The Logitech Ultralight iPad keyboard, regarded as the standard for Bluetooth keyboard covers for some time now, has a new and significant competitor. With a different look, a lower price and some more desirable features, this HardCover Bluetooth Case from Kensington is well worth a try and, I think, a buy.
I have been a regular user of my iPad2 since the day I received it – just over a year ago. While it is probably best suited for obtaining information, with the right accessory, it is also handy as a producer of documents. The core required accessory is, of course, a good Bluetooth keyboard. I have tried many, beginning with soft-key boards built into folio soft/leather/leatherette covers. These seemed better than the touch screen keyboard, but not much. The keys were too soft, not reactive to touch (giving little or no tactile feedback to the fingertips) and, with their very small keys, errors caused by striking the wrong keys were the rule rather than the exception.
The first real breakthrough came, from my point of view, with the Logitech products. Their UltraLight iPad Bluetooth Keyboard, introduced about a year ago, looks good, feels good and does a nice job with the iPad. Encased in an aluminum shell that matches the exterior finish of the iPad perfectly, It feels a bit more solid than the Kensington, holds the iPad in place without the kick-stand used on the KeyCover and is easier to attach and detach from the iPad. It currently costs $10 – $25 more. I have been pleased with it and was interested in trying and comparing this new KeyCover case from Kensington.
Both devices pair easily and quickly via Bluetooth (the Kensington with newer 3.0 version.)
To begin, the obvious differences are many. The new Kensington KeyCover is encased in black plastic. While it is approximately the same weight of the Ultralight, it looks heavier due, I think, to the suggestion of additional width created by the corner protective pads and the two protruding iPad hold-corners. There is an additional (6th) row of keys on the Kensington for most of the shortcuts generally found on the top row of a standard computer keyboard. There is no ‘Delete’ key, but a more familiar backspace left arrow. Although the keys are about the same size, the board somehow does not take up more space. The keys are at least as tactiley responsive as those on the Logitech and typing actually seems a bit more defined and less prone to mis-strokes. Unlike the Logitech which is held in place by magnets alone, the Kensington case clips onto the iPad and seems a lot more secure – though getting used to attaching and unattaching it took a half-dozen practices.
The kick-stand that hold the iPad in the standard 60 degree position for typing feels a tad flimsy and, I suspect, would be the first part to break of wear down. The Logitech holds the iPad in place by simply laying it into a slot that holds it reasonably securely. Both keyboards hold the iPad in either the verticle or horizontal (Page or Landscape orientation) but the Kensington seems a tad less secure, especially when the diPad is places in the Page orientation. One of the big plusses in the Kensington is that the case has round rubber pads in all four corners of the base, eliminating the tendency of the Logitech to slide around, especially on smooth surfaces, and pretty much eliminates the inevitable scratches that the Logitech outer surface accumulates over time.
All-in-all, there are two completely satisfactory keyboard cases. The Logitech is prettier and easier to attach and separate from the iPad. The Kensington has what I found to be a better layout of user-friendly keys, firmer physical security both closed and in use and a savings in cost. I cannot say that one is definitively better than the other so recommend that both be tried! If that is not possible, at this point, having used both for some extended writing, I would opt for this new Kensington KeyCover. When a quality products is available at a lessor cost with a few features that actually make it more desirable, why not?
Kensington has earned a great reputation for their electronic accessories. Particularly for those built for use with Apple products, they have exceeded reasonable consumer expectations. I fully expect this standard to be met and sustained with this new KeyCase Bluetooth Keyboard.