The built-in battery offers months of use between charges. The keys have solid give and are comfortable to use, and there are iPad specific keys to make searching, music playback, and getting back to the home screen even easier. The keyboard is even detachable if you know you won't need it, giving you an even slimmer case. Perhaps the thinnest external keyboard for the iPad, the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover is a combination cover, stand, and keyboard.
It only protects the front of your iPad when the cover is attached, but it connects like a Smart Cover and when you're ready to use, you can take it off, prop your iPad up in it, and work on the Bluetooth keyboard without adding much thickness to the base at all. Honestly, with this on your tablet, you won't notice it's there.
One thing is for sure, it certainly earns its name.
Apple iPad Keyboard Dock
The Logitech Tablet Keyboard is just that—a keyboard with a protective case that doubles as an iPad stand so you can prop up your tablet while you work on the keyboard. The Tablet Keyboard has all the features the cases do: iPad-specific keys for common functions, Bluetooth connectivity, and support for landscape and portrait mode.
It's a little thicker than some of the others, and eschews a rechargeable battery for four AAAs. It's just the keyboard though—no fancy case or cover with this one, and if you already have a case but want a keyboard to work with, it's a great—and more affordable—option. The Brydge isn't your typical plastic or pleather iPad case. The Brydge's clamp completely secures your iPad to the cover without damaging it. The rechargable battery will last months, but using the speakers will drain it faster.
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All three models feature full hinges and double as covers, and when you're ready to work you can set them up and adjust the screen angle to your liking. The ClamCase was announced shortly after the iPad itself was launched, and since then it's earned a real following. The ClamCase is a full-body iPad case, stand, and cover, and includes a Bluetooth keyboard with a rechargeable battery.
Your iPad nestles inside the top of the ClamCase for full protection, and the polycarbonate body keeps it safe from scratches while you walk around with it. It sets up in seconds, and the hinge is completely adjustable to the way you work. The keyboard has full scissor keys, and packs 14 special function keys for common functions. Even if you don't want to use the keyboard, the hinge folds all the way back into a stand, or works in portrait mode or hand-held as well.
If you have an iPad Mini, stay tuned, there's a ClamCase model on the way for you too. Now that you've seen the top five, it's time to put them to a final vote to determine the winner!
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What's The Best iPad Keyboard? This week's Honorable Mention goes out to the Apple Wireless Keyboard , not because it didn't get a bunch of nominations, but because it really wasn't the type of contender we were looking for. It can definitely make a great pair with an iPad, and works via Bluetooth. And though the Slim Folio is a bit thicker than some of the competition, its exterior fabric looks and feels nicer.
Logitech updated the case in July to include an Apple Pencil holder. More protection, a detachable case, multi-device pairing, and good, backlit keys, but bulkier and heavier. The Rugged Messenger is also the only option that can pair to two separate devices the iPad and a smartphone, for example and that has backlit keys. But the Slim Book Go is two separate pieces, so you can use the keyboard independently from the iPad or attach it to the case with magnets.
A standalone Bluetooth keyboard and whatever case you like on your iPad is cheaper, but may be less convenient. The Smart Keyboard pairs via the Smart Connector and offers the same typing experience as the Smart Keyboard Folio, though it doesn't protect the back of the iPad. We also have a keyboard case recommendation for the iPad Air 2 which was released in and is, despite the name, an older model than the iPad Air. Nick Guy was the accessories editor at iLounge for a little over three years before covering Apple products and accessories at Wirecutter.
During his tenure at iLounge, he reviewed more than 1, products, including dozens of iPad keyboard cases. You can dramatically increase your iPad productivity with real, tactile keys that let you type almost as quickly and with almost as few errors as you can on your computer. And most keyboard cases are specifically designed to let you type on your lap, much like you would with a laptop, making a keyboard case better for portable use than an iPad with a separate keyboard and stand.
But before you rush out and buy a keyboard case, you should consider the drawbacks and temper your expectations because adding a keyboard case to your iPad is all about compromises.
You should get an iPad keyboard case only if you need to use a physical keyboard regularly and you want one with you most of the time. Even then, you should at least consider a standalone Bluetooth keyboard instead. We have some great recommendations for standalone keyboards and iPad stands , but if you really do want a keyboard case, read on.
