Keyboards for Apple iPad Air 2

Keyboards for Apple iPad Air 2

Belkin Qode Ultimate Pro Keyboard Case for iPad Air 2

Price: $269

Weight: 490g

The Belkin Qode Ultimate Pro Keyboard Case for iPad Air 2 is actually an Apple iPad Air 2 case with a Bluetooth keyboard that doubles as a cover. This way, both the tablet's front and back are protected.

It is available in black and white (version tested).

This package does, however, add considerable bulk - 490g and 1.8cm - to the iPad Air 2.

The aluminium keyboard has backlit keys with three levels of brightness. It can connect to two Bluetooth devices (iOS or Mac) at the same time.

A micro-USB port at the back is for charging the battery. A full charge is supposed to last a year, even with continuous use.

Also at the back is a flap with a built-in magnetic strip which connects to the case's rear magnetic strips - vertical and horizontal.

So you slot your iPad into the sturdy but rather thick case, connect the case to the flap with the magnetic strips, and close the case to put the iPad to sleep. Open it and it will automatically wake the iPad.

If you are just reading, you may want to disconnect the case from the flap. The case has an opening on the left side, which allows you to use Apple's Smart Cover.

Two long magnetic strips behind the keyboard let you prop up the tablet with a 60-degree or 70-degree viewing angle, with the flap acting as support. The same magnetic strips let you change the orientation of the tablet from landscape to portrait.

The downside: The connection between the flap and case is quite loose and gets disconnected easily. So you need to take care when using the device with the case on your lap.

The backlight is bright and makes the keys easy to see. But in daylight, the white keys can be hard to read against a white surface. They also pick up dirt and scuff marks easily.

The keys are well spaced out and work almost like an Apple keyboard except that the Function and media-control keys are combined with the row of numeric keys. Key travel is not too deep but has enough tactile response for comfortable typing.

The keyboard can be paired with another Bluetooth device, say your iPhone. To toggle between the iPad and iPhone, just press the Function key and the Plus/Minus key.

All these features come with a hefty price tag. At $269, this is nearly twice the cost of Logitech's Ultrathin Keyboard Cover and $70 more than the Zagg Slim Book.

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