For many, typing using the on screen keyboards of tablets is a bit of a chore. If you are one of those people Logitech have you covered. With an ever increasing range of tablet keyboards, which you can check out here, Logitech now have a keyboard or cover available for some of the most popular tablets on the market.
We’ve been sent the Ultrathin Keyboard Folio for the iPad mini to review. Once you take it out of the box the first thing you’ll notice is how light it is considering it houses a keyboard. At 285g it adds very little noticeable weight to the iPad. Overall dimensions for the Folio are 215mm x 149mm x 19.3mm. As it’s the Folio, when you are not using the keyboard it folds over and acts as a cover to protect your tablet.
All the materials used have a high quality feel to them. The outside of the Folio is made from a durable, soft touch, water repellant material with the keyboard being made from a hard white plastic. There are cut outs for the volume and mute buttons on one side and there is also a cut out on the back cover to allow you use the camera.
On the right side of the keyboard there is a micro USB port for charging, the on/ off button and a Bluetooth button.
Fitting the iPad mini to the Folio was pretty straight forward. Once you’ve lined up the buttons with the cut outs, you just press the two top corners of the mini into the plastic retainers and the tablet clicks into place. These are the only fixing points to the Folio. When you are using the keyboard, the mini is held in place in the upright position via a magnet at the top of the keyboard, which latches to the bottom edge of the mini. It’s a strong magnet and everything is held firmly in place.
You can also lay the mini down flat in the folio when you don’t want to use the keyboard. Logitech claim that the battery in the keyboard will be good for up to 3 months, based on an average two hours usage a day. It is going to take us a bit longer using the device to put that stat to the test!
Setting up the device to use with the iPad was easy. Just turn on Bluetooth on the tablet and then turn on the keyboard. Once it shows up on the list of devices in the Bluetooth settings you hit pair and that’s it.
As it’s designed to work with an iPad, the Folio includes a set of iOS keyboard shortcuts. These include a home button which can be tapped twice for multitasking, cut, copy, paste, volume control and music playback control.
So on to main point of the review. What’s it like to type on? There is a small learning curve. To make everything fit in such a small overall package the layout and function of the keys has been shifted a bit. The “A” key now doubles as the caps lock key so you naturally avoid hitting it as it’s the first key in from the left rather than the second. Instead you inevitably go for the “S” key. To get over the mistakes that this was causing I had to start looking at the keyboard while typing but after about twenty minutes I could go back to just looking at the screen as my fingers had adjusted to the new layout.
Once you’ve got used to typing on the keyboard you can start to explore the the additional features and shortcuts that are on offer. One of the handiest is the ability to select text by holding the function key and then pressing the left or right arrow keys. Once you’ve selected the text you want you can then use the traditional keyboard shortcuts of CMD + X or C to cut or copy and CMD + V to paste.
Most of the other dedicated iOS shortcuts are married to the number keys. For instance, Function +1 locks the iPad, Function +2 is a shortcut for activating Siri and so on. Once you get comfortable with the keyboard you do actually start using these shortcuts and what I’ve also found is that using the combination of a keyboard and touchscreen rather than just one or the other for control is becoming a bit more natural.
Once the learning curve is complete you can certainly be more productive with this keyboard. It supports the iPad securely at a decent angle for typing or even for just viewing videos. The keyboard is well made and makes the best of the reduced size to fit everything in.
If you are in the market for a keyboard for your iPad or even for a just a cover, this is well worth checking out. The keyboard adds very little in size and weight compared to just a folio cover but adds a lot of functionality.
You can check out this link for more details and it’s available to purchase from Logitech directly for €79.99