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Review: Belkin QODE Thin Type for iPad Air is the thinnest keyboard yet

Keyboard covers for the iPad Air are the thinnest types you can get. This new one from Belkin is the thinnest yet.
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Topic: Mobility
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1 of 9 James Kendrick/ZDNet

Hands on with the Belkin QODE Thin Type keyboard cover

There are lots of keyboards for the iPad in several different styles. These include binders, portfolios, and covers. Covers are the thinnest and lightest of the bunch and Belkin has introduced one that is thinner and lighter than them all.

The QODE Thin Type is only 4mm (0.157in) thick and weighs much less than the iPad Air. It is a sleek aluminum cover the attaches to the iPad with a magnetic hinge. When closed the whole package is barely bigger than the iPad alone.

There are covers available for the iPad Air from Logitech, Kensington, and Anker. They all look similar and work much the same. The Thin Type from Belkin is a little bit different in a good way.

The Belkin is a simple cover with a keyboard on one side. The metal cover is not flat like the competitors' models. There is a hump toward the back of the cover that gives the Belkin three advantages over the competition. The hump houses a large battery that Belkin claims gives six months of use on a charge. This is double that of other iPad keyboards. Having this hump on the cover provides an ergonomic tilt to the keyboard, perfect for typing. Last but not least, the protrusion provides a secure grip for handling the tablet in the cover.

The Bluetooth Thin Type is paired with the iPad Air by tapping the pairing key on the keyboard. The keyboard is used by inserting the tablet in the slot above the keyboard. This action trips a switch in the keyboard that turns the unit on automatically. There is no on/off switch as a result, and no need to hit a key to wake the keyboard up. The unit is turned off by removing the iPad from the slot. It can then be attached to the hinge magnetically.

The typing experience on the Thin Type is really good. The chiclet keys are as good as those found on most laptops. This is due to the spacing and tactile feel of the keys. Fast touch typing is easily supported by this keyboard.

There is a dedicated row of number keys and one above that with control keys. The latter provides keyboard control of typical iPad functions. There are three keys on this row that interact with iTunes Radio, a nice touch.

The Belkin QODE Thin Type is available from Belkin for $99.99. 

Pros:

  • Thin and light
  • Good keyboard
  • Long battery life

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Cannot lift the unit while iPad Air is in the slot

Reviewer's rating: 8.5 out of 10

See related:

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2 of 9 James Kendrick/ZDNet

Comfortable viewing angle

The Thin Type supports the iPad Air at an angle that is good for typing. The iPad Air is in the standard landscape orientation in this photo.

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3 of 9 James Kendrick/ZDNet

Works in portrait

For those times using the iPad Air in portrait orientation makes more sense, the Thin Type supports it.

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Stable portrait operation

Some keyboards feel unstable with the iPad Air in portrait orientation, but not the Belkin QODE Thin Type.

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It's all about the hump

The Belkin QODE Thin Type has a white hump on the cover that provides a slight tilt when typing. It houses a battery that runs for six months on a charge. It also provides a secure grip on the otherwise slippery aluminum cover.

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6 of 9 James Kendrick/ZDNet

Keys to rival those on a laptop

The chiclet keys of the Belkin QODE Thin Type feel as good as those on most laptops.

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7 of 9 James Kendrick/ZDNet

Side view

This shows the nice viewing angle of the iPad Air in the Thin Type.

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Super thin

The Thin Type is only 4mm thick, the thinnest keyboard for the iPad Air.

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Ready for transport

This is the most portable keyboard cover for the iPad Air to date.

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