards fell out of favor for a while but have seen a resurgence in popularity over the last ten years among gamers and tech enthusiasts. Mechanical keyboards are usually more expensive than others, as they have more working parts, but many people will tell you they deliver a more satisfying tactile experience.
Non-mechanical keyboards encompass a range of options, from laptop-style “scissor-switch” keys, designed to be as thin as possible, to rubber dome or “membrane” keyboards, which simplify the mechanical key switch to cut costs. The most basic and inexpensive of these keyboards can be downright mushy and unresponsive, but they are generally quieter. Even “low profile” mechanical keys that don’t press as deep do not replicate the short press of a laptop keyboard, so you may prefer to stick with what you know.Additional features
Keyboards range from a barebones box of keys to extravagant hubs with RGB lighting, media controls, and USB passthrough ports. Depending on how you use your Mac, you’ll want to figure out if any of those luxury bells and whistles are things you want and if any might just get in the way.
Regarding features and customization options, gaming keyboards tend to have the edge, although they can be less ideal for Mac users as they generally use Windows layouts. For this list, we generally prioritize typing feel over extra features, but there are still a number of them to consider. Some have additional functions and macro keys, or extra controls like a volume knob and media keys, which may be handier for some than others. And in the case of wireless keyboards, some have the ability to pair with and switch between multiple devices, which could be a must-have depending on your setup, but go unused by others.Comfort
Suppose you find your current keyboard uncomfortable to type on, or you’re looking to prevent any future discomfort. In that case, you may consider an ergonomic keyboard designed to avoid exacerbating repetitive strain injuries. Ergonomic keyboards feature a “split” design, with the keys separated into two sections so you can use them without twisting or overextending your arms, shoulders, or back. Sometimes that split is spread across one large keyboard, others have two connected sides that you can adjust to fit your body. They can take a little getting used to, but they can make a big difference for people who experience pain while typing daily.
It’s worth noting that there isn’t conclusive evidence that ergonomic keyboards actively prevent repetitive strain injuries. Anecdotally, though, many users who normally feel pain when typing claim to feel that they minimize it. In our experience, it’s enough to make a split keyboard worth considering.FAQs
Mac users may not have the multitude of keyboard options that Windows users do, but they’re not exactly lacking for quality choices. Especially for those simply looking to get some serious work done on a keyboard that’s a pleasure to type on, there are many more solid choices than we were able to include on this list. You can expand your options even further by considering Windows keyboards—which may better suit gamers, in particular—but the familiarity of a Mac keyboard layout will likely outweigh any other benefits for most longtime Mac users.
A new keyboard may not be one of the most expensive upgrades you can make to your computer, but it can make for one of the biggest and lasting changes, which makes finding the right one all the more important.Why trust us
Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.
Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.
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Written By Adam Douglas
Updated Jan 28, 2023 8:59 AM
Paired with a decent computer, an audio interface, and maybe a set of studio monitors or mixing headphones, a MIDI keyboard can mean you’re in (show?) business. The right keyboard lets you input all those notes and chords that are going to set the world on fire. Don’t start popping corks yet, though, as you still need to choose the kind of MIDI keyboard that’s best for you. It’s a little more complicated than just getting any old thing with piano keys and plugging it into your computer. The world of MIDI controller keyboards is a broad one, with more variables than a badly planned high school science fair project. How many keys do you need? What kind of connectivity is best for you? How much money do you have to spend? You’ll need to consider all of these (and more) before you can start collecting royalty checks from all your future hits. Don’t worry, however, because we break it all down for you. Here are our picks for the best MIDI keyboards.How we picked the best MIDI keyboard
There is a bewildering number of MIDI keyboards on the market, with options that range in key number, size, and weight to ones offering more esoteric extras, like CV/gate connectivity for interfacing with modular synthesizers. Some are for general use while others have been designed to work best with specific digital audio workstations (DAWs) and music production software. What all of them offer, however, is compatibility with MIDI, or Musical Instrument Digital Interface—an industry-standard connection/communications protocol that converts interactions with the keyboard into instructions for compatible computers, musical instruments, and other outboard processors/sound modules.
We looked at all of these options when hammering out our list of the best MIDI keyboards. To narrow down our top controllers for each category, we made use of our own experience as experts in the field—specifically, I’ve spent three decades as both a professional musician and writer for top music technology publications, including Attack Magazine, Computer Music, MusicTech, chúng tôi chúng tôi and more. In addition, we drew on the opinions of our peers and factored in critical consensus, user impressions, as well as the use cases of famous music producers and composers.The best MIDI keyboards: Reviews & Recommendations
Because MIDI keyboards don’t make any sound themselves it can be tempting to scrimp on one and put that money toward something else in the studio (maybe you’re eyeing a fine new monitor to make your session look as sweet as it sounds). But when you consider that your MIDI keyboard will likely be the center of your studio or live rig, that you’re going to be putting your hands on it more than any other piece of gear you own, you start to see why investment is worth it. So, as the price often will determine not only quality but the number of options, it can be helpful to start with a budget and then work from there, with any additional necessities like knobs and sliders following suit. No matter your budget, though, you can be confident that all of the keyboards on this list are worthy of your hard-earned cash.Best overall: Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S88
Why it made the cut: A full keybed plus smart DAW and computer integration means you’ll finally take your eyes away from the computer and focus on the music.
