Keyboard cases help transform iPads into little laptops, expanding their functionality. The Belkin Ultimate Keyboard Case is a new contender in the crowded keyboard case market and it’s gunning for top spot by adding new intelligent features that help transform it into an iPad keyboard case that really does it all.
The initial setup is super-simple 4 step process: 1) For first time use, charge the keyboard case using the micro USB connector 2) Pop in the iPad by angling it in and snapping it into place 3) Prop the iPad up using the magnetic stand 4) Activate Bluetooth on the iPad, then pair them by pressing on the function and pair button on the keyboard. There is no need to type in a password or download an app. Pairing takes 3 seconds and you’re ready to go.
Even before setting up the case, our first impression of the Ultimate Keyboard Case was that it’s both sleek and durable. The base is made from aluminum alloy, while the cover is made of a sturdy plastic shell that is complimented by a smooth embossed fabric accent. While the overall look is very professional, the fabric does have a tendency to absorb prints and leave marks making it a bit greasy-looking. In terms of weight, the case is lighter than most of the keyboard cases currently on the market, but the aluminum alloy base makes it still feel a bit hefty.
The iPad snaps in snugly into the case, making it feel very secure in the shell, and the use of specially designed neodymium magnets give three positioning options for using the case as a stand. The magnets are a fantastic feature, providing flexibility for the angle you need, while holding the iPad up with ease. One thing to note is that the base is a little slick on top, so when adjusting the stand, the iPad tends to slip a little until you firmly set it into place.
The Ultimate Keyboard case also incorporates a SoundFlow design to direct the music towards the listener, effectively making the sound more powerful. We tested this and didn’t find such a big difference in the quality of sound coming from the iPad with the case on, but the case definitely didn’t block the sound or negatively affect the iPad’s sound quality.
But it’s the AutoWake magnets, the smart sensing technology, and the extra long battery life, that make the Ultimate Keyboard case really stand out. To that effect, the case doesn’t have a power button and certainly doesn’t need one. Just by opening the case, the magnetic-based technology turns on your iPad for you, and closing the case shuts it off. When the case is open but not being used, it automatically powers off in order to save battery life. Not that it would really need to, given that the battery life is supposed to last 160 hours. We haven’t tested the battery life yet, but it seems probable given the smart power saving technology being used.
The beauty of the Ultimate Keyboard case isn’t just in all the smart features included; the keyboard itself is a joy to use. Using a chicklet-style design, the keyboard is ergonomic with perfectly spaced keys that are ultra responsive and very comfortable to type with. Typing is effortless with the keyboard case and rivals any top netbook / Ultrabook typing experience. The keyboard also includes built-in features to seamlessly integrate with your iPad, including a home button and a Siri button. The one downside however is the glossy material used to surround the keyboard which easily attracts dirt and lint, making it not so easy to clean between the keys.
All in all, Belkin’s Ultimate Keyboard case is true to its name and provides all the features necessary to provide an amazing keyboard experience for your iPad. Retailing at $99.99, the keyboard case offers good value for your money.
The Good: Intelligent power control and power saving features. Super durable design with unique adjustable magnetic stand. A fantastic keyboard makes typing effortless. Excellent claimed battery life
The Bad: A little unbalanced and top heavy – therefore it’s not so good for use in your lap. Requires a flat surface to make sure it doesn’t fall backwards or slip, and the keyboard attracts lint.