Review: Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for iPad Air Not As Solid

Tablets and keyboards. Tablets and keyboard cases. Tablets and keyboard covers. When iPads were first released many thought they wouldn’t succeed without a keyboard. Then when keyboards started appearing some thought they would be useless appendages for Touch Tablets. Then the Tablet keyboard market took off and before you know it makers from Logitech, Belkin, Kensington, Zagg and others started pounding out keyboards for the iPad, the iPad mini, the Galaxy Tabs, and anything else that could pass for a Tablet. When Apple changed the dimensions of its original iPad Air, everyone knew it would be time for new keyboards. The original Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover I owned managed to outlast an iPad 2 and iPad 3 and an iPad 4, so I was ready to say hello to a new model.

The Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard for the iPad Air

The Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for the iPad Air

Today the keyboard accessory market is filled with enough permutations and choices to make a consumer’s head spin. And with the release of the iPad Air, all of the makers are rushing to get new models onto store shelves for the holiday season. At least one may have rushed a bit too quickly.

The Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover

The Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for the iPad Air

I was always a fan of the original Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover. The Ultrathin Keyboard wasn’t a full enclosure or case. It covered the screen only, leaving the back of your iPad exposed.  It used the iPad’s magnet system to hold itself fast to the iPad when in transit. There was a slot that you inserted the iPad into when you wanted to type and you could tell that the iPad was inserted correctly because there was a distinct and satisfying “click” that told you so. The keyboard communicated with the iPad via Bluetooth. The newer version of the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard follows the same principles. It just doesn’t follow some of them as well.

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Read: Review:Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover

The Display Angle appears to be the same

The Display Angle appears to be the same

As to using the keyboard for typing, the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for the iPad Air has the same good action with the keys, if not a little better than the previous model. The layout feels good in my hands and under my fingers. I feel as proficient typing on this newer model than I did before and the design of the keys is a big part of that.

The new model promises up to 3 months of battery life on a charge (that’s with an average of typing 2 hours a day). It weighs in at 330g (0.73 pounds) and measures just 7.3mm (0.29 inches) thick.

Where things went astray though is with the magnetic system. On the earlier model, once the iPad was connected in the slot, I could pick up the entire combination from the top of the iPad and tote it around if I needed to. The magnets do not work as well this time around. The satisfying “click” is not there as it used to be. (Sometimes I think I hear it. Sometimes not.) And, it is very easy to just lift the iPad Air out of the slot. With the previous model, you needed to tilt it forward a bit to release it from the magnets, unless you just gave it a swift tug. No swiftness or tugging needed here.

The same is true for the magnet system when you go to place the keyboard over the screen for travel. The magnets used to click on to the keyboard almost as if they were springing to attention. You can still get that same effect but you have to be much more precise about it with the iPad Air version.

Protecting the screen

Protecting the screen

There are some other nice improvements since that first edition Ultrathin Keyboard. The area above the keyboard is now a matte finish instead of glossy which decreases fingerprints. I don’t think this is new with this version, but the keyboards now come in Space Gray or White to match your iPad Air color. When closed there is very little to distinguish it from the back of the iPad Air the finish matches so well. When snapped closed the combo does not add much bulk or weight to the iPad Air. It feels very compact, and if you have a sleeve case from a previous edition of the iPad, this combo closed will probably slide very nicely into that.

You can still use the iPad Air in portrait mode if that’s your fancy. Although, like with the previous model, the magnet system isn’t set up to work this way. And if you do set up your iPad Air this way, the entire rig feels a little more top heavy than with the previous version.

In Portrait Mode

In Portrait Mode

This is pure speculation on my part, but given that the previous version of the Ultrathin Keyboard Cover and other Logitech iPad keyboards I have tried had such a good solid fit and finish, my suspicion is that Logitech rushed this new iPad Air version to market. It’s obvious Apple made some significant changes to the magnets for the iPad Air and I just think the engineering is a bit off. The Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for iPad Air just doesn’t click with me or with its intended target the way previous models did.

The Logitech iPad Keyboard Cover for the iPad Air is now on sale for $99 at most retailers.

  

Comments

  1. Raymond says

    I just got mine this morning at BESTBUY. I too am not that happy with it. I miss the clicking too when the iPad Air is in the slot. It doesn’t seem as secure as my iPad 3 did when in the keyboard slot. I’m not sure what to do at this point. Should I return it, and get another type from someone else, or stick with it.

    • Robert says

      Sorry but I have totally disagree. I just got my Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for my Ipad Air and it has none of the issues you have described. I had a Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for my Ipad 4 that I just sold as a unit and this new one for the Ipad Air works identical to it. No magnet issues. The ‘cover’ magnets are strong and ‘snap’ into location on my Ipad Air. The ‘groove’ magnets act the same. I can hear the magnets ‘click’ to connect the Ipad Air in an upright position. I can pick up the Ipad Air and the keyboard cover stays with the connection with no issues. The Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover that I got via UPS today directly from Logitech is a thing of beauty as well as functionality. Totally satisfied customer here.

