Review: Incase Keyboard Case for iPad Air 2
Incase's new Keyboard Case for iPad Air 2 ($150) is a bit of a curious product. At first glance, there's nothing strange or unreasonable about it. It's a Bluetooth keyboard case for iPad Air 2. But we've also just reviewed ClamCase's very similar ClamCase+ — and both ClamCase and Incase are owned by Incipio. Incase's Keyboard Case has the same rotating hinge as ClamCase+, allowing the iPad to be used for typing, video watching, or in "book mode" for standard use. The cases are also the same price, but a few key differences make the decision between the two clear to us. A micro-USB cable comes with Keyboard Case, and Incase claims the keyboard lasts for months on a single charge.
Keyboard Case has the same basic design as ClamCase+, but with a different look and feel. Incase’s offering uses a black matte exterior that carries inside to the keyboard itself — there’s no aluminum to be found here. Button coverage is present for the sleep/wake button and volume controls, and there are openings for the ports and camera.
The biggest differences between the two cases, however, are found on their respective keyboards. While we found that ClamCase+ had nice, properly springy, backlit keys, Incase doesn’t measure up. There’s a lack of backlighting on the Incase keyboard, but the bigger issue is the actual key feel. Keyboard Case’s keys feel higher, “chunkier” and floatier than we’d like. While the letter keys appear to be almost the exact same size as the ClamCase+ keys, the Incase key design makes them feel smaller. It’s not awful, but it’s certainly a cheaper feel than we expect from a $150 keyboard.
While it’s a bit strange to us to see two separate Incipio brand keyboard cases for iPad Air 2 in such a short period of time, most consumers will be oblivious — or simply won’t care — about that detail. What they should care about, though, is the difference in quality and ease of use. ClamCase+ feels like a premium keyboard case to us. Meanwhile, Incase’s Keyboard Case doesn’t offer the same bang for the buck, as its (non-backlit) keys don’t measure up to other top competitors. Keyboard Case isn’t bad overall, but if you’re intent on getting an iPad Air 2 Bluetooth keyboard case in this price range, other options are preferable…including, of course, the ClamCase+.