Belkin Ultimate Keyboard Case for iPad review: The iPad's perfect keyboard companion

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Belkin Ultimate Keyboard Case (Black)

(Part #: F5L149ttBLK)
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4 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

4 stars 1 user review

The Good Thin form, excellent keyboard, case automatically turns on and off, multiple viewing angles, offers solid iPad protection.

The Bad It's unclear how the plastic construction will hold up over time.

The Bottom Line The Belkin Ultimate Keyboard Case might be the best way to turn your iPad into the closest thing to a laptop alternative, offering protection and not much bulk.

8.3 Overall
  • Design 8.0
  • Features 9.0
  • Performance 8.0

Slimmer is better, provided you get your keyboard right. Belkin's Ultimate Keyboard Case is an attempt to beat competitors like Logitech at their own game by offering a slim keyboard and a cozy protective back cover all-in-one folio-like device. I saw this at CES, and it impressed me with its style.

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Fast-forward to April, and I finally have a review unit; it still impresses. Unlike the very thick Logitech Keyboard Folio , the Ultimate Keyboard Case doesn't feel thicker than the standard iPad case. A plastic back merges with an aluminum-backed black plastic keyboard that, while feeling very inspired by Logitech's Ultrathin Keyboard Cover , has its own fit and finish.

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With the Ultimate Keyboard Case on, it actually makes the iPad look like a little Chromebook. Some may find the laptop-ification effect unsexy, but I found it comforting, as if it promised no-nonsense easy productivity.

A white model with aluminum on the back and front costs a little more ($129). The black model ($99), which I reviewed, looks great -- but the MacBook-like aluminum shell on the bottom is prone to scuffing, like the Ultrathin Keyboard Cover. Better it than your iPad.

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True to its "Ultimate Keyboard Case" promise, this case has a few magic tricks up its sleeve. It turns on automatically when opened and docked, and it immediately Bluetooth pairs with the iPad when docked in one of three magnetic connectors, provided you've already set up Bluetooth and paired previously. And yes, three connector strips means three viewing angles, a killer mini-feature because it means you can adjust to a nonawkward angle on a table or your lap, something that's near-impossible to do with other cases.

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