Review: Solid Line Products RightShift Keyboard Case for iPad 2
We've tested quite a few keyboard cases for the original iPad, and not surprisingly, many of them have since been redesigned to fit the iPad 2. For the most part, manufacturers seem to have been satisfied with their original designs, and Solid Line Products' RightShift ($99) is a continuation of one we've seen before -- it's almost identical to the previously-reviewed Accessory Workshop tyPad Gen II Case + Wireless Keyboard for the original iPad. But it does have a few differences worth noting below.
RightShift comes from a family of keyboard cases that all look and work mostly the same—tyPad Gen II, Sena Cases’ Keyboard Folio, and Kensington’s KeyFolios all use the same general keyboard and are likely made in the same factory. Here, the folio-style case is made of padded faux leather that feels fine, but it’s certainly synthetic. A flap on the left side is used to hold the case shut and also functions as a wrist rest, just as with tyPad Gen II. It uses magnets rather than the Velcro we have previously seen, but they notably aren’t used to trigger the screen lock feature of the iPad 2. The flap does cover the rear camera when closed, but when the case is open, there’s no obstruction.
The keyboard works generally as it’s supposed to; it properly connects to an iPad 2 to become a physical replacement for the tablet’s on-screen virtual keyboard. Bluetooth wireless pairing is a very easy process. As with the other cases, it uses a “link” button that puts it into discoverable mode. The iPad 2 recognizes the accessory almost instantly, and requires only a four-digit pairing code to complete the syncing. A rechargeable battery inside provides 90 hours of continuous typing, falling into a low-power sleep mode when not in use; you recharge the battery with an included cable.
By comparison with tyPad Gen II, some of the keys have been rearranged—for the better, in our opinion. The number row has narrower minus and backspace keys that make room for a plus key. Moved from the bottom row are the backslash and quotation keys, the former to the right edge of the third row and the latter between the colon and enter keys. Although they are smaller than most people will be used to, the positions are much better, especially for touch typists. We had no major issues with keys sticking or missing inputs, which was a real positive for a rubber-style keyboard.
On the other hand, the keyboard did not sit quite flat. It was slightly rippled in the center, as if not adhered properly to the base; although this had no effect on how it worked, we noticed that it was being held down at the edges with simple glue. A more aggravating issue is that the power switch is extremely small and recessed; it’s almost impossible to move without long fingernails, which could be a problem for some people.
Although we appreciate that Solid Line Products rearranged the keys a bit with RightShift, it is substantially the same case as tyPad Gen II. Though we preferred the magnets used here, the less impressive power switch, waved keyboard, and lower-quality faux leather limit what might otherwise be a higher rating; it merits a flat B and general-level recommendation. Little improvements in these regards could have made this a clear winner over similar rivals.