Kensington KeyFolio Pro 2 for iPad mini Review

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Editors' rating:
The Pros

Adjustable stand; Removable keyboard; Dedicated buttons for media controls and iOS navigation

The Cons

Mushy keyboard; Small buttons; Easy to make typing mistakes

Verdict

The Kensington KeyFolio Pro 2 keyboard case has a removable Bluetooth keyboard, but the typing experience leaves much to be desired.

Designed for iPad mini owners looking to get some quality work out of their tablet, Kensington's $79 KeyFolio Pro 2 is a professional, portfolio-style case with a 7-inch Bluetooth keyboard tucked inside. The Pro 2 lets you adjust the angle of the iPad mini--a feature many simiilar accessories lack--and its keyboard detaches from the case. But while this iPad mini accessory looks sharp, the keyboard itself is definitely not.

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Design

The KeyFolio Pro 2 is a keyboard-case for the suit-and-tie set, or at least, business casual users. The exterior is covered in stitched faux-leather, while the inside is lined with a wool-like material that's soft but not as comfortable to the touch as the velvet-y lining inside Belkin's iPad mini Portable Keyboard Case.

We liked the texture of the Kensington case more than the industrial-grade rubber of the ZaggKeys Mini 7, but both lack a strap of some sort to keep the case from flapping open.

The Pro 2 weighs just 1.4 pounds with the iPad mini inside, which is just shy of the heaviest keyboard case we reviewed, the 1.5-pound ZaggKeys Mini7.

Like the Belkin case, the Kensington KeyFolio Pro 2 lets you adjust the angle of your iPad mini. The iPad mini slips into the KeyFolio's faux leather-trimmed sleeve, the bottom portion of which attaches to the base with a velcro lining. The velcro lets you secure it at an angle, anywhere from a straight 90-degree upright position to a more relaxed 45 degrees.

To add more flexibility, the Pro 2's Bluetooth keyboard detaches from the case. Thanks to a sturdy, worry-free magnet at the head of the keyboard, you can pull the typing surface away from its nest in the case and use it however you like. The case was well balanced in our lap even though the detachable keyboard sometimes slid off our jeans.

Another standout feature of the KeyFolio Pro 2 is a stylus holder between the iPad sleeve and the keyboard. Like many Bluetooth keyboards for the iPad mini, there's a microUSB port along the keyboard's right side for charging.

Features and Layout

The one redeeming aspect of the Kensington keyboard are the dedicated iPad mini buttons along the top row. Not only are there direct keys to adjust the volume and move through music tracks, there are also buttons to cut, copy, and paste text, lock/unlock the tablet, launch a slideshow of pictures, switch to the home screen, and open the search bar. There's even a button to launch the on-screen keyboard, which seems redundant. Finally, to the left of the space bar is a button to launch the browser.

Performance

Unlike keyboard cases from Belkin or Zagg, the Pro 2's layout is not island-style, and that makes all the difference. The keys are too close together, and have a mushy tactile feel. Our typing rate was a sluggish 45 words per minute with 97-percent accuracy on the TapTyping iOS app, much lower than our performance on the Logitech keyboard case (61 wpm, 98-percent), the Zaggkeys Mini 7 (56 wpm, 98-percent), and the Belkin case (54 wpm, 97-percent).

The teeny size of some important keys is a large problem: the right Shift, Control, Alt, Command, and space bar keys are all miniscule compared to the width of buttons for letters. The small Backspace button led us to accidentally hit the +/= key above it. The left Shift button abutts the Caps Lock button, also forcing more errors.

Verdict

At first glance, the Kensington KeyFolio 2 for iPad mini has everything we could want in a keyboard case: an attractive design, adjustable angle, and even a stylus holder. However, the KeyFolio Pro 2's typing experience just isn't good enough. There's too little space between keys and many of the buttons are too small. While it's not as attractive, the ZaggKeys Mini 7 has a much better island keyboard and a more protective rubber casing. By dint of their small size, no iPad mini keyboard is as good as a full-size laptop, but the KeyFolio 2 is still behind its competition.

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Author Bio
Kenneth Butler
Kenneth Butler, Writer/Web Content Producer
Kenneth Butler started at Laptopmag.com as a freelance fact checker after studying journalism at New York University. When he's not evangelizing Android, he's editing the Laptopmag.com homepage, reviewing gadget accessories, and focusing on the site's evolving page design.
Kenneth Butler, Writer/Web Content Producer on
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Laptop Mag & Tom's Hardware
Accessories Type Bluetooth Device
Accessories Type Bags and Cases
Accessories Type Apple Accessories
Battery Type/Life
Size 9.6 x 6.1 x 1.4 inches
Weight 11.3 ounces; 1.4 pounds (with iPad Mini)
Company Website http://www.kensington.com