Keys: 88 full-size weighted keys
Connectivity: USB 2.0, MIDI in/out, 2 pedal controller inputs
Fully weighted hammer-action keys
Two high-res color displays
Modern music production is all about the DAW, or the digital audio workstation. Because of this, we tend to keep our eyes trained on the computer monitor, for better or for worse. German company Native Instruments thinks this is for the worse and so has designed a series of MIDI keyboards that encourage you to look away from the computer and interact more with the keyboard itself. Called Komplete Kontrol, they range from the small to the large, with our pick for best overall MIDI keyboard, the S88, at the top of the line.
Komplete Kontrol S88 is not cheap but as a fully featured MIDI controller with a piano-like keybed, it’s just begging to be the centerpiece of your home studio. For musicians who like the functionality but don’t need all the keys, look to the Komplete Kontrol S49 or Kontrol S61 for the same extras without the extra octaves.Best modular: Joué Music Instruments Joué Play
Why it made the cut: This controller marries good looks and build quality with a creatively inspiring approach to MIDI control.
Keys: Varies depending on module
Swappable controller modules
Gorgeous build and design
Bundled app has limited editing
MPE requires Pro (paid) firmware upgrade
Modern music creation is more than just playing notes on a keyboard—drums, effects, and unique articulation are all part of the experience. With that in mind, wouldn’t it be nice if there was a controller that you could adjust to fit the situation? Joué Play, a MIDI keyboard controller by French boutique company Joué Music Instruments, fits this bill perfectly.Best for beginners: Akai Pro MPK mini mk3
Keys: 25 mini keys
Connectivity: USB 2.0, sustain pedal input
Mini keys could be better
For those not in the know, Akai Pro is the company behind the MPC line of hardware samplers, a series of grooveboxes that laid down the blueprint for hip-hop and other genres of music. What does this have to do with a MIDI keyboard? The MPK mini mk3 (the best-selling MIDI keyboard in the world, according to Akai Pro) borrows some of that MPC hardware magic and pairs it with MPC Beats, the DAW version of the music-making operating system inside the machines. For around $100, you’re making music with the best of them.
While the action on the keys could be better, for this price you’re getting a lot of controller for not much money. It’s hard to not recommend it more strongly for many, not just as the best beginner MIDI keyboard.Best weighted keyboard: M-Audio Hammer 88
Why it made the cut: Grand piano action for around $500.
Keys: 88 full-size weighted keys
Connectivity: USB 2.0, MIDI out, 3 pedal ports
Gorgeous weighted piano feel
Lacks additional controls
There are music producers and then there are musicians. While those in the former category want all manner of control with their MIDI keyboard, the latter really care about just one thing: the keys. If you’re primarily a keyboardist and your means of expression is your instrument, you want a MIDI keyboard that will provide a piano-like experience. You want M-Audio’s Hammer 88.
A well-made keyboard with a minimal aesthetic, Hammer 88 offers seven octaves of velocity-sensitive and weighted keys. They have a substantial, almost acoustic feel to them and piano players will take to them instantly. Part of the piano experience is using the pedals, so Hammer 88 provides three pedal ports: one each for sustain, soft, and expression. There’s even a music rest included.
While M-Audio’s keyboard doesn’t offer a lot in terms of hands-on control—no arrays of encoders or sliders here—it does make concessions to modern synth players, with pitch and modulation wheels, as well as two basic selection buttons. A bundled application allows users to set up splits and other configurations.Best small keyboard: Arturia KeyStep Pro
Why it made the cut: A plethora of control options elevate this Swiss army knife of a MIDI keyboard.
Keys: 37 slim keys
Connectivity: 4 x CV/gate/modulation output sets, 8 drum gate outputs, 1 MIDI in, 2 MIDI outs, USB, clock synchronization in/out, metronome line out, sustain port
4 sequencer lanes
Analog and digital drum triggering
DAW control mode
White color may turn some off
Most of the MIDI keyboards on this list are designed to work in tandem with computers. Yet there’s a growing movement of musicians breaking away from the screen and going DAWless. This includes modular synthesizer users, for whom experimentation, free from the rigid structure of a computer-based sequencer, is key. If this sounds like you, you need Arturia’s Keystep Pro.
