ZAGG ZAGGmate £72
7th Mar 2011 | 12:00
Better than the iPad on-screen keyboard?
Though the iPad's on-screen keyboard is actually remarkably usable, lots of people pine for a 'proper' physical keyboard for entering large amounts of text. You could opt for Apple's Bluetooth keyboard paired with a stand of some kind, or choose a keyboard-and-case combo.
This offering from ZAGG is basically a Bluetooth keyboard recessed inside a metal tray lined with high-density foam to provide a modicum of drop protection.
You can use it as a case by pushing your iPad in face-down, and then when you want to type, a worrying flimsy plastic stand flips up to support the iPad in portrait or landscape orientations.
The Bluetooth connection works great. We couldn't exhaust the battery, and, if it all feels a bit cheap compared to Apple kit, the build quality is serviceable. And yet while there are some nice touches (dedicated Home, brightness, playback, volume and other keys, plus the fact that Mac-standard keyboard modifiers work to navigate around your text) the overall experience is no more than competent.
The lips of the case tray interfere with hitting characters at the edges, with a bar at the front often blocking your thumb hitting the space bar altogether. Plus, it's pricey.
Still, it does work, and reasonably well, so it gets a three-star rating – a guarded recommendation to buy.
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