Hands-on with the Logitech FabricSkin Keyboard Folio iPad case

After using the new Logitech FabricSkin Keyboard Folio iPad case for the past two weeks, the pros and cons have become pretty apparent. This extended use has been important, as my impressions have changed over time. Overall, it is an impressive package and definitely worth considering.

At first glance, the materials look good, if not "expensive", and the textures seem well suited to their tasks. The case did feel pretty heavy, especially compared to my usual lightweight leather (non-keyboard) cover. The iPad snaps in fairly easily, and is very securely held. The rubber-like material that holds the device has a slight outer rim, that gives you good grip, but should also bend and provide some shock absorption in a fall. The outer fabric feels a bit like the nylon of a thick gym bag -- fairly smooth, but it is very grippable. The inner lining and keyboard covering have a smooth suede finish that feels great.

The unit has a built in battery, that is not user-accessible, which charges from a micro-USB port. An 18-inch cable is included.

Specs

  • Weight: 560 grams/1.25 lbs (about the same as an iPad 2)
  • Thickness (cover closed or folded): 21mm/0.825 in
  • Length: 25.5 cm
  • Width: 20cm
  • Price: $149.99
  • Product page

Typing

The keyboard has a fantastic feel with a nice level of key pressure and feedback. The key pressure required is about the same as my usual Logitech desktop keyboard, with similar key travel to most laptops. The microsuede feel is great as a surface.

Key positioning is also great with one (fairly major) exception. I find that I can type at pretty close to my full speed, and easily write longer pieces. Keys like shift and return are exactly where you expect them -- the former's location has been my big issue with my Verbatim keyboard, so this is a huge plus for something this compact. The one fault mentioned earlier is the lack of a tab key. The tab is achieved with the function and the Q keys. Because the former is also on the left side, it is pretty much impossible to get both while typing.

Comparing the size to my Verbatim, it is about 12mm narrower. The iPad form factor limits it to that, but it really doesn't feel cramped. Top to bottom height is almost identical.

Extended use impressions

I have become used to the weight after keeping the iPad exclusively in this case for the past two weeks. The heft is occasionally noticeable when holding it up at eye level to read, but otherwise, it is less of an issue than in the beginning. That said, for ongoing use, the case is heavy and I would probably just use it for out of the office days when I will need the keyboard.

The outer cover has proved to be very easy to clean, and seems like it will hold up for the long run. The inner lining is picking up dirt and already looks a little scruffy. Off-white might not be the best choice for this material, but black certainly would not go as well with the bright red cover. The blue and yellow cover versions have darker keyboards, which will probably show the dirt less.

Conclusions

Logitech FabricSkin Keyboard Folio for iPad, fabric exterior shotThey keyboard really is a joy to type on. And the fact that the whole package is so slim and easy to use makes it a great travel tool. If Logitech could make the case lighter, this could easily be a cover that people would leave on all the time, even if they seldom wanted the keyboard. It is clearly heavy, doubling the weight of your iPad when attached, but you are getting a lot for that weight.

I do wish there was a function key on the right. It might seem minor, but this would make filling in online forms and working on spreadsheets much more smooth. I'd be completely in love with the keyboard if Logitech could find a solution for that.

Given the reasonable price, the FabricSkin Keyboard Folio cover is definitely worth picking up if you ever use your iPad as a laptop-replacement, or even think you might want to do so.

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