A 37-key controller, the Keystep Pro combines sequencing and MIDI note triggering into one device. It has four sequencer lanes with one doubling as a drum programmer. Sequencing here goes beyond just note on/off, but also includes gate length, note offset, velocity, and more. Think of it as a box of tools to experiment with notes and patterns. The Keysetp Pro can transmit control information via MIDI over USB or five-pin DIN MIDI cable, or through control voltages—the language of modular and vintage synths. Of course, Arturia’s MIDI keyboard can also work with a DAW, with a customizable controller mode for mapping to soft synths and other applications.
Because it does so much, the Keystep Pro is a little pricey for a MIDI keyboard with mini keys. Should you want something similarly unconventional but with a friendlier price tag, Roli’s Lumi Keys and Keith McMillen’s QuNexus Red are inspiring alternatives.Best for Ableton: Novation Launchkey MK III 61
Why it made the cut: It’s the most, well, able-bodied controller for everything the Ableton power user needs.
Keys: 61 full-size keys
Connectivity: USB, MIDI out, sustain pedal port
Effortless Ableton integration
Plenty of knobs, sliders, and buttons
Non-Ableton users may feel left out
Despite what some may argue, all DAWs are not the same. Sure, they’ll all get you to the same place—a (hopefully) finished song—but the way they transport you there can often be very different. A case in point is Ableton Live. With its two views and focus on clips and live performance, it does things very differently than, say, ProTools. Wouldn’t it make sense to have a MIDI keyboard that was made just for Ableton?
Novation has been making Ableton-focused MIDI keyboards and controllers for almost a decade now and the Launchkey MK III series is the culmination of this experience, with 25-, 37-, 49-, and 61-key models available. The flagship model, the MK III 61, is our pick for the best MIDI keyboard for Ableton.
As you’d expect, the Launchkey MK III 61 integrates fluidly with Live, so much so that using the controller becomes second nature. Clip launching, view changing, recording, even mixing can all be handled right from the keyboard, with the plethora of knobs and sliders making this easy to do. It has a host of additional, non-DAW functionality as well, with scale and chord modes and a deep arpeggiator to aid in your creativity. The full-size keys feel nice as well, particularly for the price point, which is shockingly low for a device like this.Best budget: Nektar SE25
Why it made the cut: It’s lightweight, eminently usable, and so cheap it’s practically an impulse purchase.
Keys: 25 mini keys
Connectivity: Mini USB
No knobs or sliders
Not everyone needs an all-singing, all-dancing MIDI keyboard. Sometimes, a small budget keyboard fits the bill perfectly. Whether that’s because you’re working with limited studio space or you want to take your music production on the road, tiny is sometimes just fine. Tiny and cheap is even better, and tiny, cheap, and quality is the budget musician’s trifecta.
MIDI controller company Nektar offers a range of controllers but we’re particularly smitten with the SE25, a two-octave MIDI keyboard that manages to be just about everything you need in not a lot of space—and for an attractive price. At only 33.5cm x 10cm x 2.1cm, it’s not much bigger than the 25-key MIDI controller itself. This makes it perfect for plopping down on a desk with a laptop and getting to work. It’s also astonishingly lightweight, with its 400 grams and bus power making it a no-brainer for on-the-go production.
While it doesn’t have any knobs or sliders (there’s no room!), it does have six buttons that, when pressed in certain combinations, give you access to a surprisingly large amount of control, from MIDI channel changes and note harmonizations to basic DAW integration.
This all adds up to a budget MIDI keyboard that is worth a look—and a play.Things to consider when shopping for the best MIDI keyboards
Because of the wide variety of models on the market, all with different feature sets, it’s best to first decide how you plan to use your MIDI keyboard. This will largely depend on your playing style, as well as possibly genre. A lo-fi hip-hop producer will have very different needs than a concert pianist, for example.
First, consider the keys. How many do you need? A full piano keyboard has 88 keys (key count can also be expressed in the number of octaves). Keys come in different sizes too, from full-size down to mini. There’s also key weight. Weighted keys will give you more of a piano feel—necessary for a jazz pianist, not so much for an EDM producer.
Is portability important? A MIDI keyboard that can function on the go will have a different feature set than one meant to hold down the studio fort. Finally, your budget will determine how far from basic you can get. An 88-key keyboard with knobs, sliders and plenty of connectivity could cost as much as a new synthesizer—or more!What is a MIDI keyboard?
It can be helpful to define just what a MIDI keyboard is. Think of a MIDI keyboard as a silent synthesizer. It has piano-type keys and possibly other controls but it doesn’t produce sound on its own. It interfaces with a computer, device, or another electronic instrument via MIDI and allows the user to play the destination instrument’s sounds remotely. Additional controls like knobs or sliders send control information to the instrument at the other end. This is useful for changing the timbre of a sound, such as opening and closing a low-pass filter, or for adjusting the volume on a virtual mixer. Additional controls can include transport buttons for starting and stopping playback on a DAW, sequencers for generating musical passages independent of a DAW, and buttons for triggering drums or other samples. MIDI keyboards can be as complex and full-featured as you need them to be, or, conversely, as simple.Do I really need a MIDI keyboard?
