Just My Type (part 1) - Ultrathin Keyboard Cover, KeyFolio Expert

8/16/2012 3:30:02 PM

When Microsoft announced its upcoming rival to the iPad, Surface, the feature that seemed to get people most excited was the keyboard built into its snap-on case.

‘Apple must be wishing it had thought of that/ remarked the PC press, shrewdly.

What Apple understands, though, is that just because you think of something, that doesn’t mean you have to do it.

Not everyone who buys an iPad needs a keyboard case. But if you do, there are plenty of companies who’ll be happy to sell you one. And that means you get to choose from around a dozen options, not just two.

We tested six of the most promising models, from big names and less familiar makers. So now you’ll know which to buy, with the money you saved when your iPad didn’t come with one that you didn’t want.

Wish you’d thought of that, Microsoft?


Ultrathin Keyboard Cover

Price: $142.4  


Key points It’s, um, ultra thin

Description: LogitechUltrathin Keyboard Cover

Logitech has taken a slightly different approach with its Ultrathin keyboard case. Rather than a folio that makes your iPad look like an anonymous executive folder, the Ultrathin is more like an Apple Smart Cover with a keyboard attached. However, instead of a flappy lightweight plastic structure, the Logitech has a solid base to protect your iPad’s precious screen.

Like the other models on test, the keyboard connects via Bluetooth and contains a rechargeable battery; Logitech claims this will last for six months between charges based on two hours of typing a day. We didn’t quite have the time to test that fully, but with average use we don’t doubt it.

Your iPad is held magnetically in the trench across the top of the keyboard, and although we had doubts about this scheme, in use it’s excellent. The base and iPad feel incredibly sturdy in this configuration and it makes for a very good typing experience. The single viewing angle might not appeal to all - especially if you’re in an awkward position on a train or plane - but that’s a minor gripe.

The Logitech is an excellent keyboard and, as the name promises, very thin and light. If you’re looking for something that protects your iPad completely, this probably isn’t for you, since it gives just the bare minimum of coverage. But as a handy portable keyboard it’s excellent.


KeyFolio Expert

Price: $159.98  


Key point Nice angles - but watch you don’t tip it out

Description: Kensington KeyFolio Expert

Now, here’s an idea. How would you like to stick your iPad into a case, quite literally? Kensington has come up with the idea that, rather than fiddle with a plastic clip-in solution or a fabric case that you slip your iPad into, it would be more convenient just to use a sticky pad. We saw something similar with the Cocon protective case last issue (Macllser, 22 June 2012, p43), but that combined gel pads with a full surround to keep your iPad in place. Here - well, it’s interesting. You align your iPad with the sticky oblong and press firmly until it grabs on. The surface that adheres to the iPad’s rear is multi-use, so you can attach and remove it as many times as you like.

The keyboard itself is large, and the case allows for a good selection of viewing angles. The case wraps around your iPad and is both thin and lightweight; our only criticism is that it’s all flaps and creases, making it difficult to quickly grab your iPad and move on.

The main advantages of the Kensington are the multiple angles provided for by the sectioned case and the nicely proportioned keyboard. However, we have reservations about the attachment system. We never felt completely safe carrying the iPad in the KeyFolio, especially as the open ends mean it could theoretically slide out as you move about. You have to put a lot of faith in that sticky patch.

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