Though I’m a connoisseur of iPad keyboards and a fan of the brand new iPad mini 5, I by no means actually felt a lot need for the 2 to cross over. What I like most concerning the iPad mini is that its dimension encourages you to make use of it in an unambitious means, with out aspirations to interchange your laptop computer.
Zagg’s new $99.99 Folio keyboard case has modified my thoughts a little bit. It’s not the best keyboard on this planet, which received’t come as a shock. However should you ever end up in conditions the place you might be utilizing an iPad mini as your solely pc, it’s truly fairly good.
Keyboard instances for different iPad fashions all have the identical apparent drawback: the pill needs to be propped up at a viewing angle in some way. Options vary from Apple’s sophisticated origami folios to Brydge’s laptop-style hinges; Zagg’s personal method to the iPad Professional includes a cumbersome, kickstand-equipped case with a skinny keyboard that attaches magnetically. All of those designs have their tradeoffs.
Within the case of the iPad mini, although, the answer is fairly easy. The pill is small and lightweight sufficient that it may be positioned right into a clamshell-style case and used at quite a lot of angles with out tipping over, no kickstand required. That’s what Zagg has carried out right here with the Folio, and the result’s a extremely neat, tiny laptop computer.
The case is fabricated from light-weight plastic with a cloth end. It doesn’t really feel low-cost, precisely, however I wouldn’t describe it as premium both. Crucial factor is that it doesn’t add a lot bulk to the iPad mini. The ensuing mixture is about the identical dimension and weight as a hardback pocket book, and you’ll toss it into nearly any bag no drawback. It’s additionally very simple to take the iPad out and in of the case, which I’ve typically discovered to be a ache level with related merchandise for bigger iPads, together with these from Zagg. I principally use the iPad mini one-handed in portrait mode, so this may have been a dealbreaker.
Now, clearly the keys are fairly cramped, and sacrifices needed to be made within the format. The world I discovered it hardest to get used to is to the fitting of the keyboard, the place a half-sized ‘ key sits between full-sized (for this keyboard, at the least) ; and enter keys. Typing phrases with apostrophes takes a little bit apply. However the keys themselves really feel positive, and the typing expertise is significantly better than utilizing the on-screen keyboard. Along with the adjustable RGB backlighting, this truly is likely to be my first selection for tray-table typing on a flight.
There are a few different design quirks I ought to observe. The case makes it a little bit awkward to press the sleep/wake button, although opening the keyboard up wakes the iPad, and you’ll after all most likely need to unlock it with Contact ID anyway. The iPad’s slim facet bezels additionally imply that the hinge will get in the best way of the slide-up gesture for the dock — there’s a devoted multitasking button on the perform row, nevertheless, which I preferred as an alternative.
My largest grievance is actually simply that the Folio fees over Micro USB. Zagg does, nevertheless declare a considerably implausible two full years of battery life, so at the least that trouble must be rare.
I love tiny computer systems, and the Zagg Folio turns the iPad mini into an excellent one. This isn’t a product I’d use each week and even each month, however I would fortunately take this together with me each time I’m touring gentle and when my iPad Professional could be overkill.
It’s form of shocking that Apple revived the iPad mini in any respect this yr. The product is clearly fairly area of interest — simply have a look at the brand new mainstream 10.2-inch iPad, which prices $70 much less and has a a lot larger display. However should you did purchase an iPad mini in 2019, you most likely adore it. And should you do truly need to kind on it, you might do lots worse than the Zagg Folio.