Hardware Tested On: iPad AKA new iPad AKA iPad 3
Re-use Value Rating:
In what seems like a never-ending stream of iPad keyboard cases, I have yet to find the perfect one. Instead, I've stuck with the Apple Wireless Keyboard wrapped in an Incase Origami case. But that's not ideal as it's two pieces.
The Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover isn't a traditional case. It's more of a super-Smart Cover replacement. Not only does it have a pretty decent keyboard, it also has the magnetic hinge we are used to from the Smart Cover to connect it to the iPad 2 or 3.
So let's just get right to the meat of this review -- how's the keyboard? In a word, excellent. It's probably the best small size keyboard (less than 100% size keys) I've used. It's checks off all of the key features I look at for an iPad keyboard like inverted-T navigation keys, two large shift keys, and properly placed backspace and return keys. It also includes a full list of function keys to automate features like iPad home, media keys, etc.
They keyboard device itself resembles an upside-down iPad 2. It connects, as mentioned, via a magnetic hinge to the iPad 2 / new iPad. While the connection is good, it doesn't feel quite as strong as the Smart Cover, though good enough to stay connected. When closed, it stays closed easily, also due to magnets. Those same magnets are used to wake the device when the case is opened.
And this case uses magnets like crazy. In addition to the above, similar features to the Smart Cover, this case uses magnets in a way we haven't seen before. The iPad, when placed into a resting slot in landscape orientation, snaps in and is held secure with magnets. There's a very good connection here and the keyboard can safely be used on the lap without concern of the iPad slipping out. Unfortunately, this only works in landscape mode.
The one issue is what to do with the keyboard half when not using the keyboard, if you just want to use the iPad itself, and not the keyboard. You can't fold it behind the iPad itself -- the hinge doesn't work that way. Your only choices are to either use the iPad like an open book, or disconnect it and use the iPad alone. The issue with that is now you have two pieces to deal with. It would have been great it there were at least a way to snap the keyboard onto the back of the iPad (maybe with magnets?) to keep it secure. If you try to hold them together, they slip and it feels risky.
The issues with the Logitech Ultrathin keyboard are very minor, even the above problem of how to hold it when not using the keyboard. Overall, the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover is the best integrated keyboard iPad case we've tested. Looks amazing, and works really well.