Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A review of the ZAGG Folio iPad 2 Keyboard Case with Bluetooth

My dear husband bought me an iPad for my birthday last October. I've had a ball learning how to use it the last eight months and figuring out how it could help me be more efficient in my job covering education for the local newspaper. 

One thing I quickly realized was that using it for typing stories on site at meetings or news conferences was extremely difficult because it had no keyboard.  I've now remedied and have purchased the Zagg Folio iPad 2 Keyboard case with Bluetooh.

I've only had it about two weeks, but I thought I'd offer my thoughts on it.

Pairing the Keyboard to the iPad
It was simple to pair my iPad to the Bluetooth keyboard.  Instructions that come with the Folio tell you turn the keyboard on then go to your settings on the iPad and turn Bluetooth on. 

Press the "Connect" button on the keyboard to make it discoverable.  The status light flashes on the keyboard and the iPad recognizes the "ZAGG Keyboard" as an available device. 

You simply select ZAGG Keyboard on the iPad and it will display a unique code.

You'll then type the code using the keyboard and press enter.  The keyboard is now paired to the iPad.

ZAGG keyboard (top) desktop keyboard (bottom)
The actual keyboard feel is quite good.  There's not a lot of difference in touch and feel between my desktop and the ZAGG keyboard, but the actual size is a bit smaller than my desktop keyboard. 

At left is a look at the ZAGG keyboard perched above my actual desktop keyboard to give you an idea of the size difference. 

As you can see, there's not a lot of difference in size, but it's enough to make me miss the backspace key frequently. 

It's going to take some getting used to before I can crank up to my normal typing speed, but it's not significant enough of a difference for it to be a major complaint.

iPad Fit in Case
Top part is where the iPad slides in
This is where I must chime in with a bit of a negative.  The iPad slides into the case frame with ease, but it also doesn't feel so secure in there because of the loose fit.  It hasn't fallen out yet, but it sure makes me a little nervous. 

Maybe the more I use it, the less cautious I will be about the fit, but my first impressions are that it's a bit loose for my taste.

The Case and its Design
The case itself seems very rugged and I like that the camera, iPad on/off switch, ports and volume controls are easily accessible via cutouts in the case. 

But what I don't like about the case is the clasp.  It doesn't close and stay shut. 

While reading reviews of this case before I purchased it, the clasp not shutting seemed to be a problem for about half of the reviews I read.  I don't know if just some cases have bad clasps (mine being one of them) and others don't or what the deal is?  But I can tell you that I don't like that it won't shut and stay shut.

I also have to put significant pressure pushing the keyboard against the iPad just to get the clasp to be in a position to shut.  I don't like the idea of putting that kind of pressure on the iPad screen.  Plus the clasp won't stay shut anyway. 

I've reverted to just carrying the case around without it being completely shut.  However, the problem with that is that the iPad shut off magnet doesn't meet its contact which means the iPad then doesn't go into its normal sleep mode. 

That in itself creates a problem because then the pressure you create carrying the iPad around, selects apps on the iPad.  At one point I thought I had deleted about four apps by inadvertently selecting those apps while carrying my iPad around in this case.  After shutting the iPad down and turning it back on, the grayed out icons returned to actual icons and all was good, but it made my heart stop for a minute thinking I had just lost all of the documents I stored in "Pages."

Alas the solution to this problem I have learned is simply to use the on/off button on the top of your iPad to put it to sleep instead of relying on the case to put it to sleep.

I do have a friend who also purchased this exact product for her iPad 2.  While overall she said she likes the product, she offered the one thing that she dislikes about the design of the case.  The charging port for the keyboard does not have a cut out access in the case like the iPad's camera, charging port and  on/off switch do, so charging the keyboard requires removing the keyboard from the case each time.

Although this isn't a deal-breaker, my friend suggests that it is a nuisance. 

Overall here's my thoughts on the ZAGG Folio iPad 2 Bluetooth Keyboard Case

The Pros
Easy to Pair
Easy to slip in iPad
Battery length doesn't appear to be short
Convenient for on the go typing
Keyboard feel and touch

The Cons
Case doesn't shut and stay shut
Tight fit against iPad - concern of damage to iPad screen over time
Access to keyboard charging port
At $99.99, it isn't cheap

The bottom line - I'd buy it again!

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