Logitech had several choices after releasing the best standalone Bluetooth keyboard for Apple’s devices — 2013’s Bluetooth Easy-Switch Keyboard: rest on its laurels, continue iteratively improving Easy-Switch, or focus on producing simpler, cheaper versions. Thankfully, it hasn’t been sitting around doing nothing: earlier this year, Logitech released a decidedly budget version called K480, and now it’s offering Keys-to-Go ($70), a smaller mid-range alternative that goes in a different direction.
Unlike model-specific keyboard cases or keyboard covers, Keys-to-Go is one of several Logitech keyboards to embrace the reality that new iPads may vary considerably in size from year to year and screen to screen. Billed as “for iPad” on its packaging, it’s device-agnostic in the sense that it can be Bluetooth paired to any iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch, and will work properly, but the footprint is clearly ideal for Apple’s tablets: at 9.5” wide and 5.4” deep, it’s only 6 millimeters thin — a near-perfect match for the iPad Airs in width, but shallower and thinner in a very bag-friendly way. It’s not much bigger than an iPad mini, yet it gives you a typing surface with all the same keys you’d find on Apple’s Wireless Keyboards, still managing to shave off around 1.6” in width, while adding a nearly imperceptible 0.2” in depth, and removing over 0.5” of thickness.
What’s under Keys-to-Go’s hood is impressive by standalone thin keyboard standards, albeit familiar to users of most modern keyboard cases. A rechargeable battery lasts for three months of regular daily use between charges, refueled with a packed-in micro-USB charging cable, something Apple somehow still hasn’t figured out how to offer in its own keyboards. Tiny power, pairing, and battery indicator buttons are seamlessly integrated into the right top edge of the case, alongside a micro-USB port. And despite the keyboard’s thinness, you can feel that the keys are clicking and responsive — at least, technically. Keys-to-Go also includes all of the iOS-specific function keys you’d expect above the numbers, letters, and symbols.
The love-it-or-hate-it element of Keys-to-Go is the material Logitech chose to cover everything from top to bottom. Based upon the company’s earlier FabricSkin Keyboard Folios, which we’ve found to be less than great, the material is red, blue, or black rubber that alternates between a pebbled matte texture for the top and a semi-gloss smooth finish for the bottom. Spill- and dirt-resistance are the key selling points for this material, a boon for users concerned about such things, but potentially off-putting for others who don’t like constantly feeling rubber under their fingers. The material feels even more conspicuously rubbery underneath. To our fingers, Keys-to-Go doesn’t feel worthy of a $70 asking price—the rubber is kind of cheap.
While the keys underneath Keys-to-Go’s rubber surface are decidedly more responsive than ones on the earliest, super-rubbery iPad keyboard cases, the material isn’t as tactile or as input-accurate as on common Logitech (or competitive) keyboards. Although we were able to type at nearly full speed with Keys-to-Go, we made more typing mistakes than we were accustomed to making on full-sized keyboards. The results were a little better than typing on a full-sized iPad or iPad mini in landscape mode, which isn’t great.
Judged against other iPad keyboard options, Keys-to-Go merits our limited recommendation. We wouldn’t recommend it to the average iPad user, since there are numerous other keyboards out there with better overall typing performance — and sometimes noticeably greater functionality — at comparable or slightly higher prices. Moreover, using an iPad with a keyboard really calls for an iPad stand or case with a stand, and Keys-to-Go’s $70 price tag leaves you only $30 to spare, if you consider the alternative of buying one of many very good to great iPad keyboard cases for $100. But if you’re particularly spill-prone or need something extremely thin to use as an alternative typing surface for your iPad, Keys-to-Go is now an option for you. It would have been easier to recommend at a lower price, or with a better-feeling material.
Company and Price
Compatible: All iPads, iPhones, iPod touches