Review: Touchfire Keyboard for the iPad

Touchfire
Image © Touchfire.

The Touchfire is the "thinnest, lightest keyboard" that isn't a keyboard. While it is billed as a keyboard, it is more accurately a cover that fits over the iPad's on-screen keyboard. While it means you need the on-screen keyboard on your iPad's display to take advantage of the Touchfire, it also means there is no need to worry about Bluetooth connections.

Touchfire Features

  • Allows for Touch Typing
  • Provides markers for the "F" and "J" home keys
  • Works with any 9.7" iPad including the iPad 1, iPad 2, iPad 3 and iPad 4. (Does not work with the iPad Mini.)
  • Only 1/10th of an inch thick
  • Can be stored in your Smart Cover

Touchfire Review

The Touchfire is made of transparent silicon and is around 1/10th of an inch thick. It uses magnets to fit into place, and while it doesn't quite live up to the "automatically snaps perfectly into place" hype, it is pretty easy to install on your screen. And as a cool bonus, the Touchfire comes with magnets that will allow you to store it inside your Smart Cover. While that seems a simple thing, it's actually one reason why the Touchfire is a good buy for some people.

The Touchfire isn't for people who want a wireless keyboard or a keyboard case; rather, it's made for those who would like the convenience of a wireless keyboard but are so turned off by the idea of carrying around an extra gadget that they simply won't buy one. The Touchfire provides the ability to touch type without looking at the screen, stores easily within the Smart Cover, takes around 4 seconds to go from storage to use and can be attached to the bottom edge of the iPad when the entire screen is needed.

So how well does it work?

The Touchfire is not for those who hunt and peck, typing out passages with their index fingers while staring straight at the keys. It is strictly for the touch typist who is tired of constantly shifting their vision back to the on-screen keyboard to make sure their fingers are lined up properly. It also won't magically make typing on a touchscreen easier, so if you are new to tablets and are still getting used to the cramped keyboard, you'll feel just as awkward typing on the Touchfire.

While you can drag and swipe through the keyboard, this feature doesn't quite work out in practice. It works fine with a short swipe, but when you need to drag your finger completely across one of the keys, the keyboard had a tendency to get in the way.

It's easy to store within your Smart Cover; once the magnets are installed, it is simply a matter of closing your Smart Cover as you would do anytime you stopped using the iPad. When you open the Smart Cover, the Touchfire will be stuck to the cover rather than your iPad.

Should you buy the Touchfire?

Overall, we were impressed with some of the features without being completely blown away by the keyboard. Anyone that wants to touch type without the hassle of a Bluetooth keyboard will be drawn to this model, and the easy storage is a bonus, but at $50, anyone who simply wants a keyboard to occasionally connect to their iPad will be better off looking for a wireless solution.

Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.