Tablets have essentially wiped out the ultrabook category of laptops because devices like the iPad Air already offer users the slim, lightweight computer they want. But to truly turn Apple’s tablet into an ultrabook, you need a keyboard like the ZAGGkeys Cover.
This accessory really comes amazingly close to turning the iPad Air into a miniature laptop with a clamshell shape and a backlit keyboard.
Build and Design
The ZAGGkeys Cover is a keyboard that clips to one edge of the tablet. When the two are together, it almost looks like they’re one device. ZAGG did an excellent job of matching the external color of its accessory with the iPad’s.
The tablet is held by a U-shaped chip that’s built into the hinge. They are joined with a combination of pressure, friction, and magnets (the two have never slipped apart in our weeks of testing). Pulling the two apart or putting the iPad back in the clip takes a bit of effort though, and it’s not something one is going to want to do many times a day.
The hinge rotates to open and close the clamshell and can go from the tablet touching the keyboard (horizontal) to the point where it’s 10 or 15 degrees past vertical. It’s unfortunate that it can’t be rotated farther back — the viewing angle for the iPad’s display is good, but not ideal.
Closing the clamshell turns the display off, and opening it turns it back on.
Given the design, this cover provides no protection for anything but the tablet’s screen.
Want an option that provides significantly more protection? Jump over to our
ZAGGkeys Folio Keyboard for iPad Air Review
The ZAGGkeys Cover weighs in at just under a pound, and it’s just about as thin as the iPad Air. It is sized so that it fits exactly on the front of the tablet.
The iPad’s on-screen keyboard is fine up to a point, but a physical one is much better when writing long documents or emails.
The keyboard ZAGG built into this accessory is the size of the ones that are part of typical notebooks. As such, it’s not as big as a desktop keyboard, but it’s completely suited for touch typing. Key size and separation are good, and travel is OK. ZAGG used a standard key layout with five full rows, and there’s even a set of arrow keys.
In addition, an extra top row of keys offers special functions, including an alternate Home key, as well as one that puts the iPad to sleep. There’s also a set for controlling music or video playback with volume controls.
Click on images to see larger versions.
What really sets the ZAGGkeys Cover apart from its rivals is the backlighting for the keys. Anyone who has ever had to type on a dimly-lit plane or lecture hall knows the value of this.
And it goes beyond just white and red, offering seven different backlight colors and three levels of brightness. This makes the device usable in any lighting condition.
The ZAGGkeys Cover is an extremely useful and professional-looking accessory for the iPad Air. Anyone who frequently travels and uses Apple’s Tablet to get things done while on-the-go should consider it.
This product is available from ZAGG’s website for $100.