Am I the only one who prefers a standard Bluetooth qwerty keyboard over a braille display?

Hardware & Accessories

I like to write. I’m not a published author but I write a lot of stories and fanfiction for fun as well as journaling. The first time I wrote with IOS was with the Smart Keyboard with iPad Pro. That along with Scrivener was **awesome.**
Then I had a problem that a lot of people had and my keyboard simply didn’t work after about a year. I don’t know if **I** broke it or what happened. Then I started using braille screen input which worked fine although I preferred typing on a physical keyboard rather then a touchscreen.

Then I was gifted a braille display for my birthday, a Brailliant BI 14 to be exact. It was better then. The touchscreen in some respects, but worse in others. The keys have a weird squishy feel, and it took me longer then I’d like to admit to figure out how the cursor touch things worked. Those are all specific complaints about the display I used, there are probably better ones out there.

I don’t think I’ll be looking into getting another one though, because this Christmas I was gifted a new iPad (my old one had an accident which I’m still embarrassed about) along with a messenger folio keyboard case. And in my personal opinion, it is a lot better than the display. I can just press one button and be ready to type, unlike the display which took forever to connect. Sometimes it would, and sometimes I’d have to connect it in the settings. Couldn’t simply do it in the Bluetooth settings, oh no I had to go all the way to the braille settings under voiceover.
I’d like to know what you guys think. do you like using a braille display or do you prefer a standard Bluetooth keyboard like me?



Submitted by Gar on Friday, December 27, 2019

Honestly, I don't think that anything can compare to the use of a bluetooth keyboard speed-wise. I am, and always have been, a keyboard user, on iOS and on Windows too.

Submitted by Orinks on Friday, December 27, 2019

I also love keyboards, and in fact since I don't have one currently, was looking for something similar to Type2phone for Windows. I found across, but it isn't pairing with my phone.

I know of keyboards specific for iPads, but what about both, or just iPhones? Recommendations welcome.

Submitted by Trenton Matthews on Friday, December 27, 2019

K380 or K480.
The difference between the two, is that the K380 is smaller and doesn't have a tray for holding devices.

Both are from the company Logitech, with prices around 27 to 30 dollars US.

In addition, both have the ability to switch between 3 different devices at once via the use of a clickable turn knob.

Submitted by Harryubu on Friday, December 27, 2019

I prefer a Braille keyboard as I have no use for a display (iPhone reads everything out to me). My BraillePen Slim is cheap, fits in my pocket and is simple to use compared with a non Braille keyboard, where I get lost too easily!

Submitted by Gadget Meistress on Friday, December 27, 2019

It is disappointing to find that more and more braille displays are opting for the use of Perkins style keyboards rather than a qwerty keyboard, in my humble opinion, as one who finds it faster to type with a qwerty keyboard. And no, I am not a fan of using braille input on the phone either. So, If there comes a time when I may end up using a braille display for my iOS device, it would mean carrying three devices altogether, just for driving an iPhone with braille.

Submitted by Travis Roth on Friday, December 27, 2019

Like the comment above I find typing on QWERTY faster. But I think it is important to point out this is not exactly an apples to apples comparison. A Braille display has another job: providing braille. In fact I'd argue that is a display's first job and priority, with input second. (Yes displays with no Perkins input exist though they're rare.)
If the user does not use the braille display to read, then it doesn't make sense to me to carry such an expensive device around. I have several, but still look at my use case for the day before I decide if a display should go along, or should stay more safely at home.

Submitted by Ishkabibble on Friday, December 27, 2019

As other people have said, Braille displays and Bluetooth keyboards have their separate advantages and disadvantages. For instance, I use a Bluetooth keyboard during classes so I can type and scroll faster with lower latency, but a Braille display is great for reading books on and knowing precisely how things are written without having to read by character using the TTS. I usually end up using a combination of a Bluetooth keyboard and Braille screen input just because of the convenience factor but both a Bluetooth keyboard and a Braille display are great alternative forms of text input/output that perform best in different scenarios.

Submitted by peter on Friday, December 27, 2019

I would much rather use a QWERTY keyboard for input over a braille input device. For one, typing on a QWERTY keyboard is much faster for me. Secondly, since I use a PC most of the time with a QWERTY keyboard, I already work with the paradigm of QWERTY in terms of working with function keys, special key combinations, hotkeys, etc. Activating these special key commbinations on a braille input device is just another entire paradigm and set of hotkeys to learn.

Of course, as others have pointed out, one doesn't necessarily need a special display since Voiceover and speech feedback work so well on iOS devices. That being said, sometimes does such a fine job with speech feedback.

However, sometimes it is nice to actually "see" what one is reading via a braille display. For those cases I would much rather have a QWERTY keyboard integrated into my braille display. I bought a Pacmate many years ago and never even considered getting a braille keyboard. The QWERTY keyboard on the old Pacmates is very well laid out, easy to use, and similar enough to a computer QWERTY keyboard that one doesn't have to retrain just to use the device. I wish more companies would make QWERTY keyboards an option on braille displays so that it was more similar to using the computers that are ubiquitous.

Oh well, as the Rolling Stones say, "You can't always get what you want!"


Submitted by Michael Feir on Saturday, December 28, 2019

Club AppleVis Member

I always carry a Bluetooth keyboard as I'm substantially faster on those. There are some occasions where Braillle is nice to have such as when reading notes while giving a lecture. however, for everyday stuff, speeech output and Qwerty Bluetooth input are optimal for me.

I've collected a few keyboards in my quest for keyboard perfection. I'm currently typing on an Anker Ultra Compact keyboard. It's very thin and portable while still being sturdy. However, it doesn't report battery level to the battery widget. That's my one and only complaint. I also have a Keymove 60% mechanical keyboard which has red switched and reports the battery level. Its only fault is that the keycaps stick up making it less suitable for travel. Neither keyboard has any lag and they don't go to sleep instantly when not being used. One of these days, I'll be tempted by a mechanical keyboard qhich is quiet, low profile, Bluetooth, and reports its batttery level. Also, it'll have to have multimedia controls or have function keys. That would be keyboard perfection for me.