With the success of tablets, many accessory companies such as Belkin, ZAGG, Targus and Griffin have all been launching their own line of iPad and other tablet accessories. One of the most popular area are cases for your favourite tablet. They ranged in colour, size, thickness, and features, that each one is slightly different from the next. One area that many people struggle to find a strong case, is a keyboard case. Many offer a keyboard case but it adds so much bulk, or the keys are the cheap vinyl, or it takes a genius just to figure out how to set up the tablet for typing on it. One of the most popular keyboard cases on the market is the ZAGGfolio. This case by ZAGG, who are famous for their invisibleSHIELD, offers customers the security of a closed keyboard case, with the versatility of a removable keyboard, but will it live up to all the hype? Time to find out!
The first thing I noticed is that you don’t receive lots of extras in the box, which honestly I prefer. Opening the package we have the case, the keyboard, the USB charging cable and a small instruction and warranty coverage. In cases I find less is more in many cases. The keyboard case that I will be reviewing is the carbon fiber finish with the silver and black version of the keyboard. The case is available in many other colours including both a leather option and a polyurethane one. The colours include carbon fiber, blue, red, green, pink, orange and a purple, while black, brown and alligator are available in the leather finish. Having such a wide selection of colours is a great start to things, as I am always frustrated when a case is perfect, but only comes in one colour. In addition to the choice of colour of the case, individuals also have a choice in the colour of their keyboard, including black, silver and black and white.
Now before I dig into the nitty gritty of the keyboard case, I just want to let everyone know that this entire article has been typed using the case, which obviously means that anyone wanting to do some serious typing will find the keyboard sufficient.
Now the case itself is made out of a hard plastic, and the keyboard is also plastic keys (thank goodness.) The big feature of the case is the keyboard so I will begin with that.
The keyboard uses island type plastic keys instead of some other companies’ keyboards which use a vinyl finish to their keys. I prefer a plastic key for a couple reasons, the biggest is feedback. Typing on a vinyl keyboard I sometimes wonder if I truly pushed the key down all the way, while a plastic key I know when I have pressed it completely. Vinyl keys also seem to feel pretty cheap, but do offer an easier cleaning surface. Much like many other keyboards, if you eat around it, crumbs and debris may fall in between the keys which will prove to be a slight pain to clean. Typing on this keyboard is made quite simple as it has a larger shift key, and well sized space bar. The plastic keys on the ZAGGfolio have a nice spring to them, well spaced and even include some iPad specific keys.
The command specific keys are above the numbers on the keyboard and include specific keys for home screen, music controls, cut, copy, search, and keyboard access. Now some keyboards have this, as they are becoming more of a standard feature, but nonetheless, it is good that this keyboard does offer them.
The keyboard is a bluetooth keyboard, with its own internal battery, which should last weeks on a full charge. The included USB cable is the way that the keyboard will be charged, when you are running low on battery. During this entire post I never once had any issues with my bluetooth connection, which I know some users have been experiencing. The signal was never dropped, and the initial pairing process was very simple, establishing a connection on the first attempt. The keyboard can also be slid out of the case, if you are looking to just use the keyboard or wanting to stand your iPad up in a distance from the keyboard.
Overall this is one of the best keyboards I have ever used for my iPad, besides the Apple bluetooth keyboard. Now that we know that the keyboard is great on this keyboard case, it is time to talk about the case itself.
The case has a plastic inner shell which you simply slide your iPad or other tablet into. Sliding the iPad in is quite simple, requiring little effort. I wish I could say the same for sliding it out. When you wish to remove your tablet, this is where effort is needed, in an unusually large amount. The case has a soft lining on the inside to protect the back of your iPad, and has rubber stoppers on the keyboard to keep your glass screen from contacting the keys on the keyboard.
The case has holes for all the main connectors including the dock, speakers, camera, volume control, and sleep/power button.
The case closes via an improved snapping latch. The old design of the ZAGGfolio had an issue of not securely closing, but that has been fixed by this new snapping lip. When you do close the case, it does have the wake/sleep function similar to the Smart Cover, so the iPad will be put to sleep automatically.
One area of concern I have is in the small fabric connecting the top and bottom halves of this case. It feels like it is just waiting to be ripped or damage, or even ripped off. Now many other cases have the same vulnerable area, I just wonder why there isn’t any extra protection here. The case also does add some bulk to the iPad and weight, but this is to be expected when you are looking into keyboard cases.
The built in stand feature is easy to use, and offers a pretty usable view and angle of the iPad.
The ZAGGfolio is one of the most effective keyboard cases I have ever used. The keyboard much like other keyboards by ZAGG, allows you to type fast, have quick access to shortcuts, and can be removed for more flexibility. The built in stand provides a good viewing angle for any typing on your iPad, and even though it does take more than usual amount of effort to remove your case it is do-able.
I give the ZAGGfolio 8.5/10 as the keyboard is fantastic but the more than reasonable amount of effort to remove the tablet coupled with the rather weak fabric connecting the top and bottom halves are the only complaints I have.
The ZAGGfolio is available in the polyurethane for only $99 and the leathers ones for $129 (click here to visit ZAGG.com). That price does include free shipping to the lower 48 states. If you live in Canada, you will have to fork at least an additional $24 for shipping.
What keyboard case do you use for your tablet? What are the features you like about it, or wish they would improve upon? Share your experience with keyboard cases in the comment section below.