Review: Adonit Writer 2 Plus for iPad 2
2012 is quickly shaping up to be a good year for Adonit: not only has the company released the most precise iPad styluses we've tested in Jot and Jot Mini -- with more versions coming soon -- but it has also introduced an updated version of its earlier Writer keyboard case for iPads. Given that the market has been flooded with OEM keyboard cases, we previously gave the company credit for its unique and obviously self-designed product, though the execution was less than stellar thanks to overly small keys and a need to swap AAA batteries to keep them powered. Thankfully Adonit fixed virtually all of the prior version's issues and added a number of new features with Writer 2 Plus for iPad 2 ($100), a much-improved sequel that won one of iLounge's Best of Show Awards at this year's CES.
Most iPad keyboard cases are either leather or faux leather folios, usually with a somewhat ill-fitting frame that holds the tablet on the right while a rubber or plastic keyboard sits on the opposite side. The original Writer was different that it has a hard plastic frame to hold the iPad, a nice but obviously plastic fabric covering the outside, and a scissor action keyboard inside with comparatively great tactile feedback. Because the keyboard and frame are attached to one another with a hinge, you could slide the iPad into a number of different viewing angles.
The basic setup remains pretty much the same on this newest iteration. As before, the tablet fits in a plastic frame that is partially attached to Writer 2 Plus’s rear cover. It seems to be an identical frame, with a flat back that isn’t perfectly contoured to the curves of the iPad 2’s body, but pretty close. This time, instead of the plain black, you have a choice of colors. The hole along the right edge remains, making removal of the tablet incredibly easy; simply press through and the iPad pops right out. We continue to appreciate the auto-locking magnets in the front cover, which enable the iPad 2 to turn on and off as Writer 2 Plus is opened and shut. Because the keyboard is a little taller on this version, the folding point in the cover has been moved, enabling the lid to sit almost completely flat.
One of the most significant improvements is the keyboard itself. When using the original version, we commented that “our hands felt very cramped while using it, and our typing was consequently less accurate than on other models.” That is no longer the case with Writer 2 Plus. While the keys are still smaller than those on Apple’s Wireless Keyboard, they’re larger than on the first version and better spaced, while maintaining the great scissor action feel in an even thinner size. It’s still not perfect—you’ll still have a slight learning curve and a few mistakes as you learn to touch type with the keys, but it’s a big enough improvement on the prior version to make typing a lot easier. One downside: the power slider is located on the undercarriage of the keyboard and not labeled. If you follow Adonit’s directions, this may not be a problem, but the location’s otherwise not completely intuitive, especially since the Bluetooth sync button is on the top side of the keyboard.
Also new with this one: the keyboard is removable. A simple snap-in mechanism holds it in place, making it very easy to pull off when necessary. Rather than using AAA batteries, Writer 2 Plus runs on its own internal rechargeable battery pack that’s rated to last two weeks between charges. A Micro USB cable is included for charging, and when the case is closed, the keyboard automatically goes to sleep to help preserve battery life.
The fact that Adonit was able to so considerably improve upon its prior design is truly impressive, especially because it was able to maintain the same price point, and the end result is one of the best-looking and -feeling keyboard cases to date. In fact, Writer 2 Plus is currently the best option we’ve seen for the iPad 2 for the $100 asking price. As a worthy sequel to the pioneering original, Writer 2 Plus is very worthy of an A- rating. We’re truly excited to see what else Adonit has up its sleeve.