I'm a fan of Logitech’s Ultrathin Keyboard cover for the full-sized iPad, so when I heard that Logitech was launching a version of the Ultrathin keyboard for the iPad mini, I was excited. This product kickstarts a transition from iPad-based content consumption to creation because your iPad becomes much more productive when you have a keyboard.
With the iPad mini’s smaller display and overall footprint, does the Ultrathin Keyboard mini match the performance of its larger counterpart, and how does it compare to Zagg’s well reviewed iPad Mini keyboards?
The physical design of the Keyboard accessory is simple, and it only features what is necessary for the user experience. Other than the keyboard, the only features on its front surface are indicator lights (one for Bluetooth status, the other for charging status), and the slit that will hold your iPad mini’s display in the ideal viewing angle of 60 degree.
The black and white/silver keyboard colour options match the iPad mini in terms of aesthetic design, but the build quality of the keyboard approaches that of Apple’s iPad mini design. Like the back of the iPad mini, the back plate of the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard is made out of the same high-grade aluminum. It not only makes the accessory look great, but the silver model does not pick up many scratches in normal use.
Just like the Apple Smart Cover, the keyboard accessory includes a hinge that magnetically attaches to the magnetic side of the iPad mini. The plastic enclosed magnets on the keyboard are connected securely to the base of the keyboard, so it seems unlikely that it can easily break off. The hinge is plastic and I was a little sceptical of the durability but so far it has handled daily use very well.
The front of the keyboard is made out of plastic, but it still feels as if it is high-quality tough and long-lasting. Soft material has been placed on the corners of the front of the keyboard to cushion the iPad screen when the cover is closed.
While not nearly as thin or light as the Apple-made iPad mini Smart Cover, the Logitech accessory does not feel like a pain to travel with. Compared to a separate Bluetooth keyboard or a complete Bluetooth keyboard case, the Logitech keyboard is a perfect compromise between form and function.
Pairing the iPad mini with the keyboard was simple. To pair the two devices, the user simply needs to click the dedicated Bluetooth button on the right side of the keyboard. The Logitech device will then appear in iPad's Settings Bluetooth menu. Compared to other Bluetooth iOS device accessories that I have used in the past, setting up this accessory out of the box was quick and simple.
Just as important as being able to connect the iPad to the keyboard is disconnecting it. You won’t always be using the keyboard with your iPad (for instance when standing and working on the move), so being able to quickly disconnect the iPad mini from the keyboard is a necessity. If you turn off the Keyboard cover with its dedicated power slider, the keyboard will instantly disconnect, and the iPad’s touch-screen keyboard will function normally. If you forget to turn off the keyboard, you can simply turn off Bluetooth or disconnect via iOS’s Settings application.
Besides the standard QWERTY keys, the Ultrathin Keyboard includes a series of dedicated iPad function keys. The 0-9 digit keys are connected to the functions, so users simply need to click “fn” simultaneously with the digits to active corresponding special functions.
From left-to-right, the top of the keyboard includes a home button (double click for multitasking), lock button, Siri button, a keyboard language selection key, a key to open the touch keyboard, a button to open the iPad’s lock screen slideshow feature, and media playback controls.
The keyboard makes accessing sometimes slow-to-reach functions quicker than ever.
Like on a computer’s keyboard, the Logitech keyboard allows for quick cut/copy/paste with the command + x/c/v keys. This is a great feature for users who want to do advanced and long-form typing on the iPad mini.
The left and right arrow keys can replace your fingers as dragging points for text selection. This is also very handy and easy to use with little practice. There is even a key combination for selecting word by word either forward or backward.
Because of the iPad mini’s overall footprint, Logitech had to make a few compromises in terms of where some keys are placed. For example, the Caps Lock key is combined with the letter “A.”
The keys for each letter are not much smaller than the letter keys on a MacBook’s keyboard. The keyboard is narrower than a laptop’s keyboard and typing definitely take some getting used to.
Despite the size, it is definitely faster and easier than using the iPad mini’s touch keyboard. The keys provide good typing feedback.
Logitech’s Ultrathin Keyboard for iPad mini is also a “Smart Cover”. Both the Logitech unit and Apple’s Smart Cover provide similar protection to the front of the iPad mini.
Neither product protects the metal back or sides. The keyboard’s magnetic attachment feels a bit weaker than Apple’s Smart Cover’s, so don’t be surprised if you find the keyboard slightly sliding off the iPad mini while it is in your hand or bag. I found that putting the iPad and cover inside a neoprene pouch solves this problem nicely when placing the cover and iPad in bag.
Like the Smart Cover, the iPad mini’s display turns on when you flip open the keyboard.
The keyboard include a mini-USB cable in the box for charging. One end connects into the keyboard while the other end is a standard sized USB that works with your computer’s USB port or your iPad mini’s included charging adapter.
The full-sized iPad’s version of the Logitech keyboard has great battery life, and Logitech is pegging 3 months of usage (on a single charge) from the iPad mini model.
Logitech’s Ultrathin Keyboard for the iPad mini is an excellent, well-designed and built Bluetooth keyboard accessory. It is thin, light, and easy-to-setup.
With a small learning curve for adjusting to the keyboard, this accessory is a great solution for anyone seeking to add mechanical keys to their iPad mini. Both the iPad and iPad mini versions are both definitely worth buying.