Reviews
Belkin Ultimate Keyboard Case
For iPad (3rd and 4th Gen)

By Jorge Figueiredo - September 9th, 2013

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I love tablets – specifically the iPad. It is a powerhouse of awesomeness that can do practically anything. However, when it comes to productivity, the iPad isn’t really my go-to device. When I am working with words, I default to my desktop – no fault there. If my desktop is being used (or I’m not near my desktop), then I tend to use an old laptop, because, while I am all right with typing on my iPad, I really like to be able to see my whole screen. Enter the Belkin Ultimate Keyboard Case. This case takes the power of my iPad and mixes in the utility of my laptop, all thanks to a built-in keyboard.

The first thing I noticed about the Ultimate Keyboard Case was how light it was. The 4th Generation iPad weighs about 650g on its own (I have the WiFi edition); adding Belkin’s case doesn’t really add a lot of weight to the equation. The case is made out of machined aluminum alloy and is shaped to match the dimensions of the iPad exactly (complete with openings for access to all ports and mechanical switches), making it a durable casing once the iPad is snapped into place. The case is also very thin, and even though the case has a keyboard, the profile of the entire ensemble is quite slim. When not in use, your case will remain closed thanks to a pair of magnets that hold the cover in place.

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Comfortably spaced keys.

The Ultimate Keyboard Case, aside from being built to encourage mobility, is also designed for utility. The wireless keyboard is Bluetooth 2.0 enabled, allowing it to pair with your iPad without any sockets or wires to think about. It also automatically engages when you open up the case and place your iPad in viewing mode; simply open up the case, place the “bottom” of the landscape-oriented cover into one of three magnetized positions (that’s three different viewing angles), and you’re ready to roll! Once you are finished, simply detach the cover from one its “mooring”, and fold the cover back – the keyboard turns off. This kind of convenience is great for people that don’t like to (or know how to) fiddle with their technology.

I am always skeptical about keyboard cases, primarily because I tend to compare them to my desktop keyboard, which has a great feel (keys are large and close together, emulating the feel of a laptop keyboard). The keys on the Ultimate are certainly not quite as large as my desktop keyboard (or even my laptop keyboard, for that matter) – but the spacing is really convenient, giving the small keyboard a virtually inflated stature. The Ultimate’s keyboard also comes with a number of built-in shortcut keys to allow you to really take control of your iPad. This use of space is definitely appreciated, as it saves at leas a few fingerprints from appearing on your iPad’s lovely screen. The keyboard can also be “hidden” by folding your cover on top of the keypad, allowing you to use your iPad in “media mode”.

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SoundFlow – it sounds way better than you think.

Rounding out the features are the interesting SoundFlow element and the contained, rechargeable battery. The SoundFlow design is a fairly basic part of the iPad case; but it makes such a difference in audio! Basically, around the speaker of the iPad, the case is actually set slightly away from the body of your tablet; the cup-like flare directs the sound towards the user. It’s a surprisingly simple idea that has great results. The internal battery might not be as simple, but it’s definitely at least as impressive as SoundFlow. Fully charged, the case can stay in standby mode for 6 months. It can also run for up to 160 hours in between charges with normal use. This is all thanks to the magnetic switches that ensure the keyboard is turned off when it is not being used. The unit comes with a USB-to-micro-USB cable to ensure that you keep your case charged and ready.

Belkin has managed to create a great case that is both durable and convenient. As my iPad is far lighter than my laptop, the Ultimate Keyboard Case allows me to cart my iPad wherever I want – and it will allow me to be productive when I get there. Multiple viewing angles, no wires, and a kick-ass battery life are all icing on the cake. Whether I am using my iPad to check my e-mail or to update Toronto Thumbs, this case has definitely improved my productivity. For the record, this entire review was typed using this product.

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