iPad 2 Keyboard Case Review: Brando iPad 2 Case with Bluetooth Keyboard
Reviewed by Tong Zhang
Editor's Ratings (1-5): 4
What's Hot: Good protection, comfortable typing experience, iPad 2 specific keys.
What's Not: Adds lots of weight and bulk to the iPad 2.
iPad cases with Bluetooth keyboards built-in make a lot of sense for users who need to do some email on the road or work on documents that require a fair amount of typing. We reviewed the Kensington KeyFolio for iPad case with a built-in Bluetooth keyboard. Now with the new iPad 2's slimmer form, we are seeing new keyboard cases that fit the new tablet better. Brando makes cases with Bluetooth keyboards for several tablet models, in fact we looked at their Bluetooth keyboard case for the Samsung Galaxy Tab which had some issues. The Brando iPad 2 Case with Bluetooth keyboard however works perfectly with the iPad 2. The case offers a variety of positions, and the keyboard has tablet specific keys that help you operate the iPad 2 without having to touch the screen.
The Brando iPad 2 Case is made with smooth PU leather with soft padding. The case has reinforced inserts that feel sturdy and protective. The pocket for the iPad 2 has elastic bands on the sides that make it easy to take the tablet in and out of the case. Two cutouts in the front give you access to the front camera, sensor and the Home button. The Brando case also has access to all ports and buttons on the iPad 2, and there is some space to let the audio out via the speaker grill.
The Bluetooth keyboard on the Brando Case has a smooth waterproof silicone surface. Like the Kensington KeyFolio case, the Brando iPad 2 Case has tracks above the keyboard so that your tablet will stay in place when popped up. But unlike the Kensington case, the Brando has a small flap extending out from the keyboard that folds over to protect the camera through the cut out on the back of the iPad 2, and also provides either a wrist rest for typing, or if you fold back the flap, you can create an angle for the keyboard for easier typing experience.
While the case feels protective and rigid, it also adds quite a bit of weight and bulk to the iPad 2. The Brando case weighs 1.5 lbs which is a bit heavier than the iPad 2 itself. So if you are carrying your iPad 2 on your arm all day long, you might want to get a lighter case and switch to the Brando case when you need some serious typing.
The Brando iPad 2 Case with Bluetooth Keyboard has Bluetooth v2.0, and it pairs and connects with the iPad 2 easily. Turn on the keyboard by sliding the power button up, and press the ?connect? button the keyboard to put it in pairing mode. Use your iPad to search and pair with the keyboard. The Brando iPad 2 Case with keyboard has built-in Lithium battery that can last for about a week with a full charge, and the case comes with a USB cable for charging the keyboard. The keyboard does a good job putting itself to sleep when it?s inactive to save power. And when you press any key on the keyboard, it will wake up and it?s ready for typing.
The Brando iPad 2 keyboard feels very comfortable to type on and has better spacing than the Kensington KeyFolio. The keyboard has an audio clicking sound when you press the keys and a very nice travel for a portable keyboard. Key layout is mostly standard with the except where you only get the left Shift key, like with many of these portable keyboards. It shouldn?t take you long to get used to typing on this keyboard.
In addition to the standard command, alt/option and control keys, the Brando iPad 2 keyboard also has function keys designed to work with a tablet. These keys include a screen turn on key that?s also a Home key, speaker volume and sound on/off keys, music/video play/pause, fast forward and rewind keys that work with applications like iTunes, YouTube and Netflix, and a dedicated Search key and a dedicated on-screen keyboard launch key as well as a Print key. We tested all the special function keys, all worked very well in our tests.
What the Kit Includes
The Brando iPad 2 Case with Bluetooth Keyboard includes the case with keyboard, a USB charging cable and a printed instruction sheet.
The Brando iPad 2 Case with Bluetooth Keyboard is a sturdy case that can provide great protection to your tablet and a very comfortable keyboard that?s easy to use. We like the keyboard layout, especially the iPad 2 specific keys that make operating the tablet a lot easier without using the touchscreen, and the tilted angle created with the end flap for better typing. Bluetooth pairs and connects easily with the iPad 2 and has no trouble keeping a solid connection after the keyboard sleeps to save power. For those who need typing on the go, we recommend this keyboard case with only one warning. The Brando iPad 2 Case adds significant amount of bulk and weight.
Web site: Brando
Li-ion battery capacity: Minimum 430MAH
Charging time: 4 - 4.5 hours
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