While a MIDI keyboard can certainly aid in music composition, it isn’t strictly necessary. Most DAWs will allow you to trigger notes via a QWERTY keyboard. You can also draw them directly into the MIDI sequencer section of your DAW, which might even be the preferred method of note input for some producers. But for many—and especially for pianists playing classical or jazz music—this is nothing but cumbersome and frustrating. The piano keyboard hasn’t changed much in function in hundreds of years and there’s a reason for that. It’s an effective way to get musical ideas from your head, through your fingers, and out into the world. You might be able to get by without a MIDI keyboard but it’s certainly a whole lot more fun with one.FAQs Q: How many keys should a MIDI keyboard have?
The number of keys a MIDI keyboard should have depends entirely on how you plan to use it. A full-size piano has 88 keys, or seven octaves and an additional three keys below bottom C. If you are a piano player or want a MIDI keyboard to learn to play piano, this is what you should be aiming for. Most synthesizers have 61 keys or five octaves, making this something of a standard MIDI keyboard size for electronic musicians and producers. Small and portable MIDI keyboards can go down to as low as 25 keys or two octaves. While this is fine for a portable device, it could be restrictive for day-to-day use, especially if you like to play two-handed chords.Q: Can you use a MIDI keyboard without a computer?
The majority of MIDI keyboards are made to interface with a computer via USB. These may even draw power through USB, meaning it may not work as a standalone controller. There are some, however, that will play nicely with other instruments or even iOS devices. These provide their own power and have different connectivity options, such as five-pin DIN MIDI ports for connecting to synthesizers and drum machines and CV/gate for interfacing with modular gear and older electronic instruments. For iOS devices, you’ll need a MIDI keyboard that doesn’t draw too much current as well as a lightning adapter. A powered USB hub could be an option for working with higher-draw MIDI keyboards.Q: Can I use a synthesizer as a MIDI keyboard?
If you already have a synthesizer or two, you could probably use one as a MIDI keyboard. Provided it has MIDI, it will at the very least trigger notes and transmit basic performance data, like pitch bends. For example, we use a vintage Roland Alpha Juno-2 as a keyboard controller as we like the action on the keys. However, it doesn’t have any knobs or sliders, so is not a perfect solution. Synthesizer manufacturers recognize that musicians may want to use their instruments for this purpose and so may include control modes in their synths. This is not ubiquitous, however. Synthesizer technology has changed a lot over the five decades they’ve been around, so older models may not offer full compatibility with modern DAWs. MIDI keyboards are designed with modern control and functionality in mind and so are still the best bet.Final word on selecting the best MIDI keyboards
While we’ve focused on things like budget, performance, and options in this list, any instrument or device in your studio should contribute to the ultimate goal of making music. So, beyond everything else, you should go with the MIDI keyboard that is most creatively inspiring to you. Whether that means flashy colors, a minimal aesthetic, or one that has every bell and whistle imaginable depends entirely on your circumstances. Your MIDI keyboard will be the musical conduit that connects your imagination to reality. Make sure that it fulfills that function, too.
Note App on the iPhone and iPad has been widely used since it was introduced, and it provides almost everything that we need. But that does not mean we shouldn’t move out of the comfort zone and try something else. It doesn’t matter if you are a student or a professional; taking notes is something everyone does.
Many Notes app alternatives may suit your requirements. Rather than looking here and there, why not get a list of the best Note-taking apps for iPad Pro and Apple Pencil? That’s exactly what lead me to jump to the App Store and find some gems. The list of note apps was huge, so I had to narrow it down by trying many of them manually. Let’s check it out!
Sticky note: “Apple Notes” has vastly improved to be an excellent note-taking app. As it’s a stock app, we haven’t included it in the following lineup. To explore this app or get the most out of it, check out these 16 tips.
There is a lot to like in Notability! Frankly speaking; this has been one of my favorites for both note-taking and PDF editing. Despite being such a powerful app, it’s pretty simple to use. And this is what makes it so appreciable.
The app works perfectly with Apple Pencil (both the first and second generation). So, you can design your notes and write with the desired flair.
You will also convert your handwritten notes into text, make checklists and impressive text boxes. With super handy annotation tools in the offing, you can adorn your slides, images, and agenda. Lastly, Notability allows you to share your files via AirDrop, email, Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, and OneDrive.
2. GoodNotes 5
If you are fond of handwritten notes, “GoodNotes 5” can be an excellent pick for you. With several easy-to-use tools at the disposal, you craft notes proficiently. You can draw shapes, insert images, and even insert PDF in your note.
GoodNotes is also an efficient PDF annotator and works with Microsoft Word and PowerPoint. It offers a wide range of covers and papers to let you design your notes. Besides, you will also add your own template for more personalization.
It automatically backs up your data to Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive. Furthermore, GoodNotes 5 is compatible with many languages including English, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, and more.
