Logitech Type-S Protective Keyboard Case for Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 [Review]
When it comes to productivity, no tablet is as good as the Surface Pro 3. Of course, that tablet also comes at a very high price. While the price is justified for a laptop or desktop replacement, it wouldn't make financial sense to purchase it as a companion to an existing Windows computer. Sure, you could go with a small-screen Windows tablet, but currently, app selection isn't too great (it is getting better though). In the mean time, an Apple or Android tablet would serve as a better companion.
In my testing, I have found the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 to be the current king of companion tablets, beating out the iPad Air. However, Samsung's tablet is very capable of creation too. In theory, you may be able to use it as your main computer. Logitech wants to help with that -- its Type-S keyboard cover turns the Galaxy Tab S into a mini laptop. But is it good?
For the most part, Logitech only releases quality hardware. Thinking back over many years, I cannot think of a complete dud in its large portfolio. The company is particularly skilled at making quality keyboard cases for the iPad. The Type-S transitions that same quality from Apple's tablet to Samsung's.
Upon removing the case from the box, you can immediately detect the care and thought that went into the design. Not only does it look good, but the materials feel good too. The outer shell is mostly wrapped in a pleasing fabric, but a faux-leather also adorns the rear. These two competing materials lend to a high degree of elegance.
When you open the book-like structure of the case, the innards are made up of a keyboard and an attachable arm for the tablet. Once the tablet is secured in the arm, it folds out and connects by magnets to secure it in an upright position. This leaves the keyboard laying flat in front of the user. Once you connect it by Bluetooth, you are off to the races.
The end result is a classic laptop form-factor sans trackpad. Rather than navigate with a pointing device, you would simply use the touch screen. This works very well, but muscle memory often causes me to search for a trackpad that simply does not exist. Over time though, I jumped that hurdle and acclimated well.
Of course, the star of the show is the keyboard -- the whole reason you would purchase such a productivity-based cover. It proves to be just about the size of a full-size keyboard, although some of the side buttons like Caps Lock and Shift are smaller than what I am familiar with. Number keys are small too.
Speaking of the number keys, the top row serves as function keys too. By holding the dedicated Function key and selecting a number key, you can launch an app or action, such as media controls or a web browser. Thankfully, the A and Caps Lock keys have been separated -- Logitech combined them in past cases and it was dreadful. Here, the company finally gets it right.
Typing works wonderfully and keys are generally where they are expected. I can sit for hours in a coffee shop with only the Galaxy Tab S 10.5 and the S-Type and I do not get hand cramps or fatigue.
Typing aside, the case feels very durable. When closed, I have thrown the tablet on my couch and bed and had it bounce off onto a hardwood floor (oops) on a few occasions with no damage. In an open position however, I wouldn't be confident in dropping it off of a desk. Of course, the same would be said for any laptop dropped in a similar scenario.
Based on 2 hours per day usage, Logitech claims 3 months battery life. Unfortunately, I do not have 3 months to test it, but in the few weeks I have been using it, it has never needed charging. Luckily, if it does, it uses a micro USB 2.0 port -- the same as the tablet. This means an additional cable does not have to be packed when traveling.
My only complaint is that the keyboard magnet attachment mechanism does not automatically shut-off the keyboard when separated. Similar iPad cases have done this. This means, in certain folded positions, you may hit the keys by mistake in a tablet mode as they remain active.
There is an easy solution for this though (besides just switching the power button to "off") -- don't use it that way! Rather than fold the keys around the back so that they are facing out, slide the tablet over the keyboard so that the keys are facing in, towards the back of the tablet. To use the on screen keyboard, you will still need to power off the Logitech keyboard though.
Overall, the $99 Type S is very good. It offers great protection and enhanced productivity. Compared to a similar setup with an iPad Air and keyboard case, the Samsung is much better. Why? You can run two apps side by side on screen, making it a much better laptop-replacement. If you own the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5, you should definitely invest in the Type-S -- it is awesome and very much recommended.