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Tags: Backlit, Black, Case, Cover, iPad, Keyboard, Reviews, ZAGGkeys
April 15, 2014 at 7:55 pm (UTC 8)
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This is, at least for me, the best keyboard cover I’ve used so far. As I’ve said on my other keyboard cover reviews, the keyboard cover needs to function as both a keyboard and a cover equally well. Though, it’s not the perfect cover and doesn’t support portrait mode easily, it’s about as good as it’s going to get for now. So far I’ve tried the Kensington KeyCover Plus, the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover and now this ZAGGkeys Cover.
This keyboard cover has a micro USB port for charging, an on/off switch, a pairing button, the case hinge and, of course, the keyboard itself. The keyboard is lighted LED. It is about the same thickness as the iPad, but tapering to be slightly thinner at the spacebar edge. When together, the weight feels about double that of the iPad.
The exterior is a shade of gunmetal grey painted in a similar way as the iPad, but the color is not an exact match (it’s slightly brighter and the flakes are bigger). The surface is a little more textured as a result of this paint job. But, it matches closely enough from a distance. The hinge has some rubber strips to keep from sliding on a table, but there are no feet on the bottom. To use this cover, it takes a little elbow grease. You need to take the iPad and push it down into the hinge. The hinge grips the iPad tightly. Once the iPad is in there, though, it’s not something you want to pull out often. Hence, the problem with Portrait mode. So, this makes it somewhat inconvenient to hold the iPad in portrait mode. It’s quite clear, this cover was primarily designed to hold the iPad in landscape mode. You can pull the iPad out of the hinge, but after doing this a couple of times and having to readjust the iPad to sit properly when closed, it really discourages you from doing it often.
On the other hand, the hinge mechanism is perfect for landscape mode. It flexes from closed to 135 degrees open. It looks and feels like a small notebook. The hinge movement itself is tight (like a notebook) so it holds the display in any angle without closing. It works amazingly well for landscape mode.
When the cover is closed, the magnet actives that iPad lock mechanism perfectly. When open, it also turns right on. Unfortunately, while it does activate the iPad’s locking mechanism well, the keyboard itself does not have its own locking mechanism. So, if you close the iPad and the keyboard light is on, it stays on. The keyboard itself does not shut off when closed. You have to manually do this with the on/off switch.
This keyboard paired on the first attempt with no difficulties, unlike the Kensington. The one thing I noticed while pairing is that the keyboard did not prompt for a password. So, it appears Zagg did not build any security into the bluetooth stack for this keyboard. I don’t know that that’s a problem for everyone, but it could be for some who are wanting that extra security layer. For example, if you accidentally press the pairing button, someone could pair your keyboard without typing in anything on the keyboard. Note, I don’t often see keyboard products that hit the market that don’t require a passcode. So, this is a bit unusual and you may want to ask Zagg some questions about this.
The lighted keyboard works quite well, is sufficiently bright to cover most instances and turns off after about 30 seconds of inactivity. The light comes right back on when you start typing. You can easily change the color of the lights.
As for placement of keys, if you have used any Zagg keyboard products, the key placement is pretty standard for Zagg. However, I would still like to have an ESC key which is still absent on this keyboard. You can create an ESC by ctrl-[, but I’d prefer using an actual key. In the position where the ESC key usually sits is the home (square) key. In fact, there’s no real need to have this key on the keyboard when you can reach up and press the home button. Or, it could be placed onto a function key button. I rarely, if ever, push that button. It would be far more useful to have the ESC key there. Better, make that key programmable.
I thought I should discuss this a bit. The iPad slips into the tightly gripping groove inside the hinge. It is shaped identically to the iPad case edge so it fits like a glove. However, it’s so tight as to make it inconvenient to pull the iPad out often. As a result, it’s not easy to pull it out to hold the iPad in portrait mode. Additionally, the hinge maxes out open into a 135 degree position. If you want to use the advertised ‘Reading Mode’, you have to…
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April 15, 2014 at 8:46 pm (UTC 8)
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A few notes I can make after using this cover for a few days:
- It takes considerable force to remove the iPad from this cover. Be sure to exercise caution orelse the iPad or the keyboard may fly out of your hands as you’re pulling hard.
- The iPad’s voice recognition (not Siri, but the dictation buttion in the virtual keyboard next to the space bar) disappears when the iPad is paired to the keyboard. The Siri buttion on the cover only activates Siri, not voice recognition typing. This can be bad news if you rely on voice dictation, but I found a fix for it: Press the virtual keyboard buttion on the Zagg, showing the virtual keyboard on the iPad screen, then change the language using the “globe” language switch next to the left arrow key, then switch back to English and the voice recognition button will magically reappear. It’s a glitch that either Zagg or Apple will need to work on.
- When flipping the iPad into tablet mode, you cannot change its angle. It will need to stay flat on top of the keyboard.It would have been nice if the iPad’s angle could be changed in tablet mode.
- The cover does not turn itself off when disconneted, but it goes to sleep after a few minutes of disuse, which saves battery life. This is nice for saving battery life but can be interesting if you forget to turn the cover off after you remove the iPad.
April 15, 2014 at 9:35 pm (UTC 8)
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-Backlit keyboard with varying brightness-Ability to change color of backlight (not exactly necessary but still pretty cool)-First time pairing with a device is nearly foolproof and almost instantaneous-After turning off the keyboard and then turning it back on it automatically pairs with the device -as long as it is within range and Bluetooth is turned on in the device-Row of hotkeys along the top very similar to that of Apple keyboards (play/ pause, volume control, etc.)-Sturdy connection to the iPad itself; never feels as if it is about to fall out/ come loose but not so tight that it is impossible to remove-Wide range of viewing angles very similar to a laptop-Similar to Smart Cover and laptops in that when it is closed it puts the iPad into sleep mode-Typing surface is large enough to feel like a normal keyboard. I have extremely large hands and I find that even with the keyboard in my lap I feel as if I am typing on a laptop and don’t need to make a special effort to type. Note that I am not a secretary or a person who types for a living. Those types of people may notice a slight difference in the way they type due to the smaller size of the keyboard.
Cons-Advertised “Portrait Mode” requires you to actually remove the keyboard from the iPad and insert the iPad into to slot backwards. This is not a sturdy connection at all and I don’t ever really plan on using the keyboard in this mode. It is just as easy to remove the iPad from the keyboard and use it in portrait mode that way and put the keyboard somewhere else. This is the main reason I removed a star from its rating. NOTE: Other reviewers have complained that removing the keyboard is not something that you may want to do frequently due to the fact that the connection is rather tight and not doing so may damage your iPad. The slot that the iPad goes into on the keyboard is padded with rubber and definitely designed for removal and I have had no such damage to the iPad.- When keyboard is closed and automatically puts the iPad into sleep mode, keyboard itself does not go into sleep mode. However, after about 1 minute of inactivity the keyboard will go into sleep mode on its own.- Some keys stick and register twice instead of once when you press them. This does not happen too frequently but often enough to become a slight nuisance.Overall this product is one of the best accessories I have purchased for my iPad. ZAGG has created another quality product that lives up to near all of my expectations.
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