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View Full Version : Review: PADACS Rubata Keyboard (Leather iPad Case With Bluetooth Keyboard)



MTBlogBot2000
10th January 2011, 11:42 AM
<div><a href="http://www.mactalk.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/rubata-1000x1000.jpg"><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-11891" src="http://www.mactalk.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/rubata-1000x1000.jpg" alt="" width="600" height="600" /></a></div>
<div>Not long ago we looked at a <a href="http://www.mactalk.com.au/2010/12/06/review-padacs-accessories-trio/">trio of accessories</a> from PADACS, a company focused on innovative iOS device accessories. One of their latest companions that weíre looking at today is the Rubata Keyboard, a leather iPad case with a built-in Bluetooth keyboard.<!--more--></div>
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<div>The kit itself is quite simple. You get the Rubata itself and a micro USB to USB charging cable. The size of box is Apple-esque with the charging cable hidden inside the case itself. The Rubata has a professional look, a black leather folio with a large magnetic latch and heavy duty stitching. The pressed PADACS logo in the latch is a nice touch with the latch acting as a soft plam rest while typing.</div>
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<div>While the overall quality is good, the fit of the iPad is not perfect. Itís loose enough that I could fit my iPad in with its hard case still on - without the case on I had to massage the iPad into place. Being leather I imagine it would eventually settle into a nicer fit. While in the case, access to the ports and buttons is good. There is a ridge just above the top row of keys where the iPad naturally wants to rests when setup. The problem is that this blocks access to those keys so you might find yourself sliding the iPad back out of the way to give you easy access to those keys.</div>
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<div>Setup is fairly straightforward; slide the iPad into the top half of the case and secure the small velcro latch. All the controls are on the right sight of the keyboard - turn on the Rubata, press the pairing button then find the device in the Bluetooth menu on your iPad. The iPad will ask you to enter a pairing PIN into the keyboard, press Enter and youíre done. While the user manual is clear in its directions, oddly the screenshots are actually photos of an iPad screen. The pairing button is recessed, meaning you might have to use something like a key to press the button - this isnít really an issue as youíll likely only pair your iPad once.</div>
<blockquote>Typing on the Rubata feels very much like typing on a netbook.</blockquote>
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<div>Typing on the Rubata feels very much like typing on a netbook. While the iPad onscreen keyboard is full size (did you know the letter spacing on the iPad onscreen keyboard is the same as a MacBook keyboard?), the Rubata keyboard is a little smaller With a few minutes to get used to the size, movement and layout of some of the keys, youíll be typing at a speed close to a full size keyboard, most likely much faster than on the iPad itself. If you are a true touch typist, then youíll appreciate being able to find the home keys while typing on your iPad (although have you ever noticed the iPad onscreen keyboard has the image of raised bars on the F and J keys?). Typing on Rubabta reminded me so much of typing on my Acer netbook that I would occasionally reach for the trackpad.</div>
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<div>One of the true benefits to the Rubata is that it is not just a standard Bluetooth keyboard. It has 84 keys with 17 of those along the top row dedicated to iPad specific functions. The keyboard does actually have the standard Mac control, option and command keys and worked when paired with my MacBook, but the iPad specific keys make a big difference allowing you perform basic functions without your hands leaving the keyboard. These include dedicated keys for home, bringing up the onscreen keyboard on demand, spotlight search, language, select all, copy, paste, cut, iPod controls, volume controls and lock. I found myself using the iPod and volume controls more than the any others.</div>
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<div>PADACS claims 72 hours between charges. Since thatís almost impossible to log Iíll trust them on that one and simply say that it lasted a lot longer than my iPad. The only issue I had is forgetting to turn the keyboard off sometimes, excessively draining my iPadís battery.</div>
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<div>The Rubata is very handy for those times when you want to bang out a long email or blog post, or maybe even just a quick tweet or two. It weighs 583 grams, almost as much as the iPad itself and adds a little bulk. Setup on a table or in your lap, it works really well and makes sense. However it does get in the way when you try to use the iPad as the tablet it was intended to be. You can either fold the keyboard and flap behind the iPad or have the keyboard and flap open to the side, but both are arkward. I preferred to take the iPad out and leave the Rubata in my bag when I wanted to be more mobile.</div>
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<div>One last drawback is as much a failing of the iPad itself. With the Rubata the iPad does not magically become a netbook or notebook replacement. You are still limited by the apps and services available on the iPad. For me the best example of this is the limitation of Google Docs on the iPad; the mobile version is too simple and the desktop version acts funny. If youíre happy with the writing apps available on the iPad, then the Rubata should improve your experience with those apps.</div>
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<div><strong>Conclusion</strong></div>
<div>If the onscreen iPad keyboard is holding you back and you want a convenient way to carry around a keyboard with your iPad then the Rubata could be for you. A lot of thought has obviously gone into the design and the quality means it will last, just like the battery. Using the iPad as a tablet while in the Rubata is a little awkward but the mini desktop experience with a solid hardware keyboard may make up for that.</div>
<div>You can buy the Rubata Keyboard directly from the <a href="https://www.padacs.com/cart/product.php?id=93&amp;width=1680">the PADACS site</a> for $109.95.</div>

