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Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard for iPad Air

I’ve been testing a couple of Logitech keyboards for my Air...thoughts on the testing here.

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I’ve been using my iPad Air now for a month or so as my main ‘on the move’ device. It’s a great unit - leaps and bounds ahead of the previous units? Possibly not so much, but it’s light, fast, and a brilliant ‘consuming’ device.

Consuming is the important bit - writing on the devices isn’t great. OK for small note taking, not brilliant for ‘proper’ note taking or for longer typing sessions on the go. Of course I have other units that can fulfil that role - some Windows 8.1 devices, a Macbook Air 11.6” etc. however the iPad fulfils both my work requirements and my personal ‘on the go’ browsing, magazines, and media consumption.

Being able to bridge the gap from consuming device to creative adds significant functionality to the iPad devices...so it’s had me looking at keyboards. My previous research on the
iPad Mini Logitech Keyboard was a positive one - great keyboards, actually usable on the Mini, and the battery lasted all week easily. In view of that, I took a look at the Logitech units available for iPad Air, namely:

Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Folio
Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover

The main obvious physical difference between the two is that one is a cover for your iPad - it only covers the screen, not the back - and the other (the Folio) covers the screen and the back. The downside to the Folio is that it makes the device feels slightly more bulky than the cover, and I found myself taking it out of the case when using it to ‘consume’ stuff like magazines or web browsing. It’s not difficult to put in and out of the case - there’s two holders at the top of the units rather than it being a case that ’surrounds’ the iPad making it fiddly to get out.

iPadFixing

You can of course just fold the keyboard back and use the iPad with the keyboard at the back of the unit, however it made something light, and, er, airy, feel bulky and a little bit awkward.

Like I say though, it did have me taking it out of the case. I’d find myself out wishing I had the case with me, and I’d removed it and put on a Smart Cover.

Now the Keyboard Cover does not have this issue - it’s more like the Smart Cover. Bulkier of course, as it’s got a keyboard in it - but it covers the front of the device only (so obviously offers no protection for the back). The result of this is that removing the device to ‘consume’ stuff where the keyboard isn’t needed becomes second nature, and I just don’t think about it. When used as a case it’s attached magnetically along the edge and protects the iPad’s screen. When you remove the iPad you can then attach it to the iPad via a magnetic slot. It works really well.

So from a usage form factor perspective I much prefer the Cover to the Folio - the only reservation being the lack of protection to the back of the iPad. That could bother some people I think?

So what about usage? You’d assume the keyboards where the same wouldn’t you - but they’re not. Not quite. The Cover’s keyboard is slightly smaller than that of the Folio.

KeyboardComparison


There are also some keyboard layout differences - relatively minor ones. Truth be told I only really noticed the differences when I put the units next to each other, I’d not noticed in actually using the devices.

So what about using? Have I noticed the difference in sizing? Truth is no, I haven’t. I find both of them fully functional and easy to use, very similar to a ‘normal’ Apple keyboard. I don’t readily notice the slightly smaller sizing on the Cover. For comparison, there’s a picture showing the sizing against a traditional Apple Bluetooth keyboard - the Folio ‘full’ case first, followed by the slightly smaller cover:

NormalFolio
NormalCover


It looks more extreme in the above does’t it? As a fairly fast touch-typist, I don’t readily find much difference between the Folio or the Cover - I’m not
quite as quick as I am on my MBP or the Apple Bluetooth keyboard, but I don’t find either of the iPad keyboards uncomfortable to use.

Battery life on both units is excellent - neither has run out on me at all, and I think I’m a fairly heavy user at maybe 2-3 hours a day. I’ve charged the units at the end of the week - there’s no real way to measure the remaining battery life I don’t think either? The specifications say the units will last up to three months (!) on an average usage of two hours a day - and let’s face it, that should be more than enough for anyone!

Both units retail at around the 80GBP mark, so they’re not particularly cheap. Or are they? Relative to what I guess is the question! I think they’re quality products, and have no issue spending that amount on a quality product that adds great functionality.

In summary, I think both units are great, and add additional functionality to an already very effective device. For me though, I’ll be staying with the Cover, not the Folio case, simply as I find the form factor, and the ability to quickly remove it, useful for the way that I use the unit.

Whichever one you choose, I think you’ll end up with a good product - but for me, my money is on the Cover.


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