December 4, 2013
Logitech recently introduced a new line of keyboard cases for the iPad Air. The FabricSkin Keyboard Folio is the first iPad case from the company to feature a keyboard that is part of its inner fabric. Previous versions, such as the Ultrathin Keyboard Folio include a separate, more traditional keyboard that is attached to the inside of the case. How does this new design hold up? It's time to find out.
- Company: Logitech
- Product Name: FabricSkin Keyboard Folio
- Price: $149.99
- Size: Width 185 mm (7.3 inches) without tag, 195 mm (7.7 inches) with tag; Depth 18.5 mm (0.7 inches); Weight 425 g (0.9 pounds)
- Compatibility: iPad Air.
- Website: www.logitech.com
- Date Reviewed: Dec. 3, 2013
The BasicsThe FabricSkin Keyboard Folio is an all-in-one case for Apple’s latest generation 9.4-inch tablet. It covers both the front and back of the tablet, offering protection from accidental bumps, scratches, and spills. It is “precision engineered with state-of-the-art, water-repellant materials and cutting-edge manufacturing techniques.” The case doubles as a dual-view stand that holds the iPad Air in two positions: upright with the keyboard exposed, and flat, with the keyboard hidden. The case includes a standard Bluetooth keyboard with full-size keys, which is powered by a rechargeable battery. The FabricSkin Keyboard Folio is currently available in three colors: Carbon Black, Mars Red Orange, and Urban Grey. Logitech notes that color choices vary by region or country. For this review, I used a FabricSkin Keyboard Folio in Urban Grey. This model is dark gray on the outside, and mustard yellow on the inside.
Integration with iOS devicesThis case only works with the iPad Air. FabricSkin Keyboard Folio versions for other iPads are not available. The iPad Air snaps into the case at the top using two low-profile clips. When in the upright position, the bottom of the iPad Air sits above the keyboard. When the case is closed, hidden magnets keep it secure and turn off the tablet's screen. Unlike previous keyboard cases from Logitech, the FabricSkin Keyboard Folio doesn’t include an on/off button. The keyboard turns on automatically when the iPad Air is in the upright position, and is turned off when the case is flat. A circular hole on the backside of the case exposes the iPad Air’s camera. The tablet’s on/off sleep/wake button is covered by one of the case’s two clips. You don’t need to remove the case to access this button. The iPad Air’s silent/screen rotation lock, volume up/down button, Lightning connector, build-in speakers, dual-microphones, and 3.5-mm stereo headphone mini-jack aren’t covered by the case in any way.
AccessoriesThe FabricSkin Keyboard Folio comes with a Micro-USB cable for charging, and documentation.
Use and feelGreat iPad cases should offer protection, be easy to remove, and look great even after a few uses. When the case comes with a keyboard, the battery should last a long time between charges, and the keys should be full size. The FabricSkin Keyboard Folio scores high marks on all of these points, although it does come with one caveat. The case is easy to remove, and I have full confidence that it would protect my iPad Air were it to fall from a reasonable height. According to Logitech, the case's battery provides “up to 3 months of battery life on a full charge … Based on an average use of 2 hours per day.” I can’t confirm this since I’ve only had the FabricSkin Keyboard Folio for two weeks. However, the batteries in earlier Logitech keyboard cases that I owned did live up to the promises made. The first thing I noticed about the keyboard on the case was its beautiful design. Even if you choose not to buy a FabricSkin Keyboard Folio, check one out at a retail store just to see the keyboard. Like the rest of the interior, the keyboard is made of a soft, smooth material that is easy on the fingers. It is also easy to clean. Despite its innovative look, I will admit that I was concerned that the keyboard wouldn’t work as well as the ones on other Logitech products for the iPad Air, including the Ultrathin Keyboard Folio, and Ultrathin Keyboard cover. My concerns were unwarranted. The keyboard is quick, and the full-size keys are spaced far enough apart for my average size hands. Plus, I’ll mention this again — the FabricSkin Keyboard Folio includes a standard keyboard. It also includes iOS shortcut keys for copy, paste, undo, and more. My only complaint about the FabricSkin Keyboard Folio isn’t actually about this particular product. Rather, it’s about the material Logitech uses on it, and other keyboard cases in their line. I also own a Folio Protective Case for my iPad Air. The case is in Vapor Grey, which is a cross between gray and white. Soon after buying this case, my 6-year-old accidentally dropped some pieces of strawberry on it. This left a noticeable stain. The material used on both the FabricSkin Keyboard Folio and Folio Protective Case can be cleaned with something like Dawn dish detergent and a little bit of water. Unfortunately, I was unable to remove the stains completely on the Folio Protective Case. The FabricSkin Keyboard Folio doesn’t come in a light color design. In fact, minor spills made on my Urban Grey case have been easy to remove with soap and water. I only bring this up because lighter color choices are available for other Logitech iPad cases, such as the $99 Ultrathin Keyboard Folio, and $49 Folio Protective Case. If you decide to buy an iPad Air case from Logitech that uses this type of fabric, avoid food and drink. Better yet, buy a darker case. Otherwise, be prepared to live with some stains.
- Innovative design
- Keyboard is revolutionary
- Color choices are unique
- Many may balk at the price of the case
- Never buy a light colored case