Logitech Universal Folio Review: Keyboard Case for Apple, Android, Windows Tablets

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  • Pros

    • Supports a range of mid-size tablets
    • Works with Android, iOS, and Windows computers
    • Keyboard is well designed
  • Cons

    • Bulkier than single-device cases
    • Can pair with only one tablet at a time

Quick Take

Logitech’s add-on keyboard latest can be useful with a variety of mid-size tablets, if not ideal for any of them.

A standard tablet is a “lean back” device, handy for web surfing or watching video. But attach a keyboard and it becomes a “lean forward” computer, well suited for creating content. A new add-on keyboard is designed to work with a range of Android, iOS, and Windows slates in the 9- to 10-inch range, and the Logitech Universal Folio is available now for $59.99, less than many of its rivals.

Universal Folio Build & Design

The biggest advantage of this keyboard case is its flexibility. It can be used today with a basic iPad, but later moved to the 10.5-inch iPad Pro. Or a couple that has a Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 and an iPad Air 2 can share the same keyboard.

Logitech Universal Folio

Logitech Universal Folio

And the Logitech Universal Folio solves another problem: there aren’t good cases for every tablet. If you can’t find one you like for your device, consider Logitech’s offering.

The apparatus on the inside of this case is quite ingenious. It consists of a pair of clip-on springs that can be adjusted to fit slates in a range of sizes. These hold the upper left and right corners of the tablet, and work in tandem with a pair of fixed clips that hold the bottom of the device in place.

We tested the Universal Folio with several products. It had no problems with any of the 9.7-inch iPad and iPad Pro models. The case worked just as well with the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7, but the fit for the Galaxy Tab A 10.1 was very tight, and Logitech doesn’t include this device on its compatibility list. On the opposite end of the scale, the HTC Nexus 9 did fine, but an Amazon Fire HD 8 was too small … as expected.

All the compatible computers we tried were held securely, but could still be easily removed from the Universal Folio, so switching from tablet to laptop mode and back is quick and easy. Or the keyboard can be folded around behind the tablet, out of the way.

A disadvantage of this design is that it doesn’t fit any slate very closely. Or at least, not any we tried. This means that almost everyone will find that it’s taller, wider, and thicker than necessary. To be clear, this just means there’s some extra bulk, not that the tablet is insecure.

But keep in mind, this isn’t a rugged case. It should protect the tablet from scratches and general bumps and blows, but don’t count on it to preserve the device though a real calamity.

The exterior is black and dark grey plastic, which makes it look very professional.

Logitech Universal Folio

Logitech Universal Folio

On one edge is a loop designed to hold a stylus. We found this to be a bit tight on an Apple Pencil, Surface Pen, and a cheap capacitive stylus. Still, better a very tight fit than one that’s too loose, and it’s possible this loop will stretch out slightly over time.

A stretchable black band is connected to two sides of the Universal Folio. This can be used to keep the cover from opening accidentally. But this is easily moved aside when it’s time to get to work.

Opening the folio reveals the keyboard, and the case is designed to also function as a stand when typing. When in laptop mode, the tablet is held solidly in place by a pair of tabs that fit into slots just above the key area. Unfortunately, this design only offers one typing angle: about 70 degrees. This is usable, but those who prefer their screen lean back a bit more will just have to get used to it.

The Universal Folio offers good lapability: it’s easy to use when held in the lap, as long as the knees are close together.

Keyboard

Logitech included five rows of keys in a standard QWERTY arrangement. There’s a sixth row of half-size function keys across the top.

Logitech Universal Folio

Logitech Universal Folio

The key area is 9.0 by 3.8 inches, which is comparable to most keyboards designed for 9.7-inch tablets, but smaller than many laptop ones. Most keys are 0.6 x 0.6 in, with 0.1 in. of space on all sides. Again, typical of keyboards for tablets, but smaller than ones for laptops.

The keys are recessed so they don’t rub up against the slate’s screen. And the clips holding the computer are thick enough that the display can’t inadvertently touch the base.

The Universal Folio works with Android, iOS, and Windows devices, and some of the operations performed by the function keys change depending on the operating system. Still, the set of multimedia control perform as expected on all three platforms.

Logitech did not integrate a trackpad into this product, almost certainly because it would be useless to iPad users–iOS doesn’t support this type of input.

Universal Folio Performance

Apple, Google, and Microsoft all built support for Bluetooth keyboards like this one into their operating systems, and our testing confirms that this accessory works equally well in all three. There are no slowdowns or missed key presses.

But Logitech did leave out what would have been a very useful feature in a “universal” keyboard: the Universal Folio can be paired with only one computer at a time. If multiple people want to share it, they’ll have to pair their tablet with this Bluetooth accessory again each time they get it back. The ability to pair with several devices, and switch between them at the push of a button, is a feature of some rival add-on keyboards.

Battery Life

Rather than a rechargeable battery, Logitech powers the Universal Folio with a pair of watch batteries, quite probably to save cost.

Logitech Universal Folio

Logitech Universal Folio

The company claims these are good for up to two years, when used for two hours a day. Naturally, we couldn’t test that claim, but we can say that it easily lasted for several days of heavy testing.

Just remember, the batteries will eventually run out on you, and you can be certain that this will happen on the first day of a long business trip. So go ahead and buy a pair of replacements, and keep them in your gear bag. Especially as these will cost just a couple of dollars.

There’s an on/off switch on the left side. Be sure to use this so the batteries don’t drain unnecessarily.

Universal Folio Final Thoughts

Our tests showed that Logitech’s latest can be useful with a variety of mid-size tablets, if not ideal for any of them. It’s keyboard functions well with Android, iOS, and Windows computers, and the folio can hold devices from a range of manufacturers. It’s bulkier than cases designed specifically for one model, however.

The Logitech Universal Folio costs $59.99, making it significantly less expensive than many add-on keyboards designed for specific models. For example, the ZAGG Slim Book Pro fits the 9.7-inch iPad Pro like a glove, but it sells for $149.99.

On the other hand, there are rival add-on keyboards designed to work with a range of tablets available for about the same cost, but these don’t also function as protective cases. This includes the ZAGG Messenger Universal at $69.99, or the iClever 3 Color Backlight Bluetooth Keyboard at $49.99.

Taking all this into account, the Logitech Universal Folio qualifies as a good value.

Pros:

  • Supports a range of mid-size tablets
  • Works with Android, iOS, and Windows computers
  • Keyboard is well designed

Cons:

  • Bulkier than single-device cases
  • Can pair with only one tablet at a time



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