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Hands-on with the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover and Folio for iPad mini

Today we're going to take a look at two new products from accessory manufacturer Logitech. First, the company's Ultrathin Keyboard Cover, long a favorite for full-sized iPads, is now available in a US$79.99 iPad mini version. The company has also introduced the Folio Cover for iPad mini ($49.99), for those who want protection for their little iPad but don't need a keyboard.

Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for iPad mini

Like the full-sized model I reviewed last year, the Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for iPad mini is designed to provide a comfortable typing experience and also protect the screen of the device while in transit. It uses a magnetized strip on a hinge to snap to the iPad mini in the same manner that Apple's Smart Cover does, and even has the built-in magnets to turn the mini on or off when you open or close the "cover."

There's also a magnetized notch in the cover just above the keyboard where the left side of the iPad mini goes when you're using the keyboard. Once it is in place, the Ultrathin Keyboard Cover and iPad mini form a fairly solid unit -- very useful when you're banging away on the keyboard writing your next novel.

Bluetooth setup is amazingly easy with iOS 6 or 7, and there's a power switch on the side of the unit if you decide you'd like to stretch the battery life a bit more. To recharge the Ultrathin Keyboard Cover, there's a standard USB to micro-USB cable included. Logitech estimates six weeks of usage on one charge given two hours of daily keyboarding.

How does the keyboard feel when typing? Pretty good! I am a fast touch-typist and had no problems getting used to the layout of the keyboard. There's excellent tactile response, and the keys don't feel too cramped.

That being said, I compare most iPad mini keyboards to my current favorite -- the ZAGGkeys Folio Keyboard for iPad mini ($99.99). As you can see from one image in the slideshow for this post, the ZAGGkeys keyboard is much more spacious, which just eases typing even more. It also has a multi-colored backlight for night use.

The Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for iPad mini comes in black and white. At just 7.6 ounces (215.5 grams), it adds just a tiny amount of weight to a backpack or purse.

Conclusion

Logitech makes a full line of impressive iPad and iPad mini accessories, and the Ultrathin Keyboard Cover is a wonderful addition to the family. It is compact, complements the iPad mini perfectly, and offers quick removal of the cover when it's not needed.

Pros

  • Very fast Bluetooth pairing
  • Keyboard has a good feel for such a small size
  • Good battery life
  • Less expensive than other similar iPad mini keyboard cases
  • Matches the outside look of an iPad mini perfectly

Cons

  • Keyboard is cramped compared to some of the competition
  • No backlight in the keyboard
  • Back of the iPad mini is not protected

Who is it for?

  • The iPad mini user who wants a useful Bluetooth keyboard and some protection for the device screen

Folio for iPad mini

The Folio for iPad mini is strictly for protection; there's no keyboard in it although you can get the Ultrathin Keyboard Folio for iPad mini ($89.99) if you want protection and a keyboard. Available in black or red, the Folio has a nice cloth exterior and a smooth interior lining. The iPad mini is held in place by a clever plastic mount; it's quite easy to install and remove the iPad mini when needed.

The Folio also acts as a stand for the iPad mini in landscape mode, and features a hole for the rear-looking camera to peek out of. The weight of the Folio is just 6.8 ounces (192.8 grams), once again providing lightweight but sturdy protection to your iPad mini.

Conclusion

While it's not as fancy as some of the iPad mini cases we've reviewed in the past, the Folio for iPad mini provides solid protection at a reasonable price.

Pros

  • Easy to install and remove iPad mini
  • Cover material is quite rugged and should last for a long time
  • Price is reasonable
  • Very lightweight

Cons

  • Not the most high-fashion iPad mini case we've ever reviewed; it's rather plain-looking, in fact

Who is it for?

  • The person who is looking for a solid iPad mini cover that will last

Giveaway

It's time for iPad mini-toting TUAW readers to have a chance to win one of these two accessories courtesy of Logitech and TUAW.

Here are the rules for the giveaway:

  • Open to legal US residents of the 50 United States, the District of Columbia and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are 18 and older.
  • To enter, fill out the form below completely and click or tap the Submit button.
  • The entry must be made before September 15, 2013 11:59PM Eastern Daylight Time.
  • You may enter only once.
  • Two winners will be selected. One receives a Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for iPad mini valued at $79.99, while the other receives a Logitech Folio for iPad mini valued at (49.99)
  • Click Here for complete Official Rules.

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