When Microsoft announced its upcoming rival to the iPad, Surface, the feature that seemed to get people most excited was the keyboard built into its snap-on case. ‘Apple must be wishing it had thought of that,’ remarked the PC press, shrewdly. What Apple understands, though, is that just because you think of something, that doesn’t mean you have to do it.
Not everyone who buys an iPad needs a keyboard case. But if you do, there are plenty of companies who’ll be happy to sell you one. And that means you get to choose from around a dozen options, not just two.
We tested six of the most promising and best iPad keyboard cases, from big names and less familiar makers. So now you’ll know which to buy, with the money you saved when your iPad didn’t come with one that you didn’t want. Wish you’d thought of that, Microsoft? All these keyboard cases are available for ipad, ipad 2 and the new ipad 3. If you have new ipad 3 than visit ipad3games.co to find out more best ipad 3 cases.
LogitechUltrathin Keyboard Cover ($97.99)
Logitech has taken a slightly different approach with its Ultrathin keyboard case. Rather than a folio that makes your iPad look like an anonymous executive folder, the Ultrathin is more like an Apple Smart Cover with a keyboard attached. However, instead of a flappy lightweight plastic structure, the Logitech has a solid base to protect your iPad’s precious screen.
Like the other models on test, the keyboard connects via Bluetooth and contains a rechargeable battery; Logitech claims this will last for six months between charges based on two hours of typing a day. We didn’t quite have the time to test that fully, but with average use we don’t doubt it.
Your iPad is held magnetically in the trench across the top of the keyboard, and although we had doubts about this scheme, in use it’s excellent. The base and iPad feel incredibly sturdy in this configuration and it makes for a very good typing experience. The single viewing angle might not appeal to all – especially if you’re in an awkward position on a train or plane – but that’s a minor gripe.
The Logitech is an excellent keyboard and, as the name promises, very thin and light. If you’re looking for something that protects your iPad completely, this probably isn’t for you, since it gives just the bare minimum of coverage. But as a handy portable keyboard it’s excellent.
KensingtonKeyFolio Expert ($99.99)
Now, here’s an idea. How would you like to stick your iPad into a case, quite literally?
Kensington has come up with the idea that, rather than fiddle with a plastic clip-in solution or a fabric case that you slip your iPad into, it would be more convenient just to use a sticky pad. Here – well, it’s interesting. You align your iPad with the sticky oblong and press firmly until it grabs on. The surface that adheres to the iPad’s rear is multi-use, so you can attach and remove it as many times as you like.
The keyboard itself is large, and the case allows for a good selection of viewing angles. The case wraps around your iPad and is both thin and lightweight; our only criticism is that it’s all flaps and creases, making it difficult to quickly grab your iPad and move on.
The main advantages of the Kensington are the multiple angles provided for by the sectioned case and the nicely proportioned keyboard. However, we have reservations about the attachment system. We never felt completely safe carrying the iPad in the KeyFolio, especially as the open ends mean it could theoretically slide out as you move about. You have to put a lot of faith in that sticky patch.
ZAGG’s keyboard case for the original iPad was one of our favourite early accessories. The ZAGGfolio, for iPad 2 and the new iPad, is neater but still hugs your tablet similarly; it’s more of a protective shell than a folio case, despite the name. But it has a pleasant soft-touch finish so it doesn’t feel like a cheap plastic cover.
Your iPad slides into the top half of the case and is held firmly in place; a minor quibble is that you have to remove the keyboard from the case to charge it. With the keyboard and iPad together, the Zagg is relatively heavy, though still easily portable.
The clasp that holds the iPad shut works, but it’s not a great design – not easy to clip shut and tricky to undo. And the way your iPad sits in the keyboard means you get just the one viewing angle; it’s fine for most situations, but some cases provide more flexibility. Still, the chunky base does mean the ZAGG can be used easily on your lap, which is not something most of the other cases allow for.
The ZAGG is similar to the Adonit keyboard in that it’s one of the better options for fast or touch-typists. But you’ll still have a few frustrating hours getting used to the more cramped keys.
The ZAGG is a great protective case, and despite the small shortcomings of the clip and the weight, it remains an excellent choice.
Although we didn’t have room on the test bench for all the keyboard cases we found, these are also worth considering: