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When the iPad first launched, it was criticized (by some) for being more of a consumption device than a workhorse. Three years into the iPad era, however, plenty of people know differently. Add a keyboard, and an iPad turns into a capable work machine. Belkin’s Ultimate Keyboard Case attempts to make that easier, pairing an all-around case with an ultra-thin built-in rechargeable keyboard.
Thanks to the power of magnets, the Ultimate Keyboard Case allows you to type with your iPad in three different positions. More magnets along the long edge also keep the case closed when you toss it into a bag. It’s available in black or silver.
Installing the case is a simple matter of snapping your iPad into the plastic frame, which has generous cutouts to allow access to all your iPad’s buttons and ports. While the front of your iPad (and the back of the keyboard) is protected by a layer of aluminum, the back consists of hard-plastic edges and a leather-like vinyl. The whole thing only weighs 14.5 ounces, so even with an iPad onboard, it makes for a lightweight package.
The keyboard itself is a comfortable size, with decent key spacing. The keys recall a MacBook keyboard, and the action feels similar, if a touch less sturdy. Speaking of which, the Ultimate Keyboard Case works great on a solid surface like a desk, but the magnetic latching isn’t strong enough to use on your lap, making it a much shakier proposition. The keyboard pairs with your iPad via Bluetooth, and can be charged via the included USB cable, for up to 160 hours of battery life.
The bottom line. If you’re looking for a keyboard/case combo, the Belkin Ultimate offers good protection, and a well-spaced keyboard that even touch typists will enjoy.
Third- or fourth-gen iPad or iPad 2
Thin and light. Good-sized keyboard.
Difficult to use in your lap.