ZAGGkeys Folio Keyboard for Galaxy Note 8.0 (review)

Summary:A major accessory maker for the iPad has released a keyboard/case for the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 that turns that tablet into a little laptop.

Side view
Working outside -- Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet

I have been using the iPad with one keyboard/case or another for years and find the combo to be a solid performer. When the iPad mini came along I didn't think it possible to use with a keyboard due to the small size of the tablet.

That changed when ZAGG introduced two keyboards for the iPad mini that can be used for touch typing. I have written nearly 30,000 words with those keyboards. While not as efficient as bigger keyboards, these little ZAGG keyboards have a key layout that makes them highly functional in a pinch.

I was excited to hear ZAGG was producing a similar keyboard case for the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0. This follows shortly after Logitech announced a line of cases for Samsung Galaxy tablets . These two accessory makers feel the Samsung line of tablets is now garnering enough sales to support an accessory ecosystem.

The ZAGGkeys Folio Keyboard for the Note 8.0 is just like the folio case for the iPad mini. The Note 8.0 snaps into the top lid of the folio which has the same unique hinge from the iPad mini version that allows manipulating the screen at an angle for proper viewing.

Open for business
Little laptop -- Galaxy Note 8.0 and ZAGGkeys Folio

The folio for the Note 8.0 is sturdily constructed out of plastic. It is easy to snap the tablet in and out of the case for using the tablet either with or without the keyboard. There are cutouts in the case providing access to all tablet controls. The cutout for the camera makes it possible to shoot stills or video in the case, and the pen can be accessed with the tablet in the case.

Specifications of the Folio:

  • Length: 5.5 in (139.8 mm)
  • Width: 8.47 in (215.1 mm)
  • Depth: 0.74 in (18.8 mm) closed
  • Depth: 0.28 in (7.1 mm) keyboard only
  • Weight: 12.0 oz (366 grams)
  • Battery Type: 400 mAh rechargeable lithium polymer battery
  • Battery Duration: Battery will last several months of normal use without charging
Keyboard closeup
Commonly used keys are nearly full size for comfortable typing.

The keyboard on the Folio Keyboard uses nearly full-sized keys to make touch typing not only possible but efficient. My hands are big yet I can still touch type with ease given the key size and spacing. The chiclet keys have good travel and tactile feedback as all good keyboards should. They are backlit too, with the intensity and color of the backlighting selectable by a few keystrokes. My favorite is the red backlighting.

The 12 keys in the top row of keys are special keys for controlling the Note 8.0. These consist of home, back, copy, cut, paste, screen lock, volume up/down, and media player controls. These make it possible to control the tablet without lifting the hands from the keyboard.

The case provides complete protection for the Galaxy Note 8.0. It is covered with a faux leather that provides a nice grippy surface for confidently holding the tablet. The case is fairly light but is weighted under the keyboard to keep the unit from tipping over with the tablet tilted back for comfortable viewing.

The Galaxy Note 8.0 in the case can be thrown in the smallest gear bag when heading out for the day. The smart cover technology turns the tablet on/off when the lid is opened/closed, so it is operational in a second or two after pulling it out of the bag.

Pros:

  • Big keys for such a small keyboard
  • Touch typing is pretty good
  • Backlit keys
  • Adjustable viewing angle

Cons:

  • Expensive

The ZAGG model for the iPad mini is one of my favorite keyboard/cases, and using this one is just as good. It is available from ZAGG for $99.99 and while expensive, it is worth it in my opinion. 

See related:

Galaxy Note 8.0: Still the best small tablet

5 best iPad mini keyboard cases

9 best iPad keyboards

Two keyboard cases for iPad mini change the game

ZAGG comparison mini note 8
iPad mini Folio in black; Note 8.0 Folio in white

Topics: Mobility, Android, Reviews, Samsung, Tablets

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

zdnet_core.socialButton.googleLabel Contact Disclosure

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.