Type Cast: The 8 Best iPad Keyboard Cases

Aug 19, 2015

Category: Tech

If you enjoy swiping and pinching away, or only use your iPad for the most basic tasks, then you’re probably not going to need a keyboard case to improve your productivity. On the other hand if you do any writing, editing, or real work on your tablet, you’ll quickly become discouraged with the little on-screen keyboard, which can lead to Airborne iPad Syndrome (AiPS) when you fling it across the room in frustration. Emailers, wordsmiths, and writers of all kinds need a real piece of hardware to make their words come to life.

Picking the perfect keyboard case is about two factors: The keyboard utility and the casing itself. Having a dynamite keyboard that is sensitive and responsive, works wired or with Bluetooth, and is big enough that it functions but small enough to avoid getting in the way is great. If that same keyboard can’t protect your device or even itself from harm while riding in your travel backpack, then it’s a bust. We weighed size, reactivity, comfort, and ease of use against style, form, and protective capability. What we came up with is the 8 best iPad keyboard cases for (nearly) any iPad model.

Anker Folio Keyboard Case

Anker Folio Keyboard Case

Pro: Very strong magnet closure
Con: Case can interfere with certain iPad accessories
Best For: iPad 2-4, Air / Air 2

Entry Point: Here’s your bare bones keyboard case for the person that just wants it to work without adding anything special or detracting from the overall experience. True, the keys are not going to be as big as some, so expect to feel a bit crowded if you aren’t a resident of The Shire, but otherwise this works without a hitch. Your iPad fits in snugly to the polycarbonate inner case and is double protected by the synthetic leather on the exterior. The backside offers innumerable viewing angles from bolt upright to a 45 degree angle. Bluetooth syncs without fuss and engages the wake/sleep for plenty of power saving goodness.

Purchase: $40+

Logitech Ultrathin

Logitech Ultrathin

Pro: Works for larger hands
Con: Lacks function keys
Best For: iPad 2-4, Air / Air 2, Mini

Less is More: Whichever iPad you have, so long it is 2nd Gen or later, there’s an Ultrathin to tickle your fancy. We found the low profile design didn’t detract at all from the comfort of using the keyboard and offered fairly standard protection for the screen, but little else. this isn’t even a folio style since it just clips on to your iPad. That can be useful if you just want a magnetic accessory that can stick and move without much hassle, but the minimalist makeup won’t give your tablet any fat to cushion it from even basic blows. Made with brushed aluminum it maintains the simple aesthetic while non-slip feet keep your tablet from slipping away.

Purchase: $56+

Logitech Type Plus

Logitech Type+

Pro: Low-profile keys
Con: Minimal viewing angle adjustments
Best For: Air / Air 2

Fantastic Folio: Not everyone wants their beloved case to turn their tablet into a laptop clone. Some prefer the thinner folio style cases that add keyboard functionality without increasing heft. The protection on the Type+ is more geared toward keeping scrapes and scratches from reaching your screen than guarding against drops onto hard concrete, but with the padded lip around the edge of the iPad, you’ll get a slight buffer from harder hits. One of the sharpest Bluetooth keyboards you can get, the Type+ has included Tab and Caps Lock keys, which are sorely lacking in other models. Concave key shape also facilitates quick touch typists.

Purchase: $96

Zagg ProFolio Plus

Zagg ProFolio+

Pro: Massive, comfortable keys
Con: Case has closing and sealing flaws
Best For: iPad 2-4

Strike Anywhere: In a world littered with folio-style keyboard cases, there’s one primary reason that you should snap up this bit of kit: the keys. We’ve jammed our dainty digits into all kinds of cramped positions and executed a multitude of finger-gymnastics to get functions to work, so when we find a case where the keys feel big enough to actually use without tons of typos, we celebrate. Don’t let the trim, lightweight body tell you tales of weakness, it’s sturdy as a Budweiser Clydesdale, lovely as a Montblanc fountain pen, and works wonders. Just know that the hinge and latches on the case are far from stellar.

Purchase: $100+

ZAGG Rugged Book

ZAGG Rugged Book

Pro: Magnetic hinge allows for tablet separation
Con: Heavy
Best For: Air / Air 2, Mini

Shieldbearer: Do you live the action camera lifestyle, where everyday is an extreme adventure? Probably not, but you probably know the heartbreak of bumping your case only to have your iPad’s screen crack. That’s why the Rugged Book is here. Made for the Air, Air 2, and the Mini, this uses a layered combination of polycarbonate, stainless steel, and silicon rubber to make your case a certified badass. Fans of the Otterbox line of iPhone 6 cases will see some tendrils of similar DNA here as protection is paramount. But that isn’t to say the beautiful backlit keyboard isn’t a show stopper in its own right.

Purchase: $113+

ClamCase Pro

ClamCase Pro

Pro: Automated sleep mode and auto-on when closed/opened
Con: Cannot remove tablet easily
Best For: iPad 2-4, Air / Air 2, Mini

Laptop Maker: With versions to suit all comers, the ClamCase Pro is (as you may have guessed) the clam case of note for anyone who wants an a keyboard case that allows your tablet to act like a laptop. It folds fully 360 degrees in the event you want your tablet to behave like a tablet, but will also give the screen full support at any angle so you aren’t limited to hunching so you can see the screen. The shell is your choice of aluminum, polycarbonate, or a soft touch model that lets you pick your poison.

Purchase: $129+

Belkin QODE Ultimate Wireless

Belkin QODE Ultimate Wireless

Pro: Can be used in landscape or portrait
Con: Magnet closure is fairly weak
Best For: Air / Air 2

Air Exclusive: There’s nothing cutsie about the QODE Ultimate case. It is all business from its aircraft grade aluminum backing to the sleek black or white exterior with magnetic closing flap. This is ideal for the person who likes to switch from tablet to keyboard use since the case breaks apart with one section traveling with the tablet when detached from the keyboard. Rubber feet protect the screen from the keys and can be used with the Smart Cover technology for automatic wake/sleep functionality. Has exactly the same number of keys as a standard laptop so you won’t lose a stroke.

Purchase: $130+



Pro: Absolutely gorgeous
Con: Expensive
Best For: iPad 2-4, Air / Air 2

Apple Clone: We imagine that were Apple ever to make a decent iPad keyboard case, it wouldn’t be able to trump the sheer beauty of BrydgeAir’s line. The cases look like they are Apple made and create a MacBook feel from the chiclet keyboard to the aluminum backing. With your choice of silver, space grey, and gold (for the bragging MacAddict in your house) they ooze professional quality from every surface. Backlit black keys comprise the actual typing surface and they work as sharp and precisely as they look. The bottom is weighty, adding to the laptop feel and allowing you to use it on your actual lap, even while adjusting the screen.

Purchase: $169+

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