Review: Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Folio for iPad mini

During my last semester in university, I’ve relied mainly on my iPad 2 to take notes, write reports and prepare presentations (I only took my netbook to school when I needed to do Matlab programming). It wasn’t long before I’ve decided to get a bluetooth keyboard for my iPad 2. While the virtual iPad keyboard is good for typing, the downside is that there is less real estate on the screen and after a while it becomes tedious to have to scroll up and down to read whatever’s on the screen.

Of course those days are long past and now I carry an iPad mini for on-the-go entertainment. Recently I’ve received a review unit of the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Folio for iPad mini (Ultrathin Keyboard Folio m1). It’s a bluetooth keyboard which also serves as a protective cover for the iPad mini.

Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Folio for iPad mini

Built and design

The durable folio is made from water-repellant materials and protects both the front and back of the iPad mini from accidental bumps and spills. Built in magnets keep the folio securely closed and also wake the iPad mini when opened, like the iPad smart cover.

Durable portfolio made from water-repellant materials

Durable portfolio made from water-repellant materials

iPad mini wakes up when the folio is opened

iPad mini wakes up when the folio is opened

The iPad mini is held in place with the corners firmly clipped into the SecureLock system, while leaving the buttons at the right as well as the Lightning charging port and speakers at the bottom uncovered, providing easy access.

Built in plastic tab allows access to the iPad mini's Sleep/Wake button

Built in plastic tab allows access to the iPad mini’s Sleep/Wake button

Easy access to buttons at the side

Easy access to buttons at the side

Speakers are not covered and hence sound quality will not be affected

Speakers are not covered and hence sound quality will not be affected

Cut-out hole at the back for the camera

Cut-out hole at the back for the camera

 The dual view stand holds the iPad mini in two positions – upright for typing, and lying flat for browsing.

A strip of magnet on the keybooard attaches to he left side of the iPad mini and props it in an upright position for typing

A strip of magnet on the keybooard attaches to he left side of the iPad mini and props it in an upright position for typing

Lay the iPad mini flat for browsing

Lay the iPad mini flat for browsing

The keyboard folio can be charged with micro USB cable which is provided. According to Logitech’s website, it takes about 1.5 hours to completely charge the keyboard and a fully charged battery lasts up to 3 months based on average use of 2 hours per day. I can’t verify this claim as I didn’t need to recharge the battery during the review period (but this does mean that the battery lasts really long).

Charging port and power button on the keyboard folio

Charging port and power button on the keyboard folio

In order to make the keys bigger and well-spaced, the tab and shift buttoms on the left are combined with the Q and A keys. The number keys on the top are also iOS-specific function keys. (Do note that some keys might not work with iOS 7).

Keyboard with decently big and well-spaced keys

Keyboard with decently big and well-spaced keys

Key Function Key Function
Home Key Display the iPad mini Home screen Mute Key Mute
Lock/Unlock Key Lock or unlock the iPad mini screen Volume Down Volume down
Siri Use Siri to send messages, make a call, schedule meetings, and more Volume Up Volume up
Search Key Launch the iPad mini search function * Cut Cut
Switch Language Key Switch the keyboard language Copy Copy
Show/Hide Key Show/hide the virtual keyboard Paste Paste
Slide Show Launch slide show * Select Text Left Select text on the left, word by word
Previous Track Play previous track Select Text Right Select text on the right, word by word
<img src="http://www lisinopril online.logitech.com/assets/50177/28/ios-keys.jpg” alt=”Play/Pause” /> Play/Pause Space bar Switch applications
Next Track Play next track
* iOS 6 and earlier. (Information from Logitech’s website)

Conclusion

While I would prefer to use a keyboard with the iPad instead of iPad mini, if you insist on getting a keyboard for your iPad mini Logitech’s offering is definitely one of the best options available. It may take a while to get used to the keyboard as the A key (which is combined with the Caps lock key) is bigger than the other keys which makes it a bit confusing at first, but once you have gotten used to the keyboard it works just fine. Typing is very comfortable and accurate as the feedback from the keyboard is good.

Battery life of the keyboard folio is impressive and you can be confident that the battery won’t die on you even with a full day of work, which makes it a good companion for some serious typing work. I love the special function keys. I probably use these keys more than I actually use the keyboard for typing. I use the volume buttons when watching videos and I use the home button on the keyboard instead of the one on the iPad mini to get to the homescreen. There have been user feedback saying that not all these function keys work after upgrading to iOS 7. Logitech’s website indicates that the search function (key no. 3) and the slide show launcher (key no. 7) only works with iOS 6 and earlier. The slide show launcher doesn’t work for me too (I’m on iOS 7.0.4) but the search function key works fine for me. So if this is a concern for you do take note of this information.

Bluetooth connection is stable with the Logitech keyboard folio so the typing experience is very smooth. I’ve tried a cheap bluetooth keyboard previously bought from a Chinese website and the bluetooth connection kept dropping. It would take a few seconds before the connection was resumed and it really broke the typing momentum.

In a nutshell, the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Folio is definitely worth considering if you are looking for a bluetooth keyboard for your iPad mini. It retails for SGD 129 and is available in Carbon Black, Matt Veil, Matt Purple and Green Leash (PU leather). For more information please visit Logitech’s website.

And thank you to SPRG for sending the review unit.

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