Logitech Keyboard Case for iPad 2: Hands-on review

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.

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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

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17 comments
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  • My tablet is even more powerful

    I had a powerful tablet the whole time, way long before the iPad discovers a keyboard. On my tablet, the keyboard is always there. You can even plug in a mouse. It has a giant 15" screen. Better yet, my tablet can do multi tasking. You can even install any OS on it (as long as the OS is not from Apple). My tablet can play music, all kinds of video, Skype, VoIP. Even better, on my tablet, it is possible to install VirtualBox so you can run another OS at the same time than the host OS. Strangely enough, people call my tablet a laptop.
    RelaxWalk
    • Touch screen?

      Your tablet doesn't have a touch screen or a Touch OS or detachable screen. This may look like a laptop, but you hardly dismiss it so lightly.

      IMHO, too big. Find a way to get the stand size right down, and far less keyboard. I want a keyboard and I want an upright screen and as flat as you can get keyboard, *but* that doesn't mean its worth sacrificing the thin/flat form factor to achieve it.

      Given that this will always be a tradeoff, I don't think this is quite the right balance between thin/flat/portable and ergonomics.
      guihombre
      • RE: Logitech Keyboard Case for iPad 2: Hands-on review

        @guihombre If you're so proud of the iPad's touchscreen, why do you want a keyboard?

        Btw, a keyboard that's flat as hell is harder to type on than an angled keyboard.
        bigtroll
  • RE: Logitech Keyboard Case for iPad 2: Hands-on review

    RelaxWalk: We can coexist peacefully with both laptops and tablets; this isn't a binary proposition.
    tldubb
  • Couple of Thoughts / Questions

    I tried the original with the iPad1 and found it to be buggy and issues with the iPad not staying firmly in the case.

    As I like to read/type at time with the device in my lap or on the bed, how sturdy or fit does the iPad2 stay in the case/slot? If I tilt it getting up will the detach?

    Other question and maybe one you can't answer is lifespan. I shelved my original unit when after a couple of months a press of some keys would trigger multiple copies on the iPad (ex: press k and get 4 or 5 k's on the screen). Does it look like a durable unit?

    Thx!!
    rhonin
    • RE: Logitech Keyboard Case for iPad 2: Hands-on review

      @rhonin Probably not too steady using it in bed as you describe. The iPad 2 doesn't attach to the case, it only fits in the slot.

      I see no multiple keys as you describe.
      JamesKendrick
      • Thx for the update!

        @JamesKendrick <br><br>Based on that I'll likely skip it for now......
        My Transformer keyboard dock hooks in but only has a landscape mode.
        rhonin
  • RE: Logitech Keyboard Case for iPad 2: Hands-on review

    Looks kinda like the HP TC1100 you used to use. Problem solved for noise, battery life and constant windows updates. This seems to be the perfect companion for students, writers and great for media consumption.
    jhall76
  • RE: Logitech Keyboard Case for iPad 2: Hands-on review

    Personally I'd prefer the Logitech "Tablet Keyboard for iPad" (even if the name is a bit of a mouthful) as I think this helps fix the biggest shortcoming of laptops: the inability to position the screen independently of the display.

    However, for most any keyboard doesn't suddenly turn the iPad into a "laptop replacement" as precision pointing isn't possible, and the multitasking is 'different' (the iPad does multitask, but it isn't implemented in the traditional way). There are still plenty of tasks where the laptop is more suitable, though as iPad fans will point out the converse is also true.

    However, this does look like a neat package. I do agree for serious writing the distraction free iPad and a decent keyboard are a powerful combination.
    jeremychappell
  • RE: Logitech Keyboard Case for iPad 2: Hands-on review

    A glorified word-processor for how much again???

    I still say a 10" netbook would slaughter your solution for content creation and entertainment, never mind performance per dollar.
    lgpOnTheMove
    • RE: Logitech Keyboard Case for iPad 2: Hands-on review

      @lgpOnTheMove It would be slower, probably wouldn't have anything like the battery life, and the software would probably cost you more. Scrolling would be slower, and paradoxically getting the content OFF the device would be more of a pain (with the advent of iCloud).

      As for "content creation" well I don't understand what you even mean here as writing IS "content creation". More than this OmniGraffle and the iPad are considered de rigueur in many creative industries now. But I think you're just repeating what others have said.

      As for "entertainment" well apart from the fact this is completely beside the point of what James was saying, it too I don't understand. You CAN watch a movie on an iPad, and there are no pesky discs to remember to bring (a tongue in cheek way of saying you have to either rip them or get your content via iTunes). There are plenty of games, there is music. So I'm not sure what you're looking for. If you're going to tell me that you want to run some "hot PC title" then I'm going to laugh at you wanting a cheap netbook, because while it might run, it'll only by the broadest of definitions, and it won't be entertaining (well not in a good way at least).

      The problem for the netbook is that it makes for a poor PC, so either the iPad is better, OR getting a more traditional laptop is better (depending upon what you're looking to do with it). But whatever the problem, a cheap netbook isn't the solution. But I won't tell you an iPad is always going to be a great replacement for your MacBook Pro or ThinkPad.
      jeremychappell
  • RE: Logitech Keyboard Case for iPad 2: Hands-on review

    Thanks for the review, despite the complainers.

    A couple of questions: Does the case have some type of mechanism to keep the case and iPad 2 from coming apart while being carried or turned over? Since you use it as a primary on-the-go computer, what do you recommend as the best word processor, spread sheet, and presentation software? What is your recommendation for a "cloud" to be used for document storage?
    South Carolinian
    • Question Answer 1 and 2

      @South Carolinian

      Question 1
      James commented above on my same question: it does not - just sits in a slot.

      Question 2
      I own all the "top line" Office apps for the iPad2. None of them are much use beyond basic documents. Depending on the app, it may be able to handle a more complex document. Unfortunately, none of these are able to handle it all.
      Recommend you try the "free" or "trial" versions if you can first. Make sure you read the reviews.
      rhonin
  • It's unhelpful to only review one iPad keyboard/case

    There are a plethora of keyboard/cases available now with a bewildering variety of approaches to the technical challenges involved. Since no store I can find carries more than one or two, it's impossible for the consumer to intelligently choose among them. Here's where ZDNET could shine and provide a real public service. Do a comprehensive comparative review and you'll serve you readers properly.

    The problem with the "I bought this one and here's what I like/dislike about it" method is that it confuses the reader since there is an unstated implication that you chose this one after carefully examination of alternative models. Because of your position as a reviewer for a prestigious online publication, you give an undeserved imprimatur to any singly reviewed item.

    I found at least seven different brands available on Amazon. Each one is "reviewed" by users (again, most of those had experience only with the one model they bought.) Occasionally, one of them has tried another brand of the item and those reviews are the most useful.
    Barnegat
  • RE: Logitech Keyboard Case for iPad 2: Hands-on review

    I've got one of these for work. They work great, however, picking the right case is crucial as discussed in my blog www.keyboardipadcase.com
    I love the zagg folio ipad 2 case with the aluminum shell
    keyboardipadcase.com
  • Works fine for iPad3 as well

    Since this doesn't wrap around the iPad3 [new iPad], it works equally well with it as with the iPad2. I'm quite satisfied with this, I had the Zagg version for my original iPad, which I gave to my father.
    dougsyo@...
    • RE: Logitech Keyboard Case for iPad 2: Hands-on review

      I just couldn't get a keyboard case for my iPad unless you had the option to remove the keyboard entirely and still use the case. Like this one: http://www.cellmacs.com/iPad-Leather-Case-Removable-Bluetooth-Keyboard-p/cmli2btkc.htm
      kennkerp