[Personal] Review of ZAGGmate (Bluetooth Keyboard/Case)
As promised, here is my review of the new ZAGGmate, a Bluetooth keyboard/case combo for the iPad. It's going to be long, so be prepared (or skip it). The short review: Me likes and it's a welcome addition to my iPad! The long review:
Starting off, I have to give ZAGG points for presentation. This keyboard is a nice piece of kit! It seems very well put together; the keys are firm and very responsive. The iPad fits snugly into the case when I want to use it as a cover. I don't feel it'll drop out and I for sure feel that it's protected when it's in the case. I like to use my iPad "naked" and, when it's not in the case - or when I'm not typing something - I can just carry the iPad. No extra covers... Very good. We'll see how snugly it continues to fit as I use it, but so far, so good. I did buy a ZAGGskin for the back of the iPad, given that now it's just "hanging all out there."
I was a little concerned over a plastic keyboard constantly touching the glass of my iPad, but it's not. There are three higher areas of the keyboard that actually touch the iPad face (the keyboard is recessed further than these areas). These areas are covered with this soft rubbery-like stuff (scientific terms here!). The point is, only those soft bits are touching my precious baby. One concern alleviated.
The keyboard came with a cable for charging. It had a mini-USB at one end (to go into the ZAGGmate) and a regular USB connection at the other end. It did not come with an actual AC connector, so you'll have to plug it in to your PC/Mac or a powered USB hub. Fortunately, I had a spare AC/USB connector, so I was able to plug it right in for recharging. Granted, I guess you could use the iPad's connector. I guess including a regular AC adaptor wouldn't have made such a nice sllm package on the shelf. But still...
I noticed some people were worried about the edge of the keyboard cutting into, or bothering the wrists. I don't find that to be a problem. I am a touch typist and if I hold my hands properly, they don't even touch the front of the keyboard. When I get lazy and rest my hands, I'm still not bothered by the lip in front. The cutaway is just enough.
The keyboard paired right up with the iPad on first start. You get directions for that and they work great. Now that it's paired to the iPad, I leave the Bluetooth on [the iPad] and turn off the keyboard when I'm not using it. Then, when I turn on the keyboard, it automatically pairs up with the iPad. I'll have to see how keeping the Bluetooth on affects my battery. I'm not worried, though, as I plug the iPad in nightly. It's now 7pm and my iPad/Bluetooth have been on since 6am this morning - I have 47% battery left. Worse comes to worse, I'll just turn off Bluetooth when I turn off the keyboard.
Some neat features:
- The function keys! There are some specifically set up to 1) operate the home button (including the doubletap to switch apps), 2) open the search function, 3) start a slideshow, 4) hide/show the iPad keyboard, 5) darken the screen - and make it come back again (just like the sleep button), 6), 7) & 8) volume up, down & mute, 9), 10) & 11) play/pause, previous/next track and 12) international keyboard toggle. Very handy, having these keys. And, they work just as if you are using the iPad controls.
- The arrow keys are neat. *The keyboard has up, down, left and right. And, not only are they fully functioning, they also help to copy/cut/paste. No more little magnifying glass when using this keyboard. Oh, and no two-finger swipe in a dialog window ... can just use the arrow keys. Nice! :)
- You can also use some keyboard shortcuts, such as those for copy and paste. It appears as if they are based on Mac shortcuts, which I'll have to learn (Cmd C = copy, cmd V= paste). There are more, I'm just not familiar with them (I've never had a Mac/Apple product until this iPad...).
- The plastic hinge to prop the iPad works as expected, but I don't really like it. For one, it props the iPad up on a higher angle than I'd like, though that may make some people happy. Plus, when the iPad is fitted into the slot, it just feels as if I am closed in. It's hard to describe, but it kind of puts me off balance. I'll just continue to use my cheap wire rack holder-thingy. 'Sides, I like that I can have the iPad on the table (or tiny school desk) while I have the keyboard in my lap, typing. Don't get me wrong, it appears to be very stable while propped up in that keyboard slot. And, I've just tried typing in my lap ... which is fine. Which leads me to the next point,
- The iPad is VERY stable in this little slot. It doesn't look it from the pictures, but it's not really going anywhere. I had the keyboard flat on my lap with the iPad in the slot. I then tilted the whole set-up back and only when I reached a 45 degree angle did I start to worry whether the iPad was going to stay in place (yes, I had my hand behind it ... I ain't stooopid! :D). But, that was one of my worries, which appears to be unfounded as it seems very secure. Yay!
I'm sure I'll find out more of what this keyboard can do as I go along. One thing is, the Delete key is actually a backspace key and I can't find a Delete function (where you can delete text to the right of the cursor). It's early days yet, maybe it's there. It would've helped if ZAGG had included a bit more than the rudimentary instructions they did, but that's okay. The arrow keys (and, of course, my finger!) make not having a real Delete key no big deal. The other thing is figuring out the key shortcuts ... which are Mac-centric. I've got a bit of a learning curve here...
Overall, I am 99% thrilled I got this thing. The other 1% is from trying to work a new keyboard (STILL hitting Ns for Bs! - and the space bar is hard to activate). I'll bet that once I a) break it in or b) get used to it, my satisfaction will jump up to 100%. It's that good. I've also got my expirimenting to do to see what exactly this thing/can will do. Looking forward to continuing to play with/use it. Bottom line- I'm in love!
I cannot recommend this case highly enough. This is a perfect solution to my desire for a case, a keyboard and to use the iPad [mostly] naked. I am very pleased and would buy it all over again. Now, I am off to buy a ZAGGskin for the back of the cover/keyboard so I don't scratch up that pretty aluminum. Buying a protective cover for a protective cover. Now that's just SAD ... :D
Let me know if you have any specific questions and thanks for reading to the end. Have a great day/evening!