Belkin QODE Thin Type Keyboard Cover for iPad Air full review
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Despite the iPad Air being released over a year ago, there are still a lack of thin keyboards available. Belkin's QODE Thin Type is one of the thinnest around, with a newer model designed specifically for the iPad Air 2. Here's our QODE Thin Type Keyboard review.
Available in white or grey to match the two current iPad Air colours, the QODE is just a few millimetres thick. It has a magnetic hinge so it can act as a cover for the iPad, but there's nothing to hold it shut - the idea is that you put the whole thing into a sleeve or pouch in a backpack.
Pairing the Thin Type Keyboard is amazingly simple: tap the Pair button and then select the keyboard from the list of Bluetooth devices on the iPad. No need for a manual, and no pairing codes needed. With the connection method being so easy, it wasn't hard to see that Belkin would raise the bar with its second generation case - and they have. As well as connecting to your iPad Air 2, the QODE can now simultaniously connect to two devices so if you get a text message on your iPhone, you only need to tap a single button to reply using the keyboard.
When you want to use it as a keyboard, just pull the two apart and slot the iPad into the groove in the keyboard. A pressure switch turns on the keyboard and Bluetooth automatically, but this works best on a desk; it's somewhat hit and miss when using the keyboard on your lap.
Belkin says the 35-degree fixed angle is the 'ideal' one, and we're inclined to agree when using it on a desk. However, keyboards which allow you to change the tilt angle are better, if you can live with the extra bulk and weight.
The battery is at the back of the keyboard underneath, and gives a slight angle for more comfortable typing. It should last months between recharges, unless you're using it all day' every day, as Belkin claims 79 hours of use or 3,100 hours in standby (that's over four months). If that wasn't impressive enough, the newer version for the iPad Air 2 can last up to a year on a single charge.
The keys have enough travel and are large enough (and well spaced) to make typing as good as it can be at this size. There's no noticeable delay when typing, so you can touch type as fast as normal - or you would be able to if it weren't for the annoying placement of the apostrophe key to the right of the space bar.
Quite why this frequently used key should be displaced is a mystery, and it would have been far better to have dropped the less-frequently used colon key. Other than that and the usual switch around of the " and @ keys - when compared to a PC keyboard - the layout is good. You can use the command key for shortcuts such as cut, copy and paste, and the top row is full of useful shortcuts for media playback, volume, switching between apps, a home button and even a dedicated printscreeen key.
Thankfully, Belkin realised that the layout could have been better and have redesigned the keyboard for the iPad Air 2 to "make it even more like using an actual laptop" with a wider keycap shape and improved key pitch, according to the company. That's not all though, as the keyboard is now backlit to make typing a lot easier in low light levels, much like the MacBook Pro/Air.
If you don't touch type, you might get on better with the QODE Thin Type Keyboard (for the iPad Air) but with no way to change the character that each key produces, the out-of-place apostrophe key is a bit of a deal breaker. Plus, of course, there's the issue of the price. It's steep at £90, despite the excellent build quality.
If you've got an iPad Air 2, you may be in more luck. Belkin seemed to have fixed most of the issues raised with the first generation QODE so that the QODE for iPad Air 2 would be a better (and more expensive, coming in at £150) alternative.
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