Posted by Jim Martin 05 June 2013
Belkin Ultimate Keyboard Case for iPad review
If you need to type more than the occasional email or note on your iPad, you might benefit from a proper keyboard. There are plenty to choose between, and Logitech's Ultrathin Keyboard Cover is the premium choice for a lot of people.
However, nice as that is, it doesn't offer any protection for the back of your iPad. Belkin's new Ultimate Keyboard Case does, and could be just what you need if you want to ensure your precious iPad doesn't get scratched up.
At 445g and 19mm thick it undoubtedly adds bulk, but if you're after a decent keyboard, it's a compromise you'll have to make.
The folio-style case clips onto an iPad 2, 3 or 4 and fits all models well. The keyboard sits over the screen and is held shut by strong magnets.
Unlike Logitech's keyboard, Belkin's offers three viewing angles, with more magnets holding your iPad firmly in place in each.
Use any of the three positions and the keyboard automatically switches on. Close the case or sit the iPad flat against the keyboard and it turns off, so there's no power button to worry about. The magnets also works with the iPad's sleep/wake function to turn it on and off automatically.
Belkin claims a whopping 160 hours of use between charges, and 1,900 hours in standby mode. That means that even if you haven't used it for several months, you shouldn't find that the battery is dead.
The rear plastic shell has cutouts for all ports and buttons, but rather than a simple speaker grille, Belkin has cunningly extended the bottom edge by a millimetre or two to direct the sound forwards. It works a treat, and means you can use a lower volume.
Pairing the keyboard is as simple as using a Bluetooth speaker - there are no codes to enter like other keyboards we've tested.
Typing is surprisingly easy, despite the small keys. There isn't much travel to each key, but they depress enough for decent feedback.
You get the usual shortcuts to iOS functions such as search, home, volume and playback controls, but most require the use of the Fn key. That's no problem, but UK users need to adjust to the swapped positions of the @ and " keys, compared to a PC's keyboard.
One feature we missed, compared to Logitech's Solar Folio keyboard case (which, unlike the Ultrathin, has rubber keys) is a lower viewing angle which is handy when you're using your iPad in cramped spaces, such as on a train or plane. However, Logitech's case lacks magnets to hold it shut and it's both heavier and more expensive than Belkin's.
Overall, the Ultimate Keyboard Case is an impressive product. A black version is due out soon, if you'd prefer that to the white and aluminium version. At £100, it isn't cheap, but it's one of the better iPad keyboards around.