When you have a tablet as light and thin as the Apple iPad Air, any accessories -- such as a keyboard case -- should be equally svelte. At less than 10 ounces, Parle Innovation's Dock-It Lite for iPad and iPad Air 2 is a featherweight companion. But does this $119 device boost your productivity?
Similar to the Belkin QODE Thin Type Keyboard Case and the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard cover, the DockIt case has a hinge that attaches magnetically to the iPad Air, and a slot about a third of the way down the case where the iPad rests when in use.
Of course, you must detach the iPad from the hinge before you can put it in the slot, which some might see as inconvenient. A soft-touch finish covers the DockIt's plastic case, making it comfortable to carry around.
Along the right side of the case is a power switch, a microUSB port for recharging the keyboard and a button to activate the Bluetooth connection. I wish that the case would automatically turn on when you dock your iPad, as happens with Belkin's case. There are small LED lights for charging, power and Bluetooth, but your iPad obscures all three when docked in the case.
As the bottom of the Dock-It only protects the front of your iPad, I like that the company also includes a clear plastic cover that goes over the rear of the tablet. It was easy to attach, and remained secure on the iPad Air 2, but not so much that it was difficult to remove.
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Weighing 8.7 ounces (10.9 ounces with the clear cover), the Dock-It is far lighter than its competition; the Belkin QODE tips the scales at 13.35 ounces, while the Logitech Ultrathin weighs 11.36 ounces.
The Dock-It's keys are large, but that comes at a cost. The device is missing several keys you'd find on a regular-size keyboard, including the tilde and left and right brackets. (They're secondary functions of Q, W, T, Y, U and I). Also, the colon and question mark keys are along the bottom row; I found the latter to be the most distracting, as I often hit the carat key instead.
Still, with an actuation force of 60 grams and a travel of 1.6mm -- in line with what you'd find on most notebooks -- I had high hopes for the Dock-It's keyboard. Alas, on the TapTyping app test, I averaged a mere 48 words per minute with a 97-percent accuracy rate. That's far below what I averaged with the Belkin QODE (56 wpm) and the Logitech Ultrathin (61 wpm).
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iOS-specific functions (brightness, Spotlight search, Web browser and media controls) are combined with the number row. I would prefer that these buttons were on their own row, and that there were a button for Siri.
I like that the $119 Dock-It Lite keyboard for the iPad Air and Air 2 comes with a protective cover for the back of the tablet. But unfortunately, this keyboard doesn't measure up to the competition. My typing speed was much slower than with the $89 Logitech and $99 Belkin cases, both of which are less expensive and have better keyboard layouts.