iPad Keyboard Case Review: Sena Keyboard Folio Case for the New iPad Review
Editor's Ratings (1-5): 4
What's Hot: Very protective case, keyboard works nicely.
What's Not: Heavy and bulky.
Sena makes high quality leather cases, and offers quite a few case models for the iPad 2 and the new iPad. The Sena Keyboard Folio case is the most unique one in the line-up thanks to the included portable Bluetooth keyboard that comes with the case. The portfolio style case is thick and solid, and it provides serious protection for your iPad 2 or the New iPad 3rd gen as well as an easy way to carry both your tablet and a portable keyboard in one case. The Sena Keyboard Folio comes in three color options including black, red and tan.
The Sena Keyboard Folio case for the iPad 2 and the New iPad is made with high quality full grain leather with strong inserts and fortifications. The case is thick and super protective with the tablet is hidden inside of the case. Everything on the Sena Keyboard Folio case is big-featured including the large and sturdy folding stand and the wide closure band that secures the case shut with a snap. The folding stand puts the iPad in a perfectly viewing angle for typing, and that's the only viewing angle with the built-in stand. Microsuede like material lines the interior for both the pocket that holds the iPad and the one that holds the keyboard. The strong leather, thick padding and stiff frame give your iPad serious shock protection and certainly enough protection against bumps, pokes and scratches when you carry your iPad in your bag or backpack. With the strong protection, the Sena Keyboard Folio also adds a considerate amount of bulk and weight. The case weighs 12.2 oz. with the keyboard, and 1 lb and 3.4 oz. with the keyboard.
The book style case has a tablet pocket on the right for your iPad 2 or the new iPad, and a keyboard pocket on the left with the portable keyboard. The tablet pocket was designed for the iPad 2 which fits perfectly and all cutouts line up with the ports and buttons they intend to expose. The new iPad 3rd generation adds a slightly more thickness, and while the tablet pocket holds the New iPad fine, the sync/charge port and the rear camera cutouts don't line up perfectly, though this doesn't prevent you from using either. One very nice feature on the Sena Keyboard Folio case is that it uses a strong Velcro to secure the tablet in the case.
The keyboard pocket is also made with leather and has cutouts for the top charging port, power button as well as the Menu button on the top right front corner. It holds the keyboard securely in the pocket and the leather frames that cover the iPad display bezel and the one that covers the keyboard prevent the keyboard from touching the tablet screen. One thing we found inconvenient: the bottoms of edge of the case often get in the way of touch typing on the keyboard, especially with the Spacebar. When we took the keyboard out of the case and used it standalone, we had faster and typing experience.
The Sena Keyboard Folio includes the HiPPiH Bluetooth keyboard. The keyboard has a normal QWERTY layout with two Shift keys and most command and function keys. The left Shift is larger than the letter keys but the right Shift is smaller than the letter keys. The Spacebar is long enough, sharing the bottom row with narrowed function keys, command keys and more. It's great to see both Delete and Back keys on the keyboard, but many punctuation keys are scattered in odd locations. The keyboard has iPad specific control keys, multimedia playback controls and volume keys in the top row along with screen lock and wake up keys. The dedicated control keys also include screen brightness keys, on-screen keyboard launcher key, photo viewer launcher key and search key. The keyboard also includes four directional keys on the bottom right corner. Nice!
The keyboard measures 7.9" from the left most key to the right most key. The space allows the keyboard to have very decent sized keys for a small portable keyboard, though the spacing between each key is very tiny. The surface of the keys is a bit slippery but thanks to the nice size, your fingers won't slip off easily. The keyboard has a short and somewhat wobbly travel, resulting uneven tapping some times. It's not a big obstacle, and you should get used the feel after typing on the keyboard for a while.
Bluetooth Pairing and Battery Life
The Sena Keyboard Folio keyboard has built-in Bluetooth that works with smartphones and tablets with Bluetooth HID profile support. The keyboard has a Menu button on the top right corner that indicated Bluetooth pairing status, battery/charging status and CapLock. The keyboard is very easy to pair, and has auto-pairing function when you turn it on the first time. For subsequent pairing, press and hold the Menu button until the LED light flashes blue, use your tablet or smartphone to find the keyboard and type in the number shows up on the screen. The keyboard finds its previous connected partner after sleeping quickly.
The Sena Keyboard Folio keyboard has a built-in rechargeable Lithium battery that has 45-hour usage and 55-hour standby time. The case comes with a USB/microUSB charging cable and takes about 2-3 hours to fully charge. The keyboard goes to sleep automatically after a period of inactive, and has a power on/off slider.
The Sena Keyboard Folio Case is built like a tank and comes with a Bluetooth keyboard. The case can protect your iPad 2 or the New iPad very well while offering cutouts to use all ports and buttons while in the case. The built-in stand is very handy for typing with the keyboard and the strong closure tap keeps the case shut securely. We like the keyboard well enough and impressed by the solid build and good quality of the case. One thing you need to keep in mind: the case adds considerable amount of bulk and weight for the extra protection and the portable keyboard.