by Brent Dirks
October 1, 2013
Company: Logitech Product: Ultrathin Keyboard Folio for the iPad mini Price: $89.99 Compatibility: iPad mini Website: www.logitech.com Date: October 1, 2013
The ProductWhile Logitech is known for a number of high-quality accessories, the company has really done a nice job creating interesting and unique keyboard solutions for Apple’s iPad and iPad mini. I was thoroughly impressed with the Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for the full-sized iPad when I reviewed it last year. But the smaller iPad presents a new set of challenges for add-on keyboards. With just a 7.9-inch screen, any keyboard made for the tablet would have to be significantly smaller. And just how much would the smaller size affect typing speed? Let’s find out with Logitech’s new Ultrathin Keyboard Folio for the iPad mini. Design-wise, the folio is very similar to the Ultrathin Keyboard Folio for the iPad that we reviewed earlier this year. The iPad mini is completely protected with a layer of water-resistant material. Getting the tablet in and out of the case is easy. Snap the tablet into the two clips at the top of the case, and you’re ready to go. Just a small amount of force pulls the iPad mini back out. Probably my favorite aspect of the case is how light and thin it is. Weighing in at only 10 ounces and measuring 19.3mm thin, the folio can easily be used as a day-to-day case without even realizing that there is a full keyboard inside the front cover. Once the iPad mini is installed, pairing is easy and quick, especially in iOS 7. A small power button on the side of the case turns the keyboard on and off to save battery power when it is not being used. Logitech says the keyboard, with an average use of two hours per day, can go for up to three months without having to be recharged. Magnets built into the case do a nice job holding the iPad mini firmly in the typing position. The folio can also be made to lay flat with the keyboard hidden. As far as actually using the keyboard goes, it’s an interesting process. I’m a pretty fast touch typer with a regular-sized keyboard, but this configuration is a little unique. For a torture test, I extensively used the folio last week during a tradeshow, and did come away impressed, for the most part. It took a few sessions to get used to the key layout. Once I did, I was happy with the results. A major plus is the iPad-specific shortcut keys. Along with a dedicated button to return to the home screen, there are also specific keys combinations for cut and paste, searching, volume, and more. My major complaints focus on two keys – the letter "A" and delete. For some inexplicable reason the "A" key is bigger than all of the other letters on the keyboard, which in my experience leads to a larger than usual amount of mistakes and slower typing speeds. Delete, which is one of the most important keys on a keyboard, is extremely tiny – half the size of any letter key. So while trying to correct a mistake, I often hit one of the adjacent keys.
- Light and thin enough to use as a day-to-day case.
- Pairing is simple, quick, and easy.
- Spectacular battery life.
- A number of iPad-specific shortcuts are a huge timesaver.
- Protects the entire tablet with water-resistant material.
- Provides two different angles to use the iPad mini.
- Cramped keyboard takes some time to get used to.
- The letter "A" key is especially taxing.