I thought the KeePad/Apple Wireless Keyboard combination was perfect until I tried the Logitech Tablet Keyboard for iPad (NT$1,990). Now I can’t decide which is better. The Logitech is nearly the same size of the Apple keyboard, but has a slightly slimmer profile. Ergonomically, Logitech’s keyboard is just as nice to type on, with chiclet keys and a layout nearly identical to Apple’s. The Logitech keyboard comes with a small plastic case that unfolds into a stand for the iPad. The Logitech is less bulky than the KeePad/Apple combo when packed away in the keyboard, and is only slightly heavier, by around 20g.
But a few differences may tilt your decision: the Logitech has some handy shortcut buttons that the Apple keyboard doesn’t have. The escape key on the Logitech actually serves as the home button (which you can double click to display the fast app-switching tray). You can also turn on a slide show of photos on your iPad by pressing Fn+5, and lock the screen by pressing Fn+Delete. On the other hand, the Apple keyboard looks more stylish and the Opt KeePad case inspires more confidence. Even though it’s made of faux leather, the case seems sturdier than the Logitech case, which feels cheap and plasticky. The Logitech case’s fold-out stand is a bit flimsy and I wonder if it will break after constant use. Neither of these keyboards has a toggle switch for switching languages, which I found inconvenient when switching between Mandarin and English.
The main advantage of either of these two choices is that they can be used with either iPad 1 or 2 (Taiwan still awaits the release of the third-generation iPad, which Apple has dubbed “the new iPad.”). Both keyboards need batteries, but you won’t have to change them nearly as often as you recharge your iPad. The Apple takes four AA batteries, and you can use rechargeable ones — I have to recharge mine every few months or so). The Logitech uses 4 AAA batteries, and the company claims 10 months with “regular usage.” In any case, battery life isn’t really a concern with any of the Bluetooth keyboards.
I think a full-sized keyboard works the best with the iPad. But if you have an iPad 2 and prefer the all-in-one solution, the following products are also worth a look.
The IPEVO Typi iPad 2 (NT$1,980) is a suede leather case that houses your iPad and a detachable Bluetooth keyboard and looks like a fancy office appointment diary. The Typi, which comes in either black or brown, has a nice and natural look and folds out into a stand for the iPad. But the compromise here is the mediocre keyboard, which is slightly smaller than standard size. The keys are mushy and flat, which makes typing without looking at the keys more difficult. But it still beats tapping on glass, and if you need to do a moderate amount of typing while traveling, the Typi will do in a pinch. There is also a whole row full of keyboard shortcuts, including dedicated keys for cut and paste and a toggle button for switching languages. With the iPad 2 packed inside, the Typi weighs around 1.1kg, the weight of the 11-inch Macbook Air.
For something more compact and light, the Logitech Keyboard Case by Zagg (NT$2,990) is a well-designed, one-piece aluminum case with a keyboard on the inside. When you’re ready to travel, the iPad 2 fits snugly on top of the keyboard, face down, with the sides of the case holding the tablet like a frame. Like the IPEVO Typi, the keyboard is slightly smaller than standard size, but it has better keys and is more suited for typing for long periods of time. Though not quite as comfortable as the full-size keyboards, one advantage of the Logitech/Zagg case is its light weight. With the iPad 2, the case weighs 875g, making it the lightest combination of all the products in this review. One thing I’m not crazy about, though, is that you can’t adjust the angle at which the iPad stands. It’s is a little steep when you place the tablet in landscape view. The case has a built-in rechargeable battery, which is charged by a USB cable. Logitech doesn’t say how long it can be used for, but I never needed to recharge after testing it for more than one week.