Review: ZAGG Logitech Keyboard Case for Apple iPad 2

My iPad 2 is a very useful device and by picking up accessories you can make it an even more functional business device. The Logitech Keyboard Case by ZAGG gives you a great keyboard and aluminum screen protector.

I love my Apple iPad 2 and have been looking for ways to make it even more functional for my lifestyle. Thus, I was pleased when ZAGG reached out to me, thanks to my friend Jenna for the recommendation, with a request to check out their iPad 2 version of the Logitech Keyboard Case. As you can see in my image gallery the keyboard serves as both a great case and keyboard.

The Logitech Keyboard Case for the iPad 2 arrived a couple weeks ago and I have been using it quite a bit. I wrote this article with the keyboard in my favorite Office application, QuickOffice and I am ready to travel without a laptop now for short trips where I won't need to access my desktop engineering applications.

Image Gallery: Check out photos of the ZAGG Logitech Keyboard Case for Apple iPad 2.
Image Gallery: Keyboard case retail package
Image Gallery: iPad 2 in landscape orientation

Back in January I was at the TeleNav WayPoint event and noticed that my friend Ed Hardy, from Brighthand, had his iPad and a Logitech Keyboard Case from ZAGG to take all of his notes, keep his site updated, and perform other functions. I have been to several events with Ed and he truly lives the mobile life and rarely travels with a full laptop. He has been seen with Nokia Internet Tablets, the HTC Advantage, and more over the years. The ZAGG keyboard he had for the iPad looked great and I considered getting one at the time. After using this one on my iPad 2 for the last couple of weeks I can see why Ed likes the keyboard.

In the box and first impressions

Inside the box you will find the case, microUSB to USB cable, and single documentation sheet. The ZAGG case covers the display of the iPad 2 with a seal of high density padding around it holding the keyboard securely in place. It is made of aircraft-grade aluminum and is a solid case with integrated Bluetooth wireless radio.

Walk around the keyboard

The keyboard is about 90% of full size and even though I have medium-sized hands I was able to type with two hands quite quickly. The keys have nice tactile feedback and have a pitch measurement of 0.6 inch/15mm (distance from left side of one key to the left side of the other).

There are special function keys optimized for the iPad 2, including:

  • Home: takes you to the home screen
  • Search: brings up the iPad 2 search screen
  • Slideshow: starts playing a slideshow of your photos
  • Virtual keyboard toggle
  • Cut, copy, paste, undo and redo buttons
  • Media buttons: Previous track, play/pause, next track, mute, volume up and down
  • Lock: makes the iPad 2 screen go dark and turn back on when pressed again

The cut, copy, and paste buttons are great since they are single button press keys rather than having to use a Ctrl>C combo like on a standard keyboard.

There are indicator lights for charging and status that glow in blue or red. You simply switch the keyboard on then press the connect button and setup Bluetooth on your iPad 2. You should only have to pair it once and then the connections should happen automatically in subsequenty uses. The charging light flashes blue when charging and turns off when charged. The status light flashes when the battery is low, when pairing and briefly when you turn on the keyboard case.

A rechargeable 510 mAh battery is in the device and it is charged up via a standard microUSB port. ZAGG states you can go several weeks with normal usage between charges and since I have only been using it for a couple of weeks I haven't had a battery issue yet.

There is a heavy plastic folding hinge that you pop out and secure before placing your iPad 2 in the case. It sets in the case securely in either portrait or landscape orientation. The iPad 1 case without the keyboard has ten angles for the hinge, but these keyboard cases have just a single viewing angle. I found the angle to be perfect for text entry and video viewing though so was not concerned with this at all.

The one setback to using this case/keyboard solution is losing the ability to use the cool magnetic Smart Cover. I plan to leave the Smart Cover behind when I know I will be going somewhere with a need to write. The cool thing is you can use the keyboard case to prop your iPad 2 up in a more secure manner, compared to the Smart Cover, to enjoy video content on an airplane or in a hotel room too. You will also find that the Logitech Keyboard Case works a bit like the Smart Cover so when you remove your iPad 2 it automatically wakes up and when you place it back in it goes to sleep.

I really do like the durability and protection offered by the aluminum cover, especially when I am traveling through the airport. There is rubber material above the keyboard to offer some padding and protection when the case is placed on top of your iPad 2. The case weighs about 12.2 ounces and adds about 1/4" to the thickness to your iPad 2.

Thoughts on daily usage

While there are other keyboard solutions for the iPad, the Logitech Keyboard Case is designed for on-the-go ease of use so you don't have to carry other solutions along in your bag. A bonus for me is that this is a Bluetooth keyboard and thus you can use other devices with it as well. I tested out the BlackBerry PlayBook and the keys for text entry work just fine while the special function keys obviously do not work.

The case offers outstanding screen protection, but there is no protection offered for the back. I have a cool GelaSkins wrap on my iPad 2 and notice that the edges of the top and bottom back pieces get folded back in a couple of places by the Logitech Keyboard Case. I may cut back these pieces a bit so I don't see this fraying, but I understand that ZAGG needs to keep the surrounding edges tight to hold the keyboard on the iPad 2. Actually, the case is held very securely on your iPad 2 and you have to find a good place on the side to pry the two pieces apart. I am not going to drop my iPad 2 in the case to test it out, but hope that it will protect it if I ever do have an accident. ZAGG also sells the InvisibleShield solutions for protecting the back and you may want to get one of those if you purchase this case. Actually, that would make a nice combo on their store for a discounted price.

My iPad 2 fits well in both portrait and landscape orientation and the viewing angle is perfect for both text entry and enjoying videos on the iPad. I prop my iPad 2 in the case at night while watching my favorite shows with the ABC Player (Modern Family and Castle). The single press slideshow button has also proven useful for propping up my iPad 2 at family events and letting my latest photos scroll through for all to enjoy. The media control buttons are also useful for enjoying music in my hotel room and the speaker of the iPad 2 is in a perfect position to play tunes loudly.

I find myself writing more with my iPad 2 thanks to this keyboard and while the $99.99 price may seem high for an accessory, if you write a lot and want to have a very portable solution then you should consider it.

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