At this point in the iPad 2’s lifecycle, case creativity is at a bit of a lull. We’ve seen new designs and styles dry up rather significantly as manufacturers prepare for the launch of iPad 3 sometime this Spring. The one category that seems to still be showing innovation is keyboard cases, and even those have been somewhat few and far between. Just when we thought we’d seen it all, Nuu has added a cool new twist with its KeyCase Detachable Keyboard & Case for iPad 2 ($100).
At first glance, the case isn’t too different from many OEM-developed options we’ve seen in the past. The body is made of real leather—not the highest quality stuff, but leather nonetheless—and setup in a folio style with a loop and tab to keep it shut. Opening it reveals the keyboard on the left, a frame for the tablet on the right, and an elastic stylus holder along the edge. Other than an opening for the camera on the back, there are no distinct features visible from the outside.
KeyCase has all the telltale signs of an OEM-sourced case. We’ve seen the scissor-key keyboard before—the keys are the same as those on CruxCase’s Crux360, GreatShield’s 2!Go Leather Case with Detachable Bluetooth Keyboard and Wekreat’s Type Rider, to name a few. It’s actually one of the better models out there, although the keys are small and somewhat cramped together. We like the tactically of the keyboard, and it’s rated to last 90 hours per charge. A Micro USB cable is included for juicing it up. The stylus is also a retread. Light and hollow feeling, it’s not the nicest we’ve seen, but it gets the job done. As for the iPad holder, it sandwiches the curved edges of the tablet between two flat halves with full access to the buttons and ports.
What sets Nuu’s case apart from the others, then, is removability. That is, not only can you separate the keyboard from KeyCase—it’s held on with magnets—but the iPad frame also comes off. This is a first among the dozens of keyboard cases we’ve seen over the past two years. The frame is held in place with a 1.5″x8” strip of Velcro, and can be peeled off in times when the keyboard isn’t needed, serving as a case in and of itself. Is it a great case? No. But the idea is certainly a cool one, and combined with the keyboard, it accommodates a number of use case scenarios.
Nuu deserves credit for the original thinking it brought to KeyCase. Like the removable keyboard before it, we expect competitors will incorporate the idea into their designs in the near future. Other than that one aspect though, there’s nothing that really sets KeyCase apart from the crowd. The look is unoriginal, and the overall feel is far from premium. It’s a very average option at a good value, pushed up to a general recommendation because of a novel idea.
Company and Price
Compatible: iPad 2