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iPad owners rarely have reason to be envious of competing tablets, but even the most ardent Apple fan did a double-take when Amazon released Origami-style cases for its latest Kindle Fire line. Now, the folks at Moshi have done it one better with a versatile case that literally carries a slim keyboard along for the ride.
Moshi’s VersaKeyboard combines a stylish, textured front cover with a rugged polycarbonate back that perfectly conforms to Apple’s latest iPad Air models for maximum protection. The thin, gray front is designed to fold up into a stand behind the iPad in portrait or landscape mode, although we found it better suited to the latter. The back of the case also has a trick up its sleeve: two lengthwise grooves snugly hold an ultra-slim, detachable Bluetooth keyboard.
Although the durable keyboard makes up just over half of the VersaKeyboard’s 13.4 ounces, it can slide out of the case when not needed. In daily use, this approach didn’t feel significantly heavier than with one of Apple’s Smart Covers, while delivering full protection for the back of the tablet, as well. However, combining the full VersaKeyboard case with our 128GB cellular-equipped iPad Air did tip the scales at nearly 30 ounces.
The rechargeable keyboard isn’t as lap-friendly as Logitech’s similarly priced Ultrathin Keyboard Cover, but VersaKeyboard supports auto-wake and sleep, and those front cover magnets serve double duty by attaching securely to the back while reading, even with keyboard attached. Moshi claims up to 130 hours of battery life on a single charge, and we’d be hard pressed to dispute that. A convenient keyboard shortcut can be used to find out exactly how much juice remains.
Typing on VersaKeyboard is largely the same as other iPad cases — not ideal, but better than the on-screen keyboard for longer sessions. Unfortunately, there’s no way to prop the keyboard into a more comfortable position; it lies completely flat on a desk or table. VersaKeyboard paired quickly with both iPad Air and MacBook Pro, although only one can be used at a time. Accessory junkies may also be disappointed that VersaKeyboard comes in exactly one color scheme — gray-and-black — although it’s quite a snappy look.
The bottom line. Moshi VersaKeyboard is best suited for infrequent iPad Air typists, and preferably those don’t mind doing so while seated at a desk or table.
Moshi VersaKeyboard for iPad Air
iPad Air, USB AC power adapter (for charging)
Full front and rear protection for iPad Air. Origami-style front cover acts as versatile stand when needed. Excellent construction and build quality.
Use as stand best suited to landscape use. Not designed with lap typing in mind. Heavy with keyboard piggybacked onto the case. Only available in gray-and-black.