The popularity of tablets may have dwindled in the past 24 months, but some consumers still look to them as great content consumption and notebook replacement devices. The iPad, which defined the category, is still a favourite and the de facto tablet in terms of market share and sales. Whilst tablets in many ways can serve as replacement devices for notebooks, they do have their limitations. Let’s face it, while the touch keyboard is adequate (and the iPad, IMHO has the best), it still falls short compared to a conventional, physical keyboard. When you need to get real work done, that is.
Bluetooth keyboards have existed for as long as the iPad and tablets have existed. There have been fairly good ones, and also a fair share of mediocre, even crappy ones.
Logitech, the master of peripherals, gaming and input devices has just the thing for you to take your iPad to heights of productivity. Called the Type+ for iPad Air, Logitech labels this as a “protective case with an integrated keyboard.”
Initially, I was to have been seeded a Type+ for iPad Air 2 review unit but unfortunately didn’t have an iPad Air 2 to test it with. I had to eventually contend with the older iPad Air version, which is pretty much identical to the new one.
Having experienced, tested and owned several Logitech keyboards and mice (including Bluetooth ones), I had high expectations for the Type+.
So for a couple of weeks, the iPad Air and the Type+ became my main tools for work and play. And to cut to the chase, it didn’t disappoint.
[nextpage title=”In the box, Key specifications, Design & Build”]
In the box
- Dimensions: 255.9 x 183.4 x 18.1 mm
- Weight: 405g
- Colors: black and red
Design and build
So, a protective case with an integrated keyboard? How does that work? Firstly, the Type+ has a bi-fold design, where the iPad Air is mounted on one side, with the keyboard proper on the other.
The exterior is made from water-resistant material and has a non-slip texture. It comes in understated black or a vibrant red. It looks and feels good in the hand, and its non-slip nature gives you a confident grip when you need to lug it about.
The iPad Air is easily mounted on the cover, held securely by polycarbonate corner clips on opposing ends of the device. The SecureLock system uses a strong magnet that helps to hold the iPad securely in place. It’s also pretty easy to detach, if need be.
The keyboard itself is conventional, with all the familiar keys you’d find on any other keyboards. There are additional function keys on the top – iOS-specific in fact, for access to quick settings and functions. There’s no need to press the Fn key to activate those functions. Here you can conveniently fire up volume controls, Home, Power, switch apps, launch the browser and camera.
The chiclet-type keyboard is large and well-spaced, with good travel.
Above the first row of keys is a magnetic strip that detects if the iPad is docked to it. When the iPad is resting on the strip, the keyboard connects to the iPad automatically via Bluetooth. The keyboard needs to be paired once before hand, of course.
There’s a single micro-USB port for charging, together with a tiny Bluetooth button for easy pairing.
[nextpage title=”Key features, Setting up, Performance, Verdict”]
- Thin and light, with two-sided protection
- Liquid repellent materials
- Bluetooth integration
- Time-saving iOS shortcut keys
- Dual-view design
- 3 months of battery life (based on average use of two hours per day)
- SecureLock system using powerful magnets
Setting up the iPad to use the keyboard is a no brainer. Mount the iPad on the case. Slide the iPad on to the magnetic strip. This will automatically turn on the keyboard, with the Power indicator turning green.
If it’s never been paired before, the light will blink blue to indicate Bluetooth discovery mode. Head over to your iPad and access Settings and turn on Bluetooth. Then select Type+ Keyboard Case from the list of available devices to pair. Once paired, the LED indicator will turn solid blue.
If you need to connect to another iPad Air, you can click on the Bluetooth button on the side of the keyboard to start the pairing process again.
Easy, smart, painless.
Firstly, I like that the case is reassuringly sturdy. And from the outside it looks great. The texture on the cover makes it easy to grab on to and its relatively low weight makes it easy to carry around.
Mounting the iPad Air on the case is as easy as sliding it in between the clips. And that’s all you need to worry about.
In just three steps the iPad is paired to the keyboard, and you’ll only need to do this once. Great user experience.
What I do like is the magnetic strip that works like magic. Slide the iPad on it, and as it holds the tablet firmly in place, it also activates the keyboard. Don’t need to use the keyboard? Slide it off the magnetic strip and the keyboard is de-activated. Intuitive and convenient.
The keyboard itself has a nice feel to it. It took about a day for me to adjust to the spacing and size of the keys, moving from my Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro and MacBook Pro. But once it was programmed to muscle memory, there was no stopping me.
Key travel is good and the feel is solid. I do like how the keys are spaced out, and the size of the keys are good too.
The iOS shortcuts are handy, and there’s even a Lock key to lock the iPad if you need to. Volume control, Expose and more at literally a key press away.
I think my only real gripe about the case is that the iPad can sit on only one angle. It’s generally OK when you’re using it on your table, but if you move about a lot and you’re one of those who prop a notebook/tablet on your lap, then it’s going to be an issue. A similar problem the old Surface had.
I do also find that the angle is a little too upright generally.
Let’s hope the Logitech design team comes up with an improved version with a multi-angle mechanism.
Pros: What I like
- Pleasing design, solid build
- Easy pairing
- Great on/off mechanism
- Great typing feel and experience
- Good battery life
- Excellent price
- Convenient iOS shortcut and function keys
Cons: What I dislike
- Non-adjustable angle
Pricing and availability
The Logitech Type+ for iPad Air is available now for RM299. If you have the newer iPad Air 2, you can grab an alternate version.
The Logitech Type+ for iPad Air is a solid effort from Logitech. It gets almost everything right – from design, to build and overall user experience. What’s fantastic is that the typing experience is as good as some of the best on real notebooks.
My single gripe is the single angle view but otherwise this is as good as it gets.
A fabulous price too for a fantastic piece of kit for your iPad Air.
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