Many opponents of the iPad use its sandboxed app ecosystem as an example of how the tablet is incapable of being used as a productivity device.
But over the past year or so, we’ve seen many app developers and accessory manufacturers attempt to turn the popular device into a laptop replacement. One of the best utilities for this purpose is the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover. Doubling as a hardy aluminum cover that matches the iPad’s brushed metal aesthetic, when flipped over the case reveals a full-sized Bluetooth keyboard.
Optimized with a row of function keys at the top, the keyboard supports a few actions, such as jumping to the Spotlight Search screen or controlling the music volume, that are usually only available on by entering the settings or mulitasking menu.
The case docks with the iPad via a small groove just north of the top keyboard row. It sits at a very comfortable angle, and I found it to be as close to optimal as I could ask for in a non-adjustable hinge. Once paired to the iPad, which is a task beyond simple, the keyboard works as any other — it is even compatible with devices other than the iPad (though you’ll likely need your own stand). We’re happy that Logitech decided to thicken the case slightly rather than create a shallow and problematic keyboard. The keys have excellent feedback, and working inside apps such as iA Writer, Drafts and Blogsy was a treat.
The keyboard itself lasts for around two weeks on a single charge with moderate daily use, though be sure to turn it off when storing. It charges via a microUSB cord, one of which comes bundled with the case. It charges quickly and silently.
The Ultrathin utilizes the iPad’s Smart Cover magnets to snap into place, so it opens and closes like a laptop. While it’s not light — the case weighs three quarters of a pound — with the iPad attached it mimics a light ultrabook at just under two pounds.
For avid writers, or just users looking for an alternative to the tempestuous onscreen keyboard, the Logitech Ultrathin Keycover Cover is a must buy. It is available for a reasonable $99.99 from Logitech’s website, and can be found for less at other retailers.