3. MyScript Nebo
As one of the most sought after note-taking apps, “MyScript Nebo” has a lot to offer. And if you like using Apple Pencil to note down your thoughts or create detailed charts, chances are you will never get tired using this fully-featured app.
It makes text formatting damn easy, allowing you to give your project a professional look by including the bulleted lists and adding a suitable title. You also get the option to add insightful diagrams to put forward researched data vividly.
Another highly appreciable feature of this app is the ability to let you solve calculations and copy them into LaTeX or as images. Once you have crafted your story, you will be able to share it in multiple formats including PDF, word, and HTML.
4. Microsoft OneNote
Microsoft OneNote is packed in with all the features you’d expect from a top note-taking app. You can use this app to quickly record your ideas, note down thoughts and keep all of your notes fully organized as per your workflow.
The app also lets you create checklists so that you won’t forget to carry out important things. And with the pinning feature, you can easily find the frequently used list.
OneNote offers a seamless collaboration experience to let you work with your team. If you want to add an extra layer of safeguard to your notes, use a password to prevent anyone from accessing into them. Furthermore, your data is synced to OneDrive for enhanced security and universal accessibility.
I’ve always rated Zoho Corporation’s “Notebook” very highly. Three things make it worth giving a try.
First, despite being completely free, the app has almost all the essential features to give a long run to many premium apps.
The second; features like scanning business cards, sketching images and taking handwritten notes, make it pretty useful. One notable feature of this app is that it automatically formats your contents into different cards like the recipe, video, link and more.
And the third, the app offers some cool customization options. For instance, you can tweak the color of your notes, change its cover and craft a nice cover for more personalization. Plus, it also features a dark-themed night mode to protect your eyes.
If I were to pick just one app for managing my tasks, taking quick notes and keeping myself in sync with the upcoming events, I would always go with Evernote. “Versatile” would be the right word to sum it up.
First and foremost, the app lets you capture your thoughts in several formats such as text, web clipping, audio, screenshot and more. So, it doesn’t matter whether you are in a meeting or on the move, you will be able to record your thoughts with ease.
Make personal checklists, annotate docs and also write memos for instant reporting. You can use some basic tools to create presentations as well. Moreover, do not forget to set reminders never to let any urgent tasks miss the deadline.
Evernote works with Apple Watch as well. Hence, you can dictate your thoughts and the app will instantly transcribe them into notes.
7. StickMe Notes
If you find note-taking a tedious exercise, give a chance to “StickMe Notes” to make it a fun-loving experience.
With this app, you will make notes in beautiful colors. Add a photo, record audio, drawing nice-looking images to make your stories stand out. And oh, you can also set your note as a wallpaper.
It also works efficiently as a handy task manager to let you handle your to-dos with the desired flair. Thanks to the built-in alarm, you won’t forget to finish any work on time.
StickMe Notes offers a seven-day free trial. Afterward, you will have to upgrade to an annual $15.99, half-yearly $8.99 or monthly $1.99 plan to continue.
For impressive writing and speedy note-taking, “Bear” is the right tool. The app has a range of writing tools and offers the desired liberty to write freely. So, whether you are a blogger, a teacher or a student, you will find it enormously helpful.
Thanks to the custom shortcut bar, you will be able to format text with ease. Choose from several themes to give an ideal look to your article.
You can use your Apple Pencil to draw images and sketch every thought elegantly. Add notes to ensure nothing goes out of your radar.
With the several export options such as HTML, PDF, DOCX, MD, JPG, and EPUB, Bear has you fully covered.
There are several ways “LiquidText” can revamp your note-taking experience. One of my favorite features of this app is the range of organization tools that ensure all of your docs stay beautifully organized. And more significantly, there is less chance of clutter.
LiquidText can make you fall in love with annotation. Really. Apart from letting you draw images and highlight text, this app also lets you put two pages side-by-side so that you can check out what’s missing and what’s needed to be added. Ideal, if you don’t like hopping from one page to the other too often!
Beyond annotation, it lets you import several docs in your projects and allow you to view up to three notes at one go. Thus, managing your stuff will be quite straightforward and also time-saving.
Lastly, the free version of the app won’t let you try out all the goodies, and you will have to upgrade to LiquidText Pro to put your hands on all the features.
“UpWord” is exceptional in its own right. The app makes creating and managing notes dead simple courtesy swipe gestures. And with repeating reminders, it ensures you don’t have to put extra efforts to stay in control of everything.
The folders and shortcuts play a vital role in keeping all the tasks organized. You can sort your files by chronological or alphabetical order.
It provides multiple font sizes so that you can fine-tune your projects based on your need. With the multi-level undo/redo, you have more freedom to experiment. What’s more, you can also save your stories to Evernote.
11. Google Keep
When there is a race to find a smart note app that can do most of the things immaculately, it wouldn’t be wise to give “Google Keep” a miss.
