For the last year and a half, I’ve carried my iPad (earlier gen, and now 3rd gen) in my “tech-bag” along with an Apple Bluetooth keyboard. For me, the iPad has truly become a laptop replacement. For 65% of the work I do on it, I get by just with the iPad. But for heavier writing and editing, I’ll add the keyboard so I can really crank. On a full-size keyboard, I can hit about 50 wpm, probably double what I can do on the iPad’s virtual keyboard.
I’ve tried a couple combination iPad-case/Bluetooth keyboards in the past, and always come away unhappy. First, they’re bulky, and second, the keyboards are just plain bad. I’ve never been able to type faster on them than I can on the virtual keyboard. So, they go away, and I go back to the Apple Bluetooth, which is not as convenient (it has a larger profile than the iPad, and could use a cover itself – I’ve lost a key or two over time due to rough riding in my bag).
But the Logitech Ultrathin does it right. First, it acts just like an Apple smart cover – it has those magnetic latches that just snap right on. And it has the little bit of magic that turns the iPad off when you close it. When it is closed, it provides a cover for the iPad that mimics the aluminum back. It looks, for all the world, like a 10″ MacBook Air.
When you open it, the keyboard separates. You set it on your work surface, and there’s a groove to set your iPad in, so it sits up like a proper monitor. Then you can get down to typing. I mean really typing. Yes, it’s a shrunken keyboard. I can’t make 50wpm on it. But I can get 35-40, which is enough to make me feel truly productive. The feel is very, very good, and the layout is smart, including a dedicated Home button so you don’t have to push the one on your iPad.
Really, the Logitech Ultrathin iPad Keyboard turns the iPad into the perfect hybrid of laptop and tablet. You can type away like a crazy person, getting work done efficiently, but you can tap and move things on screen in that elegant, iPad way as well. For anyone who has ever gone from working on their iPad to working on their laptop, and then started tapping the screen, this will scratch that itch. I think my only wish is that more of the usual keyboard shortcuts we’re used to in OSX were available with this combination. But that’s software, not hardware (attention, iOS engineers!).
I am so happy with this cover, it’s one of those things where you can’t imagine ever going back. And it has great battery life (it re-charges via USB, but you only need to do that once a week, maybe). And, they’re coming out with a solar version, so no worries there.
Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover: $100 at Amazon.com
[Note: Logitech provided a review unit.]