Typo, the Ryan Seacrest-backed company behind the controversial BlackBerry-like keyboard for the iPhone, has released a less litigious keyboard case for the iPad Air and iPad Air 2. This accessory has a fold-out kickstand, so you can adjust your iPad to nearly any position, and the keyboard can be detached for when you want to travel light. However, for a steep $189, I expected a more luxurious typing experience.
The Typo case has a subdued look, with no ornamentation or design. The upper portion -- the part that connects to the back of the iPad -- is black, while the keyboard section is dark gray. Both have a soft-touch finish that makes the case comfortable to hold.
The upper portion also has a fold-out metal kickstand adorned with the Typo logo. I liked that I could adjust the kickstand to any position, but it was difficult to pull it out at first.
Both halves of the Typo case are connected magnetically, and snap together with reassuring force. Together, they weigh 1.1 pounds (0.5 pounds for just the top section). That's slightly heavier than the Logitech Type+ (14.3 ounces) and the Kensington KeyFolio X3 (1 pound).
The Typo's keyboard has a traditional layout, meaning the keys touch one another. Most other keyboard these days are island-style, which means there's a space around each key.
Typing on the Typo was good, but not great. While the keys' travel is somewhat low, at just 1 mm (a typical notebook keyboard is around 1.5 mm), they require 60 grams of force to press, which is typical for a notebook. Still, I found myself pressing harder on the keys than I would have liked. When I didn't, I would end up with a lot of, well, typos.
On the TapTyping app, I averaged just 53 words per minute, with a 97 percent accuracy rate. That's well below my score on the Logitech Type+ (68 words per minute with 99 percent accuracy) and the Kensington KeyFolio Thin X3 (66 words per minute with 98 percent accuracy).
While the letter keys are plenty large (17 mm), the keys toward the sides, such as the Shift keys, were fairly small. The colon, bracket and plus-sign keys are all in different locations from where they'd be on a full-size keyboard. I also frequently found myself hitting the Return key instead of the apostrophe.
The upper row of the Typo keyboard has a number of iOS-specific buttons, including Home, Search and volume controls. However, I wish there were an app-switching button.
Unlike other keyboard cases, which automatically turn on and off when the case is opened, the Typo has a manual on/off switch on the side. The company estimates that the keyboard should last from three to six months on a charge; when its battery dies, you can recharge it via a micro-USB port.
I like that you can detach the keyboard section of the Typo keyboard case and adjust the angle of your iPad. However, a less-than-impressive typing experience and a price nearly double that of most competitors -- including my favorite, the Logitech Type+ -- make the Typo keyboard case hard to recommend.