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

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.

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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

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62 comments
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  • Congratulations

    My congratulations on creating a small but very expensive laptop.
    Shadow_Pete
    • Not!

      First of all its not small and its not very expensive when compared to a laptop. It may be expensive when compared to an Ultrabook but not a laptop. I do think its funny how they are trying to convert it into a Surface RT/PRO. Things are not well in Apple Nation.
      ryork272
      • isn't it?

        It's a lot smaller and twice as expensive as the laptop I just bought.
        Pastabake
      • They?

        Who are "They" who are trying to convert this into a surface? These kinds of things have been around for iPad since long before the Surface was a twinkle in it's daddy's eye. If you want to talk about who is copying whom, think about which came first. And by the way, the "They" here is not Apple, but an add-on 3rd party. Apple Nation?
        JoeFoerster
  • Magnets??

    I'm more of a PC desktop or notebook fan so I am very leary of magnets damaging the hard disk. Is that not an issue on iPads?
    lmcahill
    • No

      Magnets are used on the iPad itself so no, not a problem.
      JamesKendrick
      • No HDD in an iPad

        Point out that there is no HDD in an iPad may have helped...
        nssdiver
    • No in anycase

      The magnetic field required to write to a harddisk is extreme high. You have to open a hard disk to corrupt the disk with a magnet. Opening the disk will do more surface damage than the actual magnet. You would also have to come within microns to the surface of the disk to affect any data on the disk with the magnet.
      jsargent
    • Magnets and hard drives

      You would be surprised at how strong a magnet would be required to disturb (much less erase) the data on a modern hard drive.
      lonniemcclure
  • I look upon all of this with a smile on my face

    "My quest for the best keyboard for the iPad"

    Yes, it has been quite humorous watching you try, in vain, to turn your ipad into a Surface RT.

    You are like an El Camino owner putting tens of thousands of dollars of modifications into his suspension trying to turn it into a half-ton truck. You end up with a vehicle that costs twice as much as a half-ton, weighs twice as much, with half the towing capacity. But hey, its got the Chevrolet logo on it so everyone will look at your car with envy.
    toddbottom3
    • Thanks.

      LOL. I needed that.
      xuniL_z
    • The El Camino always did look better than the average half ton truck.

      That has to count for something, Todd. Grin.

      And, the El Camino could always go farther on a tank of gas. (Longer battery life)
      And, the El Camino had a lot more garages to fit into. (apps)
      And, the El Camino could always go faster.
      Although if one did buy a 3/4 ton over a 1/2 pickup, I concede the speed test. (Pro vs the RT)
      kenosha77a
    • I have to agree with this one...

      The iPad is a great device, but the Surface RT has the keyboard advantage by a land slide. Every iPad user that has seen me using my RT has keyboard envy. The iPad, in its current state, won't have keyboard experience to match the Surface for two specific reasons: the Surface has a 10.6 inch screen with a 16:9 aspect ratio (perfect for a comfortable typing experience that is not cramped), and full mouse pad with left and right buttons.

      When I uses keyboards with my iPad, they all felt cramped - like my hands were trying to cross while I was typing. On the Surface? I measured my keyboard against my MacBook Pro and they are almost the exact same width. Gotta give Microsoft some credit on that one.
      TheTruQ
    • Go back under your bridge, troll

      As usual, your idiotic trolling. At this point, everyone knows your position on the iPad, and all things Apple. Your posting it in what should be a simple product review, and the fact that you think people care what you have to say, just highlights the ridiculous level of your self-centeredness and conceit.
      And the fact that you are a jackass.
      As to your actual idiotic comment, no, this has NOTHING to do with turning an iPad into a Surface. Clue: both the iPad, and external keyboard add-ons, INCLUDING keyboard cases, were around long before the Surface ever saw the light of day. This includes aftermarket case covers with crappy membrane keyboards, just like the Surface RT. So, if anything, this is yet another example of how the Surface is trying to be the iPad (and failing).
      You're an ass.
      .DeusExMachina.
      • Wow. Let's see here...

        for it being "idiotic trolling" and the op being a "jackass" you couldn't seem to help from spending 10 minutes of your life defending the ipad regardless. And people don't understand that Apple has the most loyal apologists.
        LOL!!
        I think we know which one is truely pathetic. (why the dot bookends, did you lose your original nic? )
        xuniL_z
        • Yes, let's see

          First, the two things have NOTHING to do with one another. The fact that he is a jackass and a troll, known by most everyone here, has no relation on substantive comments on the iPad. Second, I didn't "defend" the iPad. I pointed out that the facts as he laid them out are historically inaccurate, and do not support his line of bull. This has nothing to do with defending the iPad, and has everything to do with discrediting his initial trolling post.
          Feel free to point out where I "apologized" for the iPad. Good luck with that.
          .DeusExMachina.
      • Open your eyes..

        Machina: So turning the iPad into Surface RT's ugly cousin somehow makes sense to you. I have both the iPad and Surface and can tell you the keyboard/mouse combination on the Surface blows away the iPad. Apple stock has dropped from $700+/share to $430/share. Take your iPad and figure out the percent. Starting to get it yet Dokie?
        ryork272
        • Nice irrelevant post

          Too bad it has NOTHING to do with my response to the O.P., which had NOTHING to do with defending the iPad, and everything to do with the O.P.'s claim that adding a keyboard is attempting to turn the iPad into a Surface, as case add-ons existing long before MS even thought of the Surface. This is a comment on the lack of veracity and logical validity of the claim, and has nothing to do with the superiority of either device.
          So your stock comment has even less relevance.
          Starting to get it yet, ass?
          .DeusExMachina.
      • DEFEND THE HIVE!

        Kudo's for defending the hive so well, DeusExMachina!
        William Farrel
    • Hey - there's nothing wrong with an El Camino

      as long as it's a 1965 El Camino :)
      William Farrel