I’m a big fan of working on my iPad, and am always looking for ways to improve the experience to bring it closer to my end goal of replacing my computer with an iPad and being just as productive. This love of working distraction-free has increased over time, and has lead to my trying out a few different options. It’s fair to say that we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to keyboards for the iPad. Both Logitech and ZAGG have excellent options available. But competition isn’t as hot for the iPad mini. I wasn’t won over by ZAGG’s mini 7, and so was a little skeptical before trying the “mini” version of Logitech’s Ultrathin. As always with keyboard case reviews, I’m typing it up with the accessory in question.
Design wise, it’s made to look like fits with the iPad, something which pleased me on first looks to no end. “The other half of your iPad” is available in black/slate and white/aluminum just like your iPad. And it’s not just the color that makes it fit. The shape and brushed texture combine with the looks, and it feels like it belongs. Much like the larger Ultrathin, the plastic on the inside is very shiny, but the keys have a much grippier feel. It’s held to the iPad using a magnetic Smart Cover-esque hinge, which does a great job of not only holding on, but simulating that natural open motion of a laptop.
The body is – well – ultra thin, as the name suggests, and ridiculously light too. Carrying it around attached to your iPad mini is easy, and not at all cumbersome. The worst thing any manufacturer can do is destroy the main attraction of the mini by forcing you to carry around a bulky case around it. Thankfully, Logitech got the memo. It measures in at 7.3mm thin, and weighs only 208 grams (0.45 lbs). I can’t state enough how good this keyboard feels when being carried around in hand. The curved edges combined with having the same materials as the iPad ensure that the experience is extremely comfortable.
On to the keyboard, and I’d be lying if I said it was as easy and comfortable as typing on a full-size QWERTY. With trying to create a much smaller keyboard comes compromises, but I feel that the right ones were made. The obvious priority here was to make the letters as large as possible, so the space in between keys is very tight. Various other keys, such as CAPS, and less frequently used punctuations are either placed on a much smaller key, or require the use of a function button. And, I have to say, although it takes a little while getting use to the size and adapted layout, the typing experience is as pleasant as you could hope for. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised at how natural it felt. The tactile response from the membrane scissor type keys is great too, and very quiet. In fact, my hands got so used to typing on the mini keyboard, that when I switched back to my Mac, the keyboard seemed too big.
Like most iPad keyboards, the Ultrathin for iPad mini is equipped with bespoke iOS shortcut keys. Most of which are placed in the top row of keys and require the use of the function button. To the top right of these is a couple of LED lights, one for Bluetooth and the other for battery level indication. The latter of which will rarely come on as this practical typing solution has an impressive battery life of three months!
As always – with any accessory – there are negatives. The first thing I noticed that irked me, was the viewing angle. With the iPad mini being so small, you’d hope that they’d be a little more generous with the angle of the groove/stand, to make it easier to read and see in a regular and healthy posture. It’s almost vertical and forces me to type sat in an uncomfortable slouched position to see the screen clearly. Like its bigger counter part, I do wish the bespoke iOS controls were on a separate row and didn’t need the function key at all. Not only would it make accessing them easier, it’d also push the iPad further back, and relieve my spine a little.
All in all, Logitech has done an admirable job with the Ultrathin for iPad mini. It’s so much better than expected. And, although using a full-size Bluetooth keyboard would be better for typing, you won’t find a more portable solution than this if you’re needing to conserve as much space as possible. The Logitech Ultrathin mini costs $79.99 and is available to buy here: http://www.logitech.com/en-us/product/ultrathin-keyboard-mini?crid=1221&WT.ac=ps|10755|Ultrathin_Keyboard_mini|hp