Logitech Fold-up Keyboard for iPad 2: Full-sized, full featured (review)

Summary:The Logitech Fold-up Keyboard is like a Transformer that turns the iPad 2 into a decent laptop replacement.

It is no secret I need a good keyboard on every computer I use, even if it is paired to the "consumption device", iPad 2. I write several thousand words daily, and more of them each passing day on the iPad 2 with one keyboard or another. Today I am using the Logitech Fold-up Keyboard with the iPad 2, which may be the most portable full-sized keyboard available.

A full-sized keyboard is wider than the iPad 2 in landscape orientation, so most keyboards are slightly narrower than "full" keyboards. While the smaller keyboards can still be good for fast typists, there is no substitute for models with normal sized keys with proper spacing between them.

The Logitech Fold-up keyboard uses a unique method to fit the wider keyboard in the integrated iPad 2 case. The keyboard is split down the middle and with a touch of a button the iPad 2 raises up on the integrated stand and slides the two keyboard halves out and inward until they form one full keyboard. The process is surprisingly easy and fluid, and while it takes two hands to properly open/close the keyboard, it is an elegant solution to expand the keyboard to full size.

The iPad 2 pops in the plastic tray easily, with the screen exposed. This would be a deal-breaker, but the Logitech Fold-up Keyboard can be used with the iPad Smart Cover to protect the display. When the unit is open for typing the cover is simply opened and dropped down the back of the Keyboard/Case/Stand.

The keyboard uses Bluetooth to connect wirelessly to the iPad 2. Once paired, the duo becomes a single unit that automatically connects as soon as the keyboard is opened. It turns off to save battery when closed for transport.

The keyboard is very responsive and key travel is good. There are special keys for controlling iPad functions in conjunction with the Fn key, much like keyboards on laptops. The standard Mac Control/ Option/ CMD keys are present and can be used for many functions like copy and paste.

The keyboard charges via an included USB cable, and Logitech claims 500 hours of typing can be performed on a single charge. My experience with the similar Logitech Keyboard Case tells me this battery life is probably achievable.

A Connect button located to the side of the iPad when opened is used to pair the tablet and keyboard. There are three small LED lights beneath this button to indicate charge status, Bluetooth connectivity, and Caps lock status.

The iPad is easily popped out of the case for use as a tablet, which is a good thing as the tablet/case together is too heavy (~3 lbs.) for comfortable use as a tablet. Closed, the case is thicker than other keyboards which is logical given the folding/unfolding operation.

The Logitech Fold-up Keyboard is $130 and turns the iPad 2 into a laptop equivalent with its unique transformer keyboard. The unit is very sturdily constructed and serves as a stand for the display at a comfortable angle. It is the best choice for those who need a full-sized keyboard without compromise.

See also:

Topics: iPad, Hardware, Mobility

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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