With the introduction of the modern smartphone also came the introduction of the on-screen software keyboard. Sometimes, though, even an ultra-responsive on-screen keyboard can’t make up for the feel of physical keys beneath your fingers. Luckily, for those who like physical keyboards, plenty of accessory manufacturers make physical keyboards that can attach to today’s mobile devices.
One such manufacturer is IPEVO. But there are plenty of other options for physical iPad keyboards, so is this the one for you? Read on to find out!
IPEVO uses a lot of cardboard for the Typi case’s box. It does a nice job of protecting it in shipping, though, so I can’t complain.
Design and Quality
As with a lot of iPad cases, this one has a flap that you tuck behind the iPad to hold the tablet in place. This one was rather stiff; I had to shove pretty hard to get it under the iPad, and even harder to get the two pieces of velcro to stick together. Once in place, your iPad won’t move until you go through the painstaking process in reverse.
This is what the top of the case looks like when the iPad is tucked away inside. The fit is pretty nice, and IPEVO even gave the leather that surrounds the iPad’s bezel a stiff inner lining that juts out from the screen in the middle (when the iPad is in landscape). At first I thought this was a poor design move, but then I figured out that it’s to keep the keyboard away from your screen so it doesn’t get scratched. It’s actually quite an impressive touch, and I’m really glad it was added.
The right side just has a simple cutout so the volume rockers are accessible. Here you can notice that the case is a tight fit. As with the flap that holds the iPad in the case, a bit of hard shoving is required. The force that it requires isn’t enough to break your tablet, but it’s still worth noting, nonetheless.
The 30-pin dock connector cutout is well done, too, and it’s accessible whenever you’re using the case, since there’s only one position in which the iPad can be used.
This is the back of the case. I got the black denim version, but there’s also light gray, tan, and black to choose from. The denim felt great and I know that it’ll hold up to a lot of bumps and nicks throughout its life.
The back is also where the stand is. On top of the stand is a magnetic latch that closes the keyboard across the front of the device. The stand itself is perfectly flat. Unfortunately, I hate how it works. To open it, you can just pull it out of its snap fastener and it’ll lock into place to hold your iPad up. But to refasten it to the back, you have to lift up on the support that goes from the back to the stand.
It’s difficult because there’s another flap of fabric right underneath that support that is taut when the stand is out. Basically, you have to wiggle your finger in between the two and lift up and then close the stand. It takes a relatively long time for a task that should be quick and easy.
Another poor decision for the stand is its shape. It’s a small rectangle that’s directly in the middle of the case. That means that if you want to use it in your lap while you recline in a chair – you can’t. The stand will go right through your legs and the iPad will fall and land in your lap. To combat this, you can use a table or some other flat, sturdy object, but the stand should’ve just been made a bit wider.
Speaking of the magnetic latch, here it is. It does its job very well and holds the two halves of the case together with no problems.
Finally, here is the design of the keyboard. There’s a large IPEVO logo beneath the space bar; other than that, it’s a basic Bluetooth keyboard.
Speaking of the keyboard, it is the main selling point of this case, so I’d better write about it. The design, as I’ve stated, is very minimalistic and plain. That isn’t a bad thing, either: I like how the keyboard looks. The leather palmrests don’t have much give to them, so while your palms will be supported very nicely, they’ll never be uncomfortable.
The keyboard comes with a non-removable 580mAh battery. You can charge it through the microUSB port and the included cable, but throughout my entire week of keeping the keyboard on I didn’t notice any hint of battery drain, so you may not need to use it much.
To pair the keyboard, you simply turn it on and hit the clear button. It’ll blink blue, which means that it’s discoverable, and you can then connect it to your iPad. Enter the pairing code, hit Enter, and then you’re all set!
Your success with typing on the keyboard will depend on your skill and the size of your hands. I have average-sized hands and I struggled to hit the right key. That may have something to do with the awkward layout. Compared to a traditional keyboard, the spacebar is one letter short on the right side and the right Shift key (the Shift key that I use exclusively) is on the other side of the arrow keys. It makes for a different typing experience; whether it’s a bad one is up to you and how you type.
The IPEVO Typi Folio Case + Wireless Keyboard costs $79.99 from the company’s website. It’s an okay keyboard in a quality-built, horribly designed case. If you want a wireless keyboard because you just can’t stand the iOS software one, then it may be worth it. But if you would rather buy a case that’s functional, then look towards companies like CueTab or ZooGue.
IPEVO is offering all colors of its Typi Folio Case + Wireless Keyboard on its website for $79.99.