Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Logitech Ultrathin Review

The Apple iPad is one of the hottest devices this generation. Sales have been off the charts for each of the three iPads releases thus far. The iPad does a lot of things right. Surfing the web is great. Watching movies is convenient. Typing on the multi-touch screen? Not so much. If there's one flaw with the iPad, for me, it's definitely the typing experience. No matter how responsive the touchscreen or how large the keyboard (the touchscreen keyboard takes up a significant amount of screen real estate), the virtual keys can never replace the tactile feel of actually pressing a button on a true keyboard.

Enter the bluetooth keyboard. One of the most unique things Apple has done as a company is how they've paved the way for hundreds of other companies to start their own business. Zagg, Speck, and Otterbox are companies whose entire existence thrives on many of Apple's devices. Needless to say, when I began my search for a better typing experience, I had a plethora of available options.
After numerous web searches, videos watched, and even a returned product, I finally found a winner with the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover. The name is a little deceiving; no, this isn't a cover for your keyboard. Instead, it's a keyboard that acts as a cover for your iPad 2 or 3rd generation iPad. Much like Apple's own Smart Cover, the magnets snap to the side of the iPad and you can then "close" the case, which is compatible with the iPad's sleep/wake feature. When closed, the device maintains the iPad's sleek look and only adds a small amount of weight. Apple's own bluetooth keyboard may offer a better typing experience, but it's a hassle to carry along with your iPad plus you'll need a separate case/stand to set up the iPad with an ideal viewing angle for typing.
Speaking of the typing experience, which is - after all - the main reason for purchasing a Bluetooth keyboard, I have found it to be incredibly comfortable. It's not perfect because, let's face it, sacrifices have to be made when you're designing a keyboard this sleek and this portable. The keys are slightly smaller than most other keyboards; however, there is still a fair amount of space between each key on the chiclet style keyboard. Because of the decision to go with smaller keys, but more spacing in between, you don't feel as cramped as you would on a keyboard that uses full-sized keys and forces them into a smaller package.

The device also has a small slot near the top of the keyboard that locks the iPad into landscape typing mode, again utilizing magnets. This also serves as an ideal viewing angle for movie watching and general web surfing. You can also type in portrait mode; however, I'm not sure if Logitech actually intends for you to do so. The iPad in portrait fits into the slot, but the magnets don't lock it into place.

A few minor touches really stood out to me. First of all, Logitech has included two text-select buttons, which are fantastic when you're trying to cut/copy a few sentences of text and don't feel like reaching up and down to the iPad screen. Touching and typing may sound like a minor movement, yet almost everyone typing on a wireless iPad keyboard will find themselves reaching for a mouse at some point. You almost have to re-train your brain to alternate typing and touching on the iPad. For this reason, the text-select buttons are great as your fingers never have to leave the keyboard. Speaking of cut/copy, there are shortcut keys for those two functions as well keys to paste, play, pause, volume control, home screen, and device lock. Most of the traditional Mac keyboard shortcuts continue to work here as well (cmd + C copy, etc...).

The device retails for $99 and in case you can't already tell, I'm very pleased. If you're looking for the ultimate protection or a perfect typing experience, then the Ultrathin probably isn't for you. But if you're looking for a sleek, comfortable typing experience that doesn't add a lot of bulk to your iPad, then the Ultrathin is the way to go.

Read more about the Ultrathin on Logitech's Official Website here.

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