Published on April 13th, 2012 | by Greg0
Three From Kensington: iPad Folios And Keyboards
We’re suckers for the iPad- we confess to purchasing each model at launch, and upgrading without any hesitation. It’s not because we’re Apple believers, or even to show off to the world. The reasons are more complicated: partially because they continue to be the best tablets on the market, and partially because we’re tech writers who have to ensure we can test out all of the cases and apps and accessories that inevitably attend each new version, many of which are not backwards-compatible.
Luckily, all three of today’s Kensington items are compatible with both of the latest generations of the Apple iPad. Two of them are keyboard/case combinations, and one simply offers protection in a classy stand. We’ll touch on that one first, since it’s the simplest: the Folio Case for iPad 2 also works with the new iPad. First impressions are decent: it looks pretty professional with synthetic leather, and is available in black or brown. We might’ve wanted some edge protection, but both the front and back cameras are accessible and not covered. One very strange thing that doesn’t appear to be mentioned on the packaging or their website: this is sort of a faux smart cover, with magnets hidden in the flap. The results are, unfortunately, mixed. We like Apple’s smart covers, but this one won’t always quite align properly to put your iPad into sleep mode. Sometimes, you’ll hear that satisfying “click” that means it worked. Most times, though, nothing will happen until you fool around with it. It’s not a big issue, but is an oddity, especially considering the utter absence of the feature being advertised.Available for about $25.
Next up is the Kensington KeyLite Ultra Slim Touch Keyboard Folio. We really wanted to like this one- the case is extremely lightweight, even with the keyboard, and it looks sexy. There are iPad function keys, the keyboard itself felt reasonably good and is liquid- and dust-proof. But issues abound- the first of which is the same magnetic issues that we touched on above, where we found our iPad turning on and off randomly as the case didn’t stay closed and the magnets kept triggering as they shifted. You can, of course, turn off the “Smart Cover” option in your iPad settings, but we shouldn’t have to. Further, the attachment that holds the iPad in position while in laptop orientation is flimsy. And it was a bit awkward to type on, since the layout of the keys themselves is a bit unusual, and there is no tactile feedback. The instruction manual isn’t clear, and when we first tried to use it, it seemed low on battery power. After charging via the included USB cable, we were able to get it to work, and they suggest a battery life of 60+ hours of working time or more than a month of standby, which is decent. But, the stand has a fixed position- you can’t adjust the viewing angle, which means that for many people, it’ll be hard to use. Hard to recommend, available for $80 or so.
Finally, the best of the three: The Kensington KeyFolio Pro Keyboard Case for new iPad and iPad 2. Offering longer battery life, a far superior keyboard experience, and a removable keyboard, this is a solid case. There were still a couple of issues- the iPad still tends to slide around a bit in the case, which can block the rear camera, and we didn’t love the material or finish on this one as much as the other two, as it feels a bit plain and flat. But it was durable, and it did offer solid performance- pair it via Bluetooth once and it was ready to go each time we opened it up. This is one of the better keyboards that we’ve tried for light iPad use, and it’s hard to express our relief in going from the troublesome KeyLite to the scissor-style, decently-sized keys on this one. But the case isn’t great. At $62, though, it’s a relative bargain compared to many other options, and a great gift option for someone with a tablet and a need to type longer items while on the go.