iPad Keyboard Review: Logitech FabricSkin Keyboard Folio for iPad Review
Editor's Ratings (1-5): 4.5
What's Hot: Very protective of the iPad, extremely easy to use and comes in four color options.
What's Not: Adds significant weight to the tablet.
Reviewed by Tong Zhang
The Logitech FabricSkin Keyboard Folio for iPad is a new portfolio style case with built-in keyboard that's fused into interior fabric. The folio case plus keyboard provides the convenience of typing on a very useable keyboard anywhere you take your iPad and the complete protection for the tablet. The Bluetooth keyboard is very easy to use and the full sized keys are comfortable to type on. The Logitech FabricSkin Keyboard Folio for iPad comes in four color combos with red, blue, blue and yellow exterior colors and white, blue and khaki interior colors.
The Logitech FabricSkin Keyboard Folio for iPad is built like a tank. The keyboard case opens like a book, and you can install your iPad into the tablet holder on the right side. The tablet holder is made with strong polycarbonate shell that's sturdy and protective. The rim of the holder is lined with rubber that has enough flexibility for you to install the iPad in the case or take it out easily, and the rubber rim hugs the front edges of the tablet. The case covers all sides of the tablet with a sculpted curvy design.
The exterior cover connects the tablet holder with the keyboard that doubles as front cover. The keyboard/front cover has thicker and more rigid plastic shell that not only can protect the display of the tablet very well but also gives you a solid platform to type on the keyboard. The interior of the cover is soft fabric and the keyboard keys rise above the fabric but are infused as a part of the surface. The design of the FabricSkin remains the same with each color, but the surface actually comes in a different material. The Carbon Black and Mystic Blue come in matt synthetic leather, the Mars Red Orange comes in strong and durable fabric, and the Electric Blue and Sunflower Yellow come in fine weave high quality cotton. But no matter which color option you choose, you're getting a solid case that can protect your tablet from serious bumps, scratches and even drops. Both the exterior and the interior use water repellant material, so if you need to use it in the kitchen or by the pool, you know your tablet is protected. The only price you pay for the solid and sturdy protection is the 1.2-pound weight it adds to the tablet.
The keyboard deck has a small hump on the right side where you'll find the microUSB charging port, Bluetooth Connect button and a reset hole.
The Logitech FabricSkin Keyboard Folio for iPad offers a different typing experience compared to the hardware keyboards we've seen for the iPad. The design of integrating keyboard into the fabric reminds us the keyboard for Microsoft Surface tablets. The keys on the Logitech FabricSkin keyboard come in full size and have excellent tactile feedback. Key travel is what you would expect from an embedded keyboard, not as big as a full sized desktop keyboard or even a large notebook keyboard, but it's on par with thin Ultrabook keyboards and it shouldn't take you long to get used to the travel.
The layout on the Logitech FabricSkin Keyboard is mostly standard considering it's designed to work with a 9.7" tablet. Though shortened, both Shift keys are here as well as four directional keys. There are no surprises or major inconvenience in keyboard layout, and we're glad to see the keyboard offers dedicated iPad operating keys sharing the top row as Fn keys. These dedicated keys can launch the Home screen, lock screen, Siri, Search, Safari, Slide Show and on-screen keyboard, as well as media playback controls and volume controls. A single LED light for battery and Bluetooth status lives on the top right corner of the keyboard.
The Logitech FabricSkin Keyboard Folio for iPad has built-in Bluetooth and it's incredibly easy to use. Install the iPad into the tablet holder and put it in standing position. The magnets embedded in the case will help you snap the tablet in the correct locations, and you'll see the blue LED light flashing. Use your iPad to discover and pair with the keyboard and the blue LED will turn solid blue when it's paired, and you're ready to go. If you need to pair the keyboard with additional iPads, put the tablet in typing position and press and hold the Bluetooth Connect button on the side of the case to pair.
The Logitech FabricSkin Keyboard Folio for iPad has built-in rechargeable battery and comes with a USB cable for charging. When the battery is low (below 20%), the LED light above the keyboard will blink red. When the keyboard is charging, the LED will blink green and then turn solid green when it's fully charged. If you use the keyboard for a couple of hours a day, the battery should last you up to 3 months. The keyboard goes to sleep automatically when not in use, and you can wake it up by pressing any key.
The Logitech FabricSkin Keyboard Folio for iPad works with iPad 2, iPad 3 and iPad 4 in terms of size and button and port locations. The tablet case covers all buttons but has cutouts for ports. The side volume buttons and the screen rotation lock are easy to operate under the case's cover, but the top power button isn't on our review unit. It takes many tries to make the power button work. Thank goodness the front cover has magnetic auto-wake and sleep feature so that you don't have to use the power button. The case has cutouts for the audio out jack, mic, Lightning port, speaker grill as well as the rear camera, all aligned nicely with the ports. In addition to the standing position you can also fold the back cover and position the tablet in a flatter angle that's better for reading or using the on-screen keyboard.
Yes, the Logitech FabricSkin Keyboard Folio for iPad adds some extra weight to your tablet, but the strong protection and the very useable keyboard give you a lot in return. The case and keyboard have solid build with water repellant surface, the Bluetooth is super easy to use, and the battery has good runtime. We like the color options for this folio style keyboard and the clean look and soft touch surface. Everything is easy to use on this keyboard, except in our unit, the power button is hard to operate.