Top critical review
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EXCELLENT keyboard. BAD folio!
on April 24, 2012
I have the iPad 2 and a Zaggfolio. I also have the Belkin Pro Color Duo Tri-Fold Folio with Stand, and Targus Slim Case. Honestly, I didn't like the Belkin Folio when I compared between that one and the Targus one. So I'm not too surprised that this Folio/Keyboard combo failed when compared to the Zaggfolio. This product is the epitome of "..so close, but no cigar."
So the concept is simple. Have one unit that will hold and protect your iPad and give you access to a fully functional keyboard as well. I use this option when I travel and want to blog on the road. I can also use this combo to write notes in school. Basically, it turns my iPad into a light laptop. I really like the Zaggolio for this. The Zaggfolio is one complete unit that holds the keyboard and iPad together in a very protective case. It's easy to pop the iPad in and out of the case and the keyboard is very easy to use. My only complaint is that the "Delete" key is smaller than usual and so I will miss it and hit the " = " button (right next to it) instead. On a full-size keyboard, this would be the "Backspace" key and this key is usually double the width of other keys. This is important to me because I'm a touch-typist of 90wpm - with the Zaggfolio, I keep missing and it's very annoying. Not a deal-breaker - but very annoying. If there was any way to have that fixed, I would.
I went into all that to make the point that the Belkin Wireless Keyboard is absolutely top-notch. I would give it 5 stars. It blows the Zaggfolio keyboard out of the water in that it does not have that one big fault the Zaggfolio keyboard has with the "delete" key. The Belkin keyboard has a proper "Backspace" key of the proper size, so I can actually type more normally. They both have the same push button feedback - excellent. The company's describes this as "A spring mechanism underneath each key ensures a tactile response with every stroke, helping you to type faster and with less error than on a touchscreen. Plus, function-specific keys let you easily copy and paste text, moderate volume and control music." - I agree with this statement wholeheartedly. I love the feel of the keys. I'm one that really likes feedback, that's why I like the feel of keys to touchscreen keyboards. The Belkin keyboard is slightly wider (left to right) than the Zaggfolio keyboard at 258mm (Zaggfolio is 241mm). Beklin's Height (top to bottom) 124mm, which is significantly smaller than the Zaggfolio's 169mm. That's kind of like comparing apples to oranges though. The Belkin keyboard is JUST a keyboard. The Zaggfolio keyboard is also a docking station that allows your iPad to be docked in either profile or landscape orientation - a feature that the Belkin keyboard/folio combo does NOT give you. The keyboard itself is quite compact for such functionality, so if I could find a decent case for it - I would like to keep the keyboard on it's own as a really, really excellent keyboard as far as touch/feel/functionality goes. I haven't used it for long so I cannot speak on the lifespan of the battery at this point. It's easy enough to charge with the included USB/MicroUSB cable. Same way you would charge the Zaggfolio. You can also sync this keyboard to your iPhone. Very easy to sync with iPad and iPhone.
Bottom line - I absolutely love this keyboard. As a portable, bluetooth, keyboard - this one has the best feedback and function. Not sure how long the battery lasts - but other than that one unknown - at this point, I would give this keyboard 4.5/5 stars. A proven battery life and overall durability would bump this up to 5/5 stars. I think Belkin needs to come out with a carry case for this keyboard and call it a day.
Now for the bad news. The "Folio" part of this "Keyboard/Folio" combo is absolutely horrible. I can't even look at it, it is so upsetting. Now remember that I didn't like the other Belkin folio either. I don't think Folio's are Belkin's strong suit. The Zaggfolio and the Targus folio both beat the Belkin folio up and down the street and back. Here, let me list the reasons why:
1. The folio + keyboard combo doesn't even fit together right. It's not a comprehensive unit. If you have the keyboard velcro'ed in and the iPad in it's respective sleeve - if you try to close it, the keys would just be right up into the iPad screen. In fact, most of the keys are pushed in by the iPad screen which makes me worry about the keys and the screen. The folio is also just a soft fabric sleeve with no rigid supports and the whole thing held closed by one little magnetic tab, so the whole thing just moves and squishes around everywhere. It's NOT protective, it's not solid, it's not easy to hold or carry around, and it's not secure. All complete opposites to the Zaggfolio.
2. There is no automatic shut off for the iPad when you close the cover - this is such a BASIC iPad function, I don't understand why Belkin skipped it. The worst thing would be for you come back back to your iPad's dead battery because of this stupid case.
3. Did I mention that the one magnetic flap closure is flimsy?
4. The folio has 4 velcro spots that align with the keyboard to hold it on. This has issues all of it's own! First off, it doesn't even hold the keyboard very well, as I'm holding and moving the folio around, the keyboard keeps trying to fall out. Velcro is loud, so as you're trying to adjust and re-adjust your keyboard onto this folio in the meeting room or classroom, others are annoyed at how much noise you are making. Did I mention that the velcro does not hold the keyboard in securely? This may be a moot point anyways as we get to the next point...
5. If you have the keyboard in the folio as specified by the velcro - the iPad is too upright. In order to have a more comfortable viewing angle, you MUST remove the keyboard so that the stand can slide forward and give you a better angle. Once again - not a comprehensive unit. I might as well just have a protective and function folio + a separate keyboard - that would work much better than this arrangement offered here.
6. It's hard to put the iPad into the skinny sleeve. The folio sleeve is quite thin material and with the amount of force needed to squeeze and push the Ipad into it, I was wondering if something was going to tear or give. The material is so thin and flimsy with no supportive structure to it that it also offers the iPad no protection and it makes me very nervous to have it in there.
Bottom line - I hate the folio. Compared to the other Belkin folio (which I don't even like, but it's better than this one), and the Targus Slim Case (which I really do like a LOT) - I don't even understand how a folio can suck so bad. It doesn't offer any real protection or security and the keyboard keeps falling out of it. It's truly baffling to me why this folio is so bad.
This purchase is truly a mix between the best and the worst. The best keyboard. The worst folio. If were to keep this unit, I would keep the keyboard - try to find a protective case for it, and use it with my iPad in the Targus Slim Case. I really wish the Zaggfolio folk would fix their "delete" key and look at how Belkin did theirs. That would make the Zaggfolio just about perfect. When I'm not traveling, in meetings, or the classroom - I don't need the Zaggfolio - so I keep the iPad in the much easier Targus Slim Case. It would be easy to pull out the Belkin keyboard from a drawer and use it in these cases. Without a case for the Belkin keyboard, I won't be traveling with it, so it would stay at home for now. I would seriously keep the keyboard and try to find a case for it, then trash the folio. I'm not even sure I would be comfortable trying to sell the folio since I know how crappy it is.