Logitech FabricSkin Keyboard Folio for iPad Air
The FabricSkin folio has a spillproof faux-leather keyboard surface.
- Easily cleanable keyboard surface
- Offers fairly good protection
- Automatic on/off switch
- Shallow, marshmallowy keystroke
- Odd keyboard layout
- Stand only provides one angle
Perhaps not one for super-high-speed typists, but good for kids or multi-user use cases where its easily-cleaned keyboard surface would come in handy.
This keyboard folio has a single sheet of some kind of synthetic fabric as a keyboard surface, finished to a faux-leather texture between the keys and a smooth, plasticy finish on the keys themselves.
The single-membrane design, with just a tiny pinprick-hole above the 'delete' key for a status light, makes the keyboard water-resistant. It's not submersible, but will withstand the odd spill or brief exposure to the elements.
Keys have barely any travel, and are a little too marshmallowy for my taste with no clear 'click' on activation. Delineation between the keys is good, but I still found myself hitting the wrong key far more often than I'm used to.
The Keyboard Folio uses an interesting layout where the 'Tab' key is merged with 'Q', and 'Caps Lock' with 'A', allowing for wider alphabetic keys. Read just how annoying I found that in my Ultrathin Keyboard Folio for iPad Air review. It adds an unnecessary learning curve, and I'm unconvinced as to the benefit of the slightly wider keys it allows.
Connection is via Bluetooth, and the keyboard runs off an internal battery that's charged via a micro-USB port. I wish we could see a Lightning port so you could use the iPad Air's own cable for charging, but I can imagine the complexity and licensing involved would be more trouble than that small advantage would be worth.
The case holds onto the iPad via its top two corners, and has cutouts to allow you to reach the volume buttons, lock switch, and power button. There's also a cutout for the camera lens.
When typing, the bottom of the iPad (or the left-hand edge, if you think of it in portrait mode) magnetically latches on to the keyboard just above the number row, holding it upright in a typing position. It's a solid setup, and works well on a desk or other flat surface. I was able to balance it on my lap, though it wasn't quite as stable or comfortable.
Placing the iPad in typing position turns the keyboard on, and folding it over or closing the cover turns it off. The only button on the keyboard (well, except all the keys) is a tiny Bluetooth 'connect' button on the side next to the micro-USB port.
The case is 18.5mm thick – around 2.5 times the iPad Air’s 7.5mm, and weighs 425 grams – a little less than the Air’s own 469g, bringing the total weight to a manageable 894g.
Altogether, the FabricSkin Keyboard folio offers good protection and a resilient, easily-cleanable keyboard surface. I'm unconvinced by the key layout which so stunted my typing ability, but it's likely something that anyone could get used to in time.
Recommended for kids (e.g. with iPads used for school), or in multi-user settings (such as iPads used for surveys, mobile POS, registrations, etc) due to its easy-cleanable keyboard.
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