Here I am, typing away on the touch sensitive bluetooth keyboard on Kensington’s brand new KeyLite Ultra Slim Touch Folio case for iPad 2. It’s quite impressive that Kensington managed to squeeze such a capable keyboard into an ultra-thin case complete with magnetic auto-lock and stand. It feels like I’m using a super thin touchscreen laptop, how fun!
This new KeyLite Touch Folio is in fact Ultra Slim…it’s just as thin as any of the other thin iPad cases we’ve reviewed. The exterior is covered in a soft and durable stitched leather (or faux-leather?). The interior is a soft and protective microfiber for iPad to rest on. iPad snaps under 6 holsters on the folio. The cover, which houses the keyboard, features a magnetic wake/sleep sensor that turns the screen off when closed and turns the screen on when opened.
There are a few different ways to use iPad with the KeyLite Folio. The most common is in keyboard mode, where iPad stands landscape tilted back like a laptop. This is really the only choice for typing, and it works just fine. It stands sturdy enough for using and touching iPad. It’s also a good angle for watching movies and media. For using iPad regularly, you can fold the keyboard cover behind the iPad; hand-held mode let’s say. Lastly, you can fold iPad on top of the keyboard, which puts iPad at a slightly tilted angle great for virtual typing (if your KeyLite battery dies, perhaps).
The actual keyboard is just a few millimeters thick. It’s touch sensitive so there are no actual buttons; keystrokes are registered after applying pressure. There’s a raised outline around each key to help guide your fingers. There’s also an optional click sound that will play on each keystroke.
The keys are just about full-sized, as is the keyboard itself. It features virtually all the keys of the standard Apple keyboard: letters, number, symbols, commands (volume, music controls, etc.), and modifier keys (shift, symbol, control, option, and command). Some symbols share keys with letters and require the symbol modifier button. There are arrow keys which work for navigating through text. All the common keyboard shortcuts work like Ctrl-A (select all), Ctrl-C (copy), Ctrl-V (paste). There’s a home button which works exactly the same as iPad’s home button.
The KeyLite Ultra Slim Touch Folio uses a bluetooth keyboard, there’s no physical connection between iPad and the keyboard. On the side of the keyboard is a micro-USB port for charging and an on/off toggle. With the keyboard turned on, you press the connect key, and ‘SlimType Kensington’ shows up in iPad’s bluetooth devices. iPad prompts you to enter a code on the keyboard, and after that, iPad is paired and ready-to-go. Once paired, the keyboard will automatically be recognized going forward. The keyboard goes into standby mode without use.
The battery can last for 68 hours of use and 45 days of standby.
It’s pretty awesome to sit here and type away on my ultra-sleek iPad just as if it were a full sized laptop. The keyboard is comfortable to type on, the iPad sits at a good angle, and without the virtual keyboard opened I’m typing on to a full screen . Using the optional buzzer to make clicking sounds really helps typing since keys aren’t always registered from a soft touch. In order for keys to register, they need to tapped hard enough as if they were actually buttons. This is good because keys are never accidentally hit, but also a bit frustrating because it slows down a fast typist. The only really annoying feature, which is a problem with all bluetooth iPad keyboards, is auto-correct gets disabled. This will hopefully be fixed in a future iOS update.
The actual case is really nice and very sleek. It can show greasy fingerprints, but its very durable and plenty protective. The magnetic auto screen lock feature would work better if there was a clasp to seal the case closed. All iPad’s ports and buttons are easily accessible, including the camera. It doesn’t weigh very much and it’s also supposed to be liquid-proof and dust-proof.
The Kensington KeyLite Ultra Slim Touch Folio case is a great case for the iPad 2, if you do a lot of typing. Even if you don’t type frequently, it’s still a very practical and usable iPad case. Once it’s paired the first time, it syncs up with iPad as if it’s plugged in–there’s no delay. At $119.99, it’s a pricy investment, but considering it turns the iPad into a potential laptop replacement, it could very much be worth it. It’s especially great for travel. The Kensington KeyLite Ultra Slim Touch Keyboard Folio (K39527US) for iPad 2 can currently be purchased from Amazon.com as well as Kensington’s site directly for $119.99.
The Good: Sleek, Light, Protective, Durable, Easy Access to Ports/Buttons, Complete Keyboard, Easy Setup, Long Battery, Good Stand for iPad, Smart Lock Cover, Optional Clicking Sound, Quick Connection
The Bad: Pricey, No Clasp/Seal, Cover Misaligns and Locks/Unlocks iPad, Have to Apply Pressure for Keys to Register, Shows Grease, No Auto-Correct, iPad Autolocks When Cover is Folded Behind iPad