When the original iPad debuted four years ago, we pegged keyboard cases as a critically important accessory category — the bridge between tablets and laptops. Despite Apple’s insistence that people would eventually prefer typing on virtual keyboards, the iPhone demonstrated that tiny glass surfaces with zero feedback were no match for physical keyboards in comfort or accuracy; even the iPad’s larger screen wasn’t optimal for serious typing. So we’ve seen hundreds of keyboard cases since then, including two we’re reviewing today for the iPad Air: Logitech’s Type+ ($100) and Touchfire’s Case and Keyboard for iPad Air. To say that these keyboard cases take different approaches would be a grand understatement: Type+ is the latest evolution of a traditional Bluetooth keyboard case, while Touchfire’s option instead uses a sheet of rubber that’s claimed to be “better than Bluetooth.” Neither is great, but Type+ does a far better job overall.
Type+ is the fifth Logitech keyboard we’ve tested for the iPad Air. The company earned our high recommendation for the Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for iPad Air, a strong general recommendation for the less polished earlier version of the same product, and lower marks for two keyboard case options, the water-resistant FabricSkin Keyboard Folio and the more conventional Ultrathin Keyboard Folio. Type+ effectively mixes the outside of FabricSkin with the newer Ultrathin Keyboard Cover, while giving the typing surface a little extra surface area.
Extra space matters for keyboard cases, now more than ever. Every time Apple releases a new and smaller iPad, keyboard case makers struggle to shoehorn as much typing functionality as they can into narrower, iPad-matching physical keyboards. At the current height of the iPad Air, that shoehorning typically forces some keys to shrink, get chopped in half, or disappear entirely. Type+ defies convention by giving the keyboard 10 full inches of width, enough to replicate Apple’s standard keyboard with only slight compromises.
Edge keys such as delete, return, shift, tab, and caps lock are a little narrower, but not enough to impact typing; everything else is left basically intact. Type+‘s keyboard is actually a little more generous in space than the second-generation Ultrathin Keyboard Cover we loved earlier this year, with nice matte-finished keys and a glossy plastic border. Within two minutes of starting typing on Type+, we were blazing away at full speed, with only the slightly-too-square corner radiuses of the keys as a modest demerit.
Just like FabricSkin, however, the case portion of Type+ is only okay. It’s effectively a single piece of ballistic nylon-coated cardboard that wraps around the plastic keyboard and your iPad Air, with holes cut out for the iPad’s rear camera and mic, plus simple plastic clips to hold the iPad’s right side corners in place. Although the nylon is pitched as water-resistant, there’s no protection on Type+‘s edges for the keyboard or your iPad. When closed, the combination might survive an accidental spill, but the case won’t protect against more serious water intrusion.
Type+‘s single biggest asset is the elegant way its components are integrated. Hidden magnets borrowed from the Ultrathin Keyboard Cover serve three purposes, automatically locking/unlocking your iPad’s screen, creating a rigid reclining viewing angle, and powering the keyboard on and off. Apart from simple initial Bluetooth pairing and the need to recharge the keyboard once every three months with an included micro-USB cable, there’s nothing else to fuss about with Type+. It just works, and works well.
Overall, Logitech’s Type+ merits our B+ rating and strong general recommendation: it’s basically a better, right-priced combination of Logitech’s last two iPad Air keyboard cases, at this point lacking more for edge protection than anything else. If you’re willing to accept its obvious limitations in protection, you’ll almost certainly love typing on the keyboard, and the ease with which it becomes ready to use when you need it.
Company and Price
Compatible: iPad Air