If you do a lot of typing on your iPad Mini, one of the best bluetooth keyboards available is the ZAGGkeys Cover Backlit Keyboard for iPad Mini. I thought that I experienced “typing heaven” with the Logitech iPad Mini keyboard case cover which I recently reviewed, however with the ZAGGkeys Cover Backlit Keyboard for iPad Mini I’ve achieved another level of bliss.
For those who don’t know Zagg, they’ve built up a name based on selling quality screen protectors and cases. I’ve been watching their rise to fame and highly respect their product development and commitment to innovation. As of late, they’ve also become renowned manufacturers of some of the best keyboards for iPads. In fact, they collaborated with accessories giant Logitech on an award winning iPad case in 2010.
With the ZAGGkeys Cover Backlit Keyboard, Zagg has continued to live up to its name of producing quality gadgets.
I’ve reviewed and owned many keyboards for iPads, but the ZAGGkeys Cover Backlit Keyboard for iPad Mini is now (was the Logitech, but not anymorea) the best I’ve tried. What makes it so good? Where do I start!?
Ergonomics and keys
Ok firstly, core to any great keyboard are of course its keys – importantly size, placement and feel. In terms of size, the ZAGGkeys Cover Backlit Keyboard for iPad Mini has the closest to full sized keys that I’ve seen on a keyboard designed for the iPad Mini. Where the Logitech iPad Mini Keyboard Case Cover had full sized alpha keys, the ZAGGkeys Cover Backlit Keyboard, has BOTH full-sized alpha and numeric (except for the “1″). For obvious reasons, the overalll typing experience is enhanced especially since their is another row of keys dedicated to functions.
One of the biggest gripes I had with the Logitech iPad Mini Keyboard cover was that I accidentally hit the Home key many times when in fact I was trying to type “1″. The “1″ and Home button were situated next to eachother. This has never happened with the ZAGGkeys Cover Backlit Keyboard for iPad Mini and I’m extremely happy!
With regards to the feel, it’s very similar to typing on a MacBook except the keys aren’t as hard (more of a rubbery material) and a bit more curved and cushioned. Over long periods, my hands don’t feel that tired which means the ergonomics are working.
Setup and Bluetooth Connection
Setup with the ZAGGkeys Cover Backlit Keyboard for iPad Mini was painless and quick. Simply slide the power switch to the “On” position then press the bluetooth pairing button. In seconds, the keyboard appears in the available bluetooth devices list and once selected pairs automatically. After closing the case, the bluetooth connection is back up in a matter of seconds. For those who use security PINs, you can use the ZAGGkeys Cover Backlit Keyboard for iPad Mini to enter in that PIN.
Design and Build
It’s very hard to build amazing accessories to match Apple products because Apple make their gadgets to look so good! Although the ZAGGkeys Cover Backlit Keyboard for iPad Mini by many standards is above average in its build and design, when you compare the iPad Mini’s precise brushed metal edgings you can really tell the difference in terms of workmanship. With the ZAGGkeys Cover Backlit Keyboard for iPad Mini the finish just isn’t as slick as Apple’s. Nonetheless, the quality and the make of the keys mostly complement the look of the iPad Mini. My only other gripe, although it hasn’t been a really issue, is that I would have liked Zagg to incorporate some rubber feet into the case instead of providing the rubber feet stickers. After placement, mine fell off in 2-3 days.
When it closes, it automatically puts your iPad Mini to sleep with the inbuilt smart magnets. Only by looking close up can you distinguish which is the iPad Mini or ZAGGkeys Cover Backlit Keyboard for iPad Mini when shut. Its binder design allows you to tilt the iPad Mini to a good range of angles which is perfect for watching movies in bed to typing reviews or notes like I am now!
The ZAGGkeys Cover Backlit Keyboard for iPad Mini at 306 grams, it’s a little bit more heavier than the Logitech iPad Mini Keyboard Cover which weighs 208 grams – this is mostly due to the solid binder design iPad holder but it augments its ability to stay firmly planted on the table while typing. I’m using it right now 30,000 feet in the sky, on the notoriously slippery tables in Cathay Pacific economy and it’s not budging!
Functionality – I love the choice of backlight colors!
One of the coolest features of the ZAGGkeys Cover Backlit Keyboard for iPad Mini are seven different backlights you can choose from: white, dark blue, light blue, green, yellow, red and purple. With each there are three levels of brightness to choose. And of course you can opt to have it without backlight. Personally I like the white and light blue. Goes well with the white iPad Mini and white ZAGGkeys Cover Backlit Keyboard for iPad Mini combo.
Other cool functions are the battery indicator which tells you whether or not your keyboard needs juice and as mentioned before the whole top row of keys are dedicated to iPad Mini functions such as Home, Siri, Music and volume to name a few.
Lastly the ZAGGkeys Cover Backlit Keyboard for iPad Mini is charged via a micro USB port. By having a built in battery this keeps the form-factor slim and light. Also micro USB devices are very common these days so it’s easy to borrow one to use if your keyboard is low on charge. So far I’ve found the keyboard battery to last for around 3 weeks with constant everyday use.
What I liked about the ZAGGkeys Cover Backlit Keyboard:
- Sleek design that complements the iPad Mini
- Separated function keys from numbers row
- Full size alpha and numeric keys
- Choice of 7 backlights
- Battery indicator function
- Solid build that prevents the keyboard from sliding
- Good ergonomics – soft and rounded keys
- Ability to tilt the iPad Mini up to – ANGLE
- Folds into a protective cover for the iPad Mini
- Micro USB charging
What can be improved with the ZAGGkeys Cover Backlit Keyboard:
- Build in rubber stoppers / feet into the case instead of providing rubber stickers that fall off
- Refine the metal finish on the sides to match the iPad Mini’s
- Better integration with email and messenging apps – e.g. being able to delete mail with delete button and send via send button or combination of buttons
Mr.Gadget rating: 8.5/10
Available now at Zagg: http://www.zagg.com/ipad-mini-cover/7979
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