The iPad is, in my opinion, the best tablet in a declining tablet market and the best tablet experience you’re going to find. But sometimes the tablet experience is hampered by one of the most important parts of any device, the keyboard. The onscreen keyboard of the iPad is clunky, large, and usually in the way. It’s OK for short burst of text but gets in the way when you’re trying to be productive, such as writing a blog post. This is where bluetooth keyboards come in handy and this is the ZAGG Slim Book iPad Air keyboard review, this is the one you need to buy, but feel free to read the rest of the review before making up your mind.
The Slim Book is designed to mimic your MacBook and at first glance people might mistake it for a MacBook Air. It’s slim and sleek with the keyboard side having a nice aluminum finish and the back a black plastic finish. The Slim Book is light and adds just a little weight to the iPad Air but nothing unbearable. The keyboard layout is almost identical to that of your MacBook keyboard with volume controls and all. Overall the design is sleek, slick, and slim – it’s close to what Apple might make if they made keyboard cases for their iPad.
The Slim Book is not only a keyboard but it functions as a case as well and it’s got the iPad covered really well (ZAGG calls this “Case Mode”). The screen is protected once you close the keyboard and the back of the iPad sits snuggly in the holder which protects the back of the iPad. Overall protection is top notch, I probably wouldn’t panic if I dropped this from a normal height. That being said, this case is also pretty expensive and while I think the keyboard would survive a drop, it might come out with some scrapes and scratches. Overall though, the added protection it gives your iPad Air is a plus for the Slim Book.
So this is where the money is, this is why you’re reading this review. As I said before, the keyboard is laid out almost identical to a MacBook keyboard and even though it isn’t a full size keyboard, it’s not so cramped you feel like Shaq using a BlackBerry. The keys have a nice travel to them, again feeling very near identical to the MacBook keyboard (not the new MacBook). It took a few minutes to get used to the smaller size of the keyboard but once I had that down typing was a breeze, it felt nearly identical as typing on my MacBook Pro. Don’t get me wrong, I still had some issues from time to time hitting the wrong keys as switching back and forth from the full size MBP to the Slim Book will cause you to miss a key or two. Probably one of the best features is the backlit key feature, using this will impact your battery life but I love my backlit keys on my MBP and having them on the Slim Book is equally convenient.
ZAGG has also added a key that acts like the home button so you can pop out of applications into the home screen quickly, a real time saver. There’s also a lock key that will lock the screen for you and turn off the iPad, another helpful and convenient key. There’s also a key to launch spotlight search and of course a key to launch Siri quickly and easily. Overall the keyboard is laid out perfectly and it’s comfortable to type and has some of the convenient features I had been looking for.
ZAGG has four modes you can use this product in and I found this system and their hinge to be one of the better solutions on the market. The hinge on the Slim Book connects to the iPad via magnet, much like the Apple cover connects to the iPad. The hinge is great and allows you to get the iPad into these four different modes. The only complaint I did have is that the hinge sometimes felt stiff and took some effort to manipulate which left me feeling as if I was going to break it. The hinge hasn’t broken yet, but the thought does sit in the back of my mind every time I adjust the case.
Case mode is exactly what you think it is, it’s the mode where your iPad is protected the most. Keyboard mode is when the Slim Book is in a laptop position (probably my most used). Book Mode allows you to keep the keyboard on but tucked away. Video mode props up the iPad so you can watch videos from a better angle. It’s important to note that the hinge does not fold all the way back, these modes are accomplished by moving the iPad within the magnetized hinge. Overall keyboard mode was the most used in my case and it was a solid laptop like experience.
Battery life is also great on this case, ZAGG says it can last up to two years, of course this is dependent on how you use it. Using the backlit keys significantly impacts the battery so be aware of that. Still, I found the case lasting weeks and I charged it even when it didn’t need it, just cause I am a little OCD. Overall though, battery life is excellent.
Coming in at $129.99, the Slim Book is a solid choice and priced competitively in its range. I’ve tried a few Bluetooth keyboards for the iPad and the Slim Book is by far my favorite. It offers the best laptop type experience while giving you a familiar keyboard layout with some awesome features.
The ZAGG Slim Book is a top choice for Bluetooth Keyboards, it should be in your top three to look at if you’re shopping around. You should probably save yourself the trouble of looking and just buy this one, it was that awesome.
*We were sent a demo unit of the ZAGG Slim Book for the purposes of this review.