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Kensington KeyFolio for iPad

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What's hot: Solid and very protective case, good keyboard.

What's not: Adds both thickness and lots of weight to the iPad.

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Reviewed January 18, 2011 by Tong Zhang

We are not alone when we say we love the on-screen keyboard for the iPad, but there are times when you just want to type out a document or an email message that might go faster with a real hardware keyboard. The Kensington KeyFolio Bluetooth Keyboard case for iPad is a good choice because the keyboard is super easy to use and has controls designed specifically to work with the iPad. When it’s not in use, you can turn off the keyboard and turn it into a carrying case. The design is clever, the keyboard is spill proof and the case is solid. The only downside? It adds some bulk and weight to your iPad.

Kensington KeyFolio

Design

If you describe the Kensington KeyFolio Bluetooth Keyboard case as “built like a tank” you wouldn’t be far from the truth. The leather portfolio style case is made of durable synthetic leather and both sides (the iPad side and the keyboard side) have hard inserts that reinforce the protection. The iPad case is side loading and once you close the flap, the iPad sits very securely in the case. The case has cutouts for all ports and buttons on the iPad including the front button and the ambient light sensor. The leather around the iPad’s screen has enough thickness that when you close the case, the keyboard on the other side doesn’t put pressure on the iPad’s screen.

The keyboard has sealed rubberized keys that make the keyboard spill proof and provide traction so your fingers won’t slide off the keys. The rubberized surface won’t scratch your iPad’s screen when the case is shut. For those who worry that magnets might interfere with iPad’s digital compass, you should be happy to know that the Kensington keyboard case doesn’t have any magnet closures as the keyboard cover is heavy enough to keep the case closed.

Kensington KeyFolio

All this sounds great, but if your iPad can’t sit up while you are typing, then it’s not a complete typing experience. The Kensington has a built-in stand in the case that allows you to sit the iPad up in landscape mode while typing on the keyboard. The stand holds the iPad securely when you position the keyboard on a flat surface, like a desk or even on your lap, and allows you to use the keyboard and the touch screen freely. There are several groove lines where you can stand your iPad so that you can adjust the angle of the iPad.

Typing Experience

Before we get into how it feels typing on the Kensington KeyFolio Bluetooth Keyboard, we should mention that it worked with all apps we tried including Mail, Notes, Contacts, Calendar, iBooks (for taking notes and annotations), messaging in several apps, FaceBook, Twitter, Safari and even games. The Kensington Bluetooth Keyboard and Case for iPad has built-in Bluetooth v2.0 and pairs with the iPad easily. Before you can use the keyboard for the first time, you must charge the integrated Lithium-Ion battery using the included USB cable. The claimed work time for the battery is 90 hours and standby time is 45 days. 

Deals and Shopping:

The Kensington KeyFolio Bluetooth keyboard has a 6-row keys that has a normal layout. The menu keys including control, alt option and command keys live on the left side of the space bar and four directional keys live on the right. The top row function keys are designed specifically for the iPad and they include keys for flipping through different screens, volume/mute/unmute, play/pause, fast-forward and rewind, search and more. These keys are quite useful if you rely on the KeyFolio keyboard a lot for your iPad operations. Three LED lights live on the top right corner above the keyboard indicating Bluetooth, charge and power status. The Connect button lives above the LED as a quick Bluetooth connection switch, and the charging port and the power button live on the side of the keyboard.

Kensington KeyFolio

Typing on the Kensington KeyFolio Bluetooth Keyboard feels smooth after a short period of practice. The keys have surprisingly good tactile feedback and typing feels quite natural thanks to the normal locations of the keys. The only thing that might require some getting used to is the spacing of the keys: it’s tight! At first, you might invade neighboring keys unintentionally when you type on the keyboard. But once your hands get used to the spacing, your typing will become more accurate.

Kensington KeyFolio

Conclusion

We really enjoyed using the Kensington KeyFolio Bluetooth Keyboard and Case. The black portfolio style case protects the iPad most effectively while making it look professional—it has that executive portfolio look. The Bluetooth keyboard is very easy to use and has great tactile feedback. Once you get used to the tight spacing on the keyboard, you should have no trouble typing or operating the iPad via the keyboard. Yes, it does add some weight to the iPad and bring the total weight (iPad and the KeyFolio) to 2.1 lbs., but that’s a worthy tradeoff for iPad users who need the convenience of a hardware keyboard.

Pro: Solid and very proactive case, good keyboard.

Con: Adds both thickness and weight to the iPad.

Price: $99.99

Web site: www.kensington.com

Specs:

Bluetooth: v2.0

Battery: Lithium-Ion, 430 mAh. Claimed working time: 90 hours; standby time: 45 days.

Size: 9.9 x 7.98 x 1.85 inches

Weight: 0.62 lb.

Color: Black

 

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