Logitech Keyboard Case for iPad 2: Hands-on review

Summary:The Logitech Keyboard Case turns the iPad 2 into a full-fledged laptop replacement, while serving as a protective case for transport.

Tablets are very useful on their own, but for me a good hardware keyboard is a required accessory to leverage the slate fully. I write for a living, often 2,000 - 3,000 words daily, and a good keyboard can turn a tablet into a laptop replacement that is easy to use anywhere. The first accessory I purchased for my new iPad 2 was the Logitech Keyboard Case, and I have not regretted the purchase.

The Logitech Keyboard Case is constructed from brushed aluminum that forms the case for the iPad 2 for use during transport. The keyboard sits on the inside of the aluminum tray. The tablet is placed facedown on top of the keyboard for transport, and easily pops in the tray securely. While stored in the tray, the aluminum back of the iPad 2 is exposed, turning the entire assembly into a metal form for protection.

The keyboard connects wirelessly to the iPad 2 via Bluetooth. The initial pairing is straightforward, and once paired the iPad 2 automatically connects to the keyboard when the latter is turned on. The Logitech keyboard is designed to work seamlessly with the iPad 2, and in addition to the near full-sized keys there are special keys for controlling the iPad 2. These consist of media player controls, a key that duplicates the Home button on the iPad 2, copy/paste keys, and even an unlock key.

The unlock key works just like hitting the power button on the iPad 2, it puts the screen to sleep, and also wakes it up. The iPad 2 is smart enough to realize the difference when waking via this key and bypasses the "slide to unlock" screen upon waking.

There are two LED indicator lights above the keyboard on the Logitech Keyboard Case, one for status and the other to indicate when the internal battery gets low. The keyboard charges via an included short USB cable, and a charge lasts for weeks of heavy usage.

Beneath the two LEDs are a connect button to initiate pairing with an iPad 2, and an on/off slider for the keyboard. This slider can be left on, as the keyboard shuts itself down when not being used.

The iPad is placed into a narrow slot on the keyboard and serves as a single position stand for use as a stand. The iPad 2 sits in the keyboard steadily, and can be placed in either landscape or portrait orientation as desired. The entire assembly is quite sturdy and there is little danger of knocking the iPad 2 out of the keyboard.

After just a few minutes use of the Logitech Keyboard Case I was able to type at full speed without concession. I am a very fast touch typist and this keyboard keeps up with me no problem, and without an adjustment on how I type. This makes the Logitech a great fit for my usage.

When using the iPad 2 and Logitech Keyboard Case combo in public venues, I am often approached by folks wanting to know what little laptop I am using. When shown it is an iPad 2, they usually comment how great the keyboard fits for my usage.

See also ZDNet's Matt Miller review of the Logitech Keyboard Case with photo gallery

The Logitech Keyboard Case is available for $99.99 online and at major retailers. I saw dozens of these in my local Best Buy the other day. It only adds a little bit of thickness to the skinny iPad 2 when used as a case, and is an outstanding keyboard when needed.

There is a model of this keyboard/case for the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, and for owners of that tablet you may want to check out my full review.

See also:

Topics: Tablets, Hardware, iPad, Laptops, 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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