Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Mini for iPad Mini [Experience]

logitech_ultrathin_keyboard_mini-2I’ve wanted to get a keyboard case for my iPad Mini ever since I first bought the Logitech Keyboard Case for the iPad 2 second hand, so I’m excited to get my hands dirty with the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Mini, which utilizes their new Smart Cover style keyboard case. With the need to accommodate the smaller screen size of the Mini, the keyboard still manages to cramp all the standard keys of a normal sized keyboard as well as fit in arrow keys and function keys, of course at a small cost of particular button sizes.

I’m actually writing this review on my Mini with the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Mini and I can say my initial thoughts about the aesthetics are amazing; clean, simple, and functional. On the other hand though, actually using it to type this review is having it’s road bumps. As an example, without using the backspace at all (even though the delete key is quite small itself):

I’
m typing this sentence with tie Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Mini on the iPad nini.

Actual sentence: I’m typing this sentence with the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Mini on the iPad Mini.

Not too bad?

Hardware:

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Let’s start off with looking at the physical design of the keyboard. It uses a magnet to attach onto the side of the iPad Mini and includes a magnet to wake and sleep your iPad Mini, just like the Smart Cover from Apple. Buttons outside of the actual keyboard include an on/off switch and a Bluetooth pairing mode button which is used to connect to the iPad Mini. There are 2 LED indicators, one for Bluetooth and the other for battery status. The dock that holds the iPad mini also includes magnets to create a tight fit. It only allows for 1 angle (about 75 degrees from the table), both in portrait and in landscape. It uses a micro usb (provided) to charge as well.

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A potential problem is with the backside of the case, where it may be scratched due to being in contact with table surfaces, but what seems to be a anodized black metal material (almost similar to what the iPad Mini’s back case is made of), it feels like it’ll last in the long term. It does seem prone to fingerprints, if you’re the type to have sweaty hands, it will show up on the backside, but nothing a simple cleaning cloth can’t get rid of.

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Do be aware that this isn’t technically a case, like the Smart Cover, it only protects your screen, so the back of your iPad Mini is still left open. This shouldn’t be a problem though, since the iPad Mini’s backside is already pretty sturdy.

Keyboard:
The keyboard fits in almost all the keys of a normal keyboard, with some exceptions.

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The Good:

  • The keys are well spaced out and provides a good responsive clicking feedback
  • Provides function keys: Home, Lock, Search, Keyboard Language Selector, Photos, Skip/Reverse Song, Play/Pause, Mute, and Quieter/Louder
  • Provides number keys, cmd, alt/option/ctrl/fn keys for shortcuts, both left and right shift keys, and arrow keys
  • Works great in combination with BeeKeyboard and BTC Mouse & Trackpad tweaks to create the ultimate portable workstation replacement for a laptop, providing keyboard shortcuts such as cmd + tab to switch applications and other custom keyboard shortcuts, as well as an external bluetooth mouse to use for more precise selection
  • Long spacebar

The Bad:

  • Tab and Caps Lock key are shared with the Q and A respectively to save space, this means you will have to hold the fn + Q or fn + A to access these functions, which can slow you down your workflow
  • To keep the size of the letters keys reasonable, it comes at the cost of the [ ] \ ; ‘ keys being squished, which may make reaching them troublesome, as I was planning to use the keyboard to code (in HTML, CSS, and JS), this may be a problem
  • Due to the lack of the actual Tab and Caps Lock key, it does take a little bit of usage before you realize you have to shift your hand position over to the left one key to hit the right keys
  • The Delete key is made quite small, but since it’s positioned right at the corner, it makes it a littler easier not to miss

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Conclusion:

So after writing this review completely on the keyboard itself, it turns out to become really comfortable and easy to use once you get a hang of it, and as you can see, getting a hang of it is simply writing a few paragraphs with it. The case fits on the iPad Mini very nicely and the colour scheme is almost an exact match which makes the keyboard almost look like it was made by Apple!

I can see myself utilizing this accessory in the long run, and replacing my MacBook Pro, especially with my BTC Mouse & Trackpad tweak which allows me to use an external mouse. Definitely check that tweak out and support the developers by buying the tweak! This is definitely a recommended buy for anyone who blogs or writes a lot.

Since this is basically a full fledged keyboard, all the bad points I’ve listed above basically require you to get a hang of. I’m very keen on keyboard shortcuts, so I can see myself getting used to hitting the fn key to reach the built in shortcuts as well as my custom shortcuts with BeeKeyboard tweak.

I got this at my local Staples for a final price of $80, this is after a $10 off coupon is applied, so it’s not the cheapest accessory out there. I wouldn’t usually spend that much on an accessory, but for something this functional, I’m paying $80 to lighten my load from the MacBook Pro!