If you are a student, or a person that regularly takes notes using your iPad, you should read on. The Hatch & Co. 2-SKINNY keyboard case for the iPad 2 and 3 is something you should consider. I always thought of getting a keyboard case for my iPad as I regularly use it to take notes, and now that I’ve used this, I don’t want to take notes any other way. The review for this will go as follows: usability, then portability and design will be a combined section, with an ending conclusion. If you’re interested in a keyboard case, I highly recommend reading on. Also: this entire review was typed and edited using the keyboard case itself.
I was skeptical of this case on first use. There isn’t tactile feedback, it works based on touch. If you have used Microsoft’s recently released Surface keyboard cover, you will know what I’m talking about. It feels a lot like that when typing. The case includes a backlight for typing when it is dark or dim, such as in a classroom setting with the lights dimmed for a PowerPoint presentation or a video. It includes sound feedback if you choose to turn it on, which I kept on to indicate when I’d pressed a key since there isn’t tactile feedback to rely on. It also supports everything you might expect in a keyboard case: volume up/down/mute controls, sound playback controls (play/pause, forward, and rewind), a home button, and also a slideshow button. These all reside above the dedicated number row.
One of my favorite parts by far is that, when typing, you can use the normal OS X controls of highlighting, copy/pasting, etc. For instance, to select you can hold Shift and use the arrow keys to highlight text, the use Command+X/C/V to cut, copy, and paste. Of course that isn’t necessarily unique to this case, but it is a pro of keyboard cases in general. After adjusting to the touch typing keyboard, which does require a little bit of pressure to register a key press, I was able to fly on this. I actually used it on previous articles to see how well I could do, and it faired great. Being a developer, I also would VNC into my home computer in order to work on some code project while on break at school, and this case did just great at handling that. Battery was also great, and I would be able to use it all day without worrying, and I charged it at night along with my iPad and iPhone just as I do every portable device, but it could quite possibly make it two days, if not more. I didn’t push the battery too much.
2. Portability and Design
See that picture above? In case you don’t live in the US and aren’t sure what coinage that is, it is a dime, the smallest (in size) of the US currency. It is about 17.91 mm (0.705 in) in diameter. The thing lying next to it is the keyboard case (just the bottom keyboard part). That just shows how crazy thin this case really is. This makes it super portable. Unlike some other keyboard cases that can make the iPad heavy and thick, this case adds very little bulk to it. While reviewing it, a friend of mine that was looking at it actually decided to buy one, based solely on how portable it was. He is a student and has to carry this in a backpack everyday to class, and it easily fit in. If you are looking for a portable keyboard case, look no further than this one. I have yet to see another keyboard case be as thin as this for the iPad.
The design of the case adds some protection as well, as it sits in a part that protects the back too. I found that it holds the iPad in quite tightly, making it a little hard to get out actually, but that is the point as it isn’t meant to be repeatedly put in and taken out of this case. A snap holds the keyboard in place when closed, and it is extremely strong, if you don’t want it to open, it won’t open. However this would make it a bit hard to actually when you do want it to open. When sitting at a desk, the back has a kickstand that opens to support the device in a horizontal orientation. If you wish to not use the keyboard, the keyboard easily folds back behind it when open so you can hold it in the normal portrait orientation. Overall, I found the design to provide a very thought out user experience.
All-in-all, this keyboard case is fantastic. From its insane thinness, to the backlit keys, to the great feeling matte soft-touch finish on the outside, I loved this case. I am giving it a rating of 8/10, with my only real complaint (which isn’t really a major one) being that it was quite hard to get out of the case if I wanted to either put in on a dock (I use the iPad dock to sync/charge mine) or use a different case. It would easily take me 5-6 minutes just to pry the case off, being sure to not hurt the case or the iPad. Many wouldn’t be taking it on and off as much as I was, however, so that’s why it isn’t a major issue. It also didn’t take away from how much I loved using the case.
If you are interested, you can check this case out at Hatch & Co’s website here, 2-SKINNY, and check out the gallery below. I highly recommend this case for those interested in a keyboard case.