One of the highlights of this app is that it lets you snap your thoughts in several formats. So, it doesn’t matter what you are up to; you will be able to get your job done without any hassle.
Record a voice memo and instantly transcribe it. Use suitable labels and matching colors to put everything in the Apple pie order.
The helpful suggestions allow you to make shopping lists in a jiffy. Don’t fail to set a time-based reminder so that nothing is left behind!
Whink is an all-in-one app to take notes using your Apple Pencil. It has built-in different gel pen with unlimited colors. You can annotate PDF files using different colors to make them more visible and impactful. Apart from that, you can also create voice recording using the app.
With iCloud support, all your notes are saved securely over the cloud. You won’t need to worry about losing them when you upgrade your iPad or iPhone. Lastly, the app isn’t free, but features are definitely worth the price.
PDF Expert by Readdle
Don’t be surprised to see “PDF Expert” in this lineup. Even though this app is primarily a PDF editor, it can work efficiently as a note-taking app as well.
It boasts a range of annotation tools to let you fine-tune your PDFs based on professional demand. It offers readymade stamps like approved, not approved, confidential, etc. that allow you to express your thoughts vividly.
That’s all, folks! Have you liked these note apps? Which one looks set to be your favorites?
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Written By Alexandra Berry
Updated Apr 27, 2023 9:35 AM
The right pair of wireless headphones can improve your life in a number of ways. Not only can they provide crystal clear music, but thanks to the best Bluetooth noise-canceling headphones they can help you stay focused when there are a million things going on around you. And since they’re wireless, you won’t have to worry about untangling a knot of cables every time you take them out of your bag.
Imagine using the active noise cancellation (ANC) in your home office, answering an important call straight from your headphones, and then taking a walk on your lunch break, listening to music with Transparency Mode activated to maintain situational awareness of the world around you. We’ve rounded up the best Bluetooth headphones that let you stay actively engaged with your jams and your jobs.What to look for when shopping for the best Bluetooth headphones
When shopping around for the best Bluetooth headphones, consider what features will actually affect your overall experience. For example, you may want to choose something with Bluetooth 5.0 over Bluetooth 4.0 for a more stable connection with a longer range and better battery life. Some brands offer wired connectivity and brand-agnostic features, while others play nicer with Android or iOS. Do you want your headphones to pause when you take them off? They’ll need built-in sensors. Once you’re clear on what you want and/or need, you’ll be able to narrow down your search and find the pair that will work best for you and your current devices.How important is the call quality?
If you plan to use your wireless Bluetooth headphones for calls, whether work or personal, you’ll want a pair that has a robust set of built-in microphones. Various microphones can serve different purposes. Some specifically pick up your voice as you speak. Others help with noise-canceling or adaptive EQ algorithms. The latter is a newer feature that offers better sound quality by shaping the low and mid frequencies of music to your ear to create a more immersive sound.
The right combination of mics will improve the quality of your calls by isolating the sound of your voice, while blocking out all background noise. Additionally, headphones that offer the ability to answer phone calls with either voice activation or touch-sensitive controls allow you to truly be hands-free.Will you want to connect to multiple devices?
Switching up the device you plan to connect your Bluetooth headphones to can be a necessity for some workflows. However, with Multipoint, you won’t actually have to constantly select—or sometimes totally forget and (re)sync devices—as it allows your Bluetooth headphones to be connected to two separate devices at once—phone, laptop, or Apple TV. Besides not having to worry about unpairing and pairing, when one device rings or plays music, the headphones will know which it is and will automatically connect to the correct device.Do you care how they look?
Gone are the bulking headphones that barely fit your ears. Today you’ll find slim models with exceptionally crafted earcups that won’t wear on your ears and head during long listening sessions. With multiple color offerings, you’re bound to find something you love. Furthermore, some headphones such as the Apple Airpods Max are designed with a knit-mesh canopy and memory foam so they form to your ear shape for a more comfortable fit.Where will you wear your Bluetooth headphones?
Ideally, the Bluetooth headphones you choose will work in multiple environments. The best Bluetooth noise-canceling headphones can be handy in a busy office environment, but may be overkill if you’re in a home office most of the time. Some ANC-equipped models offer transparency mode, which blends external sounds with your music to be able to stay aware of your surroundings. Additionally, some headphones offer Adaptive ANC that can automatically adapt, detecting changes in the frequency of sound the listener is hearing and adapting in real-time to offer the best possible performance.Do you want to talk to a digital assistant?
Should you want to easily access voice ecosystems like Alexa, Google Assistant, and/or Siri, you’ll want headphones that can listen. Some Bluetooth headphones are voice ecosystem-enabled so you can access music, information, change the volume, add to your grocery list, turn on the lights, and more with just the push of a button. Some models work with a variety of platforms, while others will only work with specific assistants.Are you on a budget?
