Late last year Logitech released a new keyboard onto the market, touting it as “the other half of your iPad”. I managed to get my hands on one but only recently did I really get an opportunity to put it through its paces.
The keyboard itself is no bigger then any of the iPad’s currently on the market, really making it an ideal companion for those who need or like the feel of physical keys rather then the touch screen. You can easily reach a typing speed of 40/50 words per a minute with it, once you get accustomed to the keys spacing.
Logitech added a few shortcut keys which can be accessed with the function key. The most useful being copy, cut, paste, switching between keyboards (if you have more then one activated), play/pause, volumes up and down and finally the lock key. Which locks the iPad and puts it to sleep for you. Other added keys are “option” and “command” (short formed into “cmd”). With the command key, you can copy, cut and paste as though in OSX, bypassing the need to either use the function key or trying to select the function using the magnified cursor.
The keyboard itself is basically like any other keyboard, slightly shrunk to fit into the physical dimensions of an iPad. The keys are placed slightly tighter but after a few typed lines it makes little difference. The audible “click click click” gives you the feedback you’d expect and the overall texture is no different then the one on your MacBook Pro, perhaps slightly more grainier I would say.
There is only one viewing angle, which for those who may have an irregular desk or sitting position, may become a problem. I’m using it along with an iPad 2, which for those who know, is slightly thinner then the latest iPad 4 (or iPad with Retina). I’m unsure whether this may further effect the viewing angle or not. That said, the angle that it sits at is comfortable for extended typing periods. Not having the ability to change this will discourage some, however I still recommend at least trying it out before completely dismissing it.
I picked up the black keyboard (as I have a black iPad) and found no discolouration or fading on the keys. The back is made of aluminum or so it seems, unfortunately after frequent use and constantly being slid across desks and in my briefcase, it has started to show some scratches. For those who are sticklers for such things, I’d recommend maybe placing a cloth underneath to help prevent this. Can’t guarantee however that it wont happen but it will greatly reduce the risk.
In terms of connectivity and battery life, it utilizes bluetooth and the battery seems to last a fair length. After about 3/4 hours of continuous use over 10 consecutive days, I found it still had juice. I did end up charging it the following day as I wasn’t sure how much life was left in it. That said, there is no clear way to determine how much life the keyboard has. I wish they would add a small button similar to the one on the side of MacBooks which gives you a visual look at the battery life or perhaps a small icon on the iPad similar to what Jawbone does with its headset. Unfortunately there isn’t one, there isn’t even an app which can aid with this (not that I’ve found at least). One thing I did notice was that the keyboard does have a “sleep” protocol. Meaning that if you don’t use it after a certain period of time, the keyboard puts itself to sleep. It remains connected but it takes it a second or two to start up again. It seems to do this as well when you put the iPad to sleep. So be patient when waking it.
I’ve tested several other keyboards when the iPad first came out and the biggest grip I had with the older versions was the extra lip around the edges or even worst, the fact that you had to slide it into a case in order to use it properly. This keyboard has a great balance between functionality and form and is even available now for the iPad Mini. Although typing on an even smaller version is much more difficult, it is available for those who want one.
Finally, it clips on and holds itself attached the same way that the Apple covers do, using the magnetic strip in the iPad. This makes for an elegant way to travel with the two and eliminates any extra unneeded (and unwanted) bulk.
Overall I recommend this keyboard over anything else currently available on the market. At a price point of $99 (picked mine up for $79 on sale) it’s not a bad way to go. Available in black, white, red and now even purple, you can pick one up at any Apple, Best Buy, Future Shop or tech based store. If you’re still uncertain, I would at the very least recommend you pick one up and test it out for yourself. If you don’t like it, return it. Most stores have a 14 days return policy so why not utilize it.
Until next time …