MissionMan
10th January 2011, 12:13 PM
Its interesting to see the designs coming up in this space. There are a couple of hardcase designs which follow similar concepts, so it'll be interesting to see where these designs go over the next couple of years and as the iPad models progress:

Zagg (who make invisible shields)

http://www.zagg.com/images/accessories/zaggmate/ipad-zaggmate-11.jpg

http://www.zagg.com/images/accessories/zaggmate/ipad-zaggmate-13.jpg

Clamcase

https://img.skitch.com/20110110-n3a5kr96r8e56p8f5jbwwe9ikn.jpg

funwithstuff
10th January 2011, 12:53 PM
I reviewed this and the Toccata, and didn't really like either of them enough to want to use them personally. Any non-standard key placements threw me, and here it was the smaller keys and small right shift key that drove me nuts.

Also, I found the position of the keyboard uncomfortable in relation to the iPad ó too close ó which is a problem for all these keyboard cases.

Probably the best looking alternative is the ClamCase, but it's expensive.

SRG
10th January 2011, 01:05 PM
Thing is with all of these I keep feeling like if you are using one of these on a regular basis I would start asking should I just get the Macbook Air base model.

I just think the whole portability and weight advantage of the iPad starts to go if you are taking these around with you. Once you start thinking that the limitation of iOS come to the fore against just having a air.

Just my take. For the record I have both a Air and a iPad and I must say the iPad is not getting a lot of love since I got the Air.

glenmorrow
10th January 2011, 04:52 PM
Does the USB charger charge both the iPad and keyboard or just the keyboard?

I like the idea of the case and think the review was well written.

Cheers, glen.

Bogus Jimmy
11th January 2011, 02:12 PM
Does the USB charger charge both the iPad and keyboard or just the keyboard?

I like the idea of the case and think the review was well written.

Thanks Glen (I wrote the review).

The USB to Micro USB cable only charges the keyboard itself (either from a Mac/PC or a USB Power Adapter). The keyboard battery will far outlast your iPad.

Alessiman
13th January 2011, 07:40 AM
Its interesting to see the designs coming up in this space. There are a couple of hardcase designs which follow similar concepts, so it'll be interesting to see where these designs go over the next couple of years and as the iPad models progress:

Zagg (who make invisible shields)

http://www.zagg.com/images/accessories/zaggmate/ipad-zaggmate-11.jpg

http://www.zagg.com/images/accessories/zaggmate/ipad-zaggmate-13.jpg

Clamcase



I picked up the ZaggMate from Best Buy last night and have been using it all day to take notes

The keys are small but not as bad as a netbooks. You adapt quickly so no issues there

If buying one I would invest in a back skins for the uni however Its not essential

Overall, its probably one of the best accessories for the iPad

Well that's until the iCade is released!

http://www.thinkgeek.com/images/products/frontsquare/e762_iCade.jpg

kyte
16th January 2011, 01:40 PM
... For the record I have both a Air and a iPad and I must say the iPad is not getting a lot of love since I got the Air.

Pretty sure I would be the same. Once over the first bit of excitement, I find I am using it less and less, which is a bit of a bummer because I have bought quite a few apps for it, and those can't be onsold with the iPad once I decide to let it go (which will be when I have finished playing the games I bought for it).

I also have a netbook, and I stopped using it when the iPad arrived, but the last couple of months has seen me back at it, in preference to iPad, when I need to have a computer someplace other than home. I can't afford to buy an Air, much as I would love to, so I think I will have to ha****tosh the netbook again.