So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for iPad Air
This iPad Air cover works as a desktop keyboard, stand, and magnetic screen protector.
- Good, totally standard keyboard layout
- Nice 'clicky' keys, despite shallow travel
- Magnetic attachment to iPad is very strong
- Stand only allows for a single angle
- Can’t be folded out of the way behind the iPad
A great option for iPad users that like to keep their device as 'unskinned' as possible, or want a rapidly-removable keyboard for occasional use.
Price$ 100.00 (AUD)
This iPad Air cover works as a desktop keyboard, stand, and magnetic screen protector. Unlike most competing products, including Logitech’s own FabricSkin and Ultrathin Keyboard Folios, it doesn’t serve as a full wrap-around case. It’s more like a rigid, aluminium version of Apple’s Smart Cover, with a magnetic hinge that snaps to the iPad’s left edge. It protects the screen when closed, but nothing else.
Unlike the Smart Cover, the Keyboard Cover can’t be folded behind the iPad when you want to use the tablet sans-keyboard. The hinged attachment really only provides a convenient way to transport the keyboard along with the iPad, as you have to remove it both to use the tablet in traditional ‘tablet mode’, or to dock it with the keyboard for typing.
Confused? Well, to type on the keyboard, you have to pull the iPad from the magnetic hinge, and slot it into a groove just above the keys. It balances there while you type, quite stably. I was able to use it on my lap comfortably enough, and never felt like the whole thing was going to pitch over as I’ve experienced with other tablet keyboards. When you’re done typing, you pull the iPad from its slot and connect it back to the magnetic hinge.
The keyboard weighs just 330 grams, substantially lighter than most full-skin keyboard cases, and the iPad Air itself which is 469g. That gives a total of 799g for iPad and keyboard. At 7.3mm thick, it nicely matches the Air’s 7.5mm – the two fit well together, and the Ultrathin Keyboard Cover looks very much like a part of the iPad.
When we reviewed a previous version of the Keyboard Cover for the iPad 2, we found that the weight of the keyboard was too much for the magnetic hinge that secured it to the iPad, meaning it would frequently fall off – or worse, the iPad would fall off if you tried to lift it by the keyboard. The strength of the magnets seems to have been improved, in the iPad or the case or both, meaning that’s no longer an issue. It’s possible to shake the two apart, but in normal use they stay clamped safely together.
The keyboard layout is stock-standard, unlike Logitech’s aforementioned FabricSkin and Ultrathin Keyboard Folios – both of which make some strange layout choices that increases the learning curve. I was able to type at high speed straight away on the Ultrathin Keyboard Cover, reaching my usual 110-115 words-per-minute in my second or third typing test. Keys have short travel but a clear ‘click’, which makes for a pleasant typing experience.
The Ultrathin Keyboard Cover connects to the iPad via Bluetooth, and has a built-in rechargeable battery that charges via micro-USB. A cable is included, but no wall adapter – the cable will work fine with your iPad charger, or any other USB power supply.
This is not a case that provides protection, or stays permanently attached to your iPad – it’s a keyboard that you can conveniently snap on for transport, and pull off when you don’t want to use it.
It's a great option for iPad users that like to keep their device as 'unskinned' as possible, or want a rapidly-removable keyboard for occasional use.
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