Save for the name stamped into the palm rest and some missing Velcro, Luxa2’s faux leather SlimBT Bluetooth Keyboard ($59) is the exact same — presumably OEM — model that iLuv previously used as a component of its iCK826 Professional Case with Bluetooth Keyboard for iPad 2. The big difference is that Luxa2 sells the keyboard as a standalone component, unattached to any sort of case, while offering it for less than half of iLuv’s price. iLuv used Velcro on the underside to keep it connected to the folio-style case, but SlimBT has no need for that, so all you’re getting here is the wireless, battery-powered keyboard and an included USB charging cable.
In our review of iLuv’s case, we raved about the quality of the keyboard, stating that at the time it was “the best we’ve yet seen integrated into a case.” While some competitive options have since been released, the keyboard here remains very good overall: the keys are very responsive and have a nice tactility not seen on rubber keyboards. In addition to costing $10 less than Apple’s Wireless Keyboard, SlimBT is also much flatter, potentially making it a better travel option for some users, and has its own battery, which should last for roughly 100 hours of continuous typing, or 30 days of standby time.
On the other hand, SlimBT has a larger footprint than Apple’s Wireless Keyboard—it’s a little narrower, but taller—as there’s space here for hand rests, which are not in any way included in Apple’s design. Another possible downside is the lack of space between the keys; Apple’s are spaced to give your fingers some breathing room, while SlimBT’s keys butt right up against one another, a compromise to achieve its compact, iPad-like width. You can choose whether to go with the Wireless Keyboard, for which you’ll have to supply your own batteries and will have the benefit of a somewhat more desktop-like typing experience, or with this option, which includes plenty of juice for extended typing and is easy to carry. For the price, we see SlimBT Bluetooth Keyboard as a very good option for those looking to do a lot of typing on their iPads, and it earns a strong general recommendation.
Company and Price
Model: SlimBT Bluetooth Keyboard
Compatible: All iOS 4 or newer devices