We all have our favorite accessories for our gadgets. For some it’s as simple as their favorite case for their iPhone or Galaxy. For others, it’s their incredibly expensive Beats (insert any other brand here) headphones. For me, it’s an accessory to a piece of technology that I don’t even use that often: iPad 4th Generation. My iPad was given to me as a gift about 3 years ago. At first it was used quite a bit for media consumption. I would watch Netflix, play Flick Homerun, and surf the interwebz with it. But I quickly lost interest in the iPad because it is not a small gadget, and I had a tendency to get tired while holding it. Once the iPhone 6+ was released, my iPad was relegated to the corner of my desk and it sat there collecting dust for quite some time.
However, one night I was perusing through Amazon’s website, just looking at accessories for iPads and iPhones when I came across keyboard cases for the iPad. I Googled what the highest rated keyboard cases on the market currently were and was surprised to see a number of Logitech keyboards so highly rated. The one that really caught my eye was the Logitech Solar Folio Keyboard Case, for two reasons. Number one, this case did not require batteries to power the keyboard. It used a small solar panel located on the back of the case to charge the internal battery pack. Even better, this solar cell could be charged through ambient light, such as a lamp. The second reason this particular case caught my attention was its price. The average keyboard case for your iPad seemed to range from $80 to $180. The Logitech Solar Folio case was $40, shipped second day with Amazon Prime membership. So I had to try it.
The simple answer is that I love this keyboard case. I am amazed at how good the keyboard feels to type on. Logitech has long been one of the most trusted companies when it comes to making quality keyboards. The Solar Folio keyboard is a little cramped, like all iPad keyboard cases. But the keys have fantastic travel to them, and there is very little input delay when typing. More importantly, the keyboard does not miss key strokes. Some of the other keyboard cases on the market have weak mechanisms that can result in phantom presses, or completely missed key strokes. You will notice a slight delay when typing, but every key press registers and it is very possible to type at speed similar to a traditional wired computer keyboard. And because it uses solar energy, the keyboard will never run out of juice (as long as it has some form of a light source).
There are function keys on the top row, shared with the number keys, that add a good amount of value. Similar to a MacBook keyboard, you have keys for brightness, volume control, and even a home button that will return the iPad to its homescreen. But easily one of the best features of the keyboard case is it’s multi-position interface. When the iPad is positioned upright, the keyboard is used like any other keyboard on the market. But when the iPad is positioned in the second slot, increasing the viewing angle of the iPad, its turns the bottom row of keys into their own set of function keys designed specifically for media consumption. The arrow keys turn into volume keys. The spacebar becomes the play/pause button and the command keys become the forward and back keys for video or audio playback. A simple design choice, but a truly innovative and useful one.
The Logitech Solar Folio Keyboard case is not all perfect. It is rather heavy, especially compared to other competitors (some other Logitechs too) on the market. And the folding mechanism is a little clunky. There are magnets in the case that can wake and sleep the screen when the case is opened and closed. But I have found the case does not like to stay closed when in a bag and this will cause the iPad to turn on accidentally, wasting battery life. A simple change in the settings menu to turn off the smart lock feature remedied this shortcoming. The case is also pretty chunky, and far from the prettiest in the crowd. It easily doubles the weight (almost triples) of the iPad when mounted in the case. My new 12″ Retina MacBook is easily the more portable, light-weight choice if shear portability is the most important requirement for your machine. Finally, the design to hold the iPad in the case is a little flimsy. Many times, I’ve had to press the corners of the iPad back into their spots to keep the iPad from falling out (it never has actually come out of the case when in use).
Truth be told these shortcoming are minor annoyances. None of them truly detract from the typing experience found on this keyboard, and it is an absolute joy to use. I actually prefer the feeling of typing on this keyboard case than I do to the feel of typing on the new 12″ MacBook (though I do really like typing on it too). Currently priced at only $34, there is no better value for keybaord cases for an iPad 2-4th generation (sorry iPad Air users). The design is a little clunky, and it’s not the lightest choice out there. But the performance is 100% reliable, and I highly recommend you look into this as an inexpensive keyboard case to own.
As always, thank you for reading and please leave a comment.