Zaggkeys Folio Keyboard Case for Apple iPad Mini Review

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$99.99
Editors' rating:
The Pros

Protective, durable design; Attractive backlight in multiple colors; Dedicated row of iPad commands; Durable hinge with wide viewing angles; Good key travel

The Cons

Small Shift, Enter and Tab keys; Pricier than some competing iPad mini keyboards;

Verdict

Zaggkeys Folio Keyboard Case for the iPad Mini offers a backlit keyboard, a laptop-like hinge and more protection than the competition, but some of the keys are tiny.

Who says the iPad Mini is too small to use as a work device? Zaggkeys' Folio Keyboard Case for the iPad Mini makes your small-sized Apple slate look like a clamshell notebook. Unlike competing keyboard cases, the Folio offers an attractive, multi-color backlight, making it easy to type in dim conditions. Zagg also encases your iPad Mini in a soft rubber shell, offering more protection than some alternatives. The $99 price is nothing to sneeze at, but overall this accessory delivers.

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Design

The Zaggkeys Folio Keyboard's all-black, rubbery body is thin and light, but also features a shell that feels sturdy enough to take a few bumps and nudges. This add-on is designed to keep your iPad Mini completely encased for on-the-go use, with the ability to open up for use as a clamshell when you need it.

Zagg's approach differs from other iPad Mini Bluetooth keyboards such as the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard mini and the Luvvitt Backlit Ultrathin Keyboard, which both come with a slot to secure the tablet and folds over to protect the screen when not in use, leaving the aluminum back exposed.

 

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The Zaggkeys Folio Keyboard unfolds, to open just like a book, with one side offering a full keyboard and the other acting as a holster for your iPad Mini. Our 7.9-inch Apple tablet snapped into this holster with ease. The tight hinge allows for viewing angles of up to 135 degrees without requiring a kickstand like the ZaggKeys Mini 7. The hinge felt strong and secure, keeping our 0.69-pound iPad Mini stable at all times.

Along the top of the case, you'll find cutouts for the volume keys and silencer switch, while the left side houses openings for the power button and headphone jack. On the bottom, Zagg offers two elongated holes for the iPad Mini's speaker grills, with an opening for its Lightning dock connector in the middle. There's also a cutout for the camera on the case's rear.

The Zagg Folio Keyboard for the iPad Mini is currently available only in black and white through Best Buy, but will be available in additional colors this fall. At 8 x 5.5 x 0.27-inches thin, the Zagg Folio keyboard is slightly slimmer than the 7.6 x 6.6 x 0.3-inch Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard mini, but slightly larger than the 7.8 x 5.3 x 0.2-inch Luvvitt Backlit Ultrathin Keyboard Cover.

With the Folio case, our iPad Mini weighed 1.39 pounds, which is heavier than the 1.1-pound iPad Mini when coupled with Logitech's Backlit Ultrathin Keyboard and 1.2-pound iPad Mini/Luvvitt keyboard combo.

Features and Layout

One of our favorite features from the Zaggkeys Mini 7 keyboard case has made its way to the Folio. A dedicated row of iPad Mini and media controls sits just above the number row. These include shortcuts for Siri, Copy and Paste, as well as buttons for Home, an on-screen keyboard and a key that lets you wake or lock your iPad Mini with a tap. You'll also find rewind, play/pause, fast-forward and volume control buttons in this same row.

Other keyboard cases, such as the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard mini and Luvvitt Backlit Ultrathin Keyboard Cover, combine these functions with the number row.

The Zaggkeys Folio's comma key is situated right next to the letter M key on the same button as the open bracket symbol -- just like you would find on a standard keyboard. Notably, the elongated space bar is larger than you'd find on other competing iPad Mini keyboards.

 

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This keyboard does involve some trade-offs. The Q and tilde keys are combined into one, which feels slightly awkward when typing. The Shift and Enter buttons are also quite small, and Zaggkeys crammed the Caps Lock and Tab commands into one tiny key, even smaller than the Shift button.

It could be much worse. For example, the Ionic Keyboard Tablet Leather Case places the comma on the letter J key and requires users to press the Function key.

Lighting

The Zaggkeys Folio case comes with an attractive backlight with seven colors from which to choose: white, blue, turquoise, green, yellow, red and purple. You can activate this feature by folding the Function key and pressing the up directional key, which has a symbol resembling an asterisk on it.

A long press on the down directional key will turn off the backlight, while holding Function and tapping it multiple times will adjust the brightness. To cycle through colors, just press the right arrow key while holding Function. You can't, unfortunately, cycle backwards through color options while holding the left key.

Performance

We notched 55 words per minute with 98 percent accuracy during the Tap Typing app's speed test. This is on a par with the scores we achieved while typing with Logitech's keyboard (61 wpm, 98 percent accuracy) and Luvvitt's keyboard (53 wpm, 97 percent accuracy).

Overall, we had no problem zipping through the Zaggkeys Folio's 183 square centimeter (72 inches), 70-key deck. However, we did find that we made more errors when typing on the left side of the keyboard, largely due to the small size of the Shift key. The keyboard's travel is a little short, but the soft-touch keys were extremely responsive.

 

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We appreciated the ability to bend the Folio's hinge back 135 degrees, which made it easier to see the iPad Mini's small screen when it was on our lap. Bending the hinge back all the way makes the device a little more top-heavy, though.

Zagg rates the battery on the Folio Keyboard Case for up to three months of normal use, which consists of approximately two to three hours per day without the backlight on. Using the backlight will obviously use more power.

Verdict

The Zaggkeys Folio keyboard case for the iPad Mini packs a comfortable typing experience into a sleek case that's portable and protective. We love the keyboard's dynamic backlighting and dedicated selection of iOS commands, as well as the fact that you can choose among seven colors for the backlit keys.

At $99.99, the Zaggkeys Folio keyboard is about $20 more expensive than the $79.99 Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard mini and costs $10 more than the Zaggkeys Mini 7. The extra cash gets you dedicated protection for your iPad Mini and the ability to type in the dark. Plus, having a tight, laptop-like hinge means you can worry less about your tablet flopping backwards. We just wish Zagg found room for larger Shift, Enter and Caps Lock buttons.

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Author Bio
Lisa Eadicicco
Lisa Eadicicco, Staff Writer
Lisa has been reporting on all things mobile for Laptopmag.com since early 2013. When she's not reviewing gadgets, she's usually browsing patent databases or interviewing experts to track down the hottest tech trends before they even happen. Lisa holds a B.A. in Journalism from SUNY Purchase and has contributed to The International Business Times, The New York Daily News and Guitar World Magazine.
Lisa Eadicicco, Staff Writer on
Ask a Question
Laptop Mag & Tom's Hardware
Accessories Type Bluetooth Device
Accessories Type Apple Accessories
Battery Type/Life
Size 8 x 5.5 x 0.27-inches
Weight 11.3 ounces, 1.39 pounds (with iPad Mini)
Company Website http://www.zagg.com