Logitech or Belkin — Which Is the Best Keyboard for the iPad Mini?
- BY DAVE BANKS, wired.com
I really like my iPad. I use it often, but there are a few obstacles that prevent it from being a full-time device for me. Chief among those is the horrible touchscreen keyboard. If you hunt and peck when you type, it’s not bad. But for someone who spends a slot of time writing, the touchscreen just doesn’t cut it. But when I recently replaced my first gen iPad with an iPad mini, I had reason to celebrate. Not only did I really liked the size and the improved resolution, but one of the big upgrades was the inclusion of Bluetooth, so I could finally begin using a proper keyboard.
As I looked around the store for a keyboard, my choices were few. The only manufacturer I recognized was Belkin, a decent brand, so that’s the one I bought. I brought it home, charged it up and synced it, but all was not good. Granted, it’s a keyboard for an iPad mini, but the keys were still smaller than expected. Further, the way the board was constructed, there was a plastic border around the entire keyboard with the keys sunken beneath this protective buffer. Resultantly, I would hit the border more often than the spacebar or other bottom row keys. What’s more, there are a few keys that aren’t where you expect them (the backspace, for one, which I use a lot) and some infrequently used keys, like the shift key are much bigger than they need to be, eating up valuable key real estate. To top it all off, theBelkin Portable Keyboard Case for mini iPad fit into a case attached to the keyboard and relied on a folding leatherette stand that pretty consistently fell flat. I was not impressed.
So when Logitech asked if I would like to try out their new Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for the iPad mini, I jumped at the chance. When I received it, there were a few things that jumped out at me that I really liked. First, the packaging was fantastic. A sliding box opened to allow you to simple pull out the keyboard and a separate miniature box inside the sleeve opened to offer the instructions and the charging cable. I’m not one to get overly excited about a box, but this one was simple and elegant and I played with it for a few minutes after removing the keyboard. It was very nice and set the stage for a good start.
The keyboard itself was slim and sleek, and made the most of the little space for the keys. Despite the fact that the keyboard layout was the same size on the Logitech as the Belkin, the Logitech has keys that are just a bit bigger, making it feel more like a full sized keyboard, proving typing on a mini keyboard can be really simple and easy.
The Belkin, in black, and the Logitech, in white.
Two-thirds across the face of the keyboard is a slot that allows you to stand your mini iPad in either a horizontal or vertical orientation, holding the tablet at a perfect angle for typing, whether on a desk or an airplane seat tray. The keyboard attaches to the mini iPad with a magnet that snaps to the length of the iPad without volume buttons, folding over, essentially doubling the mini’s thickness.
According to the booklet, after charging the battery to full, a process which takes a couple of hours, the Logitech should run for three months (with 2 hours of daily use) before needing another charge. the Belkin boasts 155 hours of life, also impressive, but not as long lasting as the Logitech’s claimed life.
My only complaint with the Logitech is a very minor one. Sometimes, when I really was typing quickly, I might brush a finger on the iPad screen. This bumps the cursor to another place on the screen. The challenge of this problem can be shared by Apple’s sensitive touch screen and the angle – and closeness – of Logitech’s slot to hold the tablet. I didn’t have this problem with the Belkin, as its position puts the iPad screen further away (or flat on the desk).
The Logitech keyboard is as complete as I’ll ever need and the whole thing snaps together for a nice, small and thin package. I wish that the keyboard had some tactile rubber feet or strips to keep it from sliding around, but that’s something I can add on my own.
The Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for iPad mini is available in both white and black and, in addition to the standard QWERTY layout, the keyboard also has numbers and standard symbols, function, option/alt, command and control keys, caps lock, volume adjustment and iTunes controls, as well as arrow keys and about a half dozen other keyboard shortcuts.
Overall, I’m very impressed with the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for the iPad mini, After a very short learning curve, typing is actually very easy and I make far fewer mistakes using its compact configuration than I anticipated. It’s everything I had hoped for in an iPad keyboard. Both keyboards retail for $79.99.
Winner: Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for iPad mini
Disclosure: Logitech sent GeekDad a sample of this product.