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August 26, 2012

Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for the iPad

by Andreas Schaefer

Update: Another week later and I am pretty pleased with the combo. Not only is writing so much more enjoyable but I also take my combo to more places and therefor I used even more. Now it pays off that I have an iPad with LTE making working online a breezy and pretty darn quick. Even when I am at a place with free Wifi I often ditch it because LTE is so much faster like on Airports or Startbucks. Up to know I never ran out of battery on the keyboard and I'll charge it everytime I charge the iPad. Last weekend I saw that Costco is selling the keyboard cheaper than at the Apple store but I would never have bought it there. My experience with electronics from Costco is that its hardware is in buggier and dies quicker than hardware from the Apple store.

Update: I am using the Keyboard for now a week and it already paid for half of its cost. Waiting at the Optomotrist for around half an hour and so I started writing a documentation for my current project using Byword. After I came home I got the document through Dropbox and included it into the final document. Because it works so well I bought Textastic to see how easy or difficult it is to develop code with the keyboard. For now the only problem I see with that is that the code has to be placed on Dropbox or an FTP server which works for smaller projects but for bigger projects with GIT that might become a space issue.

I write this blog entry with my new Logitech iPad Keyboard and so far it works quite well. The keyboard is a little bit cramped compared to my 13'' MacBook Air and I need some adjustment because there is no mouse and so I have to use my fingers instead which just feels wrong. On the other hand I can type fast and with fewer errors which makes writing so much easier.

The installation was quite simple. Unbox the package, place the iPad into the groove above the keyboard, switch it on, go to Settings -> General -> Bluetooth, pair it and start typing. At the end I can use the keyboard like a smart cover which makes the combo quite thicker but it is compact and easy to handle compared to an Apple Bluetooth keyboard. The keyboard is powered by a rechargeable battery that can be charge through a micro USB cable.

For its size and weight it is a good combination, the iPad stand works quite nicely in both orientations. I was carrying around last night and it is thicker and heavier than just the iPad but I could use it out in the field without any problems even though typing only works well if the keyboard is stable like on two thights. The magnets that keep the keyboard fastened to the iPad work like a smart cover but they are a little bit weak for the weight of the keyboard. This means one has to be careful when opening the keyboard because it easily slips of the iPad. In my opinion this is too bad but one just has to be aware of it to avoid dropping the keyboard onto the floor. Another thing I noticed is that the iPad must not be placed on a side with buttons like the top or the right if the home button is on the bottom otherwsie the iPad is not fastened securely. The best way is to lay down the combo with the keyboard at the bottom, lift up the iPad, take it off the hinges and place it into the groove. The groove seems to have magnets, too, keeping the iPad securely in place.

The typing requires some time to get used to beause the size is given by the size of the iPad which makes for rather small keys and tired out my fingers at lot at the beginning. Eventually I think this will subside as soon as I am getting used to it. Lastly the frequency of using the keyboard will termine if it was a good purchase or not. The combintation is setup quickly and so that shouldn't be a road block and because I am mostly writing on my iPad like emails, blog entries, diary, to do lists and others an easy to use physical keyboard should be a heaven send. But as often the little details are deciding if it works out or not.

Here is a picture on the combo in action:

Here a comparison of the combo versus a MacBoor Air 13'':

– Andy


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