This is the second in a series of iPad keyboard case reviews. I’m taking a closer look at a model with a strange name: the iPad Bluetooth Keyboard with folding PU leather protective case. It may have an unwieldy name, but it features a great price tag — just $50. But is it a worthy competitor to the Kensington KeyFolio?
You can tell as soon as you remove the case from the retail package that it is made of real leather, not a synthetic material like the Kensington KeyFolio. It has a smooth grain and is soft and supple. The stitching on the case is black instead of the white contrast stitching found on the Kensington case. I personally prefer the black stitching; in my opinion, it looks more professional.
The spine of the case contains an internal stiffener that is the perfect width. It gives the case some needed structure and prevents the face of the iPad from really being squashed into the face of the keyboard without adding any extra thickness to the overall profile of the case.
The case is held closed by a long magnetic flap, which I really like. It holds the case closed so it’s secure and easy to carry, and there’s less concern about something getting in between the iPad and the keyboard while the case is being transported in a larger bag. The magnet is just right — easy to open when you want it open, but nice and secure when you want the case to remain closed.
Inside the case you’ll find that it is almost exactly the same as the Kensington KeyFolio case reviewed here last week. The yoke that holds the iPad within the case is just like the Kensington KeyFolio, so you slide the iPad in and then fold a small flap underneath the device to secure it.
Unfortunately that means the corners are all exposed, a weakness that I mentioned in the Kensington review. One improvement is the closure flap mentioned above, because the long side of the iPad, which would normally be exposed, is completely covered by that flap. The top and bottom are still exposed to cosmetic damage, but I’m pleased by the extra protection that the case closure flap provides.
The keyboard is exactly the same as the one in the Kensington case, with the same pros and cons. It has soft rubberized keys that won’t damage the screen of the iPad even when the case is closed, and while there isn’t much in the way of key spacing, the actual keys are nice and large. The iPad-specific keys at the top are handy and offer quick access music controls, a home button, and more.
When you prop up the iPad behind the keyboard it feels sturdy and doesn’t wobble at all. Getting the device into position takes just a few seconds. The case closure flap doesn’t get in the way and actually provides a nice wrist rest while you’re typing.
Battery life is excellent; I used the keyboard with my iPad for two weeks and never had to recharge it after the initial charging session. While I sometimes miss the days of using a couple of easily obtainable AAA batteries to power my portable keyboard, this one is easy to recharge with the included USB cable. If you’re on the road and using a modular charger to juice up your other portable devices, it will probably work for this keyboard as well, lightening the load.
If you like the idea of having a Bluetooth keyboard integrated into an iPad carrying case, this one is a very strong contender. It features the exact same keyboard found in the Kensington KeyFolio with a superior real leather portfolio that features a magnetic closure flap, and it costs half as much as the Kensington version. The craftsmanship is excellent, the keyboard is easy to type on, and it comes with a very reasonable price tag.
This product is currently available for $50 at the EFO Gadget Shop online.