When I was looking for a new case for the iPad Air, I decided that I wanted a keyboard. While I do use the Apple Wireless keyboard with my iPad, it is more often connected to my Macbook, along with my wireless mouse. Also, Apple’s wireless keyboard isn’t as convenient to use when traveling, or when you’re not sitting at a desk.
There were a number of different options when I was looking, and all were in the same general price range. Some, like the ZAGG keyboards, provide extra features like keyboard illumination. This seems a little frivolous, as in most cases, the keyboard is going to be at least partially illuminated by the screen itself. Secondly, I’m a touch typist, so actually being able to see the keyboard isn’t really all that high on my list of priorities. There does have to be some raised bumps so that I can distinguish between keys to find my place of the home row.
So what features are important for me? Perhaps the biggest one is that I need to be able to switch between keyboard mode, and tablet mode, without having to remove the iPad from the case. A few of the cases only work in a laptop style mode, which just isn’t going to work for me. If I was only going to use the tablet in laptop mode, why wouldn’t I just use a laptop? What I’m looking for is flexibility, without having to remove the tablet from the case.
The Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Folio serves the requirements reasonably well. It can work in either keyboard mode, or tablet mode relatively easily. The keyboard is rather thin, so it still doesn’t feel as bulky as my old first generation iPad. While the case doesn’t fully protect the sides of the device to the same extent as one of Apple’s smart cases would, it seems sufficient for normal use. I would suggest not letting children use an ipad with this case, however. Thankfully, I have older devices with more protective cases to entertain kids with.
They keyboard itself feels decent. The keys are easy to type on, with a few notable exceptions:
- The tab key requires the use of the function key in conjunction with Q.
- The number keys are shifted one digit to the right to accommodate the iPad menu button.
- There are a few other keys which also use the function key. The backtick (`) and tilde (~) are above the bracket keys. The iPad specific functions (lock, Siri, Keyboard, and media keys) are also function keys, paired with the number keys. None of these are a problem for me.
Of these two, I find the number keys to be a notable problem. While I don’t always type numbers, I’m a touch typist, so when I try to type 1, I end up going to the home screen. When I try to type a time, like 2:35, I end up typing 1:24. They’re just not the right size, and it’s irritating.
For comparison, look at the photos, of the Apple Wireless Keyboard, and the Logitech. There are clearly compromises being made with the Logitech. Is it the right keyboard for you? That depends. For the most part, I’m really happy with it. If I did more numeric entry, this keyboard would quickly drive me insane. As it is, it’s something that I can live with. The compromises made are easier to live with than most of the other keyboards in the range.
The Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Folio for iPad Air, Carbon Black can be purchased from a number of places like Amazon, or a local brick and mortar store like Best Buy.