Review: Zagg’s iPad mini Bluetooth Keyboard Cover

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Zagg iPad mini Keyboard Cover (case with built in bluetooth keyboard) has just turned my iPad into a laptop. Right, I still can’t hack away in Xcode on coding one of my apps. Right, I can’t quite do a full fledge After Effects animation, either. But in most every other regard, we’re there.

Like most others, when I began using the iPad the day it came out, I knew this was going to rock. The only weakspot I found was typing longform. Mostly, the keyboard was good, and for the most part, I think it does an awesome job.

But I like writing some longer pieces. Even an article as short as this one can be a little tough using the built in keyboard.

So I tried using a few bluetooth keyboards. Most fell short in how the iPad was supported. Some didn’t even try, forcing me to prop it up with my legs or on a table with something. Ug. Others had some flimsy piece of plastic or fake leather that bent out to prop up the iPad. Ug.

But Zagg got it right with this one. The Cover (and apparently their Folio model is similar) has several high power magnets similar to Apple’s Smart Cover. The iPad mini snaps in with these magnets and is held very securely to the keyboard.

And here’s the kicker: the part with the magnets is a hinge very similar to the Macbook Pro line. So I can open the cover like a laptop and my iPad mini is held up just like a laptop screen would be by the hinge. Nice touch. It is a very solid feeling hinge and is rugged and sturdy to the touch.

Then when I’m done, the unit closes like a laptop so the keyboard is now part of the iPad screen cover. The additional magnets near the opposite side of the cover then automatically put the iPad to sleep and locks the unit in the closed position.

Pairing the Bluetooth keyboard with my iPad mini was straightforward. I was expecting to type in some numeric code to verify like I do with some other devices, but I just chose it in the settings and it paired. Simple.

I haven’t used it long enough to test the battery length. Zagg’s website says 3 months thanks to a built in sleep mode that kicks in after a minute or two of non-use. But I can say that they keys feel nice. Plus they have an LED backlight. Oh, and you can toggle through several different backlight color options. Nice touch.

The biggest downside I have seen with this keyboard/cover is the extra weight. They did a great job in keeping the weight down, but it does add a bit of solid weight to the iPad. When closed, it is flush with the iPad in size, just thicker and heavier. But for what I’m gaining, that’s a very reasonable tradeoff. It still fits easily in my inside jacket pocket.

It’s a great addition to a tool that is already a part of my required “don’t leave home without it” list. I’ve wanted a good reason to use my iPad as my main writing device and I think I can now make that jump without comprimise.

My laptop is going to have to try harder to convince me to bring it along when I run out for the day.

If you’re thinking about getting a keyboard for your iPad, I think Zagg’s iPad mini Keyboard Cover is a homerun.

Hi. I'm Scott Sullivan, a slave of Christ and husband to my awesome wife Angie. I'm an artist and writer, living in the beautiful countryside of Lancaster, Pa.

I recently published, Searching For Me, my first memoir. It’s about my adoption, search for my biological family, and how it affected my faith. Read about it here.