Genuine Curiosity

Author Dwayne Melancon is always on the lookout for new things to learn. An ecclectic collection of postings on personal productivity, travel, good books, gadgets, leadership & management, and many other things.


A compact keyboard case for your iPad

In previous posts, I've written about the ZaggFolio keyboard for my iPad and how much I loved to use it with Evernote.  That keyboard totally changed how I used my iPad, and made it very easy for me to take notes and increase my productivity on my iPad.

Logitech ultrathin action

A successful quest for less travel weight and bulk

Recently, I began to look for ways to lighten the weight of my laptop bag, and the ZaggFolio eventually became a target - it was a little bulky and thick compared to my MacBook Air.  A month or so ago, I discovered a new, lighter keyboard for the iPad called the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover, which is made for the iPad 2 and the New iPad (aka "iPad 3").

The Logitech Ultrathin is a bluetooth keyboard like the ZaggFolio, and has a similar key layout.  However, instead of a vinyl case, this one attaches directly to the magnetic apparatus used to attach the Apple SmartCover.  As you can see in the picture below, the Logitech Ultrathin goes very well with the iPad and has a similar snap and powdered aluminum finish.  The magnetic hinge along the size of the keyboard holds the keyboard to the iPad very well but still makes it easy to remove the iPad so you can place it in the keyboard for use (see the other picture, on the right).

The good stuff

There is a lot to like about this keyboard.  Here are some examples:

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This keyboard is slightly smaller than a "normal" desktop keyboard, but I find that you get used to it in a few minutes with no trouble.  As a touch typist, the adjustment was pretty quick and painless.

The battery life is very good, as well - I used it for nearly a month of pretty heavy use without having to recharge the keyboard (you can use any microUSB cable for this - one is included with the keyboard, as well).

There are a number of shortcut keys built into the keyboard to give you quick access to iPad functions like Search, Safari, cut, copy, paste, volume controls, play / pause, etc.  You have to press the "fn" (Function) key to access these.

While in use, the keyboard is very stable - one thing I like about the design is that the little "trough" you use to prop up the keyboard has some magnets in it to hold the iPad in place so you can move it around, type on your lap, etc. without having to worry that the iPad will fall off the keyboard.

You can "dock" the iPad in either portrait or landscape mode, depending on the best orientation for the app you're using.

The keyboard has magnets built into it that automatically turn off the iPad's screen when you close it (the same way Apple's SmartCover does).

Stuff to be aware of

While I am very happy with the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard for iPad, it isn't perfect.  Here are some things you should know:

The shiny finish on the inside of the keyboard is a fingerprint magnet (not they keys themselves - they are a matte finish).  Doesn't bother me, but it comes with a microfibre cloth to wipe them off it the fingerprints bother you.

When it's closed, this keyboard will protect the iPad screen from bumps, but it is not a protective case that will cushion the iPad if you drop it.  If that is what you need, the ZaggFolio is probably a better choice for you.  As for me, I (knock on wood) haven't ever dropped my iPad so I care more about protecting the back from scratches.  For that, I have a Zagg InvisibleShield cover on the back (it is clear, but makes the back a bit more "grippy" to make it easier to hold on to the iPad while I carry it).  I don't have any kind of shield on the Logitech keyboard, though.

A couple of thoughts in closing

If you have an iPad and you take a lot of notes or want to work on the go, the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover deserves serious consideration.  It is such a productivity booster (at least for me).

One comment I get from time to time is, "You have a MacBook Air - why don't you just use it instead of this contraption?"  There are a couple of key reasons:

  1. Battery life:  I can use my iPad in meetings all day and never even come close to running out of juice.  My MacBook Air lasts a long time, but not as long as my iPad.
  2. Focus:  While I can task switch on the iPad, I can't really multitask.  On my laptop, I start off with the best intentions and open Evernote to take notes.  Then, suddenly, in a moment of weakness I find myself in a web browser, or in email, or on Twitter, or…  On the iPad, I can switch to another app, but it takes more effort and forethought.  The fullscreen nature of the iPad helps keep me more focused.