Anker’s TC980 Keyboard Case for iPad Air ($80) is similar to some other keyboard cases we’ve seen before, but like many of the company’s products, including its TC930 Bluetooth Keyboard Cover, comes in at a lower price. The faux leather case holds the tablet inside its right cover — the tablet is kept in place with small segments of plastic that leave most of the perimeter exposed. On the opposite side is the Bluetooth keyboard, with mechanical plastic keys. Charging via USB with an included cable, the battery is slated to last for six months per charge.
From the outside, TC980 is about as plain as cases come. The front is a flat sheet of black with no markings. Flip over to the back, and it’s pretty much the same, save for one dividing line down the middle that allows it to switch to typing mode, and there are holes for the camera and rear speaker. Inside that rear cover, there are four separate pieces of rubber and plastic to hold the tablet. There’s a 2.75” piece along the iPad’s right edge, 1.75” before the Sleep/Wake button, a segment around the corner, and one longer piece at the bottom right corner. While it offers more coverage than a cover, such as TC930, it’s a disappointing amount of protection for a case.
The keyboard in this case is identical to that on TC930. We compared that model to Logitech’s original Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for iPad Air—notably not the superior model that has been released since, a new benchmark. The keys on this one are almost identical to the first model from Logitech, with an almost identical layout of five rows of keys — iOS-specific functions are combined with the numbers across the top, and Bluetooth pairing is mapped to Fn-C. Thankfully, the apostrophe and question mark keys are full-sized here, as opposed to half-width on the first Ultrathin Keyboard Cover. This means that there’s little to no chance of missing them when typing without looking. Overall, we found typing to be great. We were instantly able to touch-type, making no mistakes. The chiclet keys feel absolutely solid, travel a nice distance, and provide pleasant tactile feedback. It’s not quite as great as the newer Logitech, but it’s still pretty good.
While we like the keyboard, and appreciate that there’s some protection here, there’s not enough of a case here to make the product truly great. TC980 earns our general recommendation for its low price and comfortable typing. With a more protective border inside, it would be a better option, and the new Ultrathin Keyboard Cover has really raised the bar for what an iPad Bluetooth keyboard can be. That being said, this is still a pretty good option.
Company and Price
Model: TC990 Keyboard Case
Compatibility: iPad Air