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Published on April 13th, 2012 | by Greg


Three From Kensington: iPad Folios And Keyboards

We’re suck­ers for the iPad- we con­fess to pur­chas­ing each mod­el at launch, and up­grad­ing with­out any hes­i­ta­tion. It’s not be­cause we’re Ap­ple be­liev­ers, or even to show off to the world. The rea­sons are more com­pli­cat­ed: par­tial­ly be­cause they con­tin­ue to be the best tablets on the mar­ket, and par­tial­ly be­cause we’re tech writ­ers who have to en­sure we can test out all of the cas­es and apps and ac­ces­sories that in­evitably at­tend each new ver­sion, many of which are not back­wards-com­pat­i­ble.

Luck­i­ly, all three of to­day’s Kens­ing­ton items are com­pat­i­ble with both of the lat­est gen­er­a­tions of the Ap­ple iPad. Two of them are key­board/case com­bi­na­tions, and one sim­ply of­fers pro­tec­tion in a classy stand. We’ll touch on that one first, since it’s the sim­plest: the Fo­lio Case for iPad 2 al­so works with the new iPad. First im­pres­sions are de­cent: it looks pret­ty pro­fes­sion­al with syn­thet­ic leather, and is avail­able in black or brown. We might’ve want­ed some edge pro­tec­tion, but both the front and back cam­eras are ac­ces­si­ble and not cov­ered. One very strange thing that doesn’t ap­pear to be men­tioned on the pack­ag­ing or their web­site: this is sort of a faux smart cov­er, with mag­nets hid­den in the flap. The re­sults are, un­for­tu­nate­ly, mixed. We like Ap­ple’s smart cov­ers, but this one won’t al­ways quite align prop­er­ly to put your iPad in­to sleep mode. Some­times, you’ll hear that sat­is­fy­ing “click” that means it worked. Most times, though, noth­ing will hap­pen un­til you fool around with it. It’s not a big is­sue, but is an odd­i­ty, es­pe­cial­ly con­sid­er­ing the ut­ter ab­sence of the fea­ture be­ing ad­ver­tised.Avail­able for about $25.

Next up is the Kens­ing­ton KeyLite Ul­tra Slim Touch Key­board Fo­lio. We re­al­ly want­ed to like this one- the case is ex­treme­ly lightweight, even with the key­board, and it looks sexy. There are iPad func­tion keys, the key­board it­self felt rea­son­ably good and is liq­uid- and dust-proof. But is­sues abound- the first of which is the same mag­net­ic is­sues that we touched on above, where we found our iPad turn­ing on and off ran­dom­ly as the case didn’t stay closed and the mag­nets kept trig­ger­ing as they shift­ed. You can, of course, turn off the “Smart Cov­er” op­tion in your iPad set­tings, but we shouldn’t have to. Fur­ther, the at­tach­ment that holds the iPad in po­si­tion while in lap­top ori­en­ta­tion is flim­sy. And it was a bit awk­ward to type on, since the lay­out of the keys them­selves is a bit un­usu­al, and there is no tac­tile feed­back. The in­struc­tion man­u­al isn’t clear, and when we first tried to use it, it seemed low on bat­tery pow­er. Af­ter charg­ing via the in­clud­ed USB ca­ble, we were able to get it to work, and they sug­gest a bat­tery life of 60+ hours of work­ing time or more than a month of stand­by, which is de­cent. But, the stand has a fixed po­si­tion- you can’t ad­just the view­ing an­gle, which means that for many peo­ple, it’ll be hard to use. Hard to rec­om­mend, avail­able for $80 or so.

Fi­nal­ly, the best of the three: The Kens­ing­ton Key­Fo­lio Pro Key­board Case for new iPad and iPad 2. Of­fer­ing longer bat­tery life, a far su­pe­ri­or key­board ex­pe­ri­ence, and a re­mov­able key­board, this is a sol­id case. There were still a cou­ple of is­sues- the iPad still tends to slide around a bit in the case, which can block the rear cam­era, and we didn’t love the ma­te­ri­al or fin­ish on this one as much as the oth­er two, as it feels a bit plain and flat. But it was durable, and it did of­fer sol­id per­for­mance- pair it via Blue­tooth once and it was ready to go each time we opened it up. This is one of the bet­ter key­boards that we’ve tried for light iPad use, and it’s hard to ex­press our re­lief in go­ing from the trou­ble­some KeyLite to the scis­sor-style, de­cent­ly-sized keys on this one. But the case isn’t great. At $62, though, it’s a rel­a­tive bar­gain com­pared to many oth­er op­tions, and a great gift op­tion for some­one with a tablet and a need to type longer items while on the go.

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About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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