If you’re on a budget, there are plenty of great Bluetooth headphones under $100 so you don’t have to break the bank to get a great pair. Headphones in the $100 and under range offer many of the features the more expensive sets offer—noise cancellation, long battery life, the ability to take calls, etc. One feature often missing is transparency mode so if that’s something you need, you may have to spend a bit more.The best Bluetooth headphones
The Bluetooth headphone market can be overwhelming to navigate, so it’s crucial to understand what features matter most to you. From noise cancellation to using Alexa/Siri/Google Assistant to Transparency Mode, pay for what you’ll use. Once you know what you want, you’ll have a much easier time narrowing down your options.Best for back-to-back-to-back meetings: SONY WH-1000XM4 Wireless Headphones
Sony claims the WH-1000XM4 gets 30 hours of use off a full charge, but the headphones also have a 3.5mm auxiliary input that works (minus noise cancellation) even without power—assuming you still have a device with a headphone jack. You’ll be able to get through days of business flights and long hours without missing a meeting, virtual or in-person. But at least you’ll have a great soundtrack to accompany you. Unlike some competitors, these Sony Bluetooth headphones fold to fit in a convenient travel case.Best for Android users: Jabra Elite 85h Wireless Noise-Canceling Headphones
With a sleek design and five color options, the Jabra Elite 85h Wireless Noise-Cancelling Headphones look good enough for the trek back into the real world. Most importantly, they’re a rare pair of wireless headphones that have a water-resistant (though not waterproof) coating. When linked to the Sound+ app, you can personalize your sound, choose your voice assistant (Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant), create music profiles, and customize how much background noise you want to eliminate. Once settings have been customized in the App, the ANC responds to your surroundings, switching on automatically to block out unwanted background noise.Best headphones for the work commute: BOSE Noise-Canceling Headphones 700
With a headband made from lightweight stainless steel and soft gel-like cushioning, and ear cups made from soft foam covered in pleather, the Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700 are comfortable enough for a cross-continental flight.
The Bose Bluetooth headphones’ noise-canceling is some of the strongest on the market—at maximum level, it may even be overkill for some people. A smartphone app allows listeners to tweak its strength, as well as other sound performance stats. For clear calls for both you and the other person on the line, six of the eight microphones work together to cancel any background noise while four (two are shared with ANC) work to improve voice clarity by isolating your speech and limiting the additional disruptive sound around you.
The right ear cup has touch sensors that manage volume, calls, and music while discreet buttons control the power, noise-canceling presets, and voice assistant access. With built-in voice control, you can get to your music, messages, and information by utilizing Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri. With a Bluetooth range of 30 feet and the ability to connect to two devices at once, you can leave your laptop and phone in another room yet still stay connected.
If you’re the only one binge-watching a new show in your home, you can connect the Bose Bluetooth headphones to either a Bose Soundbar 500 or Smart Soundbar 700 so you don’t disturb anyone else. Battery life is up to 20 hours of wireless play plus 15 minutes of charge will give you an additional two hours. Included in purchase are the headphones, USB-C charging cable, audio cable, and carrying case for easy transport.Best for tuning out home office distractions: Apple AirPods Max
Designed with a knit-mesh canopy to reduce on-head pressure and acoustically engineered memory foam earcups, these headphones form to your ear shape for a comfortable fit and fully immersive sound. To easily skip songs, adjust the volume, answer phone calls and activate Siri, the twistable digital crown is seamlessly displayed on the earphones. It’s similar to what you’ll find on the Apple Watch.
The combination of innovative processing and lossless audio works to play sound with very low distortion across the audio range, meaning you’ll hear each note with unparalleled clarity. The dynamic driver, designed by Apple, produces a wide frequency range that creates details in every sound, combined with adaptive EQ, which tailors the sound to your ear, makes your music experience that much better.
In order to block out background noise, the Apple AirPods Max uses six outward-facing mics to recognize surrounding noise and two inward-facing mics to measure what you’re hearing. For clarity even in the most challenging environments, beamforming mics help to isolate your voice, making these some of the best Bluetooth headphones for calls. To move between ANC and Transparency Mode, press the low-profile noise control button. Thank the Spatial Audio with dynamic head tracking for the surround sound, allowing you to totally immerse yourself in your music or call. Seamlessly switch between your iPhone, iPod Touch, or Apple TV and get messages, weather, or directions with the always-on Siri.Best cheap Bluetooth headphones: Cowin E7 Active Noise-Cancelling Headphones
If you’re looking for quality headphones on a budget, look no further. Ranging from $49.99 to $69.99, depending on color, the Cowin E7 Active Noise-Cancelling Headphones are the best Bluetooth headphones under $100 that can compete with some of the expensive brands. These lightweight yet feature-packed headphones are made of solid materials and have 90-degree swivel earcups for a more durable and flexible fit.
