iPad Keyboard Review: Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover Review
Reviewed by Jacob Spindel, June 2012
What's Hot: Thin and light design integrates well and protects iPad; great keyboard; smart cover compatible.
What's Not: Doesn't fold as far back as a regular smart cover; built-in stand is unstable.
Apple invests countless hours of ingenuity designing clever features like the Smart Cover available on second and third generation iPads: it's a brilliant detachable magnetic cover that automatically turns the iPad on when you open it, and automatically puts the iPad into sleep mode when you close it. People who buy an iPad often marvel at the elegant simplicity of the Smart Cover - that is, until they need to buy a keyboard case, and then all that cleverness goes down the drain. Wouldn't it be nice if accessory makers could embrace Apple's ideas instead of covering over them?
For once, Logitech seems to have caught on to that idea. Although the Ultrathin Keyboard Cover does have some disadvantages, it is a great option for anyone who needs a keyboard for their second or third generation iPad.
Measuring 0.31 x 7.6 x 9.8 inches and 15.8 ounces, the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover is an aluminum cover for the front of your iPad on one side, and Bluetooth keyboard on the other. The power switch for the keyboard as well as the USB charging port and the Bluetooth discoverability button are all located along the bottom edge. It connects to your iPad magnetically, and yes, it is compatible with Apple's Smart Cover standard! That means that you can turn your iPad on and off by opening and closing the keyboard. Instead of giving up your smart cover, Logitech has added a keyboard to it. Brilliant!
Well, almost. It turns out Logitech forgot one of the handy features that regular Smart Covers include. Covering your iPad is great for protection, but Apple knows that when you're actually using your iPad, you will probably want to get the cover out of the way, which is why you can fold a regular Smart Cover all the way behind your iPad and completely out of sight. The Ultrathin Keyboard Cover can open up to 180 degrees, so it will lay flat with your iPad adjacent to it, but you can't fold it behind your iPad in case you were hoping to do some non-keyboard tasks and wanted to save some space. Of course, you can simply detach the keyboard entirely, but if the most convenient way to use a product is to simply not use it, that detracts from the elegance of an otherwise elegant product.
As for when you're actually using the keyboard, you can either leave it connected magnetically, or you can place your iPad in the stand built right into the cover. It runs the entire length of the cover vertically, and you can place your iPad into the stand in absolutely any orientation you want. You can also continue to use ports and buttons (unless they are facing downward). Handy!
Well, almost. The stand works well enough for word processing or other "business" tasks, but it simply isn't deep or firm enough for gaming or anything where you are going to be pressing rapidly and firmly on your iPad's screen. If you try it, your iPad will probably just pop right out of the stand.
So there you have it - a keyboard that's also a cover, and a cover that's also a stand. What more could you possibly want from a keyboard? Oh right - typing!
The Actual Keyboard
The keyboard only takes about two thirds of the cover, and it is indeed ultra-slim. For such a small, slim keyboard, the typing experience is amazingly good. The discrete keys are correctly spaced and in the right places, including two command keys, two option keys, and the four arrow keys. Travel is surprisingly good for such a thin keyboard, and the keys are clicky and firm, which is a welcome change from the countless rubbery iPad keyboards that would almost work better as bathtub toys than typing instruments. (Please don't actually try that!) Strangely, the keyboard started dropping and transposing many letters when we tried to use it simultaneously while charging it, but at all other times, it was flawlessly responsive and accurate.
The five-row keyboard includes a dedicated number row, but you'll have to use the fn key plus the number row to access functions like play, pause, and volume adjustment. The keyboard charges over USB, and Logitech claims that with an average of two hours of use per day, the keyboard can last six months on a single charge.
The strongest point of the Logitech Ultraslim Keyboard Cover is the typing experience itself - which is, after all, a pretty good area for keyboard designers to focus on. If you're a business-oriented iPad user who does more typing than gaming, then you can probably overlook the unstable built-in stand, and the sheer quality of the keyboard itself more than makes up for having to detach the cover if you want to get it out of the way. The Ultraslim Keyboard Cover is a great option for iPad owners who want a keyboard - and you won't have to give up on having a Smart Cover to get one.
Editor's Rating (1-5): 3.5 Stars
Web site: www.logitech.com
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