Reviews
Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard

By Seán O'Sullivan - June 17th, 2012

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It’s probably safe to say that everybody knows at least one tech hardliner who derisively writes off the iPad as a “toy” – and not a productivity device. Despite its ultra-portability and battery life, the touch-screen keyboard is unlikely to be a reasonable solution for anyone who needs physical input to maintain a reasonable word-per-minute typing speed. Well, thanks to the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard, those who would scoff at the iPad as a means of getting work done have one less reason to.

Even though the keys are roughly 70% the size of a standard laptop keyboard, the device is surprisingly comfortable; it is helped in no small part by the generously tall spacebar. Considering the shallow depth of the device, the travel is remarkably good – certainly better than some netbooks that I have used recently. The functionality works about as well as can be expected, within the confines of iOS – the number keys double as basic system shortcuts when used in conjunction with the FN key, but standard Mac OS X word processing shortcuts are also supported, which does wonders to soothe the transition to a “post PC” setup.

Battery life is pegged at 6 months, if used for 2 hours everyday; but all I can tell you is that I haven’t needed to charge it since taking it out of the box a few weeks ago. The micro-A USB cable doesn’t match up with any of my other devices (most Androids, Kindles, etc. use micro-B), but considering I’ll need to dig it out so infrequently, it’s hard to begrudge that fact.

Despite the longevity of the battery, the profile of this thing is remarkably slick – only 0.31 x 7.6 x 9.8 inches thick. It doesn’t add any noticeable heft to my messenger bag, and the magnets that dock it in place spring into action with a rather satisfying -often head-turning- click. When clipped on, it acts as a smart cover, waking the screen when opened, and protecting it while closed (but nothing else, it should be noted). The attraction is strong, but not enough that you can pick up the iPad by yanking on the cover – this is something that will likely only trouble you when your friends are toying around with it.

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There are a number of issues that arise with use, some of which are beyond Logitech’s control, but worth mentioning nonetheless. When docked to the keyboard mode and switching between apps, it’s inelegant to have to move your fingers onto the screen, but until iOS integrates something like OS X’s Command & Tab app switching command, or arrow-key navigation on the homescreen, there’s no way around it. As great as it is that the keyboard acts a smart cover when stowed, it doesn’t fold up when it’s not wanted – it needs to be detached, which is hardly an ideal solution, but if you carry a messenger bag like me, you’ll get over this issue quickly.

I liked my iPad, but after a few days of using the Ultrathin Keyboard Cover, I grew to love it. Being able to blaze through e-mails, write-ups and reviews while I’m on the go, without having to carry around a dedicated bulky laptop is a revelation. For those who do a lot of writing on their iPad, this accessory is essential. For any laptop users who have looked at the ultra-portability and battery life of the iPad with envy, the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard, at $99, is a no-brainer.

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