Belkin Ultimate Keyboard Case for iPad: It's the magnets (review)

Summary:The Ultimate Keyboard Case for iPad by Belkin is one of the thinnest, lightest models available. Its unique use of magnets sets it apart from the competition.

Side view

My quest for the best keyboard for the iPad has seen me using most of the top models. A new one from Belkin may be as good as any available. I have been using the Ultimate Keyboard Case for the iPad for a couple of weeks and its thin profile and light weight make it great for work.

See also: Best iPad keyboards (hands on): March 2013

The Ultimate Keyboard Case I am using has an aluminum bottom and a black plastic top with a faux leather insert. It weighs less than a pound and is only a little thicker than the iPad. It has a Bluetooth keyboard that supports fast touch typing and, most importantly, it can support the iPad in three different viewing angles to suit any situation.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 245 x 197 x 18.8 mm (9.6 x 7.75 x 0.74 inches); 411 gm (0.9 pounds)
  • Key travel: 1.6 mm (0.06 inches)
  • Key spacing: 2.8 mm (0.11 inches)
  • Keyboard thickness: 6.9 mm (0.27 inches)

The Ultimate Keyboard Case is one of the thinnest portfolio cases with a keyboard. This was accomplished by making the keyboard only 6.9 mm (0.27 inches) thick.

KB closeup
Magnetic strips (indicated by red arrow) provide three viewing angles

Belkin uses three strips of magnets above the keyboard that grip the iPad for viewing. These provide three viewing angles, all of which are good for using the keyboard. It's easy to move the iPad to any of these positions and to close the case for transport. When the iPad is gripped by one of these magnets the keyboard automatically turns on and when the magnetic seal is broken, the keyboard is powered off. No power switch is needed for this reason.

The Ultimate Case has smart cover technology that turns the iPad on/off when the case is open/closed. The iPad is completely protected when closed.

Tablet mode
iPad slides over keyboard for use as a tablet in the case

In addition to the magnetic grips for standing the iPad, the Ultimate Case also lets you slide the iPad forward for use as a tablet. The iPad covers the keyboard in this position so the keys are not exposed. This works surprisingly well for using the tablet without removing it from the case as required by other cases.

This keyboard/case has worked well for me and I enjoy using it. The only gripe I have is the lack of a screen lock key as found on most keyboards of this type. That key would make it possible to turn the iPad screen off without closing the case. I hope Belkin will include this key on future revisions in place of the current Bluetooth pairing key.

The Belkin Ultimate Keyboard Case for the iPad is available in black and in white. The black model, as reviewed, is $99 and the white model, which is aluminum on both the top and bottom of the case, is $129. The white model should be slightly lighter than the black one.

Front view

See related:

Topics: Tablets, iPad, Mobility, Reviews

About

James Kendrick has been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and has been sharing his insights on mobile technology for almost that long. Prior to joining ZDNet, James was the Founding Editor of jkOnTheRun, a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog that was acquired by GigaOM in 2008 and is now part of that prestigious tech network. James' w... Full Bio

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