Like other iPad keyboard cases, the tyPad 2 helps shield Apple's tablet from wear and tear and lets users type more comfortably than with the on-screen keyboard. What makes this accessory stand out is the rubberized membrane layout, which can help protect against spills. Plus, the velcro design keeps your iPad from flopping around. Read on to find out if this add-on is worth $99.
Click to EnlargeWrapped in a black leather-like material, the tyPad 2 looks similar on the outside to most other iPad keyboard cases, such as the Kensington Keyfolio Pro. Measuring 9.8 x 7.7 x 1.2 inches, it's an average size for a keyboard case, but at just 1.16 lbs., it's one of the lightest, and a hair lighter than Kensington's (1.2 lbs.). We like that the tyPad 2 has a small elastic band to keep the case closed; it's simple, but effective.
When docked, the iPad 2 rests in landscape mode right above the keyboard. Unlike many other docks--such as the Kensington Keyfolio Pro, Targus Versavu--the tyPad 2 has a piece of velcro at the bottom of the case that kept the iPad from flopping over if our legs were angled too far downward. It's such a simple solution, we wonder why other companies hadn't thought of this first.
Click to EnlargeThe entire keyboard is covered in a rubber membrane, which helps protect the device in case you accidentally spill coffee or soda on it. On the side of the keyboard is a microUSB charging port, and minuscule buttons for power and Bluetooth.
One neat hidden feature of the tyPad 2 is a built-in business-card holder, located underneath where the iPad docks. Unfortunately, we found it to be a very tight fit, so you won't be able to store more than a few cards.
Typically, keyboards with rubber membranes suffer from decreased performance while typing, and the tyPad 2 is no different. We found ourselves having to press keys harder than we'd like, which would occasionally result in repeated letters. And while we liked the fact that it has an island-style design, the keys themselves were small, and some were out of place. For example, the apostrophe key is down one row--next to the Shift, rather than the Enter key--which meant that we often hit the semicolon by accident. On the TapTyping app test, we averaged just 31 words per minute with a 93 percent accuracy rate. That's far, far worse than our favorite keyboard case, the Belkin Keyboard Folio, where we averaged 62 wpm with a 99 percent accuracy rate.
There are also fewer iPad-specific buttons in the function row than on other keyboard cases: There are multimedia controls (Pause/Play and volume), Home, and Search, but the tyPad 2 is lacking buttons such as text selection, ".com" and @, as on the Belkin Keyboard Folio.
On the plus side, the Shift buttons themselves are the same size on both sides of the layout, and the Space bar is sufficiently large.
The tyPad 2's 470mAh battery is rated for 90 hours of use, the same as the ClamCase and Keyfolio Pro, and about 30 hours longer than the Belkin Keyboard Folio. tyPad says that the battery will fully recharge in 3.5 hours.
The $99 tyPad 2 gets a few things right--the strip of velcro above the keyboard being the most significant--but the typing experience is lacking. We prefer the Belkin Keyboard Folio, which offers a more comfortable layout, much higher accuracy and more dedicated shortcut keys.