iPad keyboard accessories typically come in two flavors: folio case or simple add-on external keyboard. The Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover ($99.99 direct) is a little bit of both, with a magnetized hardshell aluminum screen protector that houses a built-in keyboard. It’s cleanly designed and adds minimal bulk compared with most folio options, and it works with the iPad 2, the third-generation iPad, as well as Apple’s latest fourth-generation iPad. This is not a case in the traditional sense, however, as it will only protect the iPad’s screen—just like Apple’s own iPad Smart Cover. The keyboard itself might be a bit more cramped than other folio options, like the ClamCase, but the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover is a much more streamlined and attractive way to carry both an iPad and a keyboard, and thus wins our Editors’ Choice for iPad keyboard cases.
Design, Setup, and Keyboard
True to its name, the Logitech Ultrathin is about as thin as they come, measuring 0.31 inches thick. It weighs just 11.36 ounces. The Belkin YourType Folio + Keyboard is one of the thinnest folios we’ve tested, and that’s a comparatively bulky 1.13 inches thick and 15.40 ounces.
The anodized aluminum Ultrathin Keyboard Cover attaches to the edge of the iPad with magnets, like Apple’s Smart Cover, but instead of folding the cover to prop up the iPad, you simply detach the iPad and place it in a magnetized white groove above the keyboard. Black glossy plastic surrounds the keys, with small rubber bumpers at the corners to keep the screen from touching the keys when the cover is closed. Along the right edge are the lock switch, the Bluetooth pairing button, and the micro USB port for charging with the included cable.
Bluetooth pairing is simple and straightforward. Make sure the lock switch is off, press the Bluetooth button (the blue LED should begin to blink), and pair in the settings menu of your iPad. You only need to pair once, and the Logitech Ultrathin will automatically reconnect after sleep or full power down. Pressing keys will also wake the iPad from sleep. Logitech rates the battery life at up to six months on a single charge.
The chiclet-style keys are a bit cramped and small, but considering the thin build, the typing experience isn’t bad at all. The keys provide good feedback and have a solid clicky feel, but typing is more comfortable on a more-substantial folio like the Clamcase or the Zagg Zaggfolio. Instead of a full row of dedicated iPad function keys, there’s an Fn button that toggles the number row to functions like cut, copy, paste, and media controls. It’s a bit less convenient than the Zaggfolio or Clamcase’s dedicated rows, but better than no function keys at all. The oversized spacebar is great, but the Delete button is too small for my taste.
The Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover is among the best-looking iPad accessories—in fact, it looks like it could have been designed by Apple. The only problem, and it will be a big one for some, is that it provides very little protection. It will guard your screen from scratches, but that’s pretty much it. The Clamcase offers a more comfortable keyboard, serious iPad protection, and endless options as a stand—but it’s much, much bulkier and costs $50 more. If you want a solid, low-profile add-on keyboard, the Ultrathin Keyboard Cover delivers, and it does so stylishly, and for that, it’s our Editors’ Choice.
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Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc