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The iPad is the perfect travel companion since it can play music and movies over the course of a long flight without running out of power. It’s lighter than the lightest MacBook Air. And when it’s time to hunker down and get some work done, the one-app-at-a-time reality of iOS keeps me focused on what I need to do instead of juggling windows and getting sucked in to online shoe shopping.
But you need some accessories to really make the iPad your ultimate copilot: an external battery like the HyperMac is always handy; a good case keeps your baby from picking up scratches; a stand can keep your iPad at the right angle for work or watching Netflix; and an external keyboard is essential when you need to type more than a quick email.
Logitech’s Ultrathin Keyboard Cover more than lives up to its name. It snaps to the iPad 2 and new iPad with magnets, like a Smart Cover. The aluminum back matches the back of your iPad—together they almost resemble a closed MacBook Air. Its reliance on magnets for closing means this doesn’t work with the original iPad, however.
When open, the Ultrathin Keyboard Cover’s slot holds your iPad in landscape or portrait mode, at a comfortable 60 degrees. The black plastic keys on the Bluetooth keyboard are smaller than a Mac laptop’s, but still usable without having to look down at them. They use rubber-dome switches instead of the plastic scissor switches—this keeps typing relatively quiet, but the action feels a bit mushy. The keys don’t snap back up quite as crisply as the scissor-switch keys you’re used to on Apple keyboards.
It’s even got an Fn button for using function keys in the top row, including Spotlight search, increase selection, cut/copy/paste, play/pause, mute, volume up and down, Home, and Lock. The Command, Option, and Control keys enable some (but not all) of your favorite key commands. Once I got used to this, my brain was often fooled into thinking I was using a laptop, and I would occasionally grab for the mouse that wasn’t there.
Logitech promises six months of battery life using the keyboard for two hours a day. I’ve used mine heavily for a couple of weeks, including a weeklong trip, and it’s still going strong. A LED battery life indicator would be nice.
The bottom line. This is my new favorite iPad keyboard—it’s well designed, less than 12 ounces, and infinitely handy thanks to the function keys. It’s the whole package.
iPad 2 or third-generation iPad
Snaps to iPad with Smart Cover--like magnets. Long-lasting battery. Function keys for copy/ paste, search, volume, and more.
Key action a little on the mushy side. Original iPad owners left out.