Friday 19 January 2018

On the case: four of the best keyboard combos for iPads

Kensington Keyfolio Pro 2
Kensington Keyfolio Pro 2
Zagg Folio
Logitech Ultrathin
Belkin ultimate keyboard case
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

These days, you're as likely to get an iPad from work as they are a laptop. But if that goes with an expectation of getting any work done, a case and keyboard are a wise investment.

Here are four of the most prominent keyboard cases you're likely to run across.

Kensington Keyfolio Pro 2

Keyboard case €60

If you're a middle manager in your mid-50s and have just been given an iPad to use as a "mobile tool", there's a very good chance that the package includes this particular case.

A big hit when iPads first entered our lives (in 2010), Kensington's Keyfolio keyboard case now looks and feels very dated. Its keyboard is a little spongey, while the padded protection surrounding the case and keyboard bulks the whole thing out rather too much. You may as well be carrying a laptop around. On the other hand, it works just fine and a single charge will keep the Bluetooth wireless keyboard operational for at least a week.

Belkin Ultimate keyboard case €100

One of the irritants of iPad cases and keyboards is that extra bulk sometimes defeats the purpose of slimming down from a laptop.

If the case is so thick, what's the point in choosing it over a laptop (such as a MacBook Air) in the first place? Belkin's Ultimate keyboard case trades off a little protective robustness in favour of portability. So it's much slimmer and lightweight than many of its rivals.

Thankfully, this doesn't mean any loss of effectiveness when typing, although it may not survive as long on a single battery charge as some competitor devices. Used for typing with a full-sized iPad, the device looks a little like a slim laptop. And that's just fine.

Zagg Folio for iPad Air €100

This is the pick of the bunch for iPad keyboard cases.

Zagg's Folio has a number of features that lift it slightly above its rivals. For starters, it's one of the few tablet keyboards with a backlit keyboard. This is quite a handy feature that is usually reserved for high-end laptops. It also has a better array of keyboard keys than competitors: six separate rows cut down on the need for function-sharing that some tablet cases need to squeeze into keys on upper rows. The rechargeable keyboard works in tandem with the iPad's magnetic-locking functionality, while the styling of the case is very nicely finished. If you're going to use your iPad case a lot, it's well worth paying an extra €30 or so for this one.

Logitech Ultrathin Apple Keyboard Folio for iPad mini €80

For me, eight inches is the smartest size for a tablet. That means that the iPad mini, for most purposes, is a better bet than the iPad Air.

If you agree, Logitech's keyboard case is probably one of the best keyboard case combinations you can get. Aside from the nice design and pleasant-to-touch keys, it has built-in shortcut keys that actually work.

It also doesn't double the size of your tablet, which some iPad cases manage to do. The rechargeable (via mini-USB cable) Keyboard Folio comes in many colours and connects to the iPad wirelessly via Bluetooth.

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