• Logitech Ultrathin iPad 2/3 Keyboard Review

    What is most striking about the Ultrathin right from the get-go is how well it has been designed to solve the specific problems that are created by any effort to tack a keyboard onto a super mobile tablet device - namely, the weight and bulk it adds, the need to still have a case protecting the iPad, and how to control a touch screen with keys. Iíll talk about each of these solutions below and reveal my final thoughts at the end.



    WHAT
    The Ultrathin is a well named new Logitech iPad keyboard case that is the thinnest on the market to have full carry keys (and just about the thinnest on the market, period). It connects by bluetooth, has a wedge insert that holds the iPad for typing, and a 'smart-cover' like magnet clip that allows the whole keyboard to close over the iPad screen.

    HOW
    The bluetooth connectivity used by the Ultrathin means that after a first Ďpairingí, it automatically re-connects to your iPad each time. The keyboard then works to directly control many of the functions of the iPad - these include typing of course, but also the home button, copy and paste, text selection, volume, play/pause, search and even locking the device. Strangely there are no brightness control keys however.

    Clever use of magnets that follow Apple's lead, mean it also acts as a smart cover to attach and close over the screen plus control the iPad's wake/sleep. I'm positive it also has a magnet holding the iPad in its typing ledge. Although you can sit the iPad in portrait or landscape mode, the portrait mode where your iPad sits alot higher seems less stable as the magnet or clip inside the wedge doesnít activite.

    Pros: A very smart design with excellent keys and smart use of magnets and Apple-styling.
    Cons:Only what youíd expect with any 'control a touch-screen device with buttons' situation.

    VERDICT
    It really is great to have the whole iPad screen available while typing, rather than half as I am used to when using the touch screen only. Just being able to see a whole document increases productivity. The keyboard has great carry in its keys - probably 30% less than the Apple Bluetooth keyboard that many carry around as their iPad keyboard, but still very useable. The keys even have a little satisfying Ďclickinessí. I've tried other iPad keyboard cases that are so mushy or laggy that they negate completely the advantages that a keyboard can bring to the iPad entirely, so the Ultrathin gets big points here.

    And it really is super thin (thinner than the iPad, and about 2/5ths the weight). You cold quite happily just keep it in your bag and only pull it out when needed if you already have a case you donít want to part with. In fact I found that my Spigen leather wrap-around folio case actually allowed me to clip the Ultrathin closed over my iPad screen while the case is still on and protecting my iPadís back.

    It also has some smart, functional design in its placement of keys with only the number/ multi-function keys being of a smaller size. It also has arrow keys that Iíve not worked out what to use for yet (games?). I've so far typed this review and a couple of other documents on it, and while a little cramped, found it provides a good typing experience that yes, is a little faster than the touchscreen. But I do have some soreness in my (somewhat large) hands trying to two-hand type on a keyboard thats probably 15 percent more cramped than that on my Macbook.

    Another issue that has arisen the more I use the Ultrathin is the need to be constantly reaching up and touching the screen for the myriad of things that a keyboard can't replace like every menu button in every app. This back and forth may be something one gets used to over time, but for now it just seems like I'm hopping in and out of two era's. This may also be contributing to some wrist-strain. What the solution could be I donít know - it is perhaps just the price to be paid for the benefits like speedier typing that good iPad keyboards like this one bring.

    Buyers Advice:
    The Logitech Ultrathin has really nailed two of the three iPad-keyboard design problems in that its a good screen protector/case and adds very little bulk. It also has a range of keys mapped to iPad functions, but canít of course duplicate soft keys and touch screen buttons inherent in every app, leading to regular hand movement back and forth.

    RRP $99 More info at Logitech.
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