Here are the things an iPad keyboard case should get right:. Of the models that met our criteria, we tested each for a minimum of two weeks of regular use, and we used each of the top contenders for much longer. We used each keyboard case both for extended typing sessions and short typing tasks.
Apple iPad Keyboard Dock | Macworld
Sometimes a great overall design is ruined by a bad typing experience; sometimes a fantastic keyboard is hampered by a poorly designed case or stand. The best iPad keyboard for people who type a lot is the Logitech Slim Folio. In a relatively small field of competition—models from reputable brands that warranted testing based on our criteria—the Slim Folio is simply the best to type on thanks to great keyboard hardware and proper key layout. The keys themselves are smaller than what you get on a full-size laptop keyboard, of course, but Logitech avoided the temptation to make some keys bigger by eliminating others.
Tab, Caps Lock, Shift, and Command, for example, are still wider than the letter keys, but not by as much as they are on a full-size keyboard. We enjoyed typing on the Slim Folio, and the physical keys themselves impressed us. The whole thing is also sturdier than its competition: Other iPad keyboards we tested for this update flexed under the pressure of our fingers pressing down on the keys, but the Slim Folio does not. One of the best features of the Slim Folio is its automatic connection.
The initial Bluetooth pairing process is identical to that of any other wireless keyboard, which is very easy and takes a matter of seconds. When that happens, the keyboard instantly wakes up and is ready for you to type. Other keyboards may require you to press a button to wake up the keyboard, whereas this one is ready when you are without a second thought. And it automatically disconnects the keyboard when you lift the iPad off the base. A fabric-wrapped panel is stacked on top of the shell, continuing around to the underside of the keyboard, which, as with most keyboard cases, also acts as the front of the screen cover.
The whole package feels nice, especially in comparison with the usual combination of plastic and rubber we see on iPad cases. Thankfully, you can easily snap the tablet out of the case when you need to. The Slim Folio provides only one typing angle for the iPad, with the tablet securely held in place by the aforementioned magnetic strip. Roughly 30 degrees back from perpendicular, we found that angle perfectly comfortable during use, although some people may like a keyboard case with more viewing angles.
If real-world use is anywhere near that long, the battery is likely to last as long as you have your iPad. At this writing, the updated model was available only through Logitech directly, and not yet for sale on Amazon. As we noted above, all iPad keyboard cases require compromises, and that holds true for the Slim Folio.
The Best iPad Keyboard Cases
But this particular trade-off is very common; few iPad keyboards include an Esc key. The bulk is one of the compromises you have to make for this all-in-one solution. And we do wish that the keyboard and case could be separated to better accommodate different uses. Along with a thicker, heavier case, it offers the second-best typing experience we found after the Slim Folio and a handful of useful features that are uncommon among iPad keyboard cases: The case is detachable from the keyboard, the Bluetooth connection supports two devices for easy switching, and the keys are backlit, making for a better experience when typing in dark settings.
The Rugged Messenger offers enough protection to keep an iPad safe from occasional bumps and drops. The only real area for improvement in terms of protection would be a taller lip around the screen to better protect the glass if dropped. The key backlighting has three different brightness levels, and you can cycle through multiple colors, both nice touches that set this keyboard apart from the others we tested. We also appreciate that the keyboard automatically turns on and off as needed, with Zagg promising two-year battery life.
The switch from one device to another via two buttons in the top-left corner of the keyboard happens quickly and never failed in our testing. Fully assembled, the Rugged Messenger is about an inch thick and weighs a little over 2.
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It takes up more space than the Slim Folio when open, but is a good alternative if you value being able to detach the keyboard. The Slim Book Go is bigger than the Slim Folio in every dimension, but generally by just a few fractions of a inch.
The extra size gives the case a spot to hold the Apple Pencil, and the thoroughly protective case includes crisply-clicking button covers. The biggest downside to the Slim Book Go is how much desk space it requires—the keyboard and stand are around 12 inches deep when propped up for typing, compared to 7.
That may not sound like much more, but the Slim Folio is a lot more practical for an airplane tray table or a crowded coffee shop than the Slim Book Go. The Slim Book Go splits into two pieces that can be used independently of one another. Photo: Sarah Kobos.