Developer: Logitech
Price: $129.99
Device Reviewed With: New iPad

Usability Rating: ★★★½☆
Integration with iPad/iPhone Rating: ★★★★☆
Hardware Design Rating: ★★★★½
Re-Use Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

The new Logitech Solar Keyboard Folio is, without a doubt, my favorite iPad keyboard to date. It’s well-made, easy to type on, fairly protective, and – check it out – uses light energy! OK, the review is done. Move along.

Just kidding. Needless to say, my week with this iPad keyboard has been instructive, and while the Solar Keyboard Folio isn’t the “perfect” keyboard case for the iPad, it has a couple of features that sets it above the rest.

First up, there’s the solar power thing. Look, charging my keyboard with a mini USB cable is a serious hassle. It doesn’t charge my iPad (why not?), and it’s yet another device I need to make sure it powered up before I leave the house for serious writing. I already have to charge up an iPhone, an iPad and a laptop (sometimes), why do I want to have to plug in a keyboard? I don’t, that’s why. Keeping the Solar Keyboard Folio charged is a simple matter of setting it down in some decent light, indoor or outdoor, and letting it soak up the magic photons. That’s it! I haven’t had to consciously think about charging this thing since the day I got it. This is seriously brilliant.

Secondly, there’s the two viewing angles. The iPad is held in a solid protective grippy section, and snaps in fairly well. This holder has two little pegs on either sides of the bottom corners that fit into the bottom keyboard section, at a typing angle, and – omgyay – a viewing angle, as in the picture at the top of this review. I know of no other keyboard case that allows both of these angles, and it transforms the way I use my iPad with the keyboard. While other iPad keyboards force the typing angle, making things unwieldy when I want to just use the touchscreen. the Solar Keyboard Folio has found just the right mix of flexibility here. As long as I’m happy with landscape orientation, of course.

Which is one of two downsides of this product. There isn’t a way to use the keyboard with the iPad in portrait mode, making longer documents less usable. I’d like to be able to use the iPad in either orientation, depending on the task at hand, but the Solar Keyboard Folio just isn’t designed with that possibility.

The other issue here is the awkwardness of using an iPad in a folio-style case with a keyboard attached. It’s possible to flip the keyboard around to the rear of the iPad and hold it for touchscreen use, but it’s not comfy. I ended up pulling it out of the folio to use when I didn’t want the keyboard, which sort of defeats the purpose of an always-on folio, right?

Bottom line, though, this is the iPad keyboard to beat right now. The keys are solid and responsive. Typing on this thing is a joy, though as with any iPad-sized keyboard, the smaller size takes a bit of getting used to.


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