This case popped up recently and looked like it had a chance to be something unique. While it borrows heavily from the Zagg mate, it makes a few improvements and is a heck of a lot cheaper. Let’s take a look at the Aluminum Keyboard Buddy case for it iPad 2.

This keyboard for the iPad 2 is sold as a case, but it’s not truly a case. Rather, it is more of a smart-cover-enabled clam shell with a keyboard included. The iPad sets, face down, into the tray of the keyboard with the edges coming up to enclose the sides of the iPad. And here we see the first issue with this keyboard.

To place the iPad 2 into the case for storage, users need to wedge one wide side of the iPad under two tabs on the edge of the keyboard. Then, users close the iPad by easing it down over the keyboard. To get the iPad wedged under both of these tabs is not a super easy thing. And once the iPad is closed into the keyboard, it is not as secure as the iPad was in the Zagg keyboard. The friction seems a bit lacking – it easily works itself out when stored in a bag or carried in your hand. Perhaps a little forceful adjusting of the aluminum edge of the keyboard would help, but I’m not willing to risk breaking it to do so.

Using the actual keyboard is much better than expected. It’s a similar Bluetooth design to most other non-folio type keyboards. The iPad 2 wedges into a groove on the front of the keyboard and leans back either in portrait or landscape orientation. The keyboard base then becomes the platform to hold the iPad 2 and use as a keyboard. This works quite well and is in my opinion the best method for typing. The solid base allows you to use this on a table or even in your lap, though using it in your lap with the iPad in portrait mode can feel a bit unbalanced. The one issue with this keyboard in particular is that the iPad bounces considerably when touching on the screen. The tabs holding the iPad in place are perhaps a bit soft for this or the overall design is a bit less rigid than it needs to be.

What about the keyboard? Well this is where this device really shines. While it has very small keys, they have great separation from the other keys. This really has given me unparalleled accuracy in typing on an iPad keyboard device. Add to that my preferred double-width backspace, inverted T arrow keys, and the usual compliment of iPad quick access keys, and this could be my favorite small iPad keyboard.

When closed up, the keyboard adds very little bulk in comparison to other keyboard cases. The whole package is just under double the thickness of the iPad alone. This keyboard also includes the special iPad 2 magnet in just the right place to automatically wake up your iPad when you pull it out of the case. Perhaps this could be an issue for battery drain if the iPad is popping out of the case in your bag, however.

Overall, the Buddy iPad 2 case is a good specialized keyboard. While half the price and not nearly as good as the Zagg mate, it is half the price. While for pure typing pleasure you can’t beat the Apple Bluetooth keyboard, in a pinch this one will work and is considerably more portable. Add to that the rather cheap price at under $50, and it might be the perfect keyboard for some.

This iPad 2 keyboard shell is available for $49.90 from MIC Gadget in either white or black. Full specs from the manufacturer are below, or after the jump.


Aluminum Keyboard Buddy iPad 2 Keyboard Case

::Features::

* Aircraft-grade aluminum with a bead-blasted, anodized finish that matches the iPad 2
* Innovative low profile stand has no moving parts and holds iPad 2 securely in either profile or landscape orientation
* Military grade high-density padding for superior drop protection
* Stylish, thin and lightweight. Half as thin as most folios for the iPad 2
* Island-style keys engineered to provide maximum typing room
* Large, flat base allows for use on a soft or uneven surface such as a lap or on a bed
* Embedded wireless Bluetooth physical keyboard (U.S. keyboard layout)
* Special function keys for music control, volume control, slideshow, home, search, etc.
* Remove the iPad 2 from the Keyboard Case and your iPad 2 automatically wakes up. Place it back and your iPad 2 goes to sleep.

::Specifications::

* Main function: iPad aluminum case Bluetooth keyboard (U.S. keyboard layout)
* Color: silver
* Bluetooth version: 2.0
* Operating distance: 10 meters
* Battery
– Type: built-in rechargeable Li-on
– Capacity: 510mAh
– Stand by time: about 10-15 days
– Working time on full charge: about 90 hours (depending on usage)
* Power supply: through USB
* Compatibility: any device that supports Bluetooth 2.0 keyboard
* Buttons/switches
– ON/OFF
– Bluetooth sync
* How to turn on: switch ON/OFF button to ON
* Port: micro USB 5pin

::Size and Weight::

* Height: 9.7 inches (246 mm)
* Width: 7.5 inches (191 mm)
* Depth: 0.43 inches (11 mm)
* Weight: 12.2 ounces (.345 kg)

::What’s in the box::

* Case with embedded Bluetooth wireless keyboard (U.S. keyboard layout)
* USB to micro-USB charging cable
* User Instruction Manual

Posted in: Blog, Hardware

Tagged with: , , ,