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

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.

SHARE:
TOPICS: iPad, Hardware, Mobility
20

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

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

Talkback

20 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Um, you do know...

    ...this is NOT a laptop replacement--it *IS* a laptop!

    Sigh.
    wolf_z
    • RE: Logitech Fold-up Keyboard for iPad 2: Full-sized, full featured (review)

      @wolf_z Agreed. I always find it amusing when folks go on and on about how much better tablets are than laptops, then go on to buy a bunch of stuff to make it look and function just like a laptop.
      Aerowind
    • RE: Logitech Fold-up Keyboard for iPad 2: Full-sized, full featured (review)

      @wolf_z <br><br>I think James is just trying to prove that with a lot of money, effort and discomfort an Ipad might be actually used for something more than a media player. I suspect he'll be trying the old TI Speak 'n Spell next <img border="0" src="http://www.cnet.com/i/mb/emoticons/wink.gif" alt="wink">
      tonymcs@...
  • RE: Logitech Fold-up Keyboard for iPad 2: Full-sized, full featured (review)

    Do you know whether it works with an iPad 1?
    dougrupe
    • RE: Logitech Fold-up Keyboard for iPad 2: Full-sized, full featured (review)

      @dougrupe doesn't fit into case
      lelandhendrix@...
  • RE: Logitech Fold-up Keyboard for iPad 2: Full-sized, full featured (review)

    If you want a laptop use a laptop. Stop this jugglery.
    Rigel.628
    • RE: Logitech Fold-up Keyboard for iPad 2: Full-sized, full featured (review)

      @Rigel.628 But I use it as a tablet 90% of the time, and the keyboard ALSO lets me use it the other 10% of the time for this. What's wrong with that?
      JamesKendrick
      • RE: Logitech Fold-up Keyboard for iPad 2: Full-sized, full featured (review)

        @JamesKendrick Exactly - it's a tablet when I want it to be (which is most of the time) and a laptop-like thing some of the time when needed. Best of both worlds. They are just jealous. :)
        Roger H
      • RE: Logitech Fold-up Keyboard for iPad 2: Full-sized, full featured (review)

        @JamesKendrick I guess the big question is, what's the benefit of having the tablet in the first place is a full featured laptop can fold be folded & carried with you? I don't really see the point other than the touch-screen, and if you're writing several thousand words daily, that further makes me question whether you should have a tablet to begin with.
        mbe3204m
        • Why a tablet vs a laptop?

          @mbe3204m Because the iPad isn't a poor mans laptop, it's really superior. It has a better screen (resolution), battery life, is smaller and lighter than a laptop or Ultrabook (excluding Retina Mac Book Pro), is 75% cheaper than the Retina Mac Book Pro, has App Store = 700,000 modern, touch friendly, often $1 apps, incl/free updates, lacks Windows patching and virus headaches, and successfully combines fun and work into one package. e.g. XBOX level gaming.
          Jim Ross
          • Better battery life

            I live and work in an RV full-time. My computer is a 17" Macbook Pro. I'm lucky to get a full four hours of battery life on it. You don't want me to get into the math, but fueling this puppy through my house batteries that are fueled by the sun is a logistical nightmare. I'm usually on my computer 12 to 18 hours a day, most of which I spend writing. I finally figured out that if I got a full-size keyboard for my iPad, I could type as much as I do now and reduce the stress on my electrical system since I can get eight to 10 hours of battery life out of my iPad, and it needs a heck of a lot less juice to recharge it.
            TravelingRae
  • Do you recall the short-lived IBM ThinkPad 701 with the Butterfly keyboard?

    I must admit that I had great admiration for that 1995 circa laptop from IBM.

    I was wondering how that IBM design would compare to the Logitech folding keyboard effort? The IBM Thinkpad 701 had roughly the same screen size as an iPad but the overall system weight of the 701 was 2.8 pounds or slightly less than the iPad plus Logitech keyboard system.

    (BTW, there is an included link on the Thinkpad 701 Wikipedia page that directs the reader to an Australian ZDNet article written in 2003 on a related topic. Just interesting that ZDNet would be listed as a source of information. Perhaps that's why I keep coming back to ZDNet. It's tradition of excellent online articles goes back a long way.)
    kenosha77a
  • How is the stability when using it ON YOUR LAP??

    I have an Apple keyboard for my iPad 2, but when I try to use it holding it on my lap it is too unstable because of the vertical orientation and it is only being held by the connector plug.

    This keyboard would look to be more stable when held on your lap. Is it?
    johnp1dd
  • Lap Stability

    Indeed - how stable/comfortable is it sitting on your lap while on the couch typing?
    MaxPow#rs
    • RE: Logitech Fold-up Keyboard for iPad 2: Full-sized, full featured (review)

      I actually went to the store to test this out last night and I was quite impressed. It is comfortable sitting on your lap and compared to the mini-keyboards that are the same width as the iPad it is way easier to type on (I have relatively large hands). Sure you can't adjust the screen to specific angles - but if you don't mind forking over the cash I think it is worth it.

      Surprisingly it does feel like 1 unit - it snaps in pretty snugly. It does seem that if not treated with delicate care that over time it could break (especially the piece that holds that iPad at an angle in the back).

      This still doesn't change the fact that if you want a netbook - get a netbook. If you want a laptop - get a laptop. If you don't like the virtual keypad on the iPad and want to be able to type emails/notes/etc faster while you are hanging out on the couch or at a coffee shop - than get this keyboard.
      MaxPow#rs
  • RE: Logitech Fold-up Keyboard for iPad 2: Full-sized, full featured (review)

    A netbook would offer three major advantages here:

    1. Sits stable on your lap, since the majority of the weight is at the base, rather than in the screen.

    2. It's fully-tilting screen lets you work with it at any angle.

    3. No need to juggle and balance two devices, since you're working with a one-piece unit.

    Using a slate+keyboard as a word-processing tool I find is akin to using a wheelbarrow to carry your groceries. Sure, both get the job done, but there are better, more elegant ways to do it.
    lgpOnTheMove
  • RE: Logitech Fold-up Keyboard for iPad 2: Full-sized, full featured (review)

    I have been using this keyboard on my iPad 2 for about 3 weeks now and love it but just the other day a few keys started not working. I originally thought it might be a battery issue but after charging the battery last night it is still happening. Will have to exchange it and see if it happens again.
    mbnblogger
  • RE: Logitech Fold-up Keyboard for iPad 2: Full-sized, full featured (review)

    duplicate
    mbnblogger
  • RE: Logitech Fold-up Keyboard for iPad 2: Full-sized, full featured (review

    I wouldn't be able to use this. I need a case where I can just remove the keyboard if I like and still have a nice case. I don't want to be moving my iPad from one case to another. I need to be able to just take the keyboard out. Like this: http://www.cellmacs.com/iPad-Leather-Case-Removable-Bluetooth-Keyboard-p/cmli2btkc.htm
    kennkerp
  • Siesta Key Resorts

    Thanks for the sharing useful information, and nice bits of information there. I learn something new from this blog posts that I read.
    jackmarker2012