Apple’s iPad 2, while great for watching a YouTube video or surfing the net, is far from an ideal device for taking notes or hammering out a long email to grandma. Sure, iOS 5 will offer a split keyboard, which will provide a small amount of alleviation, but it most certainly won’t transform the tablet from a lean back device, as Steve Jobs called it, to a full blown wordprocessing machine. Unless you’ve got Logitech’s Fold Up keyboard case.
The Logitech Fold Up keyboard is an all black, plastic affair. It weighs just shy of a two pounds, but all things considered the added weight is justifiable given the flip out Bluetooth keyboard that seems to magically expand from underneath the iPad as you lift the tablet to a 45 degree angle. It’s quiet brilliant actually and until you try it in person you won’t be able to recognize how smoothly and easily it works. Logitech has made sure to include a set of slots to leave unfettered access to the 30-pin port and speaker.
The keyboard, much to my surprise, is full sized. A friend and I had a word typing competition using a simple online tool. She exclaimed that she could type 90 words per minute. The skeptic in me challenged her and at the time the iPad and Logitech Fold Up keyboard was within arms reach. Now keep in mind her claim was based on a desktop computer. So the battle ensued. My score: 60 words per minute. I thought I’d do better, but no matter, because there was no way she could eclipse that score on, what, a Bluetooth keyboard. I couldn’t be more wrong. She scored 91 words per minute, proving that this keyboard is comparable if not better than a full fledged stand alone, wired keyboard. In fact the chiclet keys are highly responsive and provide great feedback, something I didn’t expect to see from a device such as this. It’s got the usual keyboard shortcuts as found on the iPad. Just hold the function key and hit the corresponding number key. Nevertheless, it’s a pleasure to type on this keyboard and as a matter of fact I wrote the rough draft of this review on it.
Chiclet keys and full sized keyboard make typing a pleasure – click to enlarge
Pairing the keyboard and keeping it paired couldn’t be easier. Just open the device, hit the connect button, turn on the iPad’s Bluetooth and your set. When the iPad is fiiipped down and the keyboard is stored away and the Bluetooth automatically turns off. Flip up the iPad, unfold the keyboard and the Bluetooth turns back on and automatically connects with the iPad. In the event that it dies or needs charging you simply plug it into the wall using the included mini-USB charger.
While Logitech doesn’t state battery life on their website, their instruction manual claims 500 hours. That number seems like a bit of a stretch, and as you can imagine I didn’t have the patience to test this. Nevertheless, even if it’s a fifth of that you should be good for a few months before heading back to the wall socket. So it’s a moot concern.
What makes the Logitech Fold Up Keyboard so slick, is that it opens simulatanously as the iPad is flipped into an upright position. A small, ever so slightly recessed plastic button keeps it tightly locked away ensuring that the keyboard doesn’t open during transport and fall victim to a bump or ding. The entire device is crafted from plastic and while it’s well built and sturdy when closed, it’s a tad fragile feeling when open. So durability could be questionable for those that are hard on their products, but I had no problems in my testing. And after all it’s an exceptional caveat since the nimble build makes for what would otherwise be a large and heavy device (i.e. a full sized keyboard).
In the top right corner of the keyboard, just below the Connect button, are 3 LED lights: the middle one to convey Bluetooth status (blinking is ready to connect while a solid light when you unfold it indicates power), another to indicate when the caps lock is engaged and the last indicating battery life.
Typing on the Logitech Fold Up Keyboard is an absolute pleasure. Unlike other keyboards of a similar ilk, this one is full sized, allowing you to easily transition from your laptop to the iPad without skipping a beat. The design raises some questions about durability when unfolded – it’s a a tad flimsy -but since I had no problems I can only offer conjecture and skepticism, which is hardly justifiable. The screen of the iPad remains exposed, but invest in one of Apple’s smartcovers and you’ve suddenly got the best of both worlds.
Bottom line: The Logitech Fold Up Keyboard is a massively useful tool for any one that want’s to turn their iPad into a productivity tool. Its fold out keyboard is as enchanting to unfold as it is to type on. The only caveat is that it doesn’t protect the iPad’s screen, but that can be quickly remedied with one of Apple’s Smartcovers.
You can buy the Logitech Fold Up Keyboard from Amazon for $129.99.
- The full sized Bluetooth keyboard is a pleasure to type on
- Fold out design makes it very portable
- Super long battery life should last for months
- All plastic build and a wide number of hinges makes the durability questionable, though I had no problems
- Pricey at $129.99