With built-in microphones and NFC technology (short-range wireless tech that allows you to quickly connect your device to the headphones), you can make calls hands-free during or after-work hours. By using the tuning control located on the headphones, you can easily adjust the volume. With 40mm large-aperture drivers, the Cowin headphones deliver crisp, powerful sound quality, listen after listen. Even after 30 hours of Bluetooth-activated fun, these headphones won’t power off due to the built-in 750mAh battery. Included in the purchase are headphones, a micro-USB cable, and a 3.5mm audio cable. Something to note—if you need the transparency mode, these headphones won’t be the best fit for you. There are some features you’ll miss out on, however. They only promise Bluetooth 4.0, however, which is a generation older than the current Bluetooth 5.0 tech.FAQs
Whether you’re looking for the best Bluetooth headphones for endless conference calls or to try and drone out background noise in your home office or to have a quiet, relaxing commute, there’s an option for you. Features like voice-activated assistants, comfort, and customizable settings are all part of the fun, so if they’re important to you, aim to purchase headphones (compatible with your devices) that have exactly what you need, especially because they can cost considerable cash. Once you sort out your priorities, you’ll be able to pair down and find your best set yet.
After months of headlines declaring it passe and a marginalized niche product eclipsed by glitzier offerings, Bluetooth is rebounding.
In contrast to the pall that has settled over much of the tech sector, there has been a flurry of renewed interest in this short-range wireless technology.
The turn-around comes on the heels of a series of news items surrounding product delays and misfires topped off in March by Intel officials reportedly calling Bluetooth dead for all but the narrowest of markets.
Unveiled in 1999 by Ericsson, Bluetooth was seen as a way to cut the ties of cables restricting computer users. Requiring little power, Bluetooth was viewed as ideal for networking mobile devices, including personal digital assistants (PDAs), cell phones and printers. The resulting hype was followed by disappointment as delays kept Bluetooth products from rapidly coming to market.
Bluetooth on Trial
“2000 was a year of trials and tribulations for Bluetooth,” said Joyce Putscher, Director of In-Stat’s Consumer and Converging Markets and Technologies Group. A year later “more products are closing in on production schedules and are coming to market very soon,” Putscher said. In-Stat has released several recent reports showing upbeat Bluetooth prospects.
Along with the rosy outlook comes a more realistic image of Bluetooth’s potential market share. Cahners In-Stat Group has shaved earlier estimates of the number of Bluetooth-enabled products from over 1 billion to 955 million by 2005. Still, analysts are projecting a 360% annual compound growth rate over five years with $4.4 billion in sales in 2005.
Rather than waiting for Bluetooth chips to be embedded in products, a number of add-ons are in effect creating Bluetooth-enabled devices, according to the report entitled “Access Anytime, Anywhere: Bluetooth Will ‘Make it So!”
Adapting to Bluetooth
“Adapters and cards will rule the lion’s share of the market in the near term,” according to Putscher. Among the adapters include:
Red-M’s $199 clip-on Blade device creating Bluetooth-enabled Palm Vx PDAs.
Users of Palm PDAs that support the industry-standard postage stamp-size Secured Digital/MultimediaCard slot will be able to buy a $150 Bluetooth card by the end of the year.
Not to be left out, the PocketPC operating system will support Bluetooth.
3Com offers a $149 Bluetooth PC card for laptops.
Dialing for Dollars
Naqi Jaffery, Chief Analyst for the Washington, DC-based Strategis Group, believes that the real impact of the networking technology will not be felt until Bluetooth is embedded in everything from laptops to next-generation cell phones.
Analysts at Merrill Lynch agree, saying next-generation handsets will be vital to Bluetooth’s growth. Consumers should begin seeing products in 2002, the same year British-based chipmaker Cambridge Silicon Radio (CSR) says it will be able to drop the price for Bluetooth chips from the current cost of around $10 per chip to $5, the “sweet spot” device manufacturers have called for. CSR makes nearly half of the world’s Bluetooth chips.
Another boost to Bluetooth was the recent announcement of Qualcomm releasing its first Bluetooth-ready chipset destined for more than 50 cell phones, several to be ready before the end of this year. The chipset supports the CDMA 2000 1x technology capable of 307 kbps data speeds and GPS.
Phil Redman, an analyst with the Gartner Group, has heard such claims before. Unlike Jaffery and Putscher, Redman is pessimistic about Bluetooth’s future. Before Bluetooth goes anywhere, it will need to reach a mass market. Redman believes the mobile networking standard is not robust, is insecure, lacks compelling applications and will cost too much.
So, how does Bluetooth stand to benefit m-commerce? In-Stat targets hotels, shopping malls, golf courses, and airports as likely markets for Bluetooth adoption within the next two years. However, it is generally agreed upon that it will be the outpouring and acceptance of new Bluetooth-enabled wireless phones designed for 2.5G and 3G networks that will ultimately play a deciding role in the technology’s eventual success or failure.
Ed Sutherland is a New York-based editor and journalist. His article first appeared on M-CommerceTimes, an chúng tôi site.
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