For many, Apple’s iPad Air isn’t just a way to watch video or look at web sites, it’s a production tool. It’s used for everything from email to serious writing.
This group could greatly benefit from an external keyboard, like the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover.
Build & Design
This is one of the simplest of the keyboards available for the iPad Air. It clips to the front of the tablet when the two are being carried, and the tablet is inserted into a groove in the keyboard when in use. The 5-row keyboard is in front of this groove, so the two form a laptop-like shape.
The main advantage of this design is that the tablet and keyboard go together very easily and can be separated just as quickly. At the end of the workday, you can just pick the iPad up and leave the keyboard behind.
In addition, it’s very thin and lightweight. Despite how slim Apple’s latest tablet is, the Ultrathin Keyboard Cover can actually hide behind it. It weighs in at 0.7 pounds, so it’s not just thinner than the Air, it’s lighter, too.
The disadvantage of this design is that it provides minimal protection for the tablet, especially in cases of drops, spills… anything traumatic. The screen is protected from scratches when it’s being carried around, but that’s about it.
When closed, the Ultrathin Keyboard Cover clips across the entire front of the Air. A hinge on one edge of this accessory keeps the two together, but there’s apparently nothing to keep the resulting clamshell closed.
There’s a rubberized ridge that runs just above the keyboard that keeps the display from actually touching the keys. On our review unit, this was raised to the point that there’s a gap between the tablet and the cover on the side opposite the hinge. If the two are held with hinge on the bottom, the clamshell will fall open, so carrying the device with the hinge on top is strongly advised.
Closing the cover over the display will turn it off, and opening it will turn the display back on.
Logitech has matched the color of the cover to the iPad. On our review unit, the keyboard looks like it was produced by Apple for the iPad Air.
The keyboard that’s this accessory’s raison d’etre is roughly the size of the ones found on a typical laptop — not as big as a desktop’s keyboard, but still large enough for touchtyping. Key separation is good, and while travel isn’t great it’s acceptable.
The Ultrathin Keyboard uses a standard key layout, with five rows, including one for numbers (handy for working with spreadsheets). Just a couple of the punctuation keys are reduced slightly in size, and all the number keys are half size.
In addition to numbers and symbols, the top row offers some additional functions, including an alternate Home button and a set of media controls.
Essentially, the keyboard acts like the keyboard of any other computer. There’s no lag or crashes. It can be used in any iOS app that uses the on-screen keyboard.
This accessory connects to the iPad Air over Bluetooth. Setting this up is a straightforward process and doesn’t require installing any software on the tablet, as the iOS includes built-in support for external Bluetooth keyboards.
Logitech describes its Ultrathin Keyboard Cover as “the other half of your iPad” and that’s not far off. When used together, they look like one unit, and they work together to make Apple’s latest tablet vastly more productive.
At $100 this probably isn’t a add-on for everyone, but it’s still more affordable than the $130 clip-on cover for the Surface tablets that Microsoft brags about so much.