I’ve been on the hunt for a good Bluetooth keyboard for my iPad, and the last Logitech Keyboard I tried was pretty good, yet lacking a tiny bit on the portability factor.
With the Logitech Keyboard Case for iPad that we’re trying this week, it snaps onto the front of your tablet (facedown), to protect the screen, while allowing you to carry around one metal unit. Ofcourse this means the back of your iPad is a bit exposed. It can be used as a case, or detached and used as a keyboard, with a groove so that it can hold the tablet while you type.
You get a brushed aluminium keyboard case, an instruction manual and a small microUSB cable to charge the keyboard all in the package of the Logitech Keyboard Case. The case itself is very good build quality, though the material used for the keys did feel a tad cheap in my opinion.
There’s a power toggle on the upper right side, next to a connect/pairing button to pair it over bluetooth with your iPad. You can leave the keyboard switched on, because it automatically switches off when not being used, and wakes up when any key is pressed. Smart, eh?
There are also two LED indicator lights next to these toggles, one for status and the other to let you know when the internal battery of the keyboard is getting low. You can charge the keyboard using the included microUSB-to-USB cable, and it lasted for weeks on a single charge for me, under pretty heavy usage of a couple hours of typing a day.
It’s pretty well designed for portability, allowing you to rest the iPad in either landscape or portrait mode right in the central groove, to kinda get a netbook feel. Cosmetically it’s a pretty snazzy simple design, but there are cons to it.
The iPad not held within the groove by any clamp or support of any kind, so it just kinds rests there, which means it’s vulnerable if anyone knocks or bumps into it. I’m a vigorous typer, so I had to get used to the iPad shaking a tiny bit when I typed. Dont get me wrong, it’s secure enough, but I couldnt help worrying.
I also would have preferred to have something like an angle-adjustor behind the tablet when it’s in landscape mode, since it’s a bit uncomfortable because of the odd angle that it’s propped up at.
The case itself has a metal ridge around it, which does protect the iPad when it’s used as a case, but unfortunately means that you cant actually rest your hands in the classic QWERTY touch-typing position that I’m used to. As a result it feels a little cramped.
The metal ridge has a recess that does not support any protective cover on an iPad, so if you have a smart cover like I do, you’ll have to remove it to use the case. The recess is only thick enough for the iPad 2, so even my SkinIt iPad skin was being peeled off by the case.
Using it as a case works well enough, though ofcourse it’s not as convenient as the Smart Cover, but offers a lot more protection.
Snapping the iPad in and out is easy enough, with a re-assuring ‘click’ to let you know when it’s latched in. It feels reassuring locked in the case, but I wouldnt recommend shaking it too much. You’ll have to use the right amount of force to make sure it’s safely inside, because too little and your iPad will fall right out. The ground is hard, and your iPad is… well you know. Even taking the iPad 2 out of the case is a two handed operation, one hand holding the case, and the other hand needed to tug the iPad out.
Coming to the keyboard itself, the keys feel nice and soft enough to not require a pounding, yet offer a decent amount of springy, physical feedback when pressed.
I still thought the size was a tiny bit of a problem though, because otherwise this would have been the ideal tablet keyboard.
I felt like my palms were constantly touching the raised edges, which feel oddly sharp, and as a result, distracting. Since I write for a living, distractions are the last thing I need heh.
Shame though, because it’s really a nice design. Speaking of which, when using it in a cab or the train, I thought the case was more stable than other keyboards I’ve used, managing to keep the iPad upright. Unless it was a really bad road or sudden braking.
Also worth mentioning, is that in addition to the full-sized keys, there are special keys for controlling the iPad, consisting of media player controls, and a menu/home button. There’s also Cut, Copy and Paste keys, as well as an unlock key.
The unlock key is really my favourite thing. You can use it just like the power button on the iPad, to put the screen to sleep when you’re not using it, and wake it up when you are. The iPad is smart enough to realize that you’re waking it up using this key, and bypasses the “slide to unlock” screen.
Going for $75-$99, I can see the Logitech Keyboard Case as part of a permanent part of an iPad desktop setup in a stylish office or home, because really that design is really convenient.
Unfortunately though, you’re trying to get the best of both worlds here, which means it’s not really the best case you can get, nor is it the best keyboard. I’d still take the Logitech Tablet Keyboard instead of the Keyboard Case.
But it is convenient, and I cant stop saying that enough. I’ve had tons of people approach me in coffee shops asking to know what strange laptop I’m using. When I tell them it’s an iPad 2 with a keyboard case, they all commented on how clever the entire setup is.
At the end of the day, you’ll have to decide whether you want the convenience of the Logitech Keyboard Case, or the full sized keyboard of the Logitech Tablet Keyboard. Both are available for the Apple iPad and for some Android tablets as well, like the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1.
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– Lightweight design
– Well Constructed
– Also works as a case
– Media Keys
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– Cramped because of the metal ridge
– iPad’s back is unprotected
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Does exactly what it promises, very portable but it’s a better keyboard than a case.