    • Lori says

      I feel the same way. I dont know what to do. Plus I cant stand when u send an Imessage u have to keep hittin the screen instead of the enter/return button. Plus my arrow scroll buttons don’t work. No back button. ughhhhhhh, just annoying. Was your other keyboard like this?

    • Raymond says

      Yes,I’m returning mine too. Belkin has a similar one, and so does Zagg, but they are not out yet. I guess I will wait for something better!

      • Lori says

        Raymond let me know if you get the zagg… Im returning my Logitech Key board to. Just not happy with this. I like the look thats about it! When I stand it up in the keyboard it doesnt feel secure to me. I think the grove should of been deeper. Im afraid its gonna snap in this position

        • Raymond says

          I have been looking, Lori. The Zagg and Belkin both look promising, but they are still not out. I hope they release them soon!!

          • Lori says

            Raymond what about when you send a imessage from the ipad. Hitting the enter/return button on the key board just don’t send the text message. I have to keep hitting send on the ipad screen. And my scroll arrow keys don’t work. No back button. I mean I can live with no scroll buttons. But no send button is driving me crazy. Are all key pads like that u can’t send a message from the key pad???

      • Lori says

        Raymond just to let you know the Zagg is now available on line at Best Buy. I just ordered mine. And I will be returning this Logitech. Mine is also coming apart from the Ipad being in the slot. I looked at it sideways and can see its pulling apart. Someone else said theres was doing the same thing. Lets hope the Zagg is better made.

          • Lori says

            Mine is Actually at the store I bought it on line at best buy but it says I can get free shipping. But I choose to pick it up at the store because they have it in stock. Once I get it tomorrow, I’ll post back in here and let you know what I think. :)

          • Lori says

            Ramond I have the Zagg. Went and picked it up today. Much easier to type on. The keyboard is bigger, it also lights up. It has a top case that encloses the ipad right in it. So it ends up looking like a lap top. Its a much better made product. Its sturdier and a little heavier. Not flimsy like the Logitech. In my opinion its beats the Logitech keyboard hands down for the same price. Its better made, keyboard lights up, its a nicer layout on the keyboard. Its like driving a BMW compared to a Ford Focus. Much better product.

  2. Andrew Melder says

    That’s a real shame as I was looking forward to this after loving the iPad 2 and iPad mini version. Oh well, I’m not too interested in the Belkin model so i’ll have to scope out the Zagg.

    • Raymond says

      Oh no, why not Belkin? Have you had issues with them before? I haven’t used anything from them before. The Zagg does look nice, plus the keys are backlit!

  3. TK Lee says

    I’m also retuning mine. The groove where the Air sits is unstable. The weight of the iPad is actually separating the top layer of the keyboard from the bottom layer. You can notice the problem when you hold it sideways while it sits in the groove.

    • Robert says

      WOW I do not have any of those issues. My Ultrathin keyboard works like its intended. Both magnets work great with a ton of holding power. My slot hold my Ipad Air just fine without any of the separation you mentioned. My unit came directly from Logitech.

  4. Rich says

    Wow, this is disappointing. I am supposed to pick mine up later today and now I may cancel prior to even trying it. Going to have to chekc the Zagg out.

    • Rich says

      Just picked mine up last night. Actually kind of like it on first take. But now used it for less than a day and already my hinge looks like it is coming apart. Not put together too well.

      • Raymond says

        Yep. I think Logitech rushed this out to be ahead of the pack, but its going to cost them in the end. My guess is, they didn’t test the damn thing before shipping it out. Still waiting for Belkin and Zagg to release their own version of the keyboard.

    • Robert says

      Nope, I had a Ipad 4 and the Ultrathin keyboard cover with it. When I got my Ipad Air I tried to connect it to the keyboard and it would not connect properly. I now have the Ultrathin keyboard for the Ipad Air and it works perfectly. Both magnet areas have plenty of holding strength. I have not experienced any of the issues others above have indicated and looking at the unit I have can not see how the issues mentioned are possible. My unit functions with out any issues and I would buy it again.

  5. Lori says

    Raymond what about when you send a imessage from the ipad. Hitting the enter/return button on the key board just don’t send the text message. I have to keep hitting send on the ipad screen. And my scroll arrow keys don’t work. No back button. I mean I can live with no scroll buttons. But no send button is driving me crazy. Are all key pads like that u can’t send a message from the key pad???

  6. MacStevens says

    I’ve been wondering about compatibility with old keyboard covers and the iPad Air. I’m happy to see that Logitech is still the way to go!

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