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Device Reviewed With: iPad 2, new iPad
Hardware Design Rating:
Ostensibly, the Logitech Keyboard Case by ZAGG is made for the iPad 2, which is how I received it for review. When I got my new iPad, I was ready for it to almost but not quite fit. Luckily, it fits pretty darn well–perhaps even better than with the iPad 2, which some users report as having a bit of looseness to it. So, here’s the review, taking into consideration both the iPad 2 and the new iPad.
Bottom line? This keyboard is a win, making it completely feasible to use an iPad as a laptop replacement. Of course, that really depends on the user, but as a writer, email & web surfer, the addition of a keyboard that is always with the iPad yet still easily removable is the key.
The keyboard itself is solidly built, with a rugged, non-flexible feel to it. The brushed aluminum finish perfectly matches the back of the iPad, and when the iPad is snugged into the keyboard case, face-first, it’s hard not to see it as an actual laptop. It’s like a Macbook Air, in fact, only a bit smaller.
The defining feature of a keyboard is, of course, the feel and usability of the keys. I’ve used several folio-type keyboards with mushy, too-small keys. The Logitech Keyboard Case is not one of those. The keys feel solid under my fingers, with just the right amount of resistance. I’d compare it to my iMac keyboard in feel, while it’s a bit smaller than the standard bluetooth keyboard Apple makes. It only took me a few minutes to get used to the different size of and distance between keys, and I have fairly large hands and fingers.I really like the protection offered by the Logitech Keyboard Case, though it does add a bit of weight to the iPad. In my unofficial testing of the weight difference between my 11-inch Macbook Air and the new iPad with the keyboard case attached (read that as holding one in each hand and balancing them, schoolyard-style), I’d have to say that it’s almost as heavy as the Air, if a bit lighter. Ultimately? It’s pretty darn light and useable.
The rubber bumpers on the inside of the case protect from impact damage, and hold on to the iPad when closed in. It’s a very nice way to keep the iPad safe, though I suppose the back of the iPad and the camera can still get scratched. That’s not something that concerns me, personally, though. I’ve not had any problem with either version of the iPad falling out when snugged in tight.
All in all, the Logitech Keyboard Case by ZAGG for iPad 2 is a solid investment for anyone wanting to use their iPad as more of a laptop. Our very own Carter Dotson used his iPad with the keyboard case to report from the show floor of GDC and found it very acceptable. It will snugly fit both the iPad 2 and the new iPad (sorry iPad 1 owners) well, with the advantage going to the new iPad for fit.
The actual keyboard on the Zagg mate keyboard is nearly perfect. The keys are real, with a great feel. In addition, the key placements are almost perfect though I would have preferred the standard inverted T for the arrows. They Bluetooth pairing works great as well. But the actual case design is so out of left field. It just doesn’t work well for me.
So let’s start out with the good. This thing has a great keyboard. The keys are small, but that’s fairly easy to get used to. They are very satisfying to use and type on. The keyboard works as you would expect it to. There’s the normal functions that you get with a keyboard connected to the iPad. The standard cut, copy, paste keys are great to have along with the arrow keys with the modifiers for text selection, which is great for power text editors.
When in use the iPad reclines in a recessed ridge in the middle of the device with a little easel in the back to hold it up. The iPad is loose which allows you to use it in any of the four orientations — portrait or landscape mode. This is a nice feature that no other iPad keyboard case I’ve seen has.
The problem I have with this case is that when it’s “closed”, it only covers the glass front of the iPad. The iPad is held in place by a foam gasket inside the unfinished rim of the aluminum base. The problem with this is that the back is left open to damage. I’m not one that obsesses over scratches of my devices. I buy them to use, not to display, so it’s not a huge concern. But it does leave me a little bit uneasy that there’s nothing like a layer of a case to help protect the iPad.
The usage issue is that it’s rather hard to get the iPad out of the device when it’s closed. You need to wedge your finger in the side to pry the two halves apart. It can be a bit difficult if you are in a hurry.
Overall, I really have a love / hate relationship with this keyboard case. The keyboard itself is great, and adds very little weight to the iPad. But, I think the design of the case, and how it sits on the iPad is one that is an interesting and very unique idea that just doesn’t work all that well in practice. The Zagg mate keyboard retails for a cool $99 and is available from a variety of retail locations and from Zagg themselves.
[